What’s New & Next at Disneyland for 2023

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 February 2, 2023.)

The big story of Disneyland Resort in 2023 is the 100 Years of Wonder celebration. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are decked out for the occasion, and have each debuted new nighttime spectaculars in honor of Disney’s 100th Anniversary. Consult our Guide to Disney’s 100th Anniversary Celebration at Disneyland & DCA for everything you need to know about that.

The other top story is a recent rumor of a new stage show finally filling the void at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure. This venue was previously home to Frozen: Live at the Hyperion and Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular before that. Both were beloved, Broadway-caliber productions that added a lot to the DCA lineup. The theater has been dark since the park reopened, but that’s likely to change this summer, as we’ll discuss in the ‘what’s next’ section below…

Suffice to say, 2023 is poised to be another strong year for 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 as of 2023.

Now let’s move on to what’s new and what’s next at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure…

What’s New at Disneyland in 2023

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.

To experience Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you’ll need to join the virtual queue or buy Individual Lightning Lane access, which is only available via the Disneyland app. There is no standby line for the ride right now. The virtual queue enrollment times will be twice daily, at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT. Learn more in our post about Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway’s Virtual Queue, which includes speed strategy. You’ll need that, as the boarding groups for the virtual queue fill up fast–literally in milliseconds!

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.

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. More information and how-to details are available in our Guide to World of Color – ONE Virtual Queue.

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.

Everything you need to know, including ride priorities, where it’s NOT necessary to buy Genie+ or Lightning Lanes, and much more is covered in our Guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Disneyland and DCA.

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.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Enhancements – At Disneyland, characters from Star Wars shows Disney+ were incorporated into Batuu with bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand. More recently, 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.

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.

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 2023 & 2024

New Musical at the Hyperion – Although not yet officially announced, Disney Auditions has posted a casting call for a new limited-run musical at the Hyperion Theater. According to that audition posting, this will be an exciting new Broadway-caliber musical production that will come to life in partnership with Hunter Bell, and featuring music by Emmy-nominated and Grammy-winning composer Christopher Lennertz. The casting call is for the following:

Role #1/Featured Principal – 3 Female identifying roles, 20’s to 50’s.  Vocal Range: All. Style: Proficient with harmonization and ability to sing in many styles from Destiny’s Child to Andrew Sisters.  These three performers are a fun, energetic and musical sisterhood that acts as the occasional “Greek Chorus”.

Role #2/Featured Principal – Female identifying, mid 20’s to early 30’s.  Vocal Range: Mezzo Soprano. Style: contemporary musical theatre.  Brave, resourceful and intelligent.  Must have a strong English accent.

Role #3/Featured Principal – Male identifying, 17 to 20.  Vocal Range: Tenor.  Style: contemporary musical theater.  Young man coming into his greatness.

Role #4/Featured Principal – Male identifying, 30’s to 40’s. Vocal Range: Baritone/Tenor. Style: contemporary musical theatre.  He is decisive, capable, principled and has a wry sense of humor.  Leads others with attitude and swagger.

Role #5/Featured Principal – Male identifying, mid 20’s to early 30’s.  Vocal Range: Baritone/Tenor.  Style: contemporary musical theater.  He is a noble, loyal, idealistic, and romantic do-gooder, who does not give up easily.

Singer/Chorus – Male and Female identifying, any age.  Vocal Range: All. Style: contemporary musical theatre.  These performers will play many roles and create the world for this story.  Some roles will be required to dance.

The mention in Role #1 of it being for a fun, energetic and musical sisterhood that acts as the occasional “Greek Chorus” has led to fan speculation that this will be a production of Hercules. There’s also the fact that Bell wrote “Villains Tonight!” for Disney Cruise Line, which further suggests it could be Hercules-related. However, we think those could be red herrings.

Our bet? Rogers: The Musical. No joke.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Rogers: The Musical is a meta self-parody from the Disney+ series Hawkeye. Disney already brought Rogers: The Musical to life once, during the Marvel panel at last year’s Disney’s D23 Expo. That featured an impressive performance of “Save The City” about the events of the first Avengers film and the Battle of New York.

The arguments in favor of Rogers: The Musical are that it’s right next to Avengers Campus and the listings mostly match characters from that (Steve, Peggy, Tony, etc). Introducing Rogers: The Musical as a limited-run offering would be a low-stakes way to test out a parody production and see if it’s viable as a bona fide show. Fans loved Rogers: The Musical, and it has the sort of oddball and self-deprecating wit that could work. Plus, Avengers Campus needs room to grow, and this would be one way to accomplish that.

Either way, we should know pretty soon. This isn’t so much a rumor as it is a planned production that just has yet to be officially announced. Now that it’s on Disney Auditions, it’s likely to be publicly unveiled soon–perhaps before casting even gets underway.

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.

Mickey’s Toontown Reimagining – An ambitious reimagining of Mickey’s Toontown will debut on March 8, 2023. 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.

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 on February 24, 2023.

Splash Mountain Reimagining – Another project on the horizon is the Princess and the Frog overhaul of Splash Mountain. Disney has announced this reimagined ride will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and will open in late 2024.

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.

Pacific Wharf Being Reimagined into San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6 – DCA’s Pacific Wharf will be reimagined into San Fransokyo from “Big Hero 6,” where East meets West, and technology meets tradition. This project is in its early phases, and will feature a place to meet Baymax, plus new spots to eat and shop.

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.

Disneyland Hotel DVC – Disney will be building a 350-room Disney Vacation Club tower as part of Disneyland Hotel to debut in 2023 or 2024.

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.”

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!

Your Thoughts

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!

24 Responses to “What’s New & Next at Disneyland for 2023”
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