Welcome to Disneyland Resort 2020!by Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer
Happy 2020! OK, I'm still a few days away, but I'm ready to put on the party hat and ring in the New Year, especially with what Disneyland Resort is planning. I recommend having your calendar handy when reading ahead to plan that special trip to Anaheim in 2020 for the myriad exciting festivities and anniversaries. From celebrating a favorite archeologist to uniting superheroes, Disneyland Resort promises a year to remember.
If you didn't get a chance to revel in the holiday decor and activities during December, you still have a few days left in January to enjoy the winter wonderland. January 6 is the official last day of the holiday season at Disneyland Resort, which includes Disneyland Christmas Fantasy Parade and Disney Festival of Holidays (including Festival Foods Marketplace). So, better hurry to New Orleans Square's Mint Julep Bar to get that last bite of the hot chocolate beignet before time runs out on the old year's clock.
January also sees several closures of big attractions for maintenance, repairs and such.
The boats will dock January 7 as "it's a small world" Holiday transitions back into traditional mode. Haunted Mansion Holiday will be in place through January 20, then it will go into maintenance status for rehab. Both attractions will reopen sometime later in spring.
Last month, Disney Parks Blog announced that Snow White's Scary Adventures will undergo a transformation to "reimagine how the classic tale of Snow White lives happily ever after". Guests can enjoy the current version through January 6, but, after that, the attraction closes for an undetermined amount of time. However, all signs point to a reopening by July's 65th anniversary of the the attraction. (More on that later).
Usually, January is one of the mild, less-crowded months to visit Disneyland Resort. I wouldn't count on that next month—the rebellion has landed. Expect some lengthy queues as Star Wars fans line up for the highly anticipated second attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge–Rise of the Resistance, which docks January 17 in Disneyland Park.
The first of Disneyland Resort's exclusive nighttime events is set for January 29. Relive the era of BIG–big hair, big fashion, and big music–during Disneyland After Dark Series: 80s Nite. For those Southern California locals who grew up with the Videopolis theater, this is the event to go to! Dance away to a live DJ, music videos and tons of neon at the iconic location in Fantasyland. Tickets are currently available at $109 per person. (All four of the Disneyland After Dark Series tickets run the same price at $109—no discounts apply.)
Happy Lunar New Year! Visit Mulan and Mushu and they kick-off "Year of the Rat" January 17 in Disney California Adventure Park. This multicultural festival runs through February 9 and celebrates the tastes, entertainment, and costumes of Asia.
Happy Birthday to Disney California Adventure Park on February 8. Although it's still a year away from the big 20th birthday, fans of this park can enjoy the day revisiting favorite attractions. Purists can ride the remaining original attractions for nostalgia's sake–Grizzly River Run, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Jumpin' Jellyfish and Golden Zephyr—and cap it of with a visit to Disney Animation Building. (These are the remaining attractions from grand opening that haven't been re-themed or replaced. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has had a Brother Bear and Up theme but I'll let those pass.)
Valentine's Day weekend hosts the second of the Disneyland After Dark Series: Sweethearts' Nite. Couples can choose either February 12 or 13 for a night together at Disneyland Park. Bask in an enchantment spell with your significant other while dining on specialty foods, dancing the night away, and enjoying some fun character photo ops. Get your tickets quickly because this popular event is selling out fast.
February 28 has been unveiled as the debuting date for Disneyland Park's newest parade: "Magic Happens." The extravagant entertainment will feature individual floats of favorite Disney animated films including Moana, Frozen 2, and Coco. A new musical score has been written for it as well.
If you're a serious gastronome, you won't want to miss the annual Food and Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure Park. This culinary congregation features celebrity chefs, wine tasting, chef tables, and so much more. The kitchen doors open February 28 and closes April 21. MousePlanet will have up-to-date information as it comes available for this wildly popular event. Stay tuned.
I already have the first week of March scheduled for my first visit of the year. As a fan of the cinematic blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark, my fandom meter peaked out when George Lucas and Disney collaborated to bring the famed archeologist to Disneyland Park in 1995 with Indiana Jones Adventure. A quarter of a century later, Dr. Jones still stands strong in his daring adventure. Why do I suddenly feel old? March 4 is the big day to honor the iconic attraction. Let's hope Disneyland Park offers some exciting souvenirs on hand for the occasion. Fedoras? Leather jackets? Melting face masks? (Note: Disney announced in November that there will be major renovation on the attraction in 2020, most likely prior to the anniversary.) Again, MousePlanet will have the latest news when available.
Also scheduled on March 4 is the third in the Disneyland After Dark Series: Pixar Nite, hosted at…Pixar Pier, of course. Guests can meet their favorite characters, as well as dine on Pixar-themed foods and shop for specialty items. Fans will also have access to Pixar attractions and can choose one or all of three interactive dance parties including The Incredibles and Monsters, Inc. Tickets are currently available.
And speaking of Pixar, Toy Story's favorite Space Ranger celebrates his 15th year at Disneyland Park's Tomorrowland on March 17. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters took over a portion of the Rocket Rods queue in 2005 and has been a hit (!) ever since. Although I miss CircleVision (one attraction before Rocket Rods), Buzz Lightyear is always a welcome attraction for me–the queue moves fast and each time is a different experience. (Fun fact: In the first room, on Emperor Zurg, there's a hidden target on his chest. Hit that for 50,000 points.)
Aside from Easter (April 12) activities that typically include Easter buffets and the Easter Egg Extravaganza, April lends itself to the fourth and final Disney After Dark Series: Villains' Nite. Scheduled for April 30, this event takes place in Disney California Adventure Park and features Disney's most frightfully evil characters. Enjoy specialty foods, photo ops with your favorite baddies, and limited merchandise. Passes are available online or by contacting Guest Services.
With the task of uniting the greatest superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Imagineers are working tirelessly creating the ultimate meeting place–Avengers Campus–located in Disney California Adventure Park. (Bug's Land flew away in summer of 2018 to make way for the new Marvel land.) On Christmas Day, Disney announced the Avengers Campus would open during Summer 2020. In addition to a Pym Test Kitchen where you can grab a large or small bite, the Campus will have Worldwide Engineering Brigade – also known as “WEB” (aka the new Spider-Man experience), where you can test drive the “Web Slinger” vehicle. More information coming, keep checking MousePlanet for the latest news.
Summer is peak time at Disneyland Resort with the highlight being Disneyland Park's birthday on July 17. The park celebrates 65 years in 2020—not a huge milestone, but enough to pay homage to the date. Along with the anniversary of Walt's original theme park comes milestones for those attractions that opened with the park as a whole. Spend the day celebrating the Disneyland way by visiting or riding these attractions, also celebrating 65 years at the "Happiest Place on Earth":
- Main Street USA: Main Street Cinema, Main Street Vehicles Fire Engine, Disneyland Railroad Main Street Station
- Fantasyland: Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Mad Tea Party, King Arthur's Carrousel, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Casey Jr. Circus Train (July 31, 1955 debut).
- Adventureland: Jungle Cruise
- Tomorrowland: Autopia
- Frontierland: Golden Horseshoe Stage, Mark Twain Riverboat
August is a slow month for 2020–no D23 Expo nor E-ticket attraction anniversary. However, if you visit Fantasyland, take a ride on Dumbo with feather in hand to mark his 65th birthday at Disneyland Park on August 16.
Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort comes fast once summer concludes. Look for Halloween decor to pop up throughout the Resort around Labor Day weekend to commence the holiday season. Through September and October, guests can revel in happy hauntings, including photo ops with costumed characters and hundreds of Halloween-themed treats–both savory and sweet. And Disneyland Resort just announced that the Halloween party will once again be "Oogie Boogie's Bash" set in Disney California Adventure Park. This separately ticketed event sells out quickly so as soon as ticket dates are announced, MousePlanet will share the news.
The first full weekend in November usually marks the start of the holiday season at Disneyland Resort. However, 2020 indicates that Halloween is on a Saturday and November 1 is a Sunday. Stay tuned for a release date as to when the Resort puts out Christmas decor, including the 60-foot-tall Christmas tree in Disneyland Park's Main Street USA. That being said, Disneyland Resort is the best place to be for the holidays! If you can plan even one day to visit during November or December, take the chance and come hungry! One of the biggest draws for Holiday Time at Disneyland Resort is the food–delectable desserts, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, festive cocktails, gingerbread treats, and the famous hand-pulled Disneyland Resort candy canes! Guests can also enjoy meeting Santa in either park and in Downtown Disney, or splurge and take the "Holiday Time at Disneyland" Guided Tour and receive VIP seating at A Christmas Fantasy Parade.
Disney Festival of Holidays takes place in Disney California Adventure Park during the holiday season. Multiple cultures collide in this festive gathering which showcases holidays such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah. The highlight is the Festival Foods Marketplace, where you can sample tamales, Shepherd's Pie, and plenty of brews.
SOMETIME IN 2020…
Tenaya Stone Spa
Also scheduled for a grand opening sometime in spring of 2020 is the new spa located inside Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Tenaya Stone Spa replaces the original Mandara Spa and boasts "good-for-the soul experiences". Expect head-to-foot treatment while you unwind.
Each day at Disneyland Resort is a special day full of memories and magic. Add in some of these worthy dates celebrating attractions, events, and festivals and Disneyland Resort definitely is the go-to place for 2020. Lucky for us there is an extra day, too—February 29! And don't forget, MousePlanet will keep you current with all new information released by Disneyland Resort. Happy New Year!