Apathetic toward the current crop of attractions at Disney Parks? Just wait a few months.
Disneyland and Disney World are in a constant state of change. New rides, shows and even menu offerings are always in the works, and it’s quite common for older amusements to undergo upgrades, renovations or “reimagining.” That’s as true as ever in 2023, when the parks plan to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary with brand-new attractions alongside returning parades and nighttime spectacles.
‘Wondrous Journeys’ and ‘World of Color – One’
In honor of Disney’s 100th anniversary, Disneyland will be hosting a new nighttime show called “Wondrous Journeys,” complete with fireworks and projection effects on the facades of Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street U.S.A. and It’s a Small World. “It will feature nods to every Walt Disney Animation Studios film to date, taking us on a journey filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart,” according to the Disney Parks Blog.
Another show, called “World of Color – One,” will kick off in the new year at Disney California Adventure. This nighttime attraction is said to celebrate Disney’s “storytelling legacy” as well, set to an all-new song called “Start a Wave.”
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Already in operation at Disney World since 2020, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will finally debut at Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland on Jan. 27, 2023. According to Disney Parks, guests will first enter the El CapiTOON Theater for a screening of Mickey and Minnie’s new animated short, “Perfect Picnic,” before getting whisked away on a “zany, free-ranging romp through ever-changing and rearranging cartoon scenes.” It’s also one of Disney’s many trackless rides — appropriate enough for a “runaway” railway.
The rest of Mickey’s ToonTown — where Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be located — is scheduled to reopen on March 8, 2023, after a year-long closure for renovations and “reimagining.” Upon opening, guests can visit a new outdoor gathering space known as CenTOONial Park, where children are encouraged to play with the new fountain’s water tables, and even to explore the park’s large “dreaming tree,” inspired by a tree Walt Disney himself used to visit in his hometown.
Formerly known as Tarzan’s Treehouse — and before that, the Swiss Family Treehouse — this Adventureland attraction is scheduled to reopen in 2023 after closing for refurbishment in 2021. The Adventureland Treehouse, as it will be called, will invite guests to explore the “wondrous new environments” of the tree itself and the rooms tucked within its branches. It’s also going back to a “Swiss Family Robinson” theme, like its first iteration in 1962.
‘Magic Happens’ Parade
Originally debuting in Feb. 2020, the “Magic Happens” parade enjoyed only a short run before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Disneyland entirely in March. But the festivities are scheduled to resume on Feb. 24, 2023, when the daytime parade — along with its new floats, choreography and soundtrack — will make its way down Main Street once again.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana — which, yes, appears to be the attraction’s full official name — is scheduled to open within World Nature at EPCOT in late 2023. The attraction invites guests to “explore and engage” with water along a self-guided trail, featuring waterways and “rock” formations sculpted by the Walt Disney Imagineering team.
The Hatbox Ghost
Disney World has an entire mansion filled with ghosts, but some guests are still miffed that one specific ghost has never made an appearance. The Hatbox Ghost — an animatronic character that holds his own head in a hatbox — can currently be seen in the Disneyland version of the ride, but not yet at Disney World. Earlier this year, however, Disney Parks confirmed he’ll “materialize” at the Florida theme park in 2023.
Debuting at Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, the Tron Lightcycle/Run attraction (known as Tron Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland) is scheduled to make its stateside debut in the spring of 2023. Based on the film series, the upcoming “Tron” ride will take guests on a “high-speed adventure” through the in-universe “Grid,” according to Disney. It’s also said to be “one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world.”
Figment, a dragon-like being that appeared in various iterations of EPCOT’s Journey Into Imagination, has been having a heck of a year, to say the least. In January, many visitors at EPCOT waited more than six hours to purchase a popcorn bucket shaped like the relatively unknown character (at least to casual Disney fans). And in September, it was announced that Figment was finally getting the feature-film treatment.
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Disney Parks announced that Figment will be doing meet-and-greets with park guests “by the end of 2023,” and hopefully before the fame goes to his purple head.
‘Happily Ever After’
After being replaced by “Disney Enchantment” in 2021, the Magic Kingdom’s “Happily Ever After” nighttime spectacular is returning in 2023. Visitors can expect updated fireworks and projection displays as well as the familiar “Happily Ever After” anthem during the show.