A Disneyland attraction whose roots stretch back to 1962 is set to reopen after being closed for over a year, and when it returns it’ll have a new, but familiar, name. If you’re a fan of treehouses, it’s pretty good news for you.
The updated, refurbished, and renamed Adventureland Treehouse will be opening in 2023, replacing the Tarzan’s Treehouse attraction that opened in 1999, and evoking the original Swiss Family Treehouse that opened in the same location just under 60 years ago. Announced today in a Disney Parks Blog post, the redesigned walkthrough attraction’s full name makes it clear that today’s Imagineers were thinking of the 1960s original when they worked on this project. Both the blog post and a press release refer to it as “Adventure Treehouse inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson,” an unwieldy name almost nobody in the real world will ever use, but that plays off the love of the park’s legacy felt by Disney’s more nostalgic fans. It also brings the new attraction’s branding a little bit closer to its counterparts at Disney parks in Florida, Paris and Tokyo, which have all retained the Swiss Family Robinson connection.
Don’t expect the original Swiss family, though. This treehouse belongs to a new group of stranded colonizers, one with a love of music, astronomy, and art. As guests walk through the attraction, they’ll see where the family’s mom keeps her musical instruments, and where her daughter studies the night sky. In the father’s art studio you’ll find his sketches of the rooms they’ve built, and Disney promises an “ingenious” dining room. And although Disney hasn’t said anything about this, it seems like a safe bet that the Society of Explorers and Adventurers lore its designers have been seeding into many of its projects over the last two decades will play a part here, too.
If you’ve been to Disneyland in the last year, you’ve no doubt noticed that the treehouse has been covered with tarps and surrounded by fencing. I’ve got a soft spot for the original version (which, again, you can still find at the Magic Kingdom), so I’m excited to see how the new one will update its legacy for today’s crowds. Tarzan’s Treehouse always felt like an obvious, awkward half-measure, but perhaps returning to the spirit of the Swiss Family Robinson will result in a better designed, more thematically coherent attraction. I’m just glad to see the treehouse will remain; it’s a really cool but often overlooked part of the park, and does a good job effectively fading the landscape from Adventureland into New Orleans Square. We’ll see how good a job Disney does with it at some point in 2023.