New Parks, Rides and More: Keeping Up With Disney’s Upcoming Projects

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

A couple of Guests using Disney Genie+ in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World

Credit: Disney

The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind for the Disney Parks community. It seemed like there were nonstop announcements coming from Disney by the minute, with the company revealing some exciting plans for both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

The number of announcements and project reveals from Disney was almost too much to keep up with, but we’ve compiled a list of everything Disney talked about over the last week, which you can check out down below!

epcot international festival of the arts
Credit: Disney

Harmonious

The first announcement came with one of the most controversial nighttime shows at Walt Disney World. Just a few short months ago, we learned that Disney was planning on replacing Harmonious, an often-criticized nighttime spectacular at EPCOT, which replaced Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.

We didn’t know when it would be going away, but Disney has now revealed the official last day of this infamous nighttime show.

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Credit: Disney

An all-new nighttime spectacular is planned to debut at EPCOT later this year,” stated Disney in its latest blog post. “Before the new show launches, we will bring back “EPCOT Forever” as an interim show over the skies of World Showcase Lagoon starting April 3.

Similar to how it appeared in 2021, “EPCOT Forever” is the perfect offering while our Entertainment team preps the Lagoon, including a phased removal of fireworks platforms following the final “Harmonious” performance on April 2. A limited-time spectacle of lasers, lighting, special effects, and fireworks, “EPCOT Forever” returns with a collection of songs that offer both a trip down memory lane and a look toward the future.

Tron Lightcylcle/Run at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

Happily Ever After

Speaking of nighttime spectaculars, Disney revealed some incredibly exciting news about Magic Kingdom. Thousands of Guests were absolutely distraught after Disney Parks announced that Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams would be retiring from its nighttime slot at Magic Kingdom Park.

Last week, Inside The Magic, discovered that the famous Walt Disney World Resort’s nighttime spectacular “Happily Ever After” will return to the Magic Kingdom this spring on April 3 of this year!

TRON attraction at night
Credit: Disney

TRON Lightcycle Run

Few additions to the Disney Parks have been talked about as much as Magic Kingdom’s upcoming TRON roller coaster.

Video footage of the ride and its queue leaked last year, showing us that the ride looks ready to go any day. We recently learned that Guests would have to store all of their personal belongings in a locker before riding this attraction, something that is new for the American Disney Parks.

Based on the popular film franchise, TRON Lightcycle/Run in Orlando will be heavily influenced by the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster at Shanghai Disneyland.

A close up of a bridge
Credit: Bioreconstruct

During the crazy media cycle last week, we finally found out when TRON Lightcycle/Run is opening. Disney officially revealed the opening date, April 4, 2023, finally giving Guests a solid date after years of waiting.

This date comes years after the first announcement for the ride way back in 2017. Because of the construction of TRON Lightcycle/Run, the Walt Disney World Railroad was forced to close but thankfully opened back up at the end of last year.

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Credit: Disney

Magic Keys

One of the most infamous elements of the Disney Parks and Resorts is annual passes. All tiers of Disneyland’s  Magic Key Program became unavailable to purchase on May 31, 2022. Eventually, Disney brought them back, and they flew off the metaphorical shelf.

However, Disney recently revealed that Magic Keys would, in fact, be returning this year, though in a somewhat limited capacity.

“With an incredible year ahead, we’re happy to open new sales for select Magic Key passes in time for holiday giving and to create opportunities for guests to treat themselves and their families to a year full of experiences during the upcoming Disney100 celebration,” stated Disney upon revealing that Magic Key Passes would be returning.

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Credit: Disney

While exciting, this announcement makes it seem like Magic Keys will be extremely limited, as Disney itself stated that they will become purchasable “as inventory becomes available.”

“When you’re a Magic Key holder, the Disneyland Resort is your land—you’re a townsperson on Main Street, U.S.A., a galactic citizen of Batuu, a hero at Avengers Campus, a local at Pixar Pier and beyond,” states Disney on the Magic Key website. “You belong to the community of core Disneyland fans who all share a passion and love for the parks.

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Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Parks

Similar to the news that Magic Keys would be coming back to Disneyland, Walt Disney World also is making changes to how Guests visit the Parks and Resorts in Orlando, Florida.

As we are sure you’re already aware, Guests need a Park reservation to visit each of the four parks at Walt Disney World. Guests can still park hop, but they will need a valid ticket and reservation date to do so. Guests also need to wait until 2 p.m. to visit their second Park.

Now at Walt Disney World, Annual Passholders will be able to park hop after 2 p.m. without needing a reservation. There are exceptions, however, with Magic Kingdom being unaffected by this new policy on Saturdays and Sundays.

Disneyland Paris New Year's Eve Fireworks
Credit: Disneyland Paris

In even more exciting news (potentially), Disney discussed its plan to add multiple new Parks to its Resort in Orlando, Florida. Amid the drama surrounding Disney’s Reedy Creek, the district, Disney discussed its long-term plan for the Walt Disney World Resort and the surrounding area.

The largest item discussed was Disney’s long-term plan for the land, which includes two additional water parks, one proper theme park, and of course, a few more hotels. The plan was discussed and updated and is expected to be released in February.

Disney Springs Parking Garages Closed
Credit: ITM

Possibly one of the most exciting announcements involved parking. As we’re sure you’re aware, Guests have had to pay to park while staying on the Walt Disney World property. Disney revealed last week that Guests would no longer have to, as the Resort was returning to free parking.

Starting Tuesday, January 10, Guests staying at Value, Moderate, and Deluxe/Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resort hotels will no longer pay for self-parking.

Walt Disney World Resort started charging for parking at its Resort hotels in 2018. Since then, prices have increased multiple times. This change was very controversial, with many calling Disney out for “price gouging.”

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Credit: Josh D’Amaro Instagram

Amid the whirlwind of information. Chairperson of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Josh D’Amaro, gave fans insight into this year’s plans for the theme parks and what fans can expect from Disney. D’Amaro stated:

“[We are] making sure that we keep our arms around our guests and listen to our guests and change where we need to change – and we’ve been making changes over the last couple of years. And we’re going to make some more that we’ll begin to announce tomorrow to our cast members and to the world shortly thereafter. I will also say [that] I am one of those fans. Before joining Disney, I was one of those fans who loved everything about it, and 25 years ago came to be part of it, and I still feel that same fandom, that same responsibility, that I’ve always felt. I spent a lot of time in theme parks. If I’m not in a meeting, that’s my office. I will listen to as many cast members and guests as I possibly can.”

San Fransokyo Disneyland Resort retheming Concept
Credit: Disney Parks

At Disney’s D23 Expo in September of last year, Josh D’Amaro, revealed that Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure would soon transform into San Fransokyo, a new land inspired by Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6 (2014).

Disney recently confirmed that work had started on this project:

Construction has officially started on reimagining Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure Park to San Fransokyo from “Big Hero 6.” The reimagining was first announced at D23 Expo. The lagoon is being drained today to allow for work to begin, Disneyland officials confirmed.

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Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Tiana’s Place

Disney also revealed the brand-new restaurant coming to Disneyland.

“Tiana’s Palace will be the newest restaurant on Orleans Street,” states Disney in its latest blog post.“Within its peach-colored walls and fancy green wrought-iron balconies, you’ll find elegant fixtures and appointments reminiscent of Tiana’s life and friendships. The new Tiana’s Palace will have much of the same pinch of pizzazz and flair as the restaurant from the film, offering authentic New Orleans flavors inspired by Tiana’s friends and adventures in this quick-service style restaurant. While Tiana’s Palace is not a character dining location, guests may find Tiana in New Orleans Square.”

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Credit: Disney

The menu at Tiana’s Palace will expand on many of the current favorites served in the location, explore seasonal flavors, and, of course, offer some New Orleans classics. Tiana’s Palace is sure to be a gathering place for friends and family to enjoy great food and celebrate together, just like Tiana and her father, James, dreamed of.

Whew, that was a lot, and all of this was revealed in the span of about three days! Of course, the biggest news story of the year will most likely be the permanent closure of Splash Mountain closing at Walt Disney World.

The ride is going offline forever on January 23, meaning Guests don’t have much time left to experience this classic ride.

What are you most excited about? Will you be visiting any of the Disney Parks this year?

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