The Walt Disney Company has a big birthday to celebrate in 2023. It's celebrating 100 years by throwing the biggest event yet in Disney history: Disney 100 Years of Wonder. The heart of the celebration takes place at Disneyland Resort, and that's where the party kicked off Jan. 27, 2023. The party will eventually spread to Walt Disney World Resort and other international Disney Parks as part of this global celebration. What can you expect for the Disney 100th anniversary celebration? Let’s hop in to explore everything we know so far, but keep hopping back for updates — Disney has more magical moments up its sleeve!
What Is Disney 100?
The Disney 100th anniversary celebration is a worldwide event, but Disneyland Resort is right at the center of it. Disneyland celebrates with special décor, character outfits, food, drink and merchandise. The most exciting news is that the celebration brings new nighttime entertainment, including a new fireworks show and a new version of World of Color. The Magic Happens parade returns in spring, and a new ride opens with the celebration as well.
At Walt Disney World, EPCOT gets a new fireworks show. At Magic Kingdom, the fan-favorite "Happily Ever After" show returns April 3, 2023, with all-new projections along Main Street, U.S.A.
Disney World is still celebrating its 50th-anniversary celebration until March 31, 2023, but we hope to have more updates on the Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration at Disney World Resort soon.
Internationally, Hong Kong Disneyland will unveil a new statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.
At D23 2022, then Disney CEO Bob Chapek said, “Ten decades of creativity, innovation, and determination created The Walt Disney Company you know today — the most enduring and beloved name in entertainment. It’s an awesome responsibility to lead Disney as we begin our second century of telling stories and creating magic that will endure for another 100 years.” We frogs are here for it!
Disney 100 Year of Wonder Dates and Tickets
Finally, the big day is here! The year-long Disney 100th anniversary celebration started Jan. 27, 2023, at Disneyland Resort. The new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride also opened Jan. 27, 2023, ahead of the rest of the renovated Toontown (which is reopening March 19, 2023). The "Magic Happens: parade returns to Disneyland Park Feb. 24, 2023. Hop back for further dates, especially for further information on the celebration at Walt Disney World.
When is the best time to visit? Our hopful post on the best time to visit Disneyland can guide you in choosing when to visit. If you want to catch "Magic Happens", then plan your visit for spring or summer 2023. We do not yet have an end date for this year-long celebration.
Tickets and Reservations
You’ll want to purchase theme park tickets and make hotel reservations in advance for this special event. Your froggy friends at Undercover Tourist can help you save money on tickets and hotels. Plus if you need a rental car, add it to your cart and purchase it simultaneously with your tickets to unlock even deeper savings. You still need to make a theme park reservation to visit the theme parks. Here is how to access the availability calendar for theme park reservations. (For those with Park Hopper tickets, starting Feb. 4, guests will be able to park hop as early as 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m.)
Keep in mind that you can get the best deals on Disneyland tickets from your froggy friends (we offer $5 off deals, especially around holidays!) and be ready to reserve your dates. We even sell the SoCal resident 3-day promo ticket for less! If Disney were to raise their prices, you can lock in the lowest ticket prices with us. We can’t stress the importance of purchasing tickets early!
Disney 100 Entertainment and Attractions at Disneyland
We've created a downloadable D100 Cheat Sheet so you'll know exactly what's in store!
To further break it down, two new nighttime spectaculars and a new ride make their debut for the Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration. In spring, the iridescent "Magic Happens" parade resumes and the rest of Mickey's Toontown reopens.
World of Color — ONE at Disney California Adventure (Jan. 27, 2023)
This all-new nighttime spectacular celebrates the legendary storytelling that Walt Disney began 100 years ago. The story shows how a single action, such as a drop of water, creates a ripple that can grow into a wave of change. The journey builds to an uplifting finale that represents people coming together as many droplets of water forming an ocean. The show features courageous and inspirational characters from both classic and modern Disney films, as well as the new, original song, “Start a Wave,” and 17 other compositions. It's the first Disneyland Resort nighttime spectacular to combine characters and music from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, the Avengers and Star Wars all in the same show.
During our preview of the show, we discovered just how breathtaking World of Color - ONE is! It's so frogciting to see Star Wars and Marvel characters and storylines meshed in with our favorite Disney and Pixar films. Here is the entire show!
Leap over to our toadally awesome guide to viewing the water spectacular, World of Color. You'll want to read up on joining the virtual queue for this show, as you'll be able to access the viewing area through the virtual queue system starting at 12 p.m. PT daily. It's available for guests who have entered Disney California Adventure for the day or have entered Disneyland Park with a Park Hopper ticket. On opening night, available spots for the show were filled quickly — within seconds. So set that alarm for 11:55 a.m. and get to a spot with a great connection to join the virtual queue.
Also, our post on Disneyland dining packages can help you decide if a dining package may be beneficial for your family. Show times for World of Color - ONE are usually 9 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., but make sure to check the schedule on the day of your visit. We like saving money where we can, but having a backup plan can eliminate the stress of joining a queue and figuring out where to eat in the meantime!
"Wondrous Journeys" projection show (with fireworks on select nights) at Disneyland Park (Jan. 27, 2023)
This new nighttime show features all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date. The pyrotechnic and projection show, which takes place at 9:35 p.m., is filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart. Projections turn Main Street, U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle, the façade of “it’s a small world” and the Rivers of America into an artist’s canvas. Most nights "Wondrous Journeys" is mainly a projection show, with the addition of fireworks on select nights only (usually weekends, holidays and summer nights). “Wondrous Journeys” also features a new song titled, “It’s Wondrous.” Here's our guide for viewing Disneyland fireworks no matter which version of the show you get to see.
Throughout the show, you'll be swept away on an adventure of musical, storytelling scenes from Disney's famous animated films. The show celebrates the imagination, talent and impact of Disney Animation dreamers over the past 100 years (from Mickey Mouse to Mirabel). Many of the show's projection effects simulate blank pieces of paper, pencil sketches, and bits of color, as the animation style effects breathe life into classic, and recent, beloved Disney characters. Keep your eyes on the skies above Sleeping Beauty Castle to see the Blue Fairy and Baymax fly by! This show is on fire (literally)!
If you have a MagicBand+, your band will come to life with dancing lights and synchronized vibrations during both Wondrous Journeys and World of Color — ONE.
Although it was just introduced to the park, "Wondrous Journeys" is extremely popular, and for good reason. We highly recommend planning out your viewing well in advance. The front of the Sleeping beauty Castle was crowded to maximum capacity as of 5 p.m. on opening night. Main Street U.S.A. was full over an hour and a half before show time. Those are the only two viewing areas where you can catch a glimpse of Baymax flying around the castle. It's a really dramatic moment and the crowd loves it. If you like to avoid crowds, try the "it's a small world" or Rivers of America viewing areas. At Rivers of America, the images are projected onto water screens. It's a more peaceful place to watch the show, although different.
Here is a close look at the show in front of the castle.
Disney 100 Cavalcade
You can watch and dance along with many Disney characters in the afternoon cavalcade. It's at 1 p.m. daily, but check showtimes in the Disneyland app by typing in "Mickey and Friends Cavalcade." It's set to a new song that will have you singing along in no time. It began at "it's a small world" the day we visited. You'll see a variety of Disney characters marching and dancing together. Then Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and Chip 'n' Dale appear on a special float.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride in Mickey’s Toontown (Jan. 27, 2023)
All aboard! Woot, woot! This whimsical new ride rolled into Mickey's Toontown right on time for the Disney 100 celebration! It is the first major Mickey-themed ride at Disneyland. The queue differs from the version at Disney's Hollywood Studios, in Disney World. The queue is filled with Easter eggs of classic Mickey films and shorts. We made a list of the top 10!
The ride features an original story (and catchy theme song) in which Mickey and Minnie are premiering their newest short, “Perfect Picnic,” at the El CapiTOON Theatre. Before you enter the theatre, you'll explore the special exhibit featuring props and costumes from the toon world. Then, you’ll step out of the human world and into the unpredictable cartoon world of Mickey and Minnie, and board a trackless train with Goofy as your conductor.
With Goofy at the wheel, what could hoppen? It's a magical, out-of-control trip with surprising twists and turns! Hold onto your ears because it's a multi-dimensional, cartoon world with lots of unpredictable wists and turns. The ride uses state-of-the-art technology and dazzling visual effects to immerse you into Mickey's and Minnie's zany, animated realm.
This ride opened for the Disney 100th anniversary celebration ahead of the rest of the reimagined Toontown, which will open a little later — March 19, 2023. A new lawn area is open (right next to Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin), and the area of Toontown where you can enjoy photo opportunities and interactive props, is also open again! We saw many families enjoying the new space and the returning hands-on play area. You must have an individual Lightning Lane or a virtual queue boarding group to enter the land at this point in time.
You'll need to join the free virtual queue, which is accessible through the Disneyland app. There is not a traditional standby line for this attraction for the time being. The virtual queue opens twice daily at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT. Spots are very difficult to reserve and are gone within a second. This is not an exaggeration. The ride is also available as an individual Lightning Lane selection through the Disney Genie+ system, which will help secure you and your squad a time to get on the ride during your visit. Keep in mind though, the Lightning Lane skips the majority of the interactive queue. If you wear a MagicBand+, pay attention to what happens when you enter the boarding area.
"Magic Happens" Parade (Feb. 24, 2023)
This magical parade originally made its way down the parade route on Feb. 28, 2020, for a limited run. You can read all about it in our "Magic Happens" post.
For most guests (those who did not hoppen to visit during the first two weeks of March 2020), this is a brand-new parade. We have been toadally looking forward to its triumphant return!
Reimagined Toontown (March 19, 2023)
Toontown is getting a fresh makeover in honor of the new ride. It features grassy play spaces perfect for tadpoles to get the wiggles out. One of the new areas coming to Toontown will be CenTOONial Park, showcasing a fountain designed for play, including water tables. The fountain will be brought to life at night, as well. Nearby, a dreaming tree will provide opportunities to play, crawl and explore.
Goofy's House and Donald's Boat are being "reimagined in new and exciting ways" with all-new sensory experiences. Goofy's How-To-Play Yard is a playground perfect for tadpoles of all ages with a soft, spongey ground, an elevated clubhouse and a sound garden. Donald's Duck Pond has a splashy play area featuring giant spinning water lilies, balance beams and rocking toys. Gadget's Go Coaster returns with new and exciting changes. Mickey's House, Minnie's House and Roger Rabbit's CarTOON Spin will also reopen along with the refurbished land.
As mentioned, a few areas near the entrance to Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway are already open for people who have an individual Lightning Lane or a Boarding Group for the ride. The opening was delayed from March 8 due to January rain.
New Entertainment and Attractions at Disney World
Disney World is still in the swing of things in its 50th-anniversary celebration, so we do not have firm dates for the Disney 100 starting date at this resort. But after the 50th celebration ends, two nighttime spectaculars are set to light up the skies in 2023.
At EPCOT, an all-new nighttime spectacular will come to life on the World Showcase Lagoon in late 2023 (until then, Harmonious will have its last show April 2, 2023, and EPCOT Forever will return for a limited-time run starting April 3). Meanwhile, Happily Ever After fireworks will also return April 3, 2023, to Magic Kingdom. This beloved show returns to Disney World with enhancements. It may not be specific to the Disney 100th anniversary, but we certainly jump for joy and think it’s something to celebrate for sure! It’s expected to return sometime in 2023.
A long-awaited ride zooms in during spring 2023. The TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster is set to open April 4, 2023, at Magic Kingdom Park.
Disney 100th Anniversary Décor
Disneyland Resort is dressed in its sparkling platinum best. To celebrate "wonder," the Sleeping Beauty Castle is decorated with platinum banners and bunting. Look for the three Good Fairies over the archway. They illuminate it with shimmering pixie dust and another medallion. Two water fountains spring to life on either side of the castle in the moat. To top it off, you can make a wish on the star sparkling from the tower.
Both parks are shimmering in iridescent silver, with royal purple buntings and accents on Main Street U.S.A. and on Buena Vista Street. Large platinum medallions can be found at park entrances and as part of the décor. Look for the giant medallion in Carthay Circle.
The back of the medallion says, "Disneyland Resort: Where Wonder Comes to Life." There is also a medallion in Downtown Disney and at the park entrance.
Across the resort, guests can find platinum statues and medallions which make great photo opportunities. We found Mickey at the start of Main Street and Minnie Mouse on the Tomorrowland side of The Hub. MagicBand+ even interacts with select Disney100 decor.
Even the Monorail is fully decorated in a holographic coat for Disney 100. It's so colorful and shiny! It's toadally fun to watch it go by and see it change colors in the sunlight.
Mickey, Minnie and their pals are radiant in their celebration outfits. The shimmering outfits reflect Disney’s optimism and creativity. Platinum withstands the test of time, just like our favorite Disney characters. You can see them in their outfits in Town Square in Disneyland.
Disney 100 Food and Beverage
As with any Disney celebration, you can expect special food and beverage selections. That also includes food accessories such as Mickey sippers, popcorn buckets, tumblers (there are three kinds of tumblers!) and more. Hop over to our Disney 100 Foodie Guide for all the yummy eats and food accessories.
Disney 100 Merchandise and More
You cannot leave a party without a goodie bag. In this case, it’s going to be a bag of platinum, black and light purple ears, spirit jerseys, clothing items, toys, decor, bags and sippers. Our Disney 100 merchandise post has all the deets. But more items will be added over time as more collections are released.
Merchandise has started arriving at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Many items from the original collection (such as the jacket, ears, and purple hoodie) were already sold out by opening day, but we hope they will be restocked soon.
Three more collections arrive in 2023! The Eras Collections launched on Jan. 27, 2023. We expect to see more revealed as the celebration goes on throughout the year.
Starting Feb. 4, 2023, and continuing through the Disney100 Celebration, PhotoPass downloads from any rides are complimentary to all ticketed park guests at Disneyland Resort.
The Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A. is home to a new exhibit inspired by Walt's vision for Disneyland to become the place where his films come to life. You'll see artwork created by original Disney animators for some of Walt's earliest films alongside concept artwork by Disney Imagineers for Disneyland's experiences.
How to Plan for the Disney 100 Years of Wonder Celebration
As we mentioned earlier, the Disney theme park reservation system is still in place. That means you need to make your hotel and park reservations in addition to general park admission.
Park hopping is a great way to stay flexible and sometimes access better theme park availability at Disneyland Resort. If park hopping, you only need to make a theme park reservation for the first park you plan on visiting. It's the same price to add park hopping to a 5-day ticket as it does to a 1-day ticket at Disneyland, so it's worth adding it to Disneyland tickets for longer stays. Then you can hop back and forth after 1 p.m. at Disneyland (and after 2 p.m. at Disney World). But you can hop as of 11 a.m. beginning Feb. 4, 2023! We'd suggest making your park reservation for the park you'd most like to visit if you'll be hopping.
Here are some of our other tips and tricks when heading to the Disney 100th anniversary celebration:
- Large celebrations tend to attract crowds. If you have your heart set on visiting during peak times, you should start planning now and lock in your park reservations! For the best availability, book early.
- We highly recommend placing your mobile order well in advance, especially for lunch and dinner meals. Plan meals in advance. Many D100 foods sell out early so get them in the morning if possible
- Staying on-site? Make sure you take advantage of the perks available to you! Utilize Early Entry in the mornings for the lowest wait times. Also, be sure to link your hotel reservation to your Disneyland account and app. That way, you may be able to access a better theme park availability schedule than other guests when making theme park reservations.
- Get acquainted with virtual queues to access Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway and World of Color — ONE. Mickey & Minnie's virtual queue opens twice daily at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., while World of Color opens once every day at noon. The first show of the night goes quickly, and the last show of the night is usually less crowded. Set alarms to remind yourself to join them.
- Consider dining packages. We break down the packages we think are worth it or where you can save your money.
- Get a multi-day ticket so you can see and do it all.
- Consider getting Disney Genie+ service to shorten your wait times for rides.
What are you most excited about for the Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration? If you are looking to visit Disneyland or Disney World you can purchase discount theme park tickets and hotel rooms directly through Undercover Tourist. Be sure to make your theme park reservations as soon as you can after purchasing as some days will fill up.
Related: Full Frogtastic Guide to Disneyland Events in 2023