New & reimagined rides, restaurants, lands, hotels, and more are coming soon to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this year and 2023. This offers info on what’s new and next, opening dates, construction progress, expansion plans, and more. (Updated November 19, 2022.)
The big story of Disneyland Resort in 2022 has been less about new things and more about returning things. After reopening from the year-plus closure last spring, the parks have gradually been restoring 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 as of Late 2022.
In January 2023, Disneyland Resort will switch gears and return to expansion and celebration mode. The year will kick off with the Walt Disney Company’s 100th Anniversary, known as the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration at Disneyland Resort. That begins in Winter 2023, and a lot is scheduled for around the start of that milestone event.
Now let’s move on to what’s new and what’s next at Disneyland Resort, as well as near the parks in Anaheim…
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.
The first phase opened last summer, with Avengers Campus debuting 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.
Mandalorian & Baby Yoda – At Disneyland, characters from Star Wars shows Disney+ were incorporated into Batuu earlier this year with bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand. Now, Din Djarin (also known as the Mandalorian) and Grogu (also known as “Baby Yoda”) are also journeying to Batuu and 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.
Currently, these are free-roaming characters who appear around the land and come into contact with guests. We wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t last long, as reports of constant chaos and crowds swarming the characters have been the norm since they started appearing in late November 2022.
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.
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.
JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort – The first of two new AAA Four-Diamond hotels opening in Anaheim, joining the Grand Californian and Disneyland Hotel as the city’s only other luxury hotels with the same rating.
Located at the Anaheim GardenWalk, the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort has a convenient location within walking distance of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. After years of stagnation, GardenWalk is now and up and coming dining, entertainment, and shopping complex (Disney should’ve bought it when they had the chance). This luxury hotel is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 7 property.
Westin Anaheim Resort – If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy member or fan of luxury hotels, we have some good news for you…the Westin Anaheim is now open, with an excellent location directly behind Pixar Pier, offering great views into Disney California Adventure.
The Westin Anaheim Resort takes over the former grounds of the Anabella Hotel adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center and within a short walk of Downtown Disney. This newly-constructed property is fairly massive, with 618 guest rooms aimed at appealing to conventioneers and tourists alike. The Westin Anaheim is the city’s fourth AAA Four-Diamond hotel, and is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 hotel.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – The largest addition to Disneyland in several decades (literally), Star Wars land occupies a massive portion of Disneyland, and feels almost like a separate park. While the initial reaction was mixed and didn’t drive attendance in the way expected, we are big fans of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
It’s not perfect, but it’s an incredibly ambitious land unlike anything else at Disneyland. The highlight of this land is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which is the best new attraction at Disneyland in decades, and one of Imagineering’s best-ever accomplishments.
Pixar Pier – Most of Pixar Pier opened a few years ago as a makeover of Paradise Pier. The Pixar rebranding was (and is) half-baked in a number of ways, thematically incoherent, and not really offering anything new of substance. The one bright spot is Lamplight Lounge, which is a refresh of Cove Bar.
More recently, Jessie’s Critter Carousel and Inside Out Emotion Whirlwind both opened in Pixar Pier. These are both overlays of previous attractions at Disney California Adventure, so not really net gains.
Adventureland Treehouse – This reimagining of Tarzan’s Treehouse will take 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 will return in a fresh, new way at Disneyland sometime in 2023.
The Adventureland Treehouse will showcase wonderous new environments created amongst the branches of a giant tree on the shores of the Jungle River, where guests will 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 in the concept art, including nods to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. That’s not surprising, and we’re expecting the Adventureland Treehouse to be weaved into that international storyline, and also tied into Jungle Cruise, somehow. Those are two theme park IPs that Imagineering really loves.
“World of Color – One” – This new nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure for the 100 Years of Wonder celebration will celebrate the storytelling legacy started by Walt Disney a century ago.
World of Color – One will tell a new story of how a single action, like a drop of water, creates a ripple that can grow into a wave of change. It brings some of the most courageous, loving and inspiring characters to life in new ways. The show will also feature a new original song, “Start a Wave.”
“Wondrous Journeys” Fireworks – Over at Disneyland, Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom will become a magnificent canvas with “Wondrous Journeys,” a new nighttime spectacular that will ignite the wonder in all of us.
Wondrous Journeys will feature nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date, taking visitors on a journey filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart. It will continue to build upon Disneyland’s state-of-the-art projection effects, turning the park into an artist’s canvas that brings characters to life all around you as fireworks dance in the sky. Wondrous Journeys will feature scenery all along Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, “it’s a small world,” and the Rivers of America.
Guests board a train with Goofy as the engineer and jump into the cartoon world with a zany, out-of-control adventure. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will use state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to transform the cartoon world into an incredible and immersive multidimensional experience. This same ride debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it’ll be a cute addition to Toontown.
Mickey’s Toontown Reimagining – An ambitious reimagining of Mickey’s Toontown will debut in March 2023, alongside Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The beloved land will transform into a vibrant symphony of sights, sounds, and sensations. Focusing on today’s families with young children, Mickey’s Toontown will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy play spaces for everyone to unplug. The land will have landscaping for both spontaneous family play and parental relaxation.
One of the new areas coming to Mickey’s Toontown will be CenTOONial Park, the first space guests will see when they enter. This natural space will be anchored by two interactive play experiences. At the center of CenTOONial Park will be a fountain with water tables for playing and having a sensory experience. At night, the fountain will be brought to life in a unique spectacle.
A nearby dreaming tree will be inspired by the tree a young Walt Disney would daydream under in his hometown. Sculpted tree roots will provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography will offer rolling hills and a place to sit and dream. Mickey’s Toontown will close in March 2022 to begin creating these all-new experiences.
Magic Happens Parade – Disneyland debuted the new Magic Happens daytime parade about two weeks before the park closed (we never got to see it). 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.
Disneyland has announced the long-awaited return of the Magic Happens parade will occur at Disneyland in Spring 2023.
A closing date has yet to be announced for Splash Mountain, but we offer speculation about that plus what the transformation is likely to entail, model photos, construction permits, and more in 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 or Summer 2026. Here’s hoping that’s wrong, and Disney finds a way to condense its construction timelines. Maybe in a different multiverse, Disney builds faster than Universal.
The one thing I can’t get past is that Imagineers are in the “early phases” of this work. How many phases are there for a project like this? Ole Hitchcock & Scully could’ve had the idea for this yesterday while chowing down on mac & cheese bread bowls and work could’ve started today. It’s not that complicated. Disney’s seeming inability to deliver on a tight turnaround time is frustrating.
As for the Baymax meet & greet, my guess is that it replaces the Boudin Bakery Tour or goes across the way in the now-unused Blue Sky Cellar. Here’s hoping for the latter. I subsist on free bread samples at DCA.
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.
The new 12-story Disneyland Hotel DVC tower would be located between Goofy’s Kitchen and the Frontierland Tower. The DVC villas building will somewhat mirror the existing 1955 design of the other Disneyland Hotel towers. Those are styled after Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland.
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 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 will welcome the team from Southern California local favorite Great Maple, which will open a flagship restaurant on the first floor and 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.
Hey Disney – Speaking of hotels…and of speaking, the “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant will work alongside Alexa on Amazon Echo devices and also will begin rolling out to guest rooms across the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort…at some point.
Disneyland hasn’t addressed this in almost a year, so it’s possible that supply chain issues or other technical difficulties have caused “Hey, Disney!” to be delayed.
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 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!