If you’re planning a Disneyland vacation this year you’ve probably heard that a significant portion of the park is closed to reshape areas surrounding the Rivers of America to support the 14-acre footprint for the Star Wars Land expansion. That’s true, but along they way, some other exciting news of new experiences might have gotten lost.
First over in Disney’s California Adventure, which celebrates its 15th Anniversary on February 8th, there will be two new experiences with fun for all ages:
- The new live “Frozen” musical premieres in late spring 2016, immersing audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater. The entertaining musical adaptation will include elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects, show-stopping production numbers and some unique theatrical surprises. The show will play at the Hyperion Theater.
- The fun-filled Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters attraction, debuting soon at Casa Della Tires in Cars Land, is rolling with fun as Luigi’s cugini (cousins) have come from Carsoli, Italy, to help celebrate Race Day in Radiator Springs. Park guests join in the fun by hopping aboard miniature Italian roadsters, in the style of late 1950s micro cars. The cars perform the traditional dances of their village, moving to upbeat music and Luigi’s singing in a precision-choreographed dance across what appears to be a trackless “dance floor.” Each car has its own routine, so guests will enjoy different ride experiences depending on which car they board.
At Disneyland, there are a long list of new experiences that have been added to help make up for the lack of activity on the west side of the park. These include some unique limited-time opportunities to experience some of your favorite attractions in new ways. Also, to no one’s surprise, Disneyland has just announced that the Star Wars “Seasons of the Force” experiences have been extended at least through Summer of 2016.
- Star Wars Launch Bay invites guests to visit a Star Wars-themed cantina, discover authentic replicas of film props, and encounter Star Wars characters such as Chewbacca, from the light side, and Kylo Ren from the dark side.
- The Star Wars-themed transformation of Space Mountain into Hyperspace Mountain thrusts guests into an X-wing Starfigher battle as they race through the darkness. The experience is enhanced by a new soundtrack, inspired by the Star Wars films’ musical themes and re-orchestrated to match every move in the attraction.
- At the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction, guests encounter a new adventure and characters from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” while journeying aboard a Starspeeder 1000. It’s rumored that a “Rogue One: Star Wars Story” themed section will be added just before the movie is released this December.
- Guests will relive stories from the Star Wars saga – or discover them for the first time – through the short “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi” film which connects iconic scenes from the iconic films in fun new ways.
- The popular interactive show Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple has been reimagined with Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from the popular Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels.
- As preparations begin in 2016 for a new Star Wars-themed land, guests will enjoy unique limited-time opportunities to experience some of their favorite attractions in new ways. While the Disneyland Railroad is temporarily closed, guests at the Main Street and New Orleans Square Train Stations will be able to get up-close with the historic steam engines that have circled Disneyland park for decades and learn about them firsthand from Disneyland Railroad engineers. Limited-time experiences for the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia will debut throughout the year.
- Super Hero fans will have their own special encounters at Super Hero HQ. They’re invited to learn more about their favorite Super Heroes, such as Thor and Spiderman, and meet some of them in person.
Future Projects include:
The Paradise Pier Hotel replacement project has not yet been announced, but there is a rumored expansion of Downtown Disney that would require removing that old and inadequate hotel tower and placing a new grand hotel with a mini-water park and DVC rooms where the Simba Parking lot is now.
In the more distant future, of course, is Star Wars Land. There is a lot of work that has to go on backstage to even get ready for ground work to begin, let alone vertical construction, so rumors of an opening date are just that, rumors. There has been some expectation setting coming out of Anaheim that this project will be finished as fast as possible, but that mid-2019 is a realistic date for your first visit to that Galaxy Far, Far Away. From Burbank, however, comes a different set of expectations. They want to get Star Wars Land open by the end of 2018 to take full advantage of all the promotion that will come for Episode IX, the third film of the new Star Wars saga. Can that happen without sacrificing quality? Who knows. But remember that Disneyland was built in a year and a day. I’m pretty sure three years is enough time to build one land, right?
What are you looking forward to at the Disneyland resort this year?