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What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming To Disneyland? (2022)

What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming To Disneyland? (2022)

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For several months, the Disneyland news and updates have been coming fast and furious! There is so much going on that it can be a challenge to keep up with all the changes. So many great things are going to be coming to Disneyland in 2022! There are also returning and upcoming things on the horizon at both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure park. This is the Disneyland 2022 guide with all that’s new, returning and coming in the future to both of the Anaheim theme parks.

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This article originally published August 4th, 2017 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

What’s New at Disneyland?

After the Disneyland theme parks completely shutdown for a year-long closure, guests have been looking forward to spending more time at The Happiest Place on Earth. The Disneyland Resort has seen MANY new changes including updated rules and policies. This includes a mandatory reservation system.

If you haven’t been since the reopening, these are the must-know tips for going to Disneyland this year. This includes adjustments to character meet ‘n greets, dining options and how to get Disneyland tickets (you can’t buy them at the gate anymore!)

Discounted Disneyland Tickets!

My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted Disneyland tickets and Anaheim-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.

Disneyland tickets are good through December 31st, 2022. We never know when Disney will increase prices so there’s always a potential savings of hundreds of dollars for families. Purchase your multi-day tickets through Get Away Today now.

When you’re ready to book your full Disneyland vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package of two or more days.

Changes Made at Disneyland Parks Before Closure

Project Stardust

Thank heavens for the 2019 construction that Disney Parks called, “Project Stardust”. Before the closure in 2020, Disneyland Park had been making adjustments to areas in an effort to ease crowd congestion. Garden areas were made smaller to allow for more sidewalk space.

Curbs were removed at the hub around Sleeping Beauty Castle and the entry to Adventureland was reconfigured to widen the walkway. As a result of these changes, there’s extra space for more benches, tables and covered seating areas. Guests might notice less congestion around some of these areas.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge wasn’t even open for a year before the closure at Disneyland happened. For many guests who were unable to visit this new land when it opened in late May 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to be a new experience.

The Millennium Falcon-Smugglers Run is an interactive way that guests can fly Han Solo’s famous ship. But the featured attraction is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. My friend Leslie at Trips With Tykes shares her tips on how to ride Rise of the Resistance without the wait.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland Park - Millennium Falcon

Mickey’s Philharmagic

Mickey’s Philharmagic opened in 2019 and is showing inside Disney California Adventure park. This popular 4D musical has been a featured attraction at Magic Kingdom in Disney World for years. I’m so glad that it’s made a home here in Anaheim – it fits in perfectly at Hollywood Land! This wonderful show is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.

New at Disneyland in 2021 & 2022

Disney Genie and Disney Genie+

This new line skipping service debuted in late 2021 as a replacement to FASTPASS and Maxpass at the Disneyland parks. Both are offered though the Disneyland app, with Disney Genie being a free service that offers itinerary suggestions.

Be prepared to use your cell phone a LOT!

Disney Genie+ is a paid plan, $20 per person, per day. A limited number of attractions are included on Disney Genie+, which works similarly to the previous Maxpass system. Guests schedule rides via the app then return to the Lightning Lane lines (formerly called FASTPASS lines) for entry. This offers a much shorter wait time than would be found in the stand-by queue.

Adding slightly to the confusion, there is an additional paid service to access certain high demand attractions that are not offered through Disney Genie+. Skip the line on the rides Rise of the Resistance, Radiator Springs Racers and WEB SLINGERS by purchasing what’s called an “Individual Lightning Lane”. The cost varies and is dependent upon demand but runs between $8-20 per person, per attraction.

Disneyland App “Tip Board”

See wait times for all attractions in the park at a fast glance. Scroll through the Tip Board on the Disneyland app to view the standby wait time. Compare it to the return time for those who book with the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Use of the Tip Board can help you decide quickly which attractions have the shortest wait times and which you should use a Lightning Lane booking for. It’s also the place guests can make an Individual Lightning Lane purchase.

Screenshot of the Tip Board within the Disneyland app

Many features of your park day are accessible through the Disneyland app (including Disney Genie+, mobile ordering, tickets and more). This means you’ll be using your phone even more than on previous visits. Consider purchasing a Fuel Rod before you go on vacation.

The convenient portable phone charging stations are located around the resort and you can exchange them for a full charge when your phone battery runs low.

Enhanced Dining Options

Mobile Ordering on the Disneyland App – Mobile ordering has been greatly expanded upon across the parks. Guests are highly encouraged to place mobile orders when possible rather than waiting in stand-by for quick service dining.

The mobile ordering process is easily done through the Disneyland app on your phone. Using mobile ordering for food is a great way to eat at Disneyland without reservations.

Virtual Walk-Up List – Another newer feature is the ability to join a virtual wait list for some full service restaurants. If you weren’t able to grab an advance dining reservation, search the restaurant that you’re interested in visiting on the Disneyland app.

Click the “Join Walk-Up List” when available (you’ll need to be physically nearby the location for this to work). If the restaurant is accepting walk-ups, the app will add you to the wait list and notify you when your table is ready.

We joined the walk-up list for Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar on a recent vacation at the Disneyland Hotel and waited about an hour for our reservation. Ideally getting an advance dining reservation is best. But the virtual queue for dining is helpful to use in a pinch. Sign up for the MouseDining free service to notify you when a coveted ADR opens up!

Tropical drinks without waiting in line!

Disability Access Service Changes

Changes have been made for disabled guests that aim to make the process of obtaining a DAS easier. This including pre-trip planning that includes a video call directly with Disney to set up the service. Use of booking DAS through the Disneyland app may eliminate the need to visit kiosks at the park.

New Things Happening at Disney California Adventure Park

Avengers Campus

With the continued popularity of Marvel characters, it’s no surprise that Disneyland dedicated an entire land to these heroes and villains. Avengers Campus opened in June 2021. Guests are encouraged to interact with characters throughout the land including Captain America, Thor, Loki, Black Panther and Doctor Strange. Live shows take place including an awesome Spider-Man animatronic that flies over the rooftops!

Main entrance to Avengers Campus

Within Avengers Campus, guests can sling webs with Spider-Man on the new interactive WEB SLINGERS attraction. Pym Test Kitchen is the newest eatery, with inspired dishes both large and small. Get the Choco-SMASH, you won’t regret it!

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is now a part of Avengers Campus. An e-ticket attraction is expected to come to Avengers Campus at some point in the future, but further details haven’t been released.

The only information shared is that guests will step aboard a Quinjet to fly alongside the Avengers, taking them on an epic adventure to Wakanda (and beyond)! This attraction will be an innovative ride system, placing guests in the midst of the action.

Spider-Man character greeting guests on the rooftops
Wave hello to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

What’s New at Downtown Disney District?

Downtown Disney Dining – Lots of new dining options opened at the Downtown Disney District before the closure. Salt & Straw is where to find gourmet ice creams (black olive brittle with goat cheese, anyone?). Black Tap is open and offering Crazy Shakes, with interior dining or a outside to-go menu. Ballast Point is a beer-lovers respite with casual dining indoors or on the upstairs patio.

New Shopping -Additions include Pelé Soccer, Post 21 and Lovepop. The Star Wars Trading Post, which opened last year, is a fully themed shop in the former Rainforest Cafe location.

Mobile Wait List – Popular shops like Marceline’s Confectionary may offer a mobile wait list system. When the shop is at capacity, guests will scan a QR code then be alerted through the Disneyland app when their shopping window is available.

Celebrating a birthday at Disneyland is extra magical! Read about freebies and splurges to put your birthday over the top!

What’s Coming to Downtown Disney District?

The entire west end of this shopping area is undergoing a massive renovation that includes a possible future Monorail closure. The former AMC Theatre building has been removed, along with the Earl of Sandwich location and the west-end Starbucks.

The transformation will include additional shopping and dining locations along with grassy space for relaxing and events. No date has been offered up for reopening yet.

Photo credit: Disney

Popular Chinese restaurant Din Tai Fung will come to Downtown Disney, located within the new section of the mall. In addition, several current restaurants will see changes. Catal & Uva Bar will change into Paseo and Centrico, known for their Mexican cuisine.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen will also see a renovation that includes a menu change. Finally, Earl of Sandwich returns later this year with a walk-up location for a limited run.

More New at Disneyland

Magic Key – When the Disneyland annual pass program was discontinued, frequent visitors to the California theme park speculated when a new system would be announced. Guests may choose from a tiered plan with varied block-out calendars and discounts. My friend Becca shares more about Magic Key Disneyland Annual Pass at This Crazy Adventure Called Life.

Jungle Cruise – Much of this opening day attraction remains in place, including the silly skipper jokes. Inclusive changes have been made with additions in the way of more animal antics.

Pixar Pals Parking Structure – This new parking space was good news to those driving in. There have been many days that all parking lots have been full at the resort so this new space couldn’t come soon enough!

Anaheim Hotels – For guests are looking for accommodations outside the “Disneyland Bubble” there are many new options at local hotels off-property. There’s a great mix of lower cost and luxury hotels recently opened.

JW Marriott, Radisson BLU, Element, Hotel Lulu and The Westin are all newer properties within walking distance of the front gates.

Kid-friendly bunk bed room at the Element hotel (and free breakfast with Get Away Today!)

What’s Returning to Disneyland in 2022

Nighttime Spectaculars – Cue the dramatic music, because these popular evening shows are returning this year. World of Color and Main Street Electrical parade have already come back to Disneyland in 2022. Fantasmic! will be opening in late May.

Disney’s World of Color
  • April 22, 2022 – World of Color reopened in Disney California Adventure park. Main Street Electrical Parade and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular returned to Disneyland park. This fireworks show will run Friday through Sunday, with Mickey’s Mix Magic showing Monday through Thursday until late spring. Disneyland Forever will show nightly through the summer.
  • May 28, 2022 – Fantasmic! will return to the Rivers of America in Disneyland.

Main Street Electrical Parade – In a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Main Street Electrical Parade, all the favorites have returned, including Pete’s Dragon, Elliott!

In addition, a new series of 7 parade floats has been introduced for the finale. These floats feature classic and contemporary characters from Disney & Pixar, inspired by Mary Blair’s it’s a small world style.

Look for stories featured including “Encanto,” “The Jungle Book,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Aladdin,” “Coco,” “Mulan,” “Brave,” “The Princess and the Frog” and more.

Hercules and Miguel from Coco are represented in the new parade finale

Hopefully the short-lived Paint the Night and Magic Happens parades will make their return to the parks again soon!

More Returning to Disneyland Resort in 2022

Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian – The official name of this on-property resort hotel is Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. But the actual spa has been closed for a while! Tenaya Stone Spa has recently opened as an elegant retreat to relax and rejuvenate after a day in the parks.

Hyperspace Mountain – The popular overlay of Space Mountain, Hyperspace Mountain is back! Only available until July 4th, 2022 this Star Wars themed attraction is awesome.

Tale of the Lion King – The Fantasyland Theatre will once again reopen, this time with a return of the Tale of the Lion King. Previously presented at Disney California Adventure, the show will be a welcome stage addition.

Limited Time Discount Ticket Offer!

SoCal Ticket Offer – This popular discount Disneyland ticket offer has returned, with an important change. Open only to Southern California residents (proof of residency required), this 3-day ticket is for use between January 3rd and May 26th, 2022. These days can be used at any time in this period, not necessarily consecutively and separate theme park reservations are needed.

Choose between a one-park per day option or a Parkhopper. The SoCal Resident Disneyland Ticket can only be used on weekdays and can be upgraded to a Magic Key on the last day!

2022 Special Events Returning to Disney California Adventure

The best part about these returning special events is that no special ticket is required. These in-park activities are included with a regular Disneyland park ticket for all guests! Both events are held within California Adventure and feature specialty food booths, live music, entertainment and character greetings. Look for kid’s craft areas, commemorative merchandise and additional event dining options at Paradise Garden Grill.

Lunar New Year (over for 2022)

January 21th through February 13th, 2022 – A celebration of Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cultures during the Year of the Tiger. New for 2022, Raya from Raya and the Last Dragon will greet guests at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

Disney California Food & Wine Festival (over for 2022)

March 4th through April 26th, 2022 – All the best tasting-sized dishes and drinks return for this fun culinary event, the Disney California Food & Wine Festival. Walk the marketplace to purchase food, with a guide to the best bites coming soon. During the weekends watch cooking demonstrations live on stage.

Disney Returning Nighttime Events

There are several after-dark events coming to the Disneyland parks in 2022. As with all these nighttime events, a special ticket is required for entry. The ticket allows for a certain number of hours to “mix-in” before the party begins.

Only those with the event ticket may stay for the party activities, which include exclusive character greetings and photo ops. Find out more about Disneyland After Dark events on my friend Jessica’s site, The Happiest Blog on Earth.

Photo credit: Disney Photopass

Disneyland After Dark

After a long break, Sweethearts’ Nite, Villains Nite and Star Wars Nite will return! Sweethearts’ Nite and Star Wars Nite take place in Disneyland. Villains Nite is happening at Disney California Adventure. A Grad Night Reunion will be offered at California Adventure this June.

Oogie Boogie Bash

Confirmed for 2022, the fall season will bring the return of the popular Oogie Boogie Bash. This Halloween time special event offers families the ability to dress in costume and trick or treat through Disney California Adventure along with an exclusive nighttime parade.

2022 dates have not yet been released yet, but it’s expected that tickets would be open for sale this summer.

Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween party at Disney California Adventure. Photo credit: Disney Photopass

What’s New Coming to Disneyland?

Mickey’s Toontown

A complete overhaul of Mickey’s Toontown will be coming to the Disneyland Resort including a new ride. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (already operating at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios) will feature state-of-the-art technology and special effects.

Overview of the new Toontown – Photo credit: Disney

Changes to Toontown include more interactive play areas, grassy lawns, and water tables. These are all exciting adjustments and guests are looking forward to the refresh in Toontown!

Other changes have not been released including what attractions will change or be replaced. Toontown closed in March 2022 for the complete overhaul. A reopening date has been teased at being “early 2023”.

The new CenTOONial Park in Toontown – Photo credit: Disney

A New Ride Featuring Princess Tiana

Splash Mountain will be reimagined into an all new experience featuring Tiana from Princess and the Frog! Little is known yet about this new attraction that will take over the Splash Mountain ride except that it takes place after the final kiss between Tiana and Naveen.

A firm rename of this attraction has not been announced. When will Splash Mountain close at Disneyland? No details have been released yet in regards to a closure or reimagining date.

Princess Tiana ride coming to Disney parks – Photo credit: Disney

MagicBand+

While MagicBands have long been used at Walt Disney World, it’s finally been announced that they will also be coming to Disneyland! Expect some differences between what’s in use at WDW versus what will be available at Disneyland. MagicBand+ has been confirmed for Disneyland in 2022, though exact dates and details have yet to be released. 

Disneyland Resort Hotels – 2022 Updates

Retheming of Paradise Pier Hotel

A complete overhaul “reimagining” is coming to the Paradise Pier Hotel. The transformation into a Pixar-themed resort is much anticipated! No date has been released for any closures during the expected remodeling.

In addition, a walkway is currently under construction between Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Disney California Adventure park. This is a much-needed addition that adds more perks to what has been the “lesser” of the three Disneyland resort properties.

Image credit: Disney/Pixar

Magic Mornings Coming Back!

Another one of the best perks of staying on-site will soon return. Early morning entry into the theme parks for resort hotel guests returns in late summer. Will it be the same Magic Morning of old?

Package Delivery Returns

Coming back soon, guests of the Disneyland resort hotels can take advantage of package delivery. Purchases made in the theme park will be delivered back to the hotel.

Disney Vacation Club Tower at the Disneyland Hotel

While Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has long had DVC villas, this will be the first time Disney Vacation Club members can use points to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. 350 rooms will include studio rooms and villas.

When Are These Coming to Disneyland?

While many things have returned to Disneyland, there are some features that have changed within the parks and resort. If you’re curious about when some things will return to Disneyland, join the Disneyland With Kids Facebook group. We will update our followers as soon as we hear news!

When Will Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Reopen?

There has yet to be any information about the return of this popular princess make-over shop. The store in which to purchase clothing, dresses and accessories remains open for business. However there aren’t any makeovers happening yet. Stop by the outside entrance of the shop to receive a complimentary sprinkling of glitter from one of the “Fairy Godmothers in Training”!

When Will Character Dining Go Back to “Normal”?

Disneyland Character Dining has returned, but slightly different than before. Characters no longer mingle at each table. Instead, the characters participate in a parade through the dining area with brief pauses for photos. Guests may not hug characters or even stand up from the table during these quick visits. There’s no way of knowing yet when (or if) character dining will return to the way it was.

Grabbed a quick photo with Mickey when he danced by the table!

When Are These Reopening at Disneyland?

Steakhouse 55 – this upscale restaurant in the Disneyland Hotel will not reopen and nothing has been announced as a replacement.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – the lagoon remains empty after refurbishment but should be ready to open again soon.

Silhouette Studio – no updates on when this small portrait shop will reopen.

More About What’s Coming to Disneyland This Year

Listen to the Disneyland With Kids podcast episodes as we cover what’s happening at the Disneyland Resort. These short and informative recordings help you plan your Disneyland vacation in 30 minutes or less!

Disneyland With Kids Digital Magazine

Prep for the ultimate Disneyland vacation by subscribing to the Disneyland With Kids Digital Magazine. Issues will include Disneyland park tips, hotel reviews, news, and more, straight to your inbox. Fun activities to do at home, and a special kids corner activity section, to get the rest of the family excited for the upcoming trip!

An annual subscription includes 4 issues of the quarterly magazine plus monthly emails with exclusive content. Subscribe to the Disneyland With Kids Digital Magazine!

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Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road at Disneyland 2017

Sunday 27th of August 2017

[…] just having visited Disneyland for a summer family media event, I’ve shared a post about What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming to Disneyland. The #SummerofHeroes event is wrapping up at Disney California Adventure park on September 10th. […]

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