A note from Tad: The Southern California theme parks have temporary closures in place in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19. For more details about park closures, read our theme park reopening status blog post, and our What to Expect When the California Theme Parks Reopen post, which we will continue to update with the latest news.
'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 for some of the upcoming events, rides and new lands coming to Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, Universal Studios Hollywood and more. For those of you looking for what opened last year, we've got you covered!
Let’s hop to it and explore what's coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2020 and beyond! Also, don't froget to bookmark this page so you can come back and see what's opened as you get closer to your trip!
What’s Coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2020 and Beyond
Disney California Adventure Park
Lunar New Year — Jan. 17 - Feb. 9, 2020 — The Lunar New Year Celebration is a multi-cultural event that includes food, authentic performances and your favorite Disney characters. This event takes place at Paradise Gardens inside Disney California Adventure. Colorful lanterns and other décor welcome you, while hanging banners written in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese wish you a Happy Lunar New Year. You can join the time-honored tradition of writing wishes of good fortune and happiness for your friends and family, receive customized Chinese calligraphy and brush art, color, do free crafts and purchase some traditional Lunar New Year treats. You can find delectable Asian meals at Paradise Garden Grill or try a sampling of Asian cuisine from the Lunar New Year festival marketplace kiosks.
Most years, there is a six-minute nighttime water show before World of Color each night — "Hurry Home — Lunar New Year Celebration," featuring Mulan and Mushu.
Lunar New Year is a well-attended event. The lines to greet characters can get quite long, so hop in line early (by 11 a.m.) for the shortest wait to meet characters (such as Mickey, Minnie, The Three Little Pigs, Mulan or Mushu) dressed in their Lunar New Year’s best. There are several showings of Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession throughout the day that celebrate with colorfully-costumed dancers, a dragon and drummers. The year 2020 is the Year of the Mouse, so Mickey and Minnie join the Procession!
Disneyland After Dark: PIXAR Nite — March 5, 2020 — Disney California Adventure gets two Disney After Dark parties in 2020! PIXAR Nite is first one in that park. This separately ticketed event took place after the park closed, but guests could enter early at 5 p.m. Some partygoers dressed in theme (costume guidelines for special events apply) and boogied down at interactive dance parties with characters from "Monsters Inc." and "The Incredibles," enjoyed special character meet-and-greets, photo-ops and themed food, drink, decor and merchandise.
"Onward" Characters Coming to Pixar Pier — arrived March 6, 2020 — Ian and Barley Lightfoot, teen elf brothers from "Onward," are greeting guests in Disney California Adventure Park. They actually made their debut during PIXAR Nite on March, 5, 2020, and now they greet guests daily at Pixar Pier.
Disneyland After Dark: Villains Nite — being rescheduled — The second Disney California Adventure Disneyland After Dark Party in 2020 is dark indeed, with a villain theme! The separately ticketed event takes place after the park closes, but guests may enter early at 6 p.m. Tickets went on sale to the public as of Dec. 4, 2019 (Dec. 3 for annual passholders) and are sold out. This party will be rescheduled for after the parks reopen. A current ticket for Villains Nite will be automatically eligible for the rescheduled event.
Party attendees often dress elaborately in theme (costume guidelines for special events apply). This party has a Villains Cabaret with a cast of outlaws who will sing and dance their way through a revue. Guests will be spellbound by DJ-hosted dance parties and enjoy character meet and greets with nefarious Disney fiends, fun photo ops and themed food, drink, decor and merchandise.
Avengers Campus — coming soon — At Disney California Adventure, you can see walls surrounding the now-closed A Bug’s Land with the Stark Industries logo (from Marvel’s "Iron Man" movies) on the gates. Behind the fence, they are making way for a new, Super Hero–themed land called Avengers Campus to open soon. You see, the Stark Expo in Hong Kong was attacked by the forces of Hydra, so that inspired the the Avengers to set up new and unique headquarters around the planet to recruit and train the next generation of heroes. Sounds MARVEL-ous to me!
Avengers Campus will feature Spider-Man and the Avengers, including members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Black Widow, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor, Loki, Black Panther with his Dora Milaje and Iron Man! Did you read that right? Iron Man!
Keep your eyes to the skies. What's most exciting is that Disney has released video showing the use of "struntronic" technology to have Spider-Man leaping and flipping through the air over the new land. We cannot wait to see this in action!
The land will open in phases, starting with the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB) and the Pym Test Kitchen. The second phase will bring another exciting ride to the land.
WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure — coming soon — An immersive, interactive ride-through attraction is coming to the new land. The Marvel story is expanding with WEB, an attraction-based organization (founded by Tony Stark). This is home to the new Spider-Man experience and the first Disney ride to feature Spider-Man. Have you always secretly wished you could sling webs from your own wrist just like Spider-Man? Here’s your chance (thanks to immersive technology)! Attend an open house at WEB, where the inventors invite you to take a test drive of the WEB Slinger vehicle. You can sling webs and help weave a web to trap Peter Parker's Spider-Bots. The bots are usually helpful, but it seems they have some bugs of their own and have gotten stuck in replication mode. Can you harness your own super powers to save the Campus from chaos? This ride has no height requirement and is appropriate for all ages.
Spider-Man will be swinging through Avengers Campus in a redesigned Spidey-suit. The suit will be on display at Disney California Adventure soon so guests can get a taste of what’s to come.
Pym Test Kitchen — coming soon — You may be familiar with how Ant-Man and The Wasp can use subatomic “Pym Particles” to alter their size and mass grow or shrink. Just wait until you see this eatery, where the foods are enhanced with Pym Particles. The foods may be shrunken down or grown to a larger size! Enjoy massive meals, tiny treats and shareable bites. Being that the quick-service restaurant was built in an old lab facility, you can enjoy decor that includes giant soda cans and condiment bottles, and read the menu off massive cell phones! I am hopping excited to see the menus. I have a question though. Can I shrink my vegetables but expand my dessert (while keeping the calories and nutritional content the same, of course)?
The Sanctum — coming soon — In the late 1940s, a Stark Industries complex was built on a remote location near Los Angeles. There had long been rumors about unexplained energies and unexplainable events that took place. Now Tony Stark has invited Doctor Strange to this Avengers Campus to teach recruits about the mystic arts. Doctor Strange has suspended the cloaking spells surrounding the area, revealing the Sanctum to the world! Wait, has it been hidden at Disney California Adventure this whole time?
See ancient ruins that have been hidden for centuries. Learn from Doctor Strange about an ancient battle that threatened to tear a hole in the fabric of time and reality and how that battle led to the creation of the Orb of Cagliostro. You'll want to visit at night, when the The Orb is known to be especially active. When it's dark, you might see the Sanctum flowing with magical energy!
You'll get to experience Dr. Strange demonstrating his mystical abilities, and he will open your eyes to the mysteries of the multiverse.
WEB Suppliers — coming soon — No doubt after riding WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, you're going to want to get your very own Spider-Bot robot sidekick along with at-home kits to build webs and other accessories. Don't forget your Avengers swag and souvenirs at this shop. In the meantime, visit The Collector's Warehouse at the exit to Guardians of the Galaxy to get your Super Hero comic books, kid costumes, graphic T-shirts, action figures and other souvenirs.
Avengers Headquarters — coming soon — The iconic Avengers Headquarters building will open when the land opens, but the ride it houses will come at a later date. Be sure to lift your eyes to the rooftops to spy Avengers and the Quinjet parked up there. The Avengers have heard reports that a villain called the Taskmaster is planning to break into the Avengers command center. Black Widow, Iron Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel and others will be greeting new recruits and keeping an eye out for threats. Should the Taskmaster and his crew appear, the Super Heroes will be ready to spring into action. Watch for a confrontation that takes place all over the building, including the rooftop!
This building is the entrance to a brand-new “E-Ticket” attraction (opening at a later date) that puts you right in the middle of the action. Step aboard a Quinjet and fly along with the Avengers to Wakanda and places beyond. You’ll team up with the Avengers and fight alongside them to save the world in battle against powerful villains. Do you have what it takes to defeat them? The brand-new ride technology is unlike anything you've seen before!
We know you can't wait for this new land. In the meantime, you can ride the toadally awesome Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! next to those Stark Industries gates and meet various Avengers in Hollywood Land.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — opened Jan. 17, 2020 — This new ride in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is now open. Guests step inside an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order, with an appearance by Kylo Ren. This ride may have a virtual queue during your visit. 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.
Disneyland After Dark: 80s Nite — Jan. 29, 2020 — This party took us back to the 80s, when music videos were popular and hairstyles were big. The event required a separate ticket and occurred inside Disneyland Park. Guests could enter the park and mix in with daytime guests as of 6 p.m. Partygoers dressed in theme (costume guidelines for special events apply) and enjoyed dance parties, special character meet and greets from the decade, a special fireworks show, photo-ops and themed food, drink, decor and merchandise.
Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts' Nite — Feb. 12 and 13, 2020 — The second Disneyland After Dark party of 2020 was also in Disneyland, and had two date nights available. The actual party kicked off after the park closes. Partygoers got to experience love-song dance parties, a royal ball, special character meet and greets with Disney couples, sweet photo-ops and themed food, drink, decor and merchandise.
"Magic Happens" Parade — Feb. 28, 2020 — An all-new, extraordinary parade now makes 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 make their way down the parade route for the first time. You'll see Moana and Maui, and Miguel and Dante on floats. Anna and Elsa explore the mysteries of an enchanted forest with Olaf. Kristoff pushes a cart, following with his pal Sven though a snow flurry.
Many more colorful floats and characters from "Peter Pan," "Cinderella," "Aladdin," "Pinocchio," "The Princess & the Frog" and "The Sword in the Stone" will 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 in her shimmering gown caught 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.
Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival — Feb. 28 - April 21, 2020 — This event is a California foodie's paradise, and one of the top Disneyland events in 2020! The festival takes place each year during March and April. Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival offers guests the chance to partake in delicious food and wine offerings every day, plus special workshops, classes and experiences on the weekends. Tad and Lily love participating in Jr. Chef with Goofy, and we all love the free treat that comes with the free experience.
Guests can taste food and drinks at the Festival Marketplaces, themed around different tastes and drinks of California. Foodie fans can reserve seats at premium experiences with famous chefs. You’ll also encounter musical entertainment and special character meet-and-greets, including opportunities to meet some rarely-seen characters. You could do some shopping in 2020, with a new line of festival-themed headwear, apparel, décor and cooking gadgets. The Sip and Savor Pass returned for all guests in 2020!
If you can't get enough of California from all the fun and food, we have uplifting news! Soarin' Over California swept in and took over Soarin' Around the World during Food and Wine Festival from Feb. 28 to April 21, 2020.
Tomorrowland entrance gets a new look — completed 2020 — The future looks bright at Disneyland with new colorful planters and widened pathways at the entrance to Tomorrowland. Hooray! Disneyland has been changing the look of that area for a few months, removing the large "french fry" rocks that blocked views and caused pedestrian "traffic jams."
Snow White's Scary Adventures undergoes a major refurbishment — Jan. 7, 2020, to TBD — This classic Fantasyland dark ride, which has been around since Disneyland Park opened, is getting a makeover. 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, as it will be completely refreshed with new fairy tale inspired details that will complement Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it's off to work we go. The Disneyland crews will be replacing show sets, props and scenes in this iconic ride. They will also refurbish rock work and make 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).
Indiana Jones Adventure — undergoes refurbishment in 2020 — Speaking of refurbishments, this popular Adventureland ride also gets some updates in 2020. The Disneyland crews will replace a plank bridge and refurbish rock work.
Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite — postponed — The third Disneyland After Dark event to take place inside Disneyland in 2020 invites members of the dark side and the light side to come together once Disneyland Park closes for the night. This separately ticketed event was set to fall on opening night of the Star Wars Celebration, a fan convention that was to take place at the Anaheim Convention Center Aug. 27-30, 2020. However, that event has been postponed for two years (due to COVID-19), and Disneyland is postponing the Star Wars Nite to a different date.
For Star Wars Nite, guests were to access the park as of 6 p.m., and the event was going to be underway 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Those details could change once a new date is set. For the event, look for a battle in the skies above Disneyland with special Star Wars–themed fireworks spectacular! Star Wars fans can also enjoy galactic dance parties, character encounters, themed decor, event merchandise and inspired food and beverage. Grab your lightsaber and prepare to pose for Star Wars–themed photo opportunities. Unlimited PhotoPass downloads are included.
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway — opening 2023 — All aboard! Woot, woot! This new ride rolling into Mickey's Toontown will be the first major Mickey-themed ride at Disneyland. The ride features an original story (and catchy theme song) where 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 from the human world straight into the unpredictable cartoon world of Mickey and Minnie, and board a trackless train with Goofy as the engineer.
What could possibly go wrong in this magical, out-of-control ride with surprising twists and turns? It's a multi-dimensional cartoon world, so anything can happen! The ride will have state-of-the-art technology and dazzling visual effects to immerse you into Mickey's and Minnie's zany animated world.
Don’t worry! This ride will not replace any of the other Toon Town rides. The entrance will be where the current Gag Factory store is. Toon Town will be getting a fresh makeover in honor of the new ride. If you thought this ride was set to reopen in 2022, well, it was. This train schedule is experiencing delays due to the pandemic. It looks like we will have something to look forward to for another year and will look forward to taking this crazy ride in 2023.
Asian Street Eats — now open as of January 2020 — A new Asian takeout window popped up in Downtown Disney just before Lunar New Year! It's located in front of the now closed Rainforest Cafe. Asian Street Eats is a new concept by Chef Hung Huynh (award-winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef”). This is the first concept Chef Hung has developed for Earl Enterprises, which owns the popular Earl of Sandwich. The menu includes a flavorful variety of Asian dishes, including a mixed bowl, scallion pancake wrap, potstickers and a selection of Japanese teas and sodas. We've tried all the dishes and they are all so tasty!
Expansion of Downtown Disney into Buena Vista Street — Nov. 19, 2020 — This holiday season we get a special treat. The Downtown Disney District is expanding into the Buena Vista Street area of the closed Disney California Adventure park. Shopping and dining will be open, but characters and entertainment will not be available. Hop over to our post on Buena Vista Street shopping and dining for all the deets.
Disney Vacation Club location — TBD — If you are a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, then you will be hoppy to hear that Disneyland has filed a permit with the city of Anaheim to build a new DVC tower location adjacent to the Disneyland Hotel. It includes a restaurant, deck area, Mickey pool and pool restrooms. The DVC tower project area is located between South Walnut Street and the Disneyland Hotel’s Frontier Tower and swimming pool. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has 17 DVC units and is currently the only DVC resort on the west coast.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Lunar New Year — Jan. 23 through Feb. 9, 2020 — Celebrate the Year of the Rat at Universal Studios Hollywood. Discover the 12 zodiac animal signs under a canopy of red lanterns and beautiful plum blossom Wishing Trees at Universal Plaza. Make a special wish! Lunar New Year favorite characters returned in 2020, including Po, Tigress, Hello Kitty, a Mandarin-speaking Megatron and minions dressed in their Lunar New Year attire. Guests enjoyed sweet and savory Asian dishes at Mr. Ping's Noddle Shop, and visited with Mr. Ping himself! You could also learn how to draw Po with step-by-step instructions, and experience colorful Lion dances and martial arts on select days. Guests who speak Mandarin could also take a Mandarin Studio Tour at select times of day.
Bravo Top Chef Food & Wine Festival — POSTPONED — This new culinary event inspired by Bravo's hit series "Top Chef" is a separately ticketed event that kicks off at 7 p.m. It offers live competitions, special panels, dozens of delectable culinary tastings and beverages. The event is for adults 21+ and includes curated wines, craft beers and spirits. Regular admission does not include theme park attractions, although there are day/night combo tickets that allow entrance into the theme park at 12 p.m. The VIP package also allows entrance into the park as of 12 p.m. the day of the event and other perks. Act quickly for early bird pricing, as prices will increase. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the event page here.
Peacock Live! — POSTPONED — This separately ticketed event allows attendees to experience the theme park during the day and then explore the legendary Backlot after hours. The event includes celebrity panels, photo opportunities and interactive experiences that bring together NBC Universal's stories, stars and brands at Universal Studios Hollywood. See a sneak peek of "Trolls World Tour," take a seat (and a spin) in the iconic red chair from "The Voice," get up to speed on the "Fast & Furious" car collection and compete with friends and family members on the on the "Ninja Warrior" course! You can also hear from the creators of Hollywood Horror Nights and check out brand-new Olympic sports! For tickets and more informations, visit PeacockLive.com.
Running Universal Featuring DreamWorks "Trolls" 5K, 10K and Kids 1K events — CANCELED —Here's your chance to put your hair up, sprinkle some glitter and find your happy place as you dance, dance, dance and race through the theme park and Backlot. Join Poppy, Branch and Guy Diamond and stop for hugs and photos with DreamWorks characters from "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar." When you dance across the finish line, you'll receive a Trolls-themed medal and swag (T-shirts, pins, drawstring bag, food and beverage) to keep you smiling. Register at Running Universal.
The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! — OPENING DELAYED — If you’ve always felt like a puppy inside, then your imaginary tail must be wagging with the news that an all-new immersive ride based on “The Secret Life of Pets” movies is coming to the Upper Lot near Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. The adventure includes star pets from the movies and will give you and other riders the chance to take on the role of stray puppies in search of a family. According to Universal Studios, “The innovative adventure will blend live, dimensional and animated characters with hyper-realistic media as guests zip along a track aboard ride vehicles through bustling New York City streets towards the Pet Adoption event and the ultimate happy ending: forever homes. Along the way, guests will face an array of challenges and meet up with fellow animal pals eager to help guide them toward their destination.” What a treat!
Nintendo-themed area — date unknown — 'Sup gamers? While there are not a lot of details released yet, Universal Studios Hollywood is planning on bringing an expansive and immersive Nintendo-themed area to Universal Studios Hollywood in the next couple years. Check back for updates.
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen — coming 2021 — A Universal Orlando CityWalk family favorite is coming to the West Coast, and we are hopping with excitement! We're also hopping to burn some calories in advance, because we plan to do some damage when it opens! The menu offers all-day brunch (yes, please!), lunch and dinner items, but the creative milkshakes and decadent desserts are what really get my attention. The steampunk-decorated restaurant will be found in the former Hard Rock Cafe location, near the Universal Cinema. Toothsome will join other recently opened restaurants at Universal Studios Hollywood CityWalk, including Antojitos Cocina Mexicana, VIVO Italian Kitchen, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Voodoo Doughnut.
If you are as excited about what’s coming to Disneyland and Universal in the upcoming months and years as I am, then you might be planning your next visit. 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 on through Undercover Tourist. Choose “Los Angeles” and then you can narrow down your search.