All the Disneyland Resort Updates Announced at D23
Josh D’Amaro, the Chairman of Disney Parks Experiences and Products, just took the stage at the 2022 D23 Expo. The executive hosted this year’s park panel called A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
This event has evolved into the signature event for Disney theme park announcements, and that was definitely true this past weekend. Here are all the Disneyland Resort updates we just learned are coming soon.
Avengers Campus Will Add a King Thanos Ride
Disney California Adventure opened Avengers Campus in June of 2021. Currently, this themed land only offers two attractions, WEBSLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
At a previous D23 event, executives had confirmed another Quinjet attraction was coming to the park. However, Disney’s financial struggles during the pandemic forced the cancellation of this ride.
Somehow, that negative has turned into a positive, as Kevin Feige, the leader of Marvel and the MCU, just revealed a new attraction coming to Avengers Campus. While Feige didn’t announce a name for the project, he did confirm a villain.
King Thanos will lord over this multiversal attraction. Yes, this version of Thanos comes from a universe where he won. As such, he’s the most dangerous Thanos of all.
Feige indicates that Avengers from across the multiverse, including ones we haven’t met yet, will join forces to defeat King Thanos. You will join them in their quest.
Disney showed the first images of King Thanos, and they lit up social media. He’s sporting a white beard, matching fur flair on his armor, and a crown.
The multiversal aspect is especially important here. The various What If…? characters like Captain Carter and HYDRA Stomper Steve Rogers appear in the concept art, alongside newer Avengers like She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel.
This ride will become the most popular part of Avengers Campus when it debuts. It may even surpass Radiator Springs Racers as the most iconic ride at Disney California Adventure (DCA).
Character Meetings Coming to Disneyland Resort
MCU actor Mark Ruffalo appeared via video conferencing to plead his case. He wanted a Hulk character greeting at the parks. Ruffalo will get his wish, as Feige unveiled a remarkable Imagineering feat.
A giant Hulk appeared on stage. He was more than twice the height of Feige and D’Amaro. So, I’d estimate this thing is 15 feet tall and extremely stocky to boot.
You’ll notice the new Hulk from a mile away at Disney California Adventure. And you’ll be able to do this next week, as the enormous Hulk will appear then!
Disney didn’t clarify whether Hulk will be a character greeting or just a show akin to the Pandora Utility Suit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Either way, Hulk wears some sort of spacesuit that people will adore.
Somehow, that may not be the most anticipated character interaction announced during the panel. Disney Legend Jon Favreau, the creator of The Mandalorian, also took to the stage.
The actor/director discussed one of his most famous creations, The Mandalorian. Suddenly, this character walked on stage as well. But, more importantly, he brought Baby Yoda along with him.
Yes, in mid-November, visitors at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge can meet Baby Yoda at the parks. So, you may want to get in line now for that. It’ll be one of the most popular attractions ever at Galaxy’s Edge.
By the way, Disney only listed Disneyland Resort for this character greeting. There was no mention of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hopefully, that will come soon afterward.
Disney Confirms Mickey’s Toontown Experiences
When D23 opened, a scale model of Mickey’s Toontown indicated all the improvements coming to the themed land, which is currently closed for renovations.
Some of them are simple, such as renaming the former Gadget’s Go Coaster to Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Gadget Coaster. Other changes involve the promised new play areas at the themed land. Thankfully, Goofy’s Playhouse and Donald’s Boat will survive the renovations. At the Playhouse, D’Amaro promises an “interactive sound garden” for children. That’s apparently a “wind-channeling pipe structure,” not a Seattle rock band.
Disney has also modified the names of two restaurants and their menus. The former Goofy’s Gas Station will become Good Boy Grocer’s Market, while Pluto’s Doghouse will turn into Café Daisy.
D’Amaro surprised many when he proclaimed that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland would differ from the one at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When this ride debuts in 2023, it’ll apparently feature exclusive features. I don’t know whether these changes are stylistic or entail new scenes on the attraction, though.
D’Amaro Reveals Other Disneyland Resort Changes
Disney confirmed several other campus updates are coming soon. The biggest ones involve the Pacific Wharf and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel sections of the park.
We already knew that Paradise Pier was switching to a Pixar theme. Disney has removed all previous signage for the resort and announced the new name. From now on, guests will stay at Pixar Place Hotel.
From here, guests can look at San Fransokyo! D’Amaro indicated that Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure will convert to the Big Hero 6 theme.
You may recall that city from the movies. It’s a futuristic place that combines elements from San Francisco and Tokyo. Also, Baymax will become a permanent character greeting at San Fransokyo.
At Downtown Disney, D’Amaro suggested that a dozen current/previous locations will either re-theme or receive new experiences. One of the new places will be a Southern California staple, Porto’s Bakery & Café.
This restaurant serves Cuban cuisine and baked goods so tasty you will forget your own name. Disney had previously announced other local restaurant chains coming to Downtown Disney. So, management is demonstrating awareness of what its core SoCal audience likes.
Another update involved the nighttime presentations at Disneyland Resort. DCA will exhibit World of Color I, “A World of Color like nothing you’ve seen before.”
Meanwhile, Disneyland Park will introduce Wondrous Journeys. Disney promises it will ““will ignite the wonders in all of us.” Wondrous Journeys sounds especially ambitious, as it will include nods to all 60 films created by Walt Disney Animation thus far!
Okay, that’s everything from Disneyland. We’ll discuss all the Walt Disney World updates in the next section…and you’ll want to read it, as one news item involves Disney Villains!