What to Expect at the Parks during Disney’s Centennial

On October 16th, 1923, two brothers from Kansas City started their dream in earnest. They had moved to Hollywood and planned to conquer the entertainment industry. Their first significant step became the founding of what we now know as The Walt Disney Company.

In less than a year, Disney turns 100 years old. However, the folks running the company never wait to throw a party. So, Disney’s centennial celebration starts in January, barely two months from now! Here’s what you should expect at the parks during Disney’s centennial.

Disneyland Is the Focus of the Centennial Celebration

Photo courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

In 1955, three decades after Roy and Walt Disney had moved to California, the younger brother plotted his next move. He opened a family entertainment park with Disney theming. Fittingly, this place, Disneyland, will serve as the epicenter of the centennial celebration.

On January 27th, the Happiest Place on Earth will transform into a platinum-colored wonderful as an acknowledgment of the achievement. Management has named this event “Disney 100 Years of Wonder,” and it’ll occur at all Disney theme parks on the planet. Still, Disneyland will become the platinum wonderland since it came first.

Remember how Walt Disney World provided Mickey & Minnie Mouse with EARidescent outfits for its 50th anniversary? At Disneyland, they’ll show off their finest platinum attire instead!

Meanwhile, Sleeping Beauty Castle will display platinum banners and bunting. Disney has also promised two water fountains and a wishing star effect on Disneyland’s iconic structure.

Park guests will discover exclusive merchandise, food, and beverages commemorating this once in (more than) a lifetime event. Even better, two nighttime presentations will light up Disneyland Resort as part of the centennial events.

Disney California Adventure will exhibit Worlds of Color – One, a show created for Disney’s 100th anniversary. Disney has promised a new original song and a story demonstrating “how a single action, like a drop of water, creates a ripple that can grow into a wave of change.”

At Disneyland Park, Wondrous Journeys will end a park visit the perfect way. This show will include a visual nod to each of the 60 Walt Disney Studios Animation movies released thus far, plus the upcoming November release, Strange World. I legitimately have no idea how Disney can do that in a matter of 15 minutes, but it sounds spectacular. Finally, the Magic Happens parade is returning for the centennial, too!

The Most Significant Centennial Update

Disneyland officials had their eye on the 100th birthday for a while. So they planned for it by starting construction on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

After all, who would better represent Disney’s legacy than Mickey & Minnie Mouse? The Disneyland Park version of the ride will debut on January 27th, along with the rest of the completely overhauled Mickey’s Toontown.

Fans at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are already familiar with the attraction. However, Disneyland’s spatial constraints have caused a change in the order and length of the animated scenes for this attraction. In other words, it’ll possess the same spirit and energy but a different ride experience!

As for Mickey’s Toontown, early reports suggested that Disney would tear down the place and start from scratch. However, recent models show that the themed land will mostly look like it always has. Imagineers are adding new interactive fountains, sound gardens, and other elements. In short, it’ll do more to entertain children.

Overall, Disney plans Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Mickey’s Toontown revisions as the centerpieces of the centennial, along with the shows and platinum décor. However, other theme parks will get involved as well.

Other Centennial Updates

Disney intentionally held back one of its attractions for 2023. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World probably could have opened Tron Lightcycle Power Run this year. However, reports suggest that Disney’s marketing team preferred the spring of 2023 for two reasons.

Photo courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

The first is that Walt Disney World’s 50th-anniversary event ends on March 30th, 2023. Disney wants something to fill the void afterward, which a roller coaster opening does well. Also, there’s the centennial celebration aspect.

The Tron coaster will count as one of two new attractions arriving in time for this event. Technically, Disney doesn’t turn 100 until next October. Around that time, Journey of Water | Inspired by Moana should open at EPCOT. So, that’s two new IP-based headline attractions for the centennial event.

Disney has also promised additional announcements regarding the celebration. We will keep you updated on future Disney100 news. As DVC members, the most important thing here is that you understand the timeline, though.

At Disneyland, the party begins in earnest on January 27th. You can combine the centennial and 50th-anniversary events through March at Walt Disney World. Alternatively, you can wait until later in the year to experience Tron and Moana attractions instead.

The Memorial Day seven-month booking window opens in a matter of days. That strikes me as the likeliest time for Tron’s debut, just as Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind debuted on May 27th, 2022.

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