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Disneyland Begins Slow Return With New In-Person Food Event at Orange County Park

Plus, a bunch of restaurants are opening up their patios again, and the Family Style Fest returns

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Anaheim Exteriors And Landmarks - 2021
The Disneyland complex in Orange County
Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

It’s hard to believe — at least for some hardcore fans — that Orange County superstar destination Disneyland has been closed for almost a year as a result of the ongoing global pandemic. And while the long-term shutter of the so-called Happiest Place on Earth has come with a fair bit of local and national controversy, officials continue to say that the decision to shut down theme parks statewide is necessary to protect the public. But with coronavirus cases falling and Orange County on the cusp of moving to a less-restrictive tier, many are starting to wonder when Disneyland can begin to ramp back up.

It’s going to be quite a while before the manicured theme park returns to normal for many, but in the interim, Disney has found a way to ensure at least a bit of magic for eager fans. The company recently announced A Touch of Disney, a limited-capacity event centered around Disney characters and Disney food that begins on March 18 and will be centered inside of the larger Disney California Adventure Park next door to Disneyland proper. The plan is for ticketholders to be able to enjoy both new and old eats from Disneyland menus, eaten in the open air of course, while also interacting with Disney’s cast of characters (from a distance) and using photo-op stations and more. Expect Dole Whips and Monte Cristo sandwiches and churros and more — at least for those that can get in. Tickets run for $75 (which includes parking and a $25 dining credit), and capacity size is limited.

In other news:

  • The City of West Covina has decided to start its own public health department, breaking away from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as a result of the pandemic. The move means more autonomy for things like city and county-level public health restrictions (such as gyms staying open, or closing outdoor dining), and makes West Covina the first new city to split from the county health office in a long time — though others, like Beverly Hills, have threatened to do so as a result of the pandemic and associated lockdowns. West Covina will join Pasadena and Long Beach as the only cities within Los Angeles County that do not fall under Los Angeles County DPH’s purview.
  • The Family Style food festival is coming back to Los Angeles this month, operating as a COVID-19-safe drive-in experience and featuring restaurants from across greater South LA like Harun Coffee, Ackee Bamboo, and more. The event, a collaboration between the Hundreds, Blondie Beach, and Doordash, runs March 26 through 28 at the lot at Hollywood Park adjacent to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, and will also feature brand collaborations and the screening of Jurassic Park. Tickets go on sale March 8 and start at $75 for general admission.
  • Wade McElroy is teaming up with Cafe Birdie chef Russell Victorioso on a new pizza restaurant — in Austin, Texas. McElroy has deep Texas roots, and Victorioso is a recent transplant, relocating to put together a new spot called Love Supreme there, per Eater Austin.
  • Casual cafe star Zinque is adding a second Venice location, which should give you a sense of how popular the place is on the Westside. Per Toddrickallen, the new location will sit at 1440 Lincoln Boulevard, and comes just a month or so after the group opened another, different Zinque at the Westfield Century City.
  • A bunch of new restaurants are coming back online in the next week or two. Tar & Roses in Santa Monica offers patio seating starting tonight, as does Majordomo and the Westside’s newest steak spot Bull & Butterfly, while Salazar kicks into gear on Friday and Bavel starts up again March 11.