'Sup?! Tad here, the resident family thrill-seeker and videographer. I always have my green finger on the pulse of what’s hoppening in the parks, so I am toadally excited to tell you about some of the awesome rides and parades end events that opened at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park in 2020. If you want to look ahead at what's coming to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood in 2021 and beyond, we have a post for that too!
Normally, we'd also cover what opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, but the new ride, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! was just days away from opening when the theme parks closed in spring 2020! So we look forward to adding it to our 2021 list of things we are excited about (which is rapidly growing!).
So, it's a bit of a sad story in 2020. The theme parks were open for about two and a half months before this virus swept through the planet. Perhaps you've heard of COVID-19? If not, hop back in your time machine and travel literally anywhere else as quickly as you can (but only if you're absolutely sure you haven't been within 6 feet of another person unmasked for more than a few minutes — we certainly do not want you infecting another time period). May we recommend the Disneyland opening in 1955?
Anyhow, because the parks were closed, our list of what opened at Disneyland in 2020 is short and sweet. That just means some of the cool things that should have opened — we're looking at you, Avengers Campus — will give us something to look forward to in 2021!
Let’s hop to it and explore what opened at Disneyland in 2020.
What Opened at Disneyland and Universal in 2020
Disney California Adventure Park
"Onward" Characters Arrived at Pixar Pier — arrived March 6, 2020 — Ian and Barley Lightfoot, teen elf brothers from "Onward," greeted guests in Disney California Adventure Park. They actually made their debut during PIXAR Nite on March 5, 2020, and then greeted guests daily at Pixar Pier. Hopfully, these elf brothers return once the park reopens.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — opened Jan. 17, 2020 — This new ride in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened in January 2020. Guests stepped inside an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order, with an appearance by Kylo Ren. This ride had a virtual queue. Hop over to our Galactic Guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge before you visit for the latest updates on how to access this popular attraction.
If you cannot wait until you can experience this epic ride, check out my YouTube video. But it's full of spoilers so if you want to be surprised when you ride it, then as Yoda says, "Patience, you must have."
"Magic Happens" Parade — Feb. 28, 2020 — An all-new, extraordinary parade made its way down Main Street, U.S.A. Led by the big cheese, Mickey, and his pals, this magical daytime spectacular includes nine new floats and beautiful costumes. Newer Disney characters made their way down the parade route for the first time ever. Moana and Maui, and Miguel and Dante waved from atop colorful floats. Anna and Elsa explored the mysteries of an enchanted forest with Olaf. Kristoff pushed a cart, followed by his pal Sven, though a snow flurry.
Many more colorful floats and characters from "Peter Pan," "Cinderella," "Aladdin," "Pinocchio," "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Sword in the Stone" join in the magic, along with high-energy music that combines the new song with classic Disney tunes. One magical float includes "Sleeping Beauty" characters such as fairy godmothers Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, with Aurora. You can see Aurora's shimmering gown switch between hues of pinks and blues. The parade's grand finale float is joined by smaller floats depicting magical moments from several classic Disney stories.
Take a look at the parade I shot for our YouTube channel. I'm so hoppy I got to experience this magical parade in 2020. I hope it returns as soon as it is safe to do so!
There were a few refurbishments around Disneyland in 2020. Some were completed, while others got started, so we will get to enjoy the finished product in 2021.
Tomorrowland entrance has a new look — The future looks bright at Disneyland with new colorful planters and widened pathways at the entrance to Tomorrowland. Hooray! Workers have removed the large "french fry" rocks that blocked views and caused pedestrian "traffic jams."
Snow White's Scary Adventures started a major refurbishment — Jan. 7, 2020 — This classic Fantasyland dark ride, which has been around since Disneyland Park opened, is getting a makeover. We can't wait to see it when it reopens. The ride is getting an enhanced storyline and all-new scenes with new music, state-of-the-art audio and visual technology, LED black lighting, laser projections and a new animation system. You'll see exterior updates, as well. Look for completely refreshed new fairy tale–inspired details that complement Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The Disneyland crews have been replacing show sets, props and scenes in this iconic ride. They are also refurbishing rock work and making electrical upgrades, according to the building permit. The permit also calls for a new projector platform. We are hoppy to see that one of our favorite Disneyland scary rides will be sticking around to delight (and terrify) many more generations to come. As you may know, Disney World removed the Snow White’s Scary Adventures dark ride in 2012. (Although Disney World guests get to enjoy the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster instead).
Asian Street Eats — opened January 2020 — A new Asian takeout window popped up in Downtown Disney just before Lunar New Year! You'll find the quick-service restuarant in front of the now closed Rainforest Cafe. The Asian Street Eats menu includes a flavorful variety of Asian dishes. There's a mixed bowl, scallion pancake wrap, potstickers and a selection of Japanese teas and sodas. We've tried all the dishes — yum!
Expansion of Downtown Disney into Buena Vista Street — Nov. 19, 2020 — At the end of 2020, we got a special treat. The Downtown Disney District expanded temporarily into the Buena Vista Street area of the closed Disney California Adventure Park. While it is not exactly the same as the park being open, we were hoppy to get a taste of the magic and to drink in the views we've missed so much in 2020. Hop over to our posts on Buena Vista Street shopping and dining and tips for visiting Downtown Disney while the parks are closed for all the deets.
If you're planning a trip, it's great to see what opened in Disneyland in 2020 so you don't miss out on the brand-new fun! If you are looking for discount theme park tickets, rental cars, transportation or hotels near Disneyland or Universal Studios, you can score some hoppin’ good deals through Undercover Tourist. Choose “Los Angeles” and then hop to it!