Disney promised that Day 2 would be huge for Disney Parks, and they weren’t joking. The majority of annoucements involved Walt Disney World, but Disneyland got its own share of news…and drama. Here’s what happened on the Disneyland side of D23 – Day 2.
Good things and bad things came with the crowds on Day 2. The line wrapped all the way down Harbor Blvd and Katella Ave. If you’re not familiar with the Disneyland Resort area…that is insane. That’s thousands and thousands of people waiting just to get in the building.
The good news? No repeats of being shut out of panels. In fact, visitors to the parks panel got reserved seating for a preview showing of Fantasmic! in Disneyland. People were still very upset by lines and crowding, but at least no complaints of being trapped outside of panels today.
STAR WARS LAND
Star Wars Land finally has a name, and it’s not actually “Star Wars Land”. This space will be known as “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”, in both Disneyland and Disney World. Galaxy’s Edge transports guests into a new planet in the Star Wars Universe, and will be the first 100% immersive land in the park.
What does that mean, exactly? It means you are living out a story. You can control what happens to you in this land, and the choices you make have consequences. If you crash the Millennium Falcon, you will have bounty hunters pursing you. If you behave yourself, you will be rewarded. While Disney still remains elusive about all the details in this land, one thing is clear: you choose your own destiny here.
Here’s what we do know about Star Wars Land so far:
- There will be two attractions. The first is a Millennium Falcon ride, where you control what happens to the ship. The second is a First Order attraction, where you have no control and are thrust directly into mayhem.
- The land will feature familiar characters (Chewbacca, BB8, Hondo), and will introduce you to many new ones.
- Bounty hunters patrol the land, and if you crash the Falcon, they will be looking for you.
- The land will include the legendary Cantina, with Rex serving as DJ.
- The Resistance dominates Galaxy’s Edge, but the First Order (and Kylo Ren) are hot on their trail.
Galaxy’s Edge will open in Disneyland first, beating Disney World to the punch. But the second Galaxy’s Edge won’t be far behind. Disney confirmed again today that the new land will open in mid-2019, ahead of the next D23 Expo.
PAINT THE NIGHT RETURNS
Paint the Night parade fans rejoice – the parade is coming back! Disneyland will be doing a parade swap, so Paint the Night will be hopping across the esplanade to California Adventure. In return, the Pixar Play Parade will head over to Disneyland. These parades will officially trade places in 2018, as part of “Pixar Fest”.
2018 will be a big year for Pixar at the Disneyland Resort, particularly in California Adventure. The resort will host “Pixar Fest”, a celebration of Pixar spanning both parks. While Disney didn’t dive into too many specifics around this event, here’s what we do know:
- More Pixar characters will be out and about in California Adventure, both in parades and for meet & greets.
- The Fest will incorporate new shows celebrating Pixar (no details yet)
- Inside Out will have its first non-parade presence at the resort
- Disneyland will have a brand new fireworks show featuring Pixar, complete with projections along Main Street USA.
And finally, the major bombshell, and the only one I had a very strong reaction to: Pixar Pier. In 2018, Paradise Pier will transform into “Pixar Pier”, with new theming on the boardwalk at least. We don’t know if this is permanent (though it seems that way), what is coming, or more importantly, what will happen to rides like The Little Mermaid and California Screamin’.
This is obviously a dramatic change in California Adventure, and provoked an incredibly strong reaction, both at the Expo and among Disney’s social media community. My initial reaction was typical for someone resistant to change: NO. But after I took some time to process the news, I have very conflicted feelings.
California Adventure is supposed to be a celebration of California. And Paradise Pier is the ultimate California beach boardwalk. With Marvel, Cars, and now Pixar themed areas, we are getting further and further away from the park’s entire point. Plus, Paradise Pier is GORGEOUS. It’s one of my favorite places at the resort. We just went through a massive refurbishment and retiming that finished only 5 years ago, and it looks wonderful.
But on the other hand – California Adventure has never had the same “magic” as Disneyland. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t have as many characters and story-themed attractions. The part of the boardwalk between Midway Mania and the Silly Swings is pretty much empty, and the perfect space to put some Pixar stuff without completely changing the look of the pier from across the bay. And I love Pixar!
So in the end, I guess I am ambivalent. I think the name is stupid though. If it were up to me, I’d build a little Pixar area in the back of the boardwalk, but keep the name Paradise Pier. But it’s not up to me, so expect more details about Pixar Pier coming from the Disney Parks blog throughout the year.
The last bit of Disneyland news from D23 came as a surprise to almost no one: Marvel Land is coming to California Adventure. Where and when – we don’t know. But realistically, there are two potential locations:
Disney likely hasn’t finalized a plan, since they released no concept images, timeline, or possible attractions. But they did promise a new universe for our favorite superheroes, which will no doubt connect to Mission Breakout, currently in Hollywood Land.
DISNEY NEWS OVERLOAD
Thankfully, the Disney parks announcements should be over now. Like everyone else, I’m still kind of reeling from these announcements and processing all of these changes. While Disneyland changes can feel devastating at times, it’s important that we all remember one thing: it’s a theme park. At the end of the day, even if these changes are just the WORST, we are all going to be okay. Disneyland will still be mostly the same place we know and love – it’ll just look a little different in a couple of places.
To end this post on a happy note – one of the best parts of D23 is the cosplay. People go ALL OUT with their costumes, and I had three favorites this year.
The sleeping monk from EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth:
And finally, this Thunder Mountain costume with a WORKING train!