The Biggest Updates Coming to Disney Parks, Resorts and Disney Cruise Line in 2023

Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disney World. (photo via Walt Disney World Resort Media)
Brooke McDonald
by Brooke McDonald
Last updated: 5:35 PM ET, Sat January 14, 2023

What's in store for Disney Parks, Resorts and Cruises in 2023

2023 promises to be a big year for The Walt Disney Company. The house of mouse will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary on Oct. 16, 2023, but the festivities are kicking off this month and will last all year long - and at Disney destinations around the world. Disney 100 Years of Wonder (aka Disney100) will be a global celebration, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D'Amaro announced at Disney's D23 Expo, held in Anaheim in September.

"Each of our destinations around the world - on land and at sea - will showcase the anniversary in their own way," D'Amaro said, but told fans that Disneyland, Disney's original theme park, will anchor the 100th-anniversary celebration.

Alongside Disney100 festivities, Disney theme parks, resorts and Disney Cruise ships around the world are debuting a broad range of new attractions and experiences in 2023. Here are the biggest Disney updates on the horizon this year.

Disneyland Resort's Disney100 Celebration Kicks Off in January

Disney100 festivities will officially launch at the Disneyland Resort on Jan. 27, 2023, with new and returning offerings launching throughout the winter and spring to keep the celebration going. Debuting with the celebration, Disneyland park's centerpiece, Sleeping Beauty Castle, gets a platinum glow-up with new banners, bunting, a wishing star overhead and the three Good Fairies adorning the castle with pixie dust. Two water fountains will bookend the display on either side of the moat. Two new nighttime spectaculars and a new attraction will also debut in January.

'Wondrous Journeys' Lights Up Disneyland Park

Debuting with the launch of Disney100 at Disneyland on Jan. 27, 2023, "Wondrous Journeys" is Disneyland park's new nighttime spectacular. The show celebrates 100 years of Walt Disney Animation Studios and will include nods to every film released by the studio. It will also feature an original new song, "It's Wondrous."

"State-of-the-art projection effects will surround you with blank pieces of paper, pencil sketches, and splashes of color, as the artistry of animators breathe life into beloved characters," according to a Disney Parks Blog post, and Baymax will "soar" above Sleeping Beauty Castle. Fireworks will also accompany the show on select nights.

'World of Color - One' Will Debut at Disney California Adventure Park

At Disney California Adventure, a new version of the park's fountain and projection show, "World of Color - One" will also debut on Jan. 27, 2023, and will honor Disney's storytelling legacy using a water screen that can span up to 380 feet across. The show will also mark the first time a Disneyland Resort nighttime spectacular has included characters, music, and moments from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, the Avengers, and Star Wars in the same production. The show will include a new, original song, "Start a Wave," written by Cody Fry with lead vocals by Loren Allred.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway Opens in Reimagined Mickey's Toontown

Disneyland's Mickey's Toontown is undergoing an extensive reimagining and will open in the spring of 2023, but first, a new centerpiece attraction will debut on Jan. 27, 2023. Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, Disneyland's version of the same attraction that previously opened at Walt Disney World in March of 2020, will introduce a different exterior, queue and storyline. Set in the El CapiTOON Theater, the Toontown Hysterical Society celebrates Mickey Mouse with props and costumes from the "toon world," including items from "Steamboat Willie," "Plane Crazy," and "Mickey's Christmas Carol."

Mickey's Toontown Reopens

On March 8, the rest of Mickey's Toontown will reopen and will include new spaces like Goofy's How-To-Play Yard and CenTOONial Park and new dining spots Café Daisy and the Toontown Farmers Market at Good Boy! Grocers.

Magic Happens Returns

Disneyland Park launched a spectacular new parade, "Magic Happens," on Feb. 28, 2020, but few guests were able to see it before the park's pandemic-induced closure in March. The parade, which features a catchy score of contemporary takes on Disney classics plus an original song by Todrick Hall, has been on hiatus since then but will finally return on Feb. 24, 2023.

Adventureland Treehouse at Disneyland Park

Tarzan's Treehouse in Disneyland Park's Adventureland originally opened in 1962 as the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. The Tarzan version, which opened in 1999, has been closed to guests since 2021, and in November of 2022 Disney announced that the treehouse will reopen in 2023 as the Adventureland Treehouse. The new version pays homage to the original treehouse, inspired by Walt Disney's Swiss Family Robinson.

A Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge Will Open at Disneyland

Disney Vacation Club members will be getting a new spot to relax at the Disneyland Resort this year. "Disney Vacation Club Star View Station," Disneyland's first Member Lounge, will open in Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park "in the first half of 2023," according to the Disney Parks Blog.

DVC has also announced the first 2023 Moonlight Magic evening, headed to Disney California Adventure park at Disneyland.

Disney After Dark Continues and Debuts a New 'Nite'

The first wave of 2023 Disneyland After Dark events, separate ticketed evenings offering after-hours park access and attractions, themed entertainment, characters, and more, have been announced. Sweethearts' Nite takes place select nights in January and February and an all-new Princesses Nite will be held on March 7 and 9.

The Pixar Place Hotel Will Open

The Pixar retheming of Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel into The Pixar Place Hotel at Disneyland will be completed sometime in 2023. The reimagined hotel will feature artwork and decor celebrating the creative journey of Pixar artists and will also include a "Finding Nemo"-themed splash pad and a new restaurant, Great Maple.

A New Disney Vacation Club Tower Is Opening at the Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Resort will add 350 Disney Vacation Club rooms when a new tower, The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, opens sometime this year. The 12-story tower has been designed to complement the Disneyland Hotel's existing Frontier, Adventure and Fantasy towers and the room will have a Sleeping Beauty-inspired design.

Happily Ever After Returns to Magic Kingdom

Over at Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom's beloved nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After, was retired and replaced by a new show celebrating Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, Disney Enchantment. At D23 Expo in September, Josh D'Amaro thrilled fans with the announcement that fan-favorite Happily Ever After will return, replacing Enchantment. Disney Enchantment's final showing will be on April 2, 2023, making way for Happily Ever After's triumphant return on April 3, 2023.

A Figment Meet-and-Greet Is Coming to EPCOT

By the end of 2023, guests will be able to meet Figment, the beloved purple dragon and star of EPCOT's Journey Into Imagination With Figment.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana Will Open Next Year

Construction is well underway for the interactive, walk-through Moana attraction Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, opening in late 2023. Walt Disney Imagineers continue to share sneak peeks at construction progress, including the 16-foot-tall Te Fiti that will be part of the attraction.

Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Coming to Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Spring 2023, Roundup Rodeo BBQ will be the first-ever "Toy Story" table-service restaurant. Walt Disney Imagineers, Disney Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney World Food & Beverage collaborated on the concept, a rodeo restaurant built by Andy out of cardboard boxes and toys, where guests become "honorary toys." On the menu are "barbecue-inspired comfort foods served family-style, with platters of house-smoked meats, a roundup of sides and some miniature sweet surprises along the way."

A New Nighttime Spectacular for EPCOT

As part of the Disney100 Celebration, a new nighttime spectacular will replace "Harmonious" in World Showcase Lagoon in EPCOT. The new show will debut in late 2023. In the meantime, Harmonious will be replaced by temporary show "EPCOT Forever," beginning April 3.

TRON Lightcycle / Run Will Open at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom's new thrill ride, TRON Lightcycle / Run will open in Tomorrowland on April 4, 2023. The coaster, based on Disney sci-fi film "TRON: Legacy," will be one of the fastest at any Disney theme park in the world.

EPCOT's World Celebration Will Be Completed

In late 2023, EPCOT's new World Celebration neighborhood will be completed, unveiling a new hub with gardens that will evolve with the seasons and transform day to night. CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza, will also open as a new home for EPCOT's festivals. The multi-use facility and outdoor event space will include a stage and spaces for intimate performances as well as large-scale concerts.

The Hatbox Ghost Comes to Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion

One of The Haunted Mansion's most popular characters at Disneyland, the Hatbox Ghost, will be added to the ride at Walt Disney World in 2023.

Disney's BoardWalk Is Undergoing an Extensive Refurbishment

Disney's BoardWalk is in the midst of a widespread overhaul. The resort's quick-service BoardWalk Bakery reopened as a refreshed BoardWalk Deli last year, Belle Vue Lounge was refurbished, and a new lobby coffee shop, Carousel Coffee, opened in December. Still to come, lobby and guest room refurbishments and a new restaurant on the BoardWalk, The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers, set to open in 2023, in the footprint of the former ESPN Club.

Destination D23 Returns to Orlando

Returning to Disney's Contemporary Resort Sept. 8-10, Destination D23 brings together D23 members from around the globe for the year's biggest Disney fan event. The weekend will include sneak peeks, announcements, special guests and more.

Disney Cruise Line Debuts First-Ever Pixar Day at Sea Sailings

On select 7-night sailings January through mid-March 2023, Disney Cruise line has debuted a new themed sailing, Pixar Day at Sea. The itinerary features a day-long Pixar-themed celebration with character meet-and-greets, deck and pool parties, themed menu items, and a new nighttime spectacular.

The Disney Wonder Will Begin Sailing to Australia and New Zealand

Beginning in late October 2023, Disney Cruise Line will for the first time ever sail to Australia and New Zealand during limited-time cruises on the Disney Wonder. The sailings will feature Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars stories. Repositioning cruises will be Disney Cruise Line's first voyages to the South Pacific, with stops in destinations like Fiji and Samoa.

runDisney Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon

runDisney kicked off another year of magical miles with a 30th-anniversary celebration of the Walt Disney World Marathon, and the 10th anniversary of the Dopey Challenge, when runners log 48.6 miles over four days by running the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon.

There are three more Walt Disney World race weekends still to come in 2023 - the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend, and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

Aside from the races, one of the most highly anticipated dates of the year is Feb. 14, 2023, when registration opens for the return of runDisney races at Disneyland with the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Jan. 11-14.

Disneyland Paris Will Debut a New Pixar Stage Show

To help close out its 30th anniversary celebration, which concludes on Sept. 30, 2023, Disneyland Paris will debut a new stage show in late 2023, "Pixar: We Belong Together," in Walt Disney Studios park as part of the anniversary's grand finale.

An Avengers Drone Show Will Debut in Walt Disney Studios Park

Avengers fans will want to assemble at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris Jan. 28 through May 8 for Avengers: Power the Night. The new drone show, dedicated to the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, combines a soundtrack of iconic scores, reorchestrated with a symphony orchestra at London's Abbey Road Studios, combined with lights, pyrotechnic effects and video projections onto the Tower of Terror.

Disney Dreams! Nighttime Spectacular Returns to Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris

Beginning April 12, 2023, Disney Dreams! will return, lighting up Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris with projections, guided by Peter Pan's shadow. The show uses projection mapping technology synced to a nostalgic soundtrack and features segments honoring iconic Disney films like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King."

World of Frozen Will Open Next Year at Hong Kong Disneyland

The first of three international parks to unveil a new Frozen-themed land, Hong Kong Disneyland will debut World of Frozen in the second half of 2023.

A New Walt Disney and Mickey Statue Will Be Unveiled at Hong Kong Disneyland

As part of the Disney100 Celebration, Hong Kong Disneyland is getting a new statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, to be positioned near Cinderella's Carousel.

Star Wars Celebration Goes to Europe

The Force will be strong in London this spring when Star Wars fans from around the globe arrive for Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, April 7-10 at ExCeL in London. The world's biggest Star Wars event always promises major announcements, a star-studded lineup of guests, epic cosplays, collectible merchandise and more.

Tokyo Disney Resort Kicks Off Its 40th Anniversary Celebration

Tokyo Disney Resort's 40th-anniversary celebration, "Dream-Go-Round," will run from April 15, 2023, through March 31, 2024. The festivities will kick off with the premiere of a new parade, "Disney Harmony in Color," and the resort's two parks, - Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea - will both feature special entertainment, decor, merchandise, food and beverage items.

A New 'Princess and the Frog'-Inspired Restaurant Is Opening at Disneyland

Ahead of the transformation of Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World into Tiana's Bayou Adventure, a new ride opening in late 2024, Disneyland is reimagining French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park into Tiana's Palace. The new restaurant will offer quick-service dining, serving "authentic New Orleans flavors - expanding on current favorites in the location and exploring seasonal flavors." To make way for the new location, French Market Restaurant and Mint Julep Bar will be closed beginning Feb. 17, 2023. Later this year, Tiana's Palace will open and Mint Julep Bar will return.

Find out what's in store for Disney in 2023.

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