The Most Exciting Changes Coming to Disney Parks in 2023

The D23 Expo unveiled tons of new developments for Disneyland fans

Orlando Exteriors And Landmarks - 2022
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This past weekend, thousands of Disney fans gathered in Anaheim, California, for the D23 Expo 2022—a biennial event filled with pop-up stores, celebrity appearances, and tons of exciting announcements surrounding the Disney universe.

This year’s Expo unveiled plenty of new shows and movies coming to Disney+ next year, but we’re particularly excited about the impending updates to Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

On Sunday, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro gave a 90-minute presentation—complete with musical numbers and confetti—on what fans can expect from the Disney parks in the near future. Here are 10 new attractions and updates you should definitely get excited about.

Previous Next To celebrate The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary, an all-new nighttime spectacular will debut at Disneyland park in late January 2023. "Wondrous Journeys" will ignite the wonder in all of us and feature nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date, taking viewers on a journey filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart. Disney 100 Years of Wonder (Disney100) will be the biggest celebration in the history of the company. (Artist Concept/Disneyland Resort)In spring 2023, the long-awaited return of the ÒMagic HappensÓ parade will come to life at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., during The Walt Disney CompanyÕs 100th anniversary. The parade will feature stunning floats, beautiful costumes and beloved Disney characters. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)To celebrate The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary, an all-new nighttime spectacular will debut at Disney California Adventure park in late January 2023. "World of Color - One" will celebrate the storytelling legacy started by Walt Disney a century ago and have an all-new inspiring story told through some of your favorite characters. Disney 100 Years of Wonder (Disney100) will be the biggest celebration in the history of the company. (Artist Concept/Disneyland Resort)Visitors to Batuu may find the Mandalorian and Grogu inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland park starting in mid-November 2022.

Christian Thompson / Disneyland Resort

New Marvel and Star Wars attractions are coming to Disneyland

Two of Disney’s biggest franchises—Marvel and Star Wars—will soon receive even more representation at Disneyland in California.

When the Avengers Campus theme park opened in 2021, it only had two rides: Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. At the D23 Expo, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed that a third attraction is now in the works. The pending ride does not yet have a name or an official launch date, but Chapek did say that it will feature the multiverse and allow guests to join the Avengers in fighting intergalactic foes—including a new version of Thanos.

Head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige also took the stage (along with Mark Ruffalo, via video) to announce the newest walk-around character at Avengers Campus: the Incredible Hulk. Guests will be able to meet and greet the full-size (as in, Hulk-size) character beginning in mid-September for a limited time.

On the Star Wars front, filmmaker Jon Favreau (executive producer of “The Mandalorian”) shared the first look at two new characters coming to the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge park: Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) and the Mandalorian himself. Both characters will start greeting guests in mid-November.

Pacific Wharf will become San Fransokyo

Just around the corner from Avengers Campus at Disneyland, Pacific Wharf—a waterfront dining and shopping area—will transform into San Fransokyo from the film "Big Hero 6." The reimagination includes new places to eat and shop, as well as meet and greets with the movie’s very huggable robot, Baymax.

Southern California favorite Porto's Bakery & Café is bringing its famous sweet pastries and desserts as well as delicious California-Cuban inspired dishes to the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort.

Porto's Bakery & Café

Popular Disneyland spots are getting a makeover

Several other Disneyland areas will also receive magical makeovers. After closing for renovations in March 2022, Mickey’s Toontown is now scheduled to open in early 2023 with tons of colorful and more inclusive play spaces for kids. The area will also include a new version of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction, which is currently only available at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Located directly off the Disneyland parks in Anaheim, Paradise Pier Hotel will soon transform into Pixar Place Hotel. D’Amaro claims the redesign will make guests feel like they’re stepping into a Pixar art gallery, complete with new interpretations of favorite Pixar characters.

The Downtown Disney District will get more than a dozen new and reimagined venues, including a new outpost of Porto’s Bakery & Café, a beloved SoCal institution. Finally, the runDisney race—a marathon in which runners dress in Disney costumes—will be returning to the resort in 2024 for the first time since 2017.

Splash Mountain is transforming into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Disney has been hinting at the "Princess and the Frog"-themed transformation coming to Splash Mountain for a few years, and D’Amaro gave even more details at the D23 Expo. The Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction will launch at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in late 2024, and will feature the voices of the original movie cast. 

The ride will have a New Orleans-focused aesthetic and will prominently feature jazz. As a hint of things to come, Anika Noni Rose (the voice of Tiana) took to the stage to perform “Almost There” and “Dig a Little Deeper” from the 2009 animated film.

EPCOT’s ongoing construction will finally come to an end

Disney World’s EPCOT park has been under construction for more than three years, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Presenters shared that two huge new attractions will be completed and open to the public in late 2023, including the World Celebration neighborhood, a central hub designed to host huge events and festivals. The other will be Journey of Water, a Moana-inspired attraction that lets guests walk through a tropical trail filled with magical water features and learning experiences.

A TRON roller coaster is coming to Magic Kingdom

Based on the TRON film franchise, the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster has been under construction in Tomorrowland for a few years. The ride will finally open to guests in the spring of 2023.

The Magic Kingdom is also bringing back a beloved attraction that has taken a temporary hiatus. While the nighttime fireworks display over Cinderella Castle never left the park, the show’s theme song, “Happily Ever After,” was replaced with a new song this year to coincide with Disney World’s 50th anniversary. D’Amaro announced that “Happily Ever After” would once again play during the nightly fireworks show—an announcement that was met with an uproarious applause at the D23 Expo.

Three 'Frozen'-themed attractions are coming to international parks

Several international Disney parks will receive "Frozen"-themed attractions over the next couple of years. First up is World of Frozen, which will open at Hong Kong Disneyland in the second half of 2023. The area will incorporate aspects of the film’s magical town of Arendelle with the park’s natural landscapes on Lantau Island.

At Disneyland Paris, another "Frozen"-themed land is in the works—this one will be located on a lakeside promenade and look like the winter wonderland similar to the ones seen in the animated films. 

Finally, Tokyo Disney Resort is building a new area called Fantasy Springs, which will pull stories from "Frozen," "Peter Pan," and "Tangled," as well as a brand-new hotel located right in the park. To further capitalize on the "Frozen" mania, Fantasy Springs will feature an animatronic Elsa who sings in Japanese.

The company’s first 'Zootopia'-themed attraction will launch in Shanghai

The 2016 animated film "Zootopia" was such a hit, that it was only a matter of time until it nabbed some theme park real estate. The film’s characters and cartoonish aesthetics are coming to Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney park to bring the world of the Oscar-winning movie to life.

D’Amaro shared a few sneak peeks at the new neighborhood, and it looks pretty adorable. The land’s entrance doubles as the Zootopia Police Department, where guests will be greeted by an animatronic version of fan-favorite Officer Clawhauser. Meanwhile, at Zootopia Central Station, guests will find animals going about their daily lives. There’s no exact launch date, but construction is underway so it will probably open in the next year or so.

In spring 2023, the long-awaited return of the Magic Happens parade will come to life at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., during The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary.

Joshua Sudock / Disneyland Resort

Expect tons of new attractions for Disneyland’s 100th anniversary in 2023

D’Amaro concluded his presentation with a glimpse at the many, many celebrations in the works for Disney100, the official name for the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company next year. Parks around the world will launch new décor, character experiences, and specialty food and beverages, but most of the celebratory action will take place at California’s Disneyland Resort.

Kicking things off in January 2023, two new nighttime spectaculars will light up the skies over Disneyland. A fireworks show called “Wondrous Journeys” will take guests on a journey through the history of Disney, including nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date. The other spectacular, “World of Color – One,” will focus on Walt Disney himself, showing the creator’s story as told through fan-favorite characters. In addition, there will be plenty of other entertainment moments popping up throughout the resort, including the return of the Magic Happens parade in the spring.

EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon will also get a new nighttime spectacular in late 2023, although specific details are sparse at the time. And Hong Kong Disneyland has plans to unveil a new statue of Walt and Mickey near Cinderella’s Carousel in alignment with the anniversary celebrations.

Bonus: Disney Cruise Line to launch new routes and a shiny new ship

If you prefer your Disney adventures to take place at sea rather than at theme parks, there’s exciting news for you, too. The Disney Cruise Line fleet will launch its sixth ship, the Disney Treasure, in 2024—and it already looks like one of the most magical vessels to date. At the center of the ship is the Grand Hall, a three-story atrium inspired by the fictional palaces of Agrabah from "Aladdin." Appropriately, a statue of Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Magic Carpet will stand at the center of the hall.

Beginning in October 2023, Disney Cruise Line will launch limited-time cruises from Australia and New Zealand that will center around Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars stories. The Disney Wonder ship will also start sailing to South Pacific destinations like Fiji and Samoa, while a luxurious, solar-powered cruise port is in the works in the Bahamas.