Disney theme park fans can mark their calendars for the opening of several new, long-anticipated rides.
Speculation about the opening of new rides at Walt Disney Co’s (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report Disney World and Disneyland Resort has been circulating for months as fans of the company’s theme parks anxiously await confirmation of their launch.
The anticipation bubbled over with a flurry of announcements at the company’s D23 Expo, held Sept. 9-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, updating the progress of various projects around Disney parks.
Disney has a successful record of staging extravagant anniversaries of its various theme parks, including Disneyland’s 50th anniversary from May 5, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2006, and Disney World’s 50th, which began Oct. 1, 2021, and will conclude March 31, 2023.
Disney Celebrates a Big Birthday
The Mouse House will observe its most significant birthday to date when the company marks its 100th anniversary with its Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration, which will kick off during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” on the ABC network Dec. 31, according to a Sept. 12 Disney statement. The celebration will recognize the beginnings of the Walt Disney Company, which dates back to the founding of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio by Walt Disney and his brother Roy in Hollywood in 1923.
Disney said that the heart of the Disney100 celebration will be rooted at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., beginning in late January 2023 with the new Wondrous Journeys fireworks show at Disneyland and World of Color — One nighttime spectacular at California Adventure. The celebration will be expanded later in the year to its theme parks around the world with new décor, specialty food and beverages, character appearances and more.
Disney World in Orlando will likely transition to Disney100 after its 50th anniversary ends March 31. As part of Disney100, Epcot will introduce a brand-new nighttime spectacular on the World Showcase Lagoon in late 2023, the statement said.
Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland closed on March 9 for a reimagining of the area with a major renovation. The most significant addition to Toontown will be a new ride that already operates at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, according to Disney Parks Blog.
In addition to the new Mickey & Minnie ride, Toontown is developing a park area, known as CenTOONial Park that will include a new centerpiece Mickey fountain as well as a children’s play area, Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard. The new Mickey & Minnie ride and the rest of Toontown at Disneyland is set to reopen in early 2023, the D23 Expo revealed.
Much-Anticipated Ride Set to Open
Disney World fans can breathe a sigh of relief as D23 Expo answered one of the biggest questions on their minds. Visitors to Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando have been watching the construction and test runs of the theme park’s much anticipated Tron Lightcycle/Run roller coaster ride that has been rising in the park’s Tomorrowland area. Guests now know that they can climb on their Lightcycle and race through a dark computerized world beginning in spring 2023, D23 revealed.
Most Disney theme park fans have heard that Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will soon close and be transformed from its longtime “Song of the South” theme to a “Princess and the Frog” theme that will be known as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. No definite closing date has been set at either park, but D23 Expo said that the reimagined ride will open at the parks in late 2024.