'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 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 and even what opened the year before that, we've got you covered! Let’s hop to it and explore what's coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2022 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 Studios Hollywood in 2022 and Beyond
Many events and entertainment options are coming (or returning) in 2022. You'll want to keep hopping back for updates!
Sweethearts' Nite at Disneyland — Feb 1, 3, 8, 10 and 14, 2022 — The popular Sweehearts' Nite made Disneyland the most romantic place on Earth for five unfrogettable nights. Disney fans and their sweeties had a date night at Disneyland.
Here's what was included:
- A special themed fireworks show
- Projection effects on Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main Street, U.S.A.
- A jazz ensemble aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat
- Live entertainment, including a Royal Ball and a dance party with a DJ
- Rarely-seen Disney couples together in the park
- Fun photo opportunities featuring romantic scenes from iconic Disney films
- Lovely décor
- Food and beverage offerings for sale around the park
- Unlimited PhotoPass downloads
- Early admission to Disneyland park, starting at 5 p.m., with no theme park reservation required
Celebrate Soulfully — select days in February 2022 and again in June for Black Music Month — Disneyland celebrated Black History Month with musical acts and more. Celebrate Gospel! — which used to take place at Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure — moved to Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland Park to celebrate the soulful spirit of Gospel music for two Saturdays in 2022. On Feb. 19, 2022, award-winning Gospel singer, Kierra Sheard performed with the a capella Gospel group Sacred Groove. On Feb. 26, the Grammy award-winners Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music, along with The Singers of Soul, took the stage. Community Choirs performed both days, as well.
Guests did crafts, ate snacks from Troubabour Tavern and shared thoughts on the gratitude wall.
The celebration extended outside the theme park. At Downtown Disney, we enjoyed music, including R&B, Gospel, reggae, funk and jazz, at nightly outdoor concerts throughout February. Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen offered live jazz piano music nightly.
Special merchandise was available at Pele Soccer, Lovepop, WonderGround Gallery and the Post 21 cart. We admired art displays from emerging Black artists who have been inspired by Disney and Pixar's "Soul," "The Lion King," "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Proud Family." Chalk muralist Marcella Swett created a new chalk mural each week. Hue Unlimited collaborated with Pixar for a collection of wearable art.
At Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, there was live jazz in the lobby in the evenings, along with a special menu of wine, beers and spirits from Black-owned business at the Hearthstone Lounge.
At Downtown Disney in June, the art exhibit, “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” can be found adjacent to the Star Wars Trading Post. You can also enjoy nightly music and a DJ on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
"We Don't Talk About Bruno" Overlay — for a limited time beginning April 11, 2022 — Watch as the exterior of "it's a small world" transforms several times a night with projection effects inspired by the iconic "Encanto" song none of us can talk about, but we all definitely sing along to ;) During the day, guests can also visit with Mirabel in Frontierland.
Disneyland Forever — April 22, 2022 — One of our all-time favorite fireworks shows returned in 2022. Disneyland Forever was a game-changer for all future Disneyland fireworks shows when it debuted for Disneyland's 60th Diamond Celebration in 2015. Its projections, special effects and nostalgic music bring a flurry of emotions and a tear to Mommy Frog's eye every time she sees it. Upon its return, Disneyland Forever will run for a limited time on the weekends, with Mickey's Mix Magic running during the week. Our Disneyland fireworks post has even more details, including the best places to watch.
The Main Street Electrical Parade — April 22, 2022 — This oldie but goodie parade has returned to Disneyland Park for a limited time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Even better? This classic is getting reimagined with an all-new grand finale, featuring stylized scenes from "Encanto," "The Jungle Book," "Raya and the Last Dragon," "Coco" and more! Hop over to our post on the Main Street Electrical Parade for the latest news and our viewing tips.
Hyperspace Mountain — April 29, 2022, to July 5, 2022 — Space Mountain closes April 28 and reopens as Hyperspace Mountain the next day for a limited time. Cue the Star Wars music. I'm heading in for battle. I love this exciting overlay that has from time to time returned for May the Fourth and Star Wars Nite. Woo hoo!
Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite — May 3, 4 and 27, 2022 — This Disneyland After Dark event invites members of the dark side and the light side to come together once Disneyland Park closed for the night. Tickets are sold out.
Guests may access the park early, starting at 6 p.m. For the event, look for a battle in the skies above Disneyland with a 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.
Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience — May 20, 2022 — The Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience is back. For $60 (plus gratuity) you have a place to chill for the evening on the balcony over Star Wars Launch Bay. You can watch fireworks from this location, so you'll want to reserve to for a night with fireworks! No refunds are given if the fireworks get canceled though. You can stay for the evening or come as go as you like.
The experience includes:
- Delectable dessert selection
- Unlimited soft drinks, bottled water or hot chocolate
- A place to use throughout the evening. You can come and go or stay put.
"Fantasmic!" — May 28, 2022 — Disney's longest-running (turning 30 years this year!) nighttime spectacular returns. The waters of the Rivers of America spring to life as Mickey Mouse uses his imagination to create images on fountains inspired by Disney classic films such as “Fantasia,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid” and more. Many live characters sail by on rafts and boats. The theme song is now embedded in our heads in anticipation of its return. Hop over to our Fantasmic! post for updates and tips as the return approaches. Dining packages are available for booking now.
Tale of the Lion King — May 28, 2022 — The popular storytelling performance returns, but this time to a new location. Previously, the show took place in the bright sunshine at Paradise Gardens Park. We are toadally excited that it found a new home in the covered Fantasyland Theater (with seating) in Disneyland Park. Rejoice in the telling of "The Lion King" by Storytellers of the Pride Lands. This troupe of traveling performers presents Simba’s journey in a unique story-theater style with live music, dialogue, dance and percussion. We are feeling the love tonight! Special food and beverage are available at Troubadour Tavern.
MagicBand+ and "Hey, Disney!" — 2022 — The next generation of the wearable MagicBand, MagicBand+, will make its big debut at Disneyland Resort sometime in 2022. The new iteration will feature interactive elements that guests can use all around the Disneyland Resort. Likewise, the "Hey, Disney!" voice assistant will work with Alexa on Amazon Echo devices, including those in Disneyland Resort hotel rooms.
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? Hold onto your ears, because 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. The entrance will be where the current Gag Factory store is.
Reimagined Toontown — opening 2023 — Toontown is getting a fresh makeover in honor of the new ride, also debuting in early 2023, featuring 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. Toontown temporarily closed as of March 9, 2022, to make way for these new changes.
Roger Rabbit's CarToon Spin, Mickeys House and Minnie's House will remain. Gadget's Go Coaster, Goofy's House and Donald's Boat, however, are being "reimagined in new and exciting ways."
Roger Rabbit's CarToon Spin does get a new plot twist. Jessica Rabbit gets a lead role in a new update for this ride based on the 1988 movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." This more relevant version will have Jessica Rabbit as a private eye working to fight a Toontown crime wave run by none other than the Toon Patrol Weasels.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure — Late 2024 — Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Disney World will undergo a major re-theming with a new storyline, starring Princess Tiana. Guests will be "goin' down the bayou" with Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis, Ray, Mama Odie and other favorites from the film "Princess and the Frog" to continue the adventure post-kiss and join the hoppin' Mardi Gras celebration. To quote Tiana, these frogs think it'll be "the bee's knees!" Guests will be drawn in by original music inspired by songs in the film. A closing date for Splash Mountain has not been announced yet. One thing we can rely on is the heart-pounding drop. Gonna take you down, gonna take you down, gonna take you all the way down ...
A Re-Theming of Tarzan's Treehouse — TBD — Tarzan's Treehouse has been closed and "under refurbishment" since September 2021. The new theme, story and opening date have not been announced. Of course, there are some enchanting rumors floating around about what fans hope it will be. All we know is that the treehouse will stay, but it won't be a Tarzan theme. Keep hopping back for updates!
Disney California Adventure Park
Disneyland After Dark: Villains Nite — March 8 and 10, 2022— This Disneyland After Dark Party at Disney California Adventure was dark indeed, with a villain theme! The separately ticketed event was supposed to take place in April 2020 after the park closed for the night (and guests could enter early at 6 p.m.).
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 greetings with nefarious Disney fiends, fun photo-ops and themed food, drink, decor and merchandise.
World of Color — April 22, 2022 — This spectacular nighttime water show returns this spring! The world is a carousel of color, and we can once again get swept away by the magical combination of music, fountains, fire, fog, lasers and projections from Disney and Pixar films. Our Disneyland World of Color post has all the details.
Celebrate Soulfully — June 1 through July 4, 2022 — Enjoy daily live entertainment and specialty food offerings, art and more. At Disney California Adventure park, daily live music celebrates Black music genres from Doo-Wop to Motown. Get caught up in the nostalgia of Carthay Circle and enjoy Philly Phonics, an a cappella vocal group that performs snazzy, jazzy, tunes from the 1920s through today. Five & Dime will also sing 1920s and ‘30s tunes! In the evening, the Hollywood Backlot hosts a special block party, featuring nightly live musical acts.
Disneyland After Dark: Grad Nite Reunion — June 23, 28 and 30, 2022 — An all-new Disneyland After Dark party kicks off in June at Disney California Adventure. Tickets are on sale April 28, 2022, not sooner than noon. Party attire encouraged. Don’t forget to show your school spirit! The party takes place from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. with early entry as of 5 p.m. to mix in with daytime guests. It costs $150 per person and parking is not included.
The party, which spans six decades of music and fun, includes:
- Sightings of beloved Disney characters throughout the evening with a few proudly wearing their cap and gown
- A march-along pep-rally style with some favorite Disney friends
- Dance through the decades to hits of today and yesterday
- Retro photo opportunities (with unlimited PhotoPass downloads
- Unique, cafeteria-inspired food and beverage offerings
- Special after-hours access to most of the park’s attractions
Avengers Headquarters — TBD — The iconic Avengers Headquarters building opened when Avengers Campus opened, but the ride it houses will come at a later date. In the meantime, 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 future 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 a battle against powerful villains. Do you have what it takes to defeat them? The brand-new ride technology will be unlike anything you've seen before!
Downtown Disney Expansion — beginning in January 2022 — A multi-year project to expand this shopping, dining and entertainment space will begin in early 2022. More details will be coming soon! The businesses west of the Monorail track (from Starbucks to Earl of Sandwich) are closed and construction is beginning.
New restaurants are coming. Earl of Sandwich will reopen in a new location. Yay! Also to come is the world-renowned restaurant Din Tai Fung, offering guests their soup dumplings hand crafted right on site and dishes served family style. Michelin-starred Chef Carlos Gaytan will bring his inclusive vision of Mexican cuisine to the locations currently occupied by Catal & Uva Bar. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen will incorporate vibrant California energy and a fresh approach to the menu, while staying true to the heart of New Orleans.
The changes will introduce more innovative shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. The refurbishment draws inspiration from Southern California mid-century modern architecture. The west-end area will be a beautiful blend of vibrant color palettes, design elements and patterns influenced by the region, and will include an open lawn for relaxation and future events. In the meantime, Check out the two newest stores to open Pelé Soccer and and Lovepop.
Paradise Pier Hotel Retheming — Beginning summer 2022 — Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel will be getting a new theme soon! The hotel will be undergoing a transformation, weaving Pixar touches all throughout the property: Check out that Pixar Lamp in the lobby! But first, this summer, guests will be able to enjoy a walkway straight into Disney California Adventure Park. Cool!
Disneyland Resort Hotel Benefits — Returning summer 2022 — Several benefits for hotel guests will return to the Disneyland Resort very soon! On top of "Hey Disney," hotel guests will be able to send packages back to their rooms. And — drumroll, please — early entry to the parks will return, too! Keep hopping back for more details
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 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.
Disneyland Resort is seeking approvals from the City of Anaheim, the city in which it is located, to expand the resort in multiple areas. This is a long-term plan that may take place over the next few decades. Details are still developing, but Disneyland is looking to expand the theme park, retail, hotel, dining, entertainment and parking options, utilizing space around the resort. Disneyland will be asking the city for more flexibility in plans approved in the 1990s for the eastern and western edges of the Disneyland Resort.
The Immersive Theme Park west side expansion could include a theme park expansion on the land that currently surrounds the Disneyland Hotel, parts of Downtown Disney (where the unused ESPN Zone and AMC theater are currently located), Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and some surrounding parking lots. The streets that surround this area include Katella Avenue, Walnut Street and Magic Way.
The other major area being looked at for east side expansion is the current Toy Story lot near the Anaheim Convention Center. The Disney Entertainment Destination expansion, if approved, would include hotels, retail, dining, entertainment and theme park experiences.
A parking lot off Disney Way with a pedestrian bridge across Harbor Boulevard could create a new access point to Disneyland. The bridge would upgrade accessibility for hotels and businesses located along Harbor Boulevard. Disney is not asking for any public funding to complete this project.
It could take a few years for the planning and approvals to be complete and take many years to construct. But it's toadally exciting to see what may be coming to the Disneyland Resort!
Universal Studios Hollywood
Super Nintendo World and Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge ride — Early 2023 — 'Sup gamers?Universal Studios Hollywood will be bringing an expansive and immersive Nintendo-themed area to Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2023. You can see construction underway in the Lower Lot, to the left of Transformers: The Ride-3D. Guests will enter this colorful and interactive new land via a Warp Pipe.
The land features a new ride, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, located inside Bowsers Castle. Guests will be immersed in a large, interactive moving track ride that brings together augmented reality (assistance from head-mounted goggles) with projection mapping technology and set pieces. The ride is inspired by the video game, and you've never experienced anything like it.
Riders will climb board four-person stadium-style Mario Kart vehicles from the dungeons of Bowser's Castle. Then it's time to put on the goggles and wait for the 3-2-1-Go! signal from Lakitu. In the quest to win the Golden Cup, riders will steer through courses in the clouds and even under water! The ride has a variety of outcomes, which means riders will want to go again and again! The ride appeals to guests of all ages, even those with little gaming experience.
The new land also includes dining and shopping. Visitors can expect colorful animatronic scenery with spinning gold coins, boxes with question marks, and more. To begin the countdown, Universal reimagined the Feature Presentation store into Super Nintendo World theming. Mario and Luigi apparel and iconic character hats, along with plush characters (including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Bowser) and more, are available for purchase.
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen — opening soon — A Universal Orlando CityWalk family favorite is coming to the West Coast, and we are hopping with excitement! Originally slated to open in 2021, the restaurant's signs now simply say coming soon. We're also hoping 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.
What's Coming to Other Southern California Theme Parks (and Zoos) in 2022 and Beyond
SeaWorld San Diego
Emperor — opened March 12, 2022 — Our happy feet are swinging with frogcitement for this new floorless, penguin-themed dive coaster, which opened just in time for spring break 2022. With speeds over 60 mph and a steep plunge over 150 feet (and over 90 degrees), Emperor is now the tallest and fastest dive coaster in California. That makes sense to me, as the emperor penguin is the tallest of all of the penguins.
Sesame Place San Diego — opened March 26, 2022 — Sunny days ... An all-new theme park opened in Chula Vista this spring! Join Sesame Street characters such as Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and others for rides, slides, shows and more! Sesame Place features seven themed dry rides, an interactive musical play area, and 11 water attractions, including a 500,000-gallon wave pool! Guests can expect an award-winning parade, photo-ops, special events and an interactive Sesame Street neighborhood. We can tell you how to get to Sesame Street! For our friends with autism spectrum disorder, Sesame Place San Diego will open as a Certified Autism Center (CAC).
San Diego Zoo
The new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp opened March 11, 2022. Your tadpoles can climb, scramble, and explore at this new area, which replaces the former children's zoo. It's a place where kids of all ages can learn about nature, play alongside animals, encounter new species and ultimately develop empathy for wildlife. The whole family can discover wildlife in four unique habitats: Rainforest, Desert Dunes, Marsh Meadows and Wild Woods. We can't wait to meet the amazing species at the Spineless Marvels insect and spider habitats and at Jake’s Cool Critters — a place for reptiles, amphibians, and more.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
WONDER WOMAN Flight of Courage — July 16, 2022 — Six Flags introduces its 20th coaster, and it's a record-breaker. The new thrill ride will be the tallest and longest single-rail coaster on the planet!
The new coaster will reach 58 mph after climbing a 131-foot-tall lift hill and descending an 87-degree first drop. The ride’s four 12-passenger trains will travel over a 3,300-foot-long track featuring three inversions — a raven dive, zero-gravity roll and 180-degree stall. It will have a Greek-inspired entrance and queue area.
If you're as excited about what’s coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2022 and beyond 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 through Undercover Tourist. Choose “Los Angeles” and then you can narrow down your search.