Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(1/29/2024) Pixar Place Hotel Photo Update
(1/25/2024) Disney Vows To Spend $2.5 Billion In 10 Years on Disneyland Resort
(1/20/2024) Disneyland Resort To Remodel Entrance To Both Theme Parks
(1/9/2024) Don't Expect Reservations To Go Away at Disneyland Anytime Soon
(1/5/2024) Disneyland To Offer Annual Passes Again Next Week (MORE...)
General Resort News - (1/25/2024) Disneyland has committed to the City of Anaheim that they will spend at least $2.5 Billion on the Disneyland Resort over the next 10-years as part of the “DisneylandForward” development plan. The money would go to building new attractions, new hotels, retail and dining facilities at the theme park resort, as well as infrastructure improvements such as a new parking structure, pedestrian bridges and funding for road improvements.
There are also clauses in place that would see Disney investing up to $30 million into new affordable housing options and $8 million in new public park spaces in Anaheim. The commission’s hearing on the proposal is set to take place in March, and expected to be voted upon by the Anaheim City Council by May 2024.
(1/20/2024) Look for construction to take place later this year at the entrance to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. According to a local news post plans were submitted to update the entrance of both theme parks, which will likely also be an update to the technology used to scan in guest entry media. While you might think they could try to borrow the scan-in style used at Walt Disney World, instead they may be using a newer entry system put into place at Disneyland Paris back in 2019, that features small clear doors that open once your ticket media has been successfully scanned.
(1/10/2024) Disneyland fans may have seen the news that Walt Disney World has dropped the reservation requirement to visit their theme parks. Well, kinda… essentially it’s kind of hidden now and just included when you buy your ticket to visit the parks, now that park hopping is also allowed to take place all day instead of just after 2pm there. If the parks are getting too crowded, they can now simply just stop selling tickets for that day, but at least if you have admission ticket for a certain day, you know you can get into whatever park you want.
Disneyland on the other hand… they’re not dropping the reservations requirement at all. In fact, they seem to be doubling down on the reasons as to why they need to keep it for the foreseeable future. When the OC Register asked Disneyland Resort President, Ken Potrock, about if reservations may go away last year he said, “I don’t think so. Reservations create a really important opportunity for us to be able to manage the demand more effectively than we ever could.” He went on to say that reservations made the in-park experience better for guests by preventing overcrowding issues, as well as making it easier on Disney to make sure the park’s are staffed at a level sufficient enough to handle the crowds they are allowing into the parks.
(11/28/2023) Blooloop reports that Disneyland has filed building permits to create an new $8.2 million restaurant concept in Downtown Disney. I believe this will be going where the former AMC theater used to sit, closer to the hotels. It will be called the Parkside Market and will be run by Levy Restaurants when it opens in late 2024.
From the sound of things, this will almost be something of a high end food court, as four different style restaurant concepts will be located inside the one large structure. This will include the Seoul Sister (fast-causal menu of Korean style ride-bowls with a California Twist), Sip & Sonder (lattes, frozen drinks and Caribbean-inspired snacks), GG’s Chicken Shop (sandwiches, salads and sides), and Al fresco bar (cocktails and mocktails).
(10/6/2023) While the Walt Disney World parks will be removing the requirement to have a reservation to visit starting in January 2024, in a bit of a head-scratcher, the Disneyland Resort parks are moving in the opposite direction. I think many were thinking that Disneyland was going to drop their own reservation requirements shortly after Walt Disney World took the first step, this week Disneyland instead announced that the current 120-day advanced window to make theme park reservations in California will be extended to 180-days later this month.
On the positive side, Disneyland did announce that they will be selling children’s tickets to the park for prices as low as $50 starting Oct. 24th that can be used for dates between Jan. 8th and March 10th, 2024. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is when that extended reservation window also goes into effect as a sort of control value. Stay tuned!
(9/11/2023) If you’ve been a Disneyland annual passholders, you may be in line to receive a small payout as part of a class action lawsuit settlement against the park. According to the updates about 103,000 passholders are eligible for a cash payment from Disney from the lawsuit filed on behalf of all former Dream Key level passholders over false advertising.
Those who bought the Dream Key, Disneyland’s most expensive tier annual pass, were advertised as getting a pass with no blackout dates for their $1,399 investment. However due to Disney’s restrictive reservation system, the passholders would often find themselves blocked from visiting the park simply because reservations were not available. Meanwhile, on those same days when passholders were blocks, Disneyland would often still be willing to sell single-day tickets to regular days, meaning that Disneyland was not ‘at capacity’ at all, they had just hit whatever internal limit number they had set for Passholder reservations for the day.
According to this article, the settlement is worth $9.5 million, and after whatever legal fees are paid, this is estimated to result in about a $67 cash payment per Dream Key level passholders.
(3/12/2023) Disney’s D23 website has now posted a big teaser, claiming that a new ‘Avatar Experience” will be coming to the Disneyland Resort. For all the hype, there is still a lot they aren’t saying. There is a lot of talk from the actors about how they love the version in Walt Disney World and are excited for an Avatar experience to come to Disneyland, but for all the talk about the land and attractions already built in Florida’s “PANDORA” land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, Disney isn’t willing to call what they have planned for California anything more than an “Avatar Experience”.
After all, they haven’t even committed to if whatever this is will be going into one of the two theme parks, or if it will be something added to the Downtown Disney area. While it would be nice to see at least the Flight of Passage ride come to one of the California theme parks, for all we know this could be some early hype for a temporary walk-through “experience” attraction, not unlike the one currently being offered to guests at Shanghai Disneyland.
Given the massive success of both Avatar films, with more on the way, you would think that Disney would be ready to get behind this movement and build something large, impressive and long-term for one of the two theme parks. Stay tuned… hopefully we’ll know more before too long.
(2/12/2023) While talking about the idea of expanding Disney theme parks, Bob Iger mentioned that due to the global success of Avatar: The Way of Water they were looking to bring an Avatar themed experience to Disneyland. Nothing more specific was mentioned, and when you think about bringing Avatar to Disneyland, Id say you would have to consider the entire resort, and both theme parks and not just a way to shoehorn a clone of the Pandora: The World of Avatar from Florida into Disneyland.
After all, bringing an Avatar “experience” to the west coast may not be another ride… it could be something more simple and quick, such as a conversion of the old Star Wars Launch Bay area in Tomorrowland. After all, a walk-through exhibit similar in nature was announced for Shanghai Disneyland not long ago. Even that could be used as a temporary stepping-stone while they could build a copy of the popular Avatar: Flight of Passage attraction from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Unlike the Florida theme parks however, space is always at a premium at Disney’s two existing California theme parks, so they’ll have to get creative with exactly what and how they will bring it to life, so we’ll have to wait and see. After all, remember just how long it took from when Avatar or Galaxy’s Edge were first announced to when they were finally ready to open?
(1/3/2023) According to a news report the Disneyland Resort has filed construction permits for a planned $5 million renovation and upgrade to the existing Downtown Disney area. This will be a new build that will take over the cleared site that was formerly home to the massive AMC Theater building that will feature 8,300 sqft of new retail space, with room for five different shops plus a new restroom and a backstage cast-member break room.
Ticket Pricing - (1/5/2024) If you’ve been wanting to get your hands on a Disneyland annual pass, then you are in luck, as the park has announced that they will restart the sale of all four tiers of Annual Pass on January 10. As we’ve seen in the past, Disneyland now limits the number of passes they have available at any given time, so you can expect passes in all of the various tiers to sell out before too long, so don’t wait.
(10/11/2023) Bad news for Disneyland guests, as the park just increased their ticket prices across the board. As before, your ticket price will depend on what day you visit and how busy Disney thinks they will be on that day, but look to see increases between 4 to 9% on single-day passes. Annual Pass prices have also increased, along with the costs for Disney Genie+ and even Parking, which went up from $30 to $35.
Now… Disney is trying to save face a little in the headlines saying that their lowest tier will remain at the same $104 price that it has been since before the pandemic, but what they don’t tell you is that there are less of those days than there were before, and that they’ve added more pricing tier options than they had back then as well. So while the low end ticket is still just $104… a visit to Disneyland on a busy top-tier day has now increased from $179 to $194!
Yes… $194… for a single day visit to the park. I’m probably dating myself here, but I remember the first time I visited Walt Disney World, I’m pretty sure I purchased a 4-Day Park Pass (which included Park Hopping, Waterparks and Pleasure Island admission for free) for about $194. Oh how the times have changed.
(10/14/22) Guests to the Disneyland Resort theme parks will now find their tickets a bit more expensive. As before, Disney has priced admission into the park at various tiers (1-6) based on how crowded they expect the park to be on any given day. The old range of price tiers ranged between $104 to $164 per day for a ticket into the Disneyland or Disney California Adventure theme parks. The new price range for Tier 1-6 tickets now appears to be between $114 to $179, reflecting a huge price increase of $10 to $15 per ticket, though Disney says they are adding a new “0” level Tier for the slowest days where tickets will remain at $104 on those rare days.
If you are looking to get a single-day park-hopper pass, get ready for a $15 to $20 price increase on average, with the park-hopping single-day tickets now running anywhere from $169 to $244 per ticket.
On top of ticket prices going up, Disney is also said to be increasing the cost of Disney Genie+ from $20 per day to $25. No word on if the cost of the individual Lightning Lane access passes are going up further or staying where they are for the moment.
(2/7/19) When it comes to the price of admission, how much is too much? Surprisingly, despite what your initial take is, when you get down to it, this really is more of an individual choice question. Doubly so when it comes to Disney fans and the price of admission into Disney theme parks which have steadily been on the rise each year for the past several decades. This week I decided to take a look at past price increase trends from Disney and even predict where the price is going between now and 2030, based on past increases, all in my latest article for BlooLoop.
2023 - Pixar Place Hotel - (1/29/2024) Pictures of the Pixar Place Hotel renovations have been posted to DisneyGeek this week, ahead of the grand reopening on Jan. 30th.
(10/25/2023) Disneyland has now confirmed that the remodeled and renamed Pixar Place Hotel will be re-launched starting on January 30, 2024. For those wondering, this is the resort hotel formerly known as Disney’s Paradise Pier hotel. Follow the link to learn more about what the remodeled hotel experience has to offer.
(5/29/2023) Some new construction photos showing off the progress on the conversion of the Paradise Pier Hotel into the new Pixar Place Hotel can be seen over at DisneyGeek this week.
(5/1/22) The Disneyland Resort confirmed rumored plans to update the Paradise Pier Hotel to have a new Pixar theme to it as part of a multi-million update to the existing resort tower. This will see extensive renovations come to both the inside and outside of the resort, along with the addition of your favorite Pixar characters and themes. They also mentioned a new pathway will be built to give guests direct access into the Disney California Adventure theme park.
It is worth mentioning that the Paradise Pier Hotel USED to have exactly such a pathway entrance from the hotel that went right to a private gate into the theme park years ago. You know, back in the days when the Maliboomer tower ride stood tall over this section of the park. Guests would walk along a bland-pathway past Goofy’s Sky School (which was called Mulholland Madness back then) and enter through a private gate just across from the Golden Zeyphr ride, somewhat hidden from view by a shop. The private gate for Paradise Pier did not last long, as it was said to have been shut down in late 2004, but you can see what it looked like over at Yesterland. As much of the old open space around the retired path was taken up the expansion of the Grand Californian Resort it should be interesting to see if they try to re-use any of the old path or construct something entirely new.
As part of a presentation of other enhancements coming to the Downtown Disney area it was revealed that a number of new restaurants, as well as improvements to existing ones are also on the way. This includes:
Din Tai Fung - A new dim sum restaurant is coming to the area that was formerly home to the AMC theater and Earl of Sandwich.
A new Mexican inspired restaurant from Chef Carlos Gaytan will replace the Catal & Uva Bar.
Jazz Kitchen will soon launch a new menu and see indoor and outdoor improvements.
Earl and Sandwich will return as a pop-up location for now.
2023 - New DVC Hotel Tower - (9/30/2023) The Disneyland Resort has confirmed that their new Disney Vacation Club Villas tower is now open at the Disneyland Hotel. This is actually the 4th tower at the Disneyland Hotel, and each tower has a unique name, with this new tower being called the Discovery tower. The three previously existing towers are the Fantasy, Adventure and Frontier towers.
(8/14/2023) Exterior Construction of the DVC Tower at the Disneyland Hotel appears to be wrapping up just ahead of the planned September 2023 opening. The latest pictures of the project can be found at DisneyGeek along with pictures showing off the renovation of the Downtown Disney Monorail station and the vertical construction taking place on the site of the former AMC Theater space.
(5/29/2023) Some new construction photos showing off the progress of the new DVC Tower at the Disneyland Hotel can be seen over at DisneyGeek this week.
(10/23/22) A set of new pictures showing off the construction progress on the new DVC Tower at the Disneyland Hotel can be found at DisneyGeek this week. Meanwhile a related photo set shows off crews finishing the repainting the existing Disneyland Hotel structures around the rest of the resort.
(8/28/22) DisneyGeek has sent in some new reports from the Disneyland Resort this week. In particular they have updates showing off the latest construction on the new DVC Tower going up at the DIsneyland Hotel and the repainting of the existing three hotel towers that is also taking place.
(8/6/22) New construction photos from around the Disneyland Resort have been posted by DisneyGeek this week. This includes new shots of the DVC tower being added to the Disneyland Hotel, some paint and refurb of the existing Disneyland Hotel towers, and ongoing work in the Downtown Disney parking next door.
(7/17/22) DisneyGeek dropped by the Disneyland resort this week and posted some new pictures of the new DVC Tower under construction at the Disneyland Hotel. They also reported that work crews were site clearing the closed flat parking lot for Downtown Disney that sits between the hotel and mega-structure.
The last time I can remember that Disneyland mentioned doing anything with that particular property was to earmark it as a possible future expansion land for Disneyland itself as part of the “Disneyland Forward” initiative posted back in early 2021. In similar fashion, the parking lots located south of the Disneyland and Paradise Pier hotels were also earmarked as a possible expansion site for the Disney California Adventure theme park as well.
(1/25/20) A piece of concept art was released for the new expansion tower now planned to be added to the Disneyland Hotel by 2023. It will feature about 350 new Disney Vacation Club rooms, a spa, meeting space and more.
(11/23/19) While the Disneyland Resort canceled their last on-site hotel project (which was probably for the best, as it was a little funky in my opinion), the company has now submitted a new plan to the city of Anaheim for a new 12-story, 350-room hotel tower next to the Disneyland Hotel that would be for the Disney Vacation Club. This new DVC hotel may be the first dedicated DVC structure at the Disneyland Resort, though they do have a section of rooms within the Disney’s Grand Californian. With just half the rooms of the previously proposed hotel project, the new tower would be located on a grassy area next to the Frontier Tower along the backside of the current Disneyland Hotel property, which I believe is called the “Magic Kingdom Lawn” on some hotel maps. I believe the tower would take up some of the lawn and replace a current laundry facility building already on site which would be relocated. Essentially the plan would really just add a fourth similarly sized tower to the existing resort which currently has a total of 990 rooms and suites.
If everything goes as planned, we could see this new hotel tower up and running by the end of 2022.
Disneyland Forward - (10/4/2023) Disneyland has revealed more information about the resorts future theme park expansion plans. According to the reports, the plans mention up to 16 new rides to be located in both indoor and outdoor locations, a new outdoor show, and at least six of the projects will be based on Disney owned movie properties: Frozen, Tangled, Peter Pan, Zootopia,, Toy Story and Tron. Of course, no timeline was given, so consider this more of a general long-term plan kind of announcement, which is more of an indication of where management wants to invest in the parks and not an exact map just yet.
(9/22/2023) Remember how Disney apparently mentioned the possible use of new versions of the PeopleMover or a California version of the Disney Skyliner as future transportation methods for the Disneyland Resort? According to an update from the OC Register, tucked away within that same report was an idea of possibly expanding the Disneyland Monorail.
According to the report they mention how it moves guests from “the Hotel District to the Theme Park District” but it also states that “Future connections may also be provided to the Future Expansion Southeast District.” The Southeast District is what is currently known as the Toy Story parking lot, the furthest from the theme park, built just south-east of the intersection of Katella and Harbor, on a site previously used for decades as a large strawberry field before it was sold to Disney. The DisneylandForward plans would like to eventually see this property used for a possible third theme park experience (a small one of some kind) as well as new retail, restaurants and resort hotel concepts.
As the article points out, the most likely path a monorail could take to get here would be through the Anaheim GardenWalk retail property… which is actually not property that Disney currently owns, which would make that concept difficult. Of course, for a many years there have been rumors that Disney has been sniffing around at possibly bidding to purchase the property as it represents a significant piece of land that could easily be added to the rest of the property Disney owns on either side.
(9/16/2023) In an interesting development, would you believe that the Disneyland Resort mentioned possibly bringing back the Skyway and PeopleMover attractions as possible real-world transportation systems to move guests throughout the resort? Apparently the mention of “themed ride systems” can be found buried deep within a 17,000-page Environmental Impact Report from Disney that was released by the city of Anaheim regarding Disney’s “DisneylandForward” expansion proposal. Apparently the document shows pictures of Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover attraction as well as the more recent addition of the Disney Skyliner aerial gondola tram system that links two of the Disney World theme parks to each other and several hotels. These are listed as possible supplemental or alternate concepts to the building of two pedestrian bridges over Disneyland Drive and three more over Harbor Boulevard that would connect to the long planned second structure. The DisneylandForward project is expected to go before the Anaheim council sometime in 2024.
Given the popularity of the new Disney Skyliner system in Florida, I can see various ways it could be put to use at the Disneyland Resort, especially as I believe systems like this can be installed at a less costly price point than solid rail systems like a PeopleMover or even a Monorail. This is especially true when you consider the ease in which the Skyliner can cross over roads and buildings with a minimal support system. The Florida installation of the Skyliner system also shows how these linear ropeway systems can even be designed to turn corners.
At the same time, I can also see how an entirely ground-based version of the PeopleMover could perhaps be used as an automated replacement for the parking lot trams that currency move guests from the base of the structure to the Downtown Disney area. Rather than wait for Cast Member driven trams, a continuous flow PeopleMover cars could easily flow back and forth between the two points instead.
(3/28/21) While the concept art Disney posted for the Disneyland Forward initiative is said to just be an example of the kind of upgrade plans that they might create in the future, one interesting item was noticed on the plans. The tweet itself shows off best what appears to possibly be a Blank Panther themed Wakanda area that looks like it would fit into the small parking lot behind the movie theater building at Downtown Disney, which would also be removed. The large panther carving sticks out quite well when you zoom into the overhead layout art.
Is this a guarantee it will get built? Nope, but it’s fun take this as something that Imagineering had in mind at one point, even if it doesn’t get built. But it would great if it did make it into the final design. Wakanda Forever!
(3/27/21) The Disneyland Resort surprised everyone with the announcement of a new future initiative and growth plan called Disneyland Forward. According to Disney, the last time they established the future growth plans of the Disneyland Resort was 25 years ago, back when there was only one theme park at the resort and Disney California Adventure was still just a dream.
Back then the plans they set with the City of Anaheim established various “districts” or zones if you will, that would only allow for the development of various things in specific places. Parking here, shopping there, new hotels way over there, and so on. 25 years later, Disney now feels that they have reached the limit of those plans, which are now restricting future concepts of growth now expected from more current and integrated theme park resort concepts. As such, Disney would like to explore new growth opportunities that could see mixed use concepts arise in all new locations going forward.
As Disney well put it, “Without broadening the uses allowed within each district or demolishing and replacing many beloved theme park attractions, further integrated development and theme park investment are not possible.”
While nothing is set in stone yet, the artwork examples Disney is showing explores the possibility of expanding both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to plots of land on the other side of Disneyland Drive, to the north and south of the Disneyland hotels that are currently used only for parking. Much like how foot traffic crosses over Disneyland Drive via a massive and well landscaped foot bridge that makes it just look like a regular pathway to the guests. Similar connecting pathways could be constructed to link up the theme parks to these parking lots, likely branching off from the backside of Critter Country inside Disneyland, and from the west side Paradise Pier somewhere between Inside Out Emotional Whirl and Boardwalk Pizza inside California Adventure.
The former parking lots would be transformed into all new theme park lands for each park. Again, no formal plans have been made, but the Disneyland Forward website does mention concepts like adding lands and attractions themed to Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan to Disneyland (similar to plans now under way at Tokyo Disneysea) and adding other attractions like the new Zootopia land (under construction at Disneyland Shanghai), the TRON coaster (Shanghai and under construction at Walt Disney World) and a Toy Story Land (like the one at Walt Disney World) to Disney California Adventure.
The future plans also include ideas like adding a mini Disney Springs style retail and dining area to the land Disney owns South of the theme parks on Harbor and Katella, but this version would also integrate a brand new Disney Resort hotel into the complex as well. It also looks like DIsneyland is ready to revive their previous plans they put on hold to build another parking structure on the other side of Harbor that would lead guests over Harbor via another large footbridge and directly into the esplanade between the entrances to the two theme parks.
Based on past Disney history, you might think that the Disneyland Resort would be seeking some kind of tax incentive deal from Anaheim for all this future growth, but actually the truth couldn’t be further. Just as we saw Disneyland tell Anaheim that they were requesting the city to cancel two of their existing Tax Subsidies (a 20-year 70% hotel tax rebate and a 45-year exemption to taxes on theme park tickets) because they felt the existing deals from a previous political climate had become increasingly “divisive” and had made for a “difficult working relationship” with the current city of Anaheim.
According to Disney’s own statement, “We are at the very beginning stages of the process. While the project will be refined over time, we hope to explore the creation of integrated experiences featuring new theme park attractions, dining, retail, hotel, and more. Right now, we don’t have any specific projects planned for the future. To be clear, Disney is not seeking any public funding for DisneylandForward, nor are we seeking additional square footage or hotel rooms beyond what is currently approved and allowed. Rather, we are simply asking to update our existing approvals to allow for integrated development to be located and built on Disney properties.”
The timing of this announcement is especially interesting, as the California resort is now preparing to finally reopen to guests at the end of April after being closed due to COVID-19 for just over a year’s time. The fact that Disney is coming forward with these huge growth plans is a great sign that they feel very confident in the future growth potential of their California property, to say nothing of the huge potential for job growth from the planning, construction and staffing of these expansions going forward.