Next year The Walt Disney Company turns 100, and you better believe their theme parks will be celebrating such a nice, round, significant anniversary. Today they announced that the first leg of Disney 100 Years of Wonder will start at the original theme park, Disneyland, on Jan. 27, 2023. Disney100 will feature a number of special events, shows, treats, and products, along with the debut of Disneyland’s latest ride.
Let’s start with the new attraction. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which has been entertaining guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since March 2020, will open at Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland on Jan. 27. This slick dark ride takes guests inside one of the modern Mickey Mouse shorts, using audio animatronics, projections, and giant screens to create an immersive animated environment. Toontown’s going through a major facelift that won’t be completed by Jan. 27, but the new ride will be up and running early in honor of the company’s 100th.
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland will don some special birthday apparel, with platinum banners and other accents debuting in time for the celebration. A new centerpiece above the castle’s gate will feature the Three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty as they pretty up the castle for the party. Concept art also reveals water fountains and a new star atop the castle.
Sleeping Beauty Castle will also be just one part of the canvas for a new nighttime show called “Wondrous Journeys.” This celebration of the company’s century will pay tribute to every movie made by Walt Disney Animation Studios, and will spread out from the Castle to Main Street U.S.A., the Rivers of America, and that beautiful clockwork facade of It’s a Small World. Disney has mastered the use of projections in large-scale, immersive nighttime shows, and if it’s as good as other recent shows “Wondrous Journeys” could be amazing.
Meanwhile, next door, at Disney’s California Adventure, the always popular “World of Color” show gets refreshed as “World of Color: One.” The updated show will have a new focus on the history of Disney storytelling and debut a new song, “Start a Wave.”
The last of today’s announcements revealed that the “Magic Happens” parade will be returning to Disneyland in January. When “Magic Happens” premiered two years ago, it was the first new daytime parade at Disneyland in almost a decade. Its opening day was Feb. 27, 2020—meaning it closed just over two weeks later, when the park shut down at the start of the pandemic. Disneyland hasn’t had a daytime parade since, so the return of “Magic Happens” is also the revival of the park’s history of daytime entertainment.
Expect Disney to announce even more about Disney100 at Disneyland and Disney 100 Years of Wonder throughout 2023. With Disney World’s 50th anniversary party running until the end of March, you can probably expect the 100th anniversary celebration to start there in April. We’ll know what the company has planned for Disney World and its international theme parks soon. For more on what’s coming to Disneyland in January, check out the the Disney Parks Blog.