As much nostalgia and history as there is at the Happiest Place on Earth, the reality is that Disneyland is ever changing. On every trip, I discover something new or sometimes even an old favorite removed. Very big changes are underway at this very moment as Star Wars Land is under construction in Disneyland park. It is not slated to open until 2019, but we’ve already seen the impact it has had in 2016 and 2017 with the temporary closure of the Disneyland Railroad and the re-routing of the Rivers of America.
But 2019 is a long way off. And there are lots of changes and new offerings that will be happening in the next few months of 2017 at Disneyland, just in time for everyone’s spring break and summer vacations. No need to wait until 2019 to experience something new in Anaheim.
Here are a few new additions and expanded offerings at Disneyland to keep in mind as you do your Disneyland vacation planning this year!
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
The Food & Wine Festival has been a staple event at Epcot for 22 years. It was only just added back to the event lineup in California last year after many years off. Frankly, it’s about time because no one does food and wine better than California!
Hosted in Disney California Adventure, the event this year features celebrity chef demonstrations, over a dozen marketplaces for food and drinks, and lots of surprises. Last year’s event was modest in size as it was re-introduced, but 2017’s event is a significant expansion.
A highlight for families – the kid chef demonstration. My son and I got a sneak peek of this attraction when the Disneyland culinary team stopped by Oakland’s Jack London Square last week for a NorCal demonstration. I was worried my 3 year old would be too young to enjoy the experience, but with Mickey spatulas and measuring cups plus the promise of cookies at the end, he put Emeril himself to shame.
Looking for guidance on what to do, see, and eat at the festival? Check out a few of these guides from my fellow Disney bloggers who know their stuff:
- Guide to the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival 2017 (including Printable Checklist) from This Fairy Tale Life
- 2017 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Guide from Disney Tourist Blog
- Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival at Disneyland Resort from Disney Food Blog
Main Street Electrical Parade
This classic parade has been one of Disney’s most beloved parades since its debut in 1972. But it has been calling Florida home for the past several years. It recently returned home to Anaheim for a limited run before its retirement on June 18, 2017. The locals can’t get enough of the nostalgia so crowds have been impressive. Prepare yourself if you want to get in a viewing before it’s gone. Disneyland recently began preventing guests from camping out for hours in advance of the parade so plan accordingly as well.
Red Rose Taverne
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few weeks, Disney has a small, totally under the radar movie coming out this weekend. LOL! It’s hard to miss the news about the live action version of Beauty and the Beast debuting March 17, and Disneyland is already celebrating the movie event.
Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland has been transformed into Red Rose Taverne where you can try lots of food inspired by the movie. Look for movie inspired decor and lots of new food. Disneyland even has its own version of “the Grey Stuff,” and it’s supposedly different than the dessert of the same name at Be Our Guest restaurant in Walt Disney World. Belle and the Beast are also currently roaming Fantasyland unannounced so keep an eye out.
There has been no end date announced for the Beauty and the Beast added attractions, so delay seeing these at your own risk!
Pirates of the Caribbean 50th Anniversary Celebration
My husband’s absolute favorite ride at Disneyland turns 50 this very weekend. And it looks like Disneyland is going to celebrate Pirates in a big way for a few days at least. The festivities kick off on Thursday, March 16 with the real surprises in store on the anniversary itself on Saturday March 18. Look for pirate-themed food at French Market, the Mint Julep Bar, Harbour Galley, Royal Street Veranda, Cafe Orleans, and Blue Bayou. There will be lots of special entertainment and souvenirs for the pirate obsessed too.
Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout
Tower of Terror had its final drop in Disneyland in January but it will return with a new theme and decor in just a few months. Starting May 27, 2017, it will be reopened as Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout. This is by far the biggest Disneyland news of 2017. I expect lines to be on the scope of Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land from a few years ago. Let the race for the Fastpasses begin!
For superhero loving kiddos, California Adventure is going to be the place to be this summer. In fact, Disney is coining 2017 as the Summer of Heroes. Running from May 27 to September 10, Marvel characters will be taking over Disney California Adventure. Everyone from Groot to Captain America to Spider-Man will be making the rounds. Look for an Avengers Training (similar to Jedi training in Disneyland park) plus plenty of special event food and merchandise.
Fantasmic & Rivers of America Reopening
Even though Star Wars Land is still under construction, some of the areas that were closed during the construction process are going to be reopening much earlier. The Rivers of America are due to return to service sometime this summer – exact date TBD. And that also means the return of Disneyland’s evening show Fantasmic that takes place on the waterfront there.
Fantasmic promises to have made a few changes and updates to keep things fresh. Look for a Pirates themed addition to replace Peter Pan. The rumors are swirling as to other additions, but you’ll just have to wait and see for yourself in a few months.
Disneyland MaxPass is Coming
Last but certainly not least, a major change is coming to Fastpass at Disneyland some time later this year. No launch date has been announced, but Disneyland is going to be adding digital access to Fastpasses through a paid service called Maxpass. Maxpass will cost $10 per person per day and also includes access to all your Photopass photos. Paper Fastpasses will still be available too, but details on how the two systems will work all together are still unclear. (Get the full scoop on Disneyland Maxpass – including what we know and what we don’t know – over at my article on TravelingMom.)
Are you visiting Disneyland this spring or summer? What are you most looking forward to of these new and revised attractions?