New & reimagined rides, restaurants, lands, hotels, and more are coming soon to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this year, as well as 2024 and 2025. This offers info on what’s new and next, opening dates, construction progress, expansion plans, and more. (Updated November 18, 2023.)
Right now, Disneyland Resort is celebrating Christmas. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, the hotels, and Downtown Disney are all decked out for the holiday season. Consult our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Disneyland Resort for everything you need to know.
The holiday season obviously follows Halloween, but more importantly, the end of Disney’s 100th Anniversary. Disneyland never technically ended that event, but decorations have mostly been removed for the holidays. Guest enthusiasm for Disney100 has largely fizzled out, so it appears that it just quietly concluded and will not return in early 2024. We do expect at least one of the nighttime spectaculars that was “for” Disney100 to come back at some point in 2024, though.
Beyond Disney100, this year has seen a number of new additions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. This follows up on last year, which was mostly about restoring normalcy.
After reopening from the year-plus closure, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have restored virtually all stage shows, nighttime spectaculars, entertainment, and guest perks like Early Entry. It has been a slow and gradual process, but just about everything is back. Well, except for Fantasmic, which was back before going up in flames (literally).
Now let’s move on to what’s new and what’s next at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure…
What’s New at Disneyland
‘Wish’ World of Color Pre-Show – For a limited time, a new pre-show highlighting the story behind the wishing star from the Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Wish, will be presented ahead of World of Color – Season of Light at Disney California Adventure.
When the lights dim around Paradise Bay, Asha and Star take guests on a journey set to the song “This Wish” from the film. Animated projections, majestic fountains synchronized to music, dazzling lasers, and sparkling lighting effects magically combine to tell the story of how stars can guide, inspire and remind us to believe in possibility. Wish debuts in theaters November 22, 2023. (Our expectation is that the pre-show ends when the regular World of Color returns.)
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Located inside Toontown’s El CapiTOON Theater, this family-friendly experience transports you into the wacky and unpredictable cartoon world. Board a train engineered by Goofy and embark on a zany adventure with Mickey & Minnie Mouse, among other cartoon characters.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway now offers a standby line, and wait times aren’t nearly as bad as they were earlier this year due to its high capacity and the ‘new ride smell’ wearing off. Nevertheless, you can buy Individual Lightning Lane access, which is only available via the Disneyland app.
Mickey’s Toontown Reimagining – An ambitious reimagining of Mickey’s Toontown is now open. The beloved land has been transformed into a vibrant symphony of sights, sounds, and sensations. Focusing on today’s families with young children, Mickey’s Toontown features new play experiences, as well as open, grassy play spaces for everyone to unplug. The land has landscaping for both spontaneous family play and parental relaxation.
One of the new areas in Mickey’s Toontown is CenTOONial Park, the first space guests will see when they enter. This natural space is anchored by two interactive play experiences. At the center of CenTOONial Park is a fountain with water tables for playing and having a sensory experience. At night, the fountain is brought to life in a unique spectacle.
A nearby dreaming tree is supposedly inspired by the tree a young Walt Disney would daydream under in his hometown. Sculpted tree roots provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography offers rolling hills and a place to sit and dream.
Magic Happens Parade – Disneyland debuted the new Magic Happens daytime parade about two weeks before the park closed in 2020, and it finally returned roughly 3 years later!
The parade features an energetic score including music from Frozen 2 and other films, and a new theme song co-composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall. It’s an excellent daytime parade, and even looks great at night (during the times of year when the sun sets earlier).
Note: Magic Happens is not running during the Christmas 2023 season, but is expected to return in early 2024.
Wondrous Journeys – Each evening at Disneyland, “Wondrous Journeys” transforms Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, it’s a small world, and the Rivers of America into an artist’s canvas with lighting effects, lasers, projections, and more–including pyro on weekends and busy weeknights.
The Wondrous Journeys nighttime spectacular takes you on an epic adventure through 100 years of Walt Disney Animation Studios storytelling. This fireworks show features music, characters, and iconic moments from movies including Encanto, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog, Peter Pan, Frozen, Treasure Planet, Big Hero 6, Moana, and…literally every other movie by Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Note: Wondrous Journeys is not being performed during the Christmas 2023 season, but is expected to return sometime in 2024.
World of Color – ONE – Then there’s the all-new nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure. World of Color – ONE supposedly celebrates the storytelling legacy started by Walt Disney, illustrating how a single action, like a drop of water, creates a ripple that can grow into a wave of change. This is the first nighttime spectacular at Disneyland Resort to feature characters, music and moments from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel, and Star Wars in the same production.
Like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland, access to the main viewing area for World of Color – ONE is via virtual queue in the Disneyland app. Distribution for the virtual queue begins at 12 p.m. PT daily (subject to availability) and is available for guests who have entered Disney California Adventure park for the day or have entered Disneyland with a Park Hopper ticket.
Note: World of Color – ONE is on hiatus for the holiday season; it’s unknown whether it’ll ever return.
Genie+ and Lightning Lanes – Another recent change is the launch of the Genie system with paid-line skipping service that replaced free paper FastPass and paid MaxPass.
Avengers Campus – This Marvel-themed land is the biggest recent addition at Disney California Adventure. Avengers Campus features WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, an interactive attraction featuring Spider-Man. The other highlight is Pym Test Kitchen, a restaurant with small and large food.
Beyond that, Avengers Campus showcases a variety of character meet & greets, including Black Widow, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Super Heroes from Wakanda and Asgard, and Iron Man.
Avengers Campus also has new limited time meet & greets on a regular basis whenever Disney+ debuts a new Marvel series, which is often. In the last few months, we’ve seen Werewolf by Night, Jane Foster as Mighty Thor, Incredible Hulk in his Quantum Suit, and many more.
Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan, and Captain Monica Rambeau are currently meeting in the Avengers Campus and will likely appear as long as The Marvels is still in theaters. Judging by the box office numbers…that might not be much longer!
San Fransokyo Square from Big Hero 6 – Pacific Wharf has been reimagined into San Fransokyo from “Big Hero 6,” where East meets West, and technology meets tradition. This project features a new look for the area, plus reimagined restaurants with fresh menus, new shops, and a place to meet Baymax.
Although San Fransokyo Square opened at the end of the summer, finishing thematic touches continue on the new area, and it’ll likely continue to evolve into early 2024.
Adventureland Treehouse – This reimagining of Tarzan’s Treehouse takes inspiration from the past, paying tribute to the original treehouse that Walt Disney and his Imagineers built in 1962 for Swiss Family Robinson. The Adventureland Treehouse inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson opened at the start of the Christmas 2023 season.
The Adventureland Treehouse showcases wonderous new environments created amongst the branches of a giant tree on the shores of the Jungle River, where guests can once again enter by the giant waterwheel and follow the wood rope stairways up, up, up into the boughs. There are a lot of Easter Eggs, including nods to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.
Tiana’s Palace Restaurant – This reimagined restaurant is located in New Orleans Square, replacing the former French Market on Orleans Street. Tiana’s Palace Restaurant is not a character dining experience–it’s a quick-service dining option.
Tiana’s Palace Restaurant is open now, ahead of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (coming in 2024, see below). It’s currently the most popular counter service restaurant in all of Disneyland, and by a wide margin. Soak in the lively culture of New Orleans through new menu items inspired by the flavors of the Crescent City––including Southern comfort dishes and plates with a Cajun and Creole twist.
With that said, the highlights are Din Djarin (also known as the Mandalorian) and Grogu (also known as “Baby Yoda”). This duo has journeyed to Batuu and is appearing in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. In case you’ve been under a rock the last few years, the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda can be seen in the first two seasons of “The Mandalorian” on Disney Plus.
In addition to these new characters, there’s also the new Batuu Bounty Hunters game. This gives guests missions, promising credits in reward for catching criminals of a galaxy far, far away. It works in tandem with physical park infrastructure, the Play Disney Parks app, and MagicBand Plus. Speaking of which…
MagicBand+ – Disney’s next generation wearable, the MagicBand+, recently made its debut at Disneyland Resort. The new iteration features interactive elements that guests can use all around the Disneyland Resort. Here’s everything we know about MagicBand+ at Disneyland Resort, including firsthand thoughts from our experience using MagicBand Plus.
After years of being available at Walt Disney World, this marks the first time the popular MagicBands are available at Disneyland Resort. The MagicBand+ offers hands-free convenience and interactive elements that engage with nighttime spectaculars and other park features in fun new ways.
Disneyland Hotel DVC – Disneyland Resort has added a 350-room Disney Vacation Club tower as part of Disneyland Hotel, which is now open. The new 12-story Disneyland Hotel DVC tower is located between Goofy’s Kitchen and the Frontierland Tower.
Snow White’s Enchanted Wish -The iconic Fantasyland attraction, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, has been updated inside and out and work on the overhaul is now finished.
New scenes including a vignette showing Snow White in a beautiful forest setting waking up from her deep sleep. A new finale has also been added, featuring Snow White as she’s reunited with her animal friends and a shimmering castle is visible in the distance.
Jungle Cruise Reimagining – This Adventureland fan favorite has new characters, a continuous storyline, changes to show scenes, and more. These “new adventures” stay true to the Jungle Cruise experience fans know and love, while adding more inclusivity, humor, wildlife, and skipper heart.
At least, that’s how Disney has promoted the reimagining of Jungle Cruise. In actuality, some problematic scenes and characters were removed and a lot of monkeys were added. The rest is just noise that the vast majority of guests will not even notice.
What’s Coming in 2024 & Beyond
Splash Mountain Reimagining – Another project on the horizon is the Princess and the Frog overhaul of Splash Mountain, which is now closed. Disney has announced this reimagined ride will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and will open in late 2024.
For full details about what’s been confirmed for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, plus our speculation about what the transformation is likely to entail, model photos, construction permits, and more see our comprehensive post about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Marvel Multiverse Family Battle Against King Thanos – Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure will be expanding with a third attraction featuring a brand-new story that will bring guests into battle alongside their favorite Marvel super heroes. In this new epic family adventure attraction, where you’ll get to team up with more of the Avengers and their allies to battle King Thanos.
This is different from the Avengers E-Ticket that was announced at the last D23 Expo. That was expected to be a simulator attraction similar to Avatar Flight of Passage, albeit with a different seating system. (Jet backpacks instead of banshees, among other differences.)
The new King Thanos Marvel Multiverse attraction does seem likely to actually happen. Still, even if construction started tomorrow (it won’t), there’s still a ton that needs to be done. The show building for the previous attraction was never built–all that exists below the Quinjet is a facade. Assuming this Marvel Multiverse ride is a screen-based trackless dark ride similar to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the attraction could open in as few as 3 years.
That’s assuming the ride system and other specifics have actually been settled upon, and there are no delays due to filming scenes or animation. My guess is that this opens between Christmas 2025 and Summer 2026…or never at all. Here’s hoping that’s wrong, and Disney finds a way to condense its construction timeline. Maybe in a different multiverse, Disney builds faster than Universal!
Downtown Disney Revitalization – Downtown Disney District continues its evolution as a premiere venue for innovative shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. A slew of new restaurants and retail have opened in the last few years. Standouts include Salt & Straw (the best ice cream at Disneyland Resort) and Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes.
Continuing the momentum, this multi-year project will transform the former AMC Theatres building and adjacent area into a stunning new lifestyle space. Drawing inspiration from Southern California mid-century modern architecture, the area will be a beautiful blend of vibrant color palettes, multicultural design elements and patterns, an open lawn for relaxation and future events, and an even broader collection of dining and shopping.
Pixar Place Hotel – Disney has been working on reimagining Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with a Pixar theme. It was widely assumed that this would be called Pixar Pier Hotel. Instead, it’ll be called Pixar Place Hotel (not to be confused with the nicer Hyatt Place Hotel down the street).
Pixar Place Hotel officially opens on January 30, 2024 with portions of the reimagined resort debuting in phases prior to then. Pixar Place Hotel will weave the artistry of Pixar into its contemporary setting, including areas for everyone to enjoy, like the Finding Nemo-themed splash pad area. Don’t let the colorful concept art fool you. Even decorated with fish and friends from Finding Nemo, this will still (easily) be the worst pool area of the three Hotels of Disneyland Resort.
Pixar Place Hotel has welcomed the team from Southern California local favorite Great Maple. The flagship restaurant on the first floor is now open as of November 2023, and Great Maple will operate other food and beverage locations throughout Pixar Place Hotel. This modern American eatery specializes in upscale comfort food with a twist, serving fresh takes on American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Avatar “Experience” – On multiple earnings calls and interviews, Disney CEO Bob Iger has enthusiastically touted an Avatar Experience coming to Disneyland Resort.
The only problem is that he’s provided zero details about what this “experience” will entail (is it a clone of the Pandora land, ride, restaurant, walk-through, VR game, etc?), where it’ll be located (DCA, Disneyland, Downtown Disney, the lobby of Pixar Place Hotel?!) or when it’ll open (2025 to 2028 seem most likely). Just that it’s happening sometime down the road. But hey, that’s more than he’s said about the supposed King Thanos Multiverse attraction in Avengers Campus!
DisneylandForward – Speaking of things getting cancelled, the last project to showcase is DisneylandForward. Actually, both the words “cancelled” and “project” are misnomers here, as there are no concrete details to this proposal so there’s nothing that can actually get cancelled.
The possibilities of DisneylandForward are really exciting. However, it’s really all about paving the way for future developments of an uncertain nature by giving Disney more autonomy over land use by relaxing the DRSP. Disney is essentially saying, “give us authority to build whatever we want, then we’ll tell you what, if anything, we’re going to build.”
Which additions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in 2024, 2025 and beyond are you most excited to experience? Are you delaying your next trip to maximize seeing ‘new stuff’ or moving it forward to see these new attractions, lands, and restaurants? Anything you’re not looking forward to? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!