This 2022 Disney California Adventure and Disneyland ride refurbishment calendar 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 May 12, 2022.)
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 2022 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
Animation Academy – Closed through May 26, 2022
Frozen: Live at the Hyperion – Return Date Unknown
Golden Zephyr – Closed through May 24, 2022
Mickey’s PhilharMagic – Closed through May 26, 2022
Paint the Night Parade – Return Date Unknown
Red Car Trolley – Returns Summer 2022
The big, exciting development here is that Disneyland Resort announced the triumphant return of Red Car Trolley, which has been closed for years due to the construction of Avengers Campus. Honestly, we thought Red Car Trolley would never return, and we’re over the moon to be wrong about that. Leisurely transportation attractions are tremendously underrated, and a great way of soaking up atmosphere while also going for a pleasant ride.
Pretty much all of these refurbishments are for routine maintenance and upkeep, with one major exception…
It wouldn’t be surprising if Frozen: Live at the Hyperion never returns, and is replaced by an entirely new show. The Hyperion Theater could become home to a Marvel production, which would make sense given its location adjacent to Avengers Campus.
Then there’s Paint the Night Parade. This will likely reappear at some point, but in recent years, Disneyland Resort has brought back Main Street Electrical Parade instead at every opportunity due to its lower operating costs. Paint the Night may likewise be gone forever.
Next, let’s take a look at the 2022 Disneyland attraction closures…
Chip ’n’ Dale Treehouse – Permanently Closed
Donald’s Boat – Closed through 2023
Fantasmic – Returns May 28, 2022
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – Reopens in Summer 2022
Gadget’s Go Coaster – Closed through 2023
Goofy’s Playhouse – Closed through 2023
Haunted Mansion – Closed late August through early September 2022
Magic Happens Parade – Return Date Unknown
Mickey and the Magical Map – Return Date Unknown
Mickey’s House – Closed through 2023
Minnie’s House – Closed through 2023
Pirates of the Caribbean – Closed through early Summer 2022
Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin – Closed through 2023
Tale of the Lion King – Returns on May 28, 2022
Tarzan’s Treehouse – Return Date Unknown
As with the projects at Disney California Adventure, several pieces of major entertainment do not yet have return dates. The good news is that, unlike the DCA counterparts, most of these will likely return.
Essentially, everything with a specified date of return is simply routine maintenance or the removal of a seasonal overlay. Nothing particularly noteworthy there. Beyond that, let’s cover some specific closures.
The big closure that just started is Pirates of the Caribbean, which went down last month and is officially scheduled to reopen in “early Summer 2022” accordingly to Disneyland. Depending upon the reopening date, this will likely be the attraction’s longest downtime since adding Jack Sparrow over a decade ago.
The scope of the work is unknown. It’s possible the movie additions will be undone, more will be added (a la Disneyland Paris), or nothing of substance will change to show scenes. In addition to the attraction closure, Blue Bayou Restaurant is also closed during at least a portion of this refurbishment.
When all is said and done, every ‘attraction’ in Toontown should return, with the likely exception of Chip ‘n’ Dale Treehouse. That’s expected to be removed and replaced by a path that connects Toontown to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
On a positive note, Splash Mountain has returned from its annual refurbishment. This was simply routine maintenance, not for the Princess and the Frog reimagining of Splash Mountain. Disney hasn’t offered many updates on this reimagining since announcing it, and the few statements the company has made suggest its very early in development. Unless the project has been (quietly) accelerated, it won’t be ready to commence construction for a while.
As far as rumors go, the only thing we’ve heard is that the (original) plan was/is to reimagine Splash Mountain at Disneyland first, with Walt Disney World’s going down towards the end or even after that project. There’s an outside chance one or both projects start sometime in 2022, but early 2023 is more likely for Disneyland’s Splash Mountain. Of course, things could change and priorities shift.
Finally, there’s the matter of entertainment in Disneyland. The company has already brought back Disneyland Forever and Main Street Electrical Parade, with Fantasmic coming back in time for Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial kickoff of the summer season.
Then there’s Magic Happens Parade, which was brand-new pre-closure and garnering rave reviews. We hope this will return sometime later in Summer 2022. Mickey and the Magical Map is probably the biggest wildcard. This was starting to show its age, and the theater where it’s performed is one of the next major expansion pads for Disneyland. It’s possible the show returns as before, is refreshed into something new, or never comes back.
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!