This Disney California Adventure and Disneyland ride refurbishment calendar for late 2023 and early 2024 lists temporary attraction closures so you know what won’t be operating before planning your vacation. Additionally, we offer info about reimagining projects that are underway to enhance experiences around the resort. (Updated November 15, 2023.)
While no one wants attraction closures during their visit, they are a necessary part of keeping Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in good condition, as routine maintenance, safety upgrades, and attraction improvements are all done during scheduled ride closures. Usually, there are only a handful of simultaneous closed rides, plus new attractions being built.
Having an idea of which attractions are closed at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is important, but we recommend consulting our 2023-2024 Disneyland Vacation Planning Guidefor more comprehensive info. That covers everything from saving money on park tickets and hotels to where to eat, when to visit, and more.
In addition to scheduled attraction refurbs, unscheduled downtime can also occur during a visit. This usually only occurs for a few hours at a time, so if you find an attraction is closed during your visit to Disneyland Resort and it’s not listed below, it’s likely a temporary closure that will last a few hours. Check with nearby Cast Members to confirm.
Below is a schedule of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure refurbishments, when the closure starts, and when the refurbishment will conclude. To the extent that specific dates are not yet listed, those will be updated once Disneyland Resort provides precise start and/or end dates. The following day will be when the attraction is scheduled to reopen.
Here are the closure schedules for Disney California Adventure and Disneyland…
Disney California Adventure
Beast’s Library in the Disney Animation Building – Closes permanently on December 11, 2023
Incredicoaster – Closed November 27, 2023 to December 1, 2023
Paint the Night Parade – Return Date Unknown (Possibly Spring/Summer 2024)
Rogers: The Musical – Return Date Unknown (Possibly Spring 2024)
World of Color ONE – Closed January 8, 2024 to February 29, 2024
Only a couple of “real” refurbishments happening at DCA. The newest development is that Beast’s Library is closing to make way for Disney Imagination Campus. That was previously housed in Blue Sky Cellar, which is becoming a Disney Vacation Club sales center.
The other big closure is World of Color – ONE, which will go down at the end of the holiday season and return around the start of the Disney California Food & Wine Festival on March 1, 2024. What’s not yet known is which World of Color will return, or even if it’ll be an all-new show. Our guess is that it’ll be the original World of Color, potentially with an Inside Out 2 pre-show.
Next, let’s take a look at the 2023 Disneyland attraction closure calendar…
Adventureland Treehouse – Now open!
Astro Orbitor – Closure starting November 20, 2023 through TBD (at least early December)
Fantasmic – Paused until May 24, 2024
Indiana Jones Adventure – Closed November 27, 2023 to December 1, 2023
Main Street Electrical Parade – Return Date Unknown
Mark Twain Riverboat – Closed through at least mid-December 2023
Splash Mountain – Permanently closed
Tale of the Lion King – Closes permanently on January 7, 2024
Wondrous Journeys Fireworks – Return Date Unknown (Hopefully Early January 2024)
Beyond these dates, let’s cover some specific closures and reopening dates…
The big closure on the calendar for Disneyland is Tale of the Lion King, which permanently closes after the busy Christmas season. This just returned in expanded form last summer, and seemed pretty popular. Perhaps Disneyland is gearing up for another new production in the Fantasyland Theatre, but this is a big loss in the meantime.
Then there’s Indiana Jones Adventure, which was recently added to the calendar; the scope of that closure is unknown since December hours have yet to be posted. However, Indiana Jones Adventure had a lengthy refurbishment this spring, so hopefully it’s not closed for too long during the heart of the holiday season.
Additionally, Disneyland has officially delayed Fantasmic’s return until May 24, 2024. What changes that might be in store for a reimagined Fantasmic are unknown, but even when the nighttime spectacular does return, it’ll be in b-mode. Judging by the nature and extent of the fire damage, it’s likely that the Murphy Audio Animatronics figure of Maleficent will be missing for far longer.
That post also discusses why we’re expecting more than just a reimagined Fantasmic to make a splash next summer. With nothing else to celebrate and no new attractions to drive crowds, it’s likely that Disneyland leans on entertainment and builds out an ‘event’ that revolves around Fantasmic and other nighttime spectaculars. Our guess is that Paint the Night finally makes its return over at DCA in Summer 2024, too.
Finally, Splash Mountain is now officially closed to be reimagined into a new ride based on The Princess and the Frog. There are already visible signs of the transformation into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. It was a curious decision to close Splash Mountain right before the busy (and hotter) summer season, but it’s our understanding that the closure date had been pushed back a couple of times for various reasons and the team working on it needs as much time as they can get.
In Florida, Imagineers have already kicked that coast’s version of this project into high gear. Already, construction walls are up around Chick-A-Pin Hill and Imagineers have been observed on and around the attraction beginning work on the overhaul. The transformation timeline is an aggressive one, and we’re skeptical that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will actually open in 2024. More likely, it’ll be delayed until 2025.
Now, a few notes about the above refurbishments. For starters, there’s much more on the above lists than normal. Most of these attractions are currently closed for budgetary, staffing, or other non-maintenance related reasons. There are actually far fewer traditional refurbishments occurring right now than normally.
Beyond that, Disneyland is notorious for changing its refurbishment schedules, adding or canceling planned downtimes weeks or days in advance. While this practice is still relatively uncommon in the grand scheme of things, it’s worth pointing out because it does happen.
Now, here’s a bit of our philosophy concerning refurbishments, with the specific example of the recent multi-year Disneyland Railroad refurbishment used to illustrate…
Thoughts on Refurbishments
Nobody likes a favorite attraction to be refurbished during their vacation. It means missing out and potentially not being able to experience the ride for another year or longer, depending upon the frequency of your visits to Disneyland. A couple of years ago, the Disneyland Railroad closed for an extended refurbishment due to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge construction.
At first, we were really disappointed. This might seem like an odd attraction to lament the closure of, but as Southern Californians with Disneyland Annual Passes, this was an absolute favorite of ours. We rode regularly when we wanted to rest our feet, or simply a break from the crowds. With the exception of maybe ‘it’s a small world’, we did Disneyland Railroad more than any other attraction.
However, that initial disappointment pretty quickly gave way to excitement. We began thinking about ways Disneyland Railroad could be plussed, improving the experience for years to come. Disney had already announced that some changes would be made (as the track needed to be re-routed), and we were excited for the prospect of new show scenes or other visuals.
From my perspective, investing in the long-term quality of an attraction is far more important than the temporary satisfaction I’ll get out of riding it on my next visit. This is why it always perplexes me when regulars contend that their vacation will be ruined because their favorite attraction will be closed.
If it’s your favorite attraction and you’re active in the Disney fan community, that means you’ve been to Disneyland before and probably will visit again. It would thus stand to reason that you would want something you love to get the TLC it deserves, and continue to improve.
Disneyland Railroad works as a good example here…in large part because it did receive significant changes and enhancements. (Arguably, the Rivers of America suffered due to being condensed, but that’s another topic for another day–we cover all aspects of this in our New-Look Grand Circle Tour of Disneyland post.)
The point extends to other attractions that have seen similar plussings, but also have more of a problem with effects breaking. Take Indiana Jones Adventure, for example. This is a ride that seems to get a refurbishment about every other year (sometimes more frequently) and we’d argue that it could probably use more regular maintenance than that.
If you are a long-term fan, would you rather experience Indiana Jones Adventure every single visit with 75% of the effects working, or every single visit minus one or two with 95% of the effects working? For me, the answer to that is easy. I’ll take a superior long term experience every time.
Beyond that, there’s the much more compelling justification for regular refurbishments: they are essential for the safety of attractions. While we may think of these attractions as all fun and games that offer a safe sense of exhilaration, that’s when they are properly maintained.
It’s unpleasant to think about, but there have been several preventable deaths in the history of Disney’s parks. During a dark era of Disneyland history, improper maintenance was the cause of death on Big Thunder Mountain. Likewise, years of neglect at Disneyland Paris have led to incidents of injury that could be attributed to a lack of maintenance. In both cases, this has been addressed, and maintenance has improved considerably.
This is not meant to scare anyone or provoke an emotional reaction. Disney’s worldwide safety record is sterling as compared to other park operators. It’s still important to remember that these fun, ‘magical’ places also exist in the real world and use a lot of potentially dangerous elements if safety is not viewed as key. (Or, in Disney’s case, one of the Four Keys.)
When it comes to maintenance that is not essential to the safe operation of an attraction, we are left to contemplate what amount of show quality should be accepted. If following a strict Nunis-ian interpretation of the Four Keys, show is an important consideration, and it should always be 100%. This is a nice goal to strive for, but the practical reality is that 100% show quality is an unworkably high threshold sometimes.
In my estimation, this is a good example of balancing guest interests with show quality. Get the effects working that are easily fixable, and find other ways to address effects that are frequently breaking. We’re not talking about safety here, just random effects. Indiana Jones Adventure has had a number of effects disabled or replaced over the years because they were unreliable.
Guests are understandably concerned when it appears an inordinate number of attractions are closing during their vacation, especially out of state visitors. Trips to California are not cheap and are often once in a lifetime experiences; first-timers certainly do not want to miss out on experiences about which they’ve read extensive hype.
With that said, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure ought to be publishing their routine refurbishment schedules several months in advance, allowing guests to plan around closures. Disney plans maintenance well in advance, and this info should be passed along to guests. For the most part, it is.
Obviously, unplanned maintenance can occur, which takes rides out of commission for hours or even days at the last minute. This is an unavoidable part of sophisticated theme park attractions, and there’s no real way to “plan around” this. It just is what it is.
However, the problem with a “not during my vacation” attitude like this is that it’s always going to be someone’s (or tens of thousands of someones) vacation. If Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractions with show quality issues aren’t close for refurbishments for fear of some guests during a time-limited window missing out, all guests in perpetuity are going to have a lesser experience.
The end result of that thinking is a duct-tapped approach to attraction maintenance, with whatever work that can be done overnight accomplished, and two parks full of attractions with half their effects broken. First-timers would be left wondering why there was so much hype about Disneyland in the first place, as so many components of rides simply don’t work. If you’re reading this as a lifelong fan, well…maybe you wouldn’t have become a lifelong fan if this were actually Disneyland’s modus operandi.
Any questions about the current refurbishments at Disneyland Resort? What do you think about refurbishments at the Disney Parks? Are you more concerned about an improved long-term experience, or do you think “not during my vacation!”? Any other factors you think are worth considering? As mentioned, we think this is a conversation, so please share your ‘refurbishment philosophy’, or any other thoughts or questions you have, in the comments!