'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. Let’s hop to it and explore what's coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2019 and beyond! Also, don't froget to check this list to see what's recently opened ahead of your visit!
What’s Coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2019
Get Your Ears On: A Mickey and Minnie Celebration — Jan. 18-June 6, 2019 — Turning 90 is a big deal for a mouse, so Mickey and Minnie celebrated the big birthday with an epic park-wide party! Every great party needs a theme, and theme of this one was Get Your Ears On: A Mickey and Minnie Celebration. You could eat exclusive food and purchase event merchandise. Mickey and Minnie, along with Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and Chip 'n' Dale had their party clothes on so that you could meet them in their new white confetti birthday celebration outfits in Town Square. Mickey’s suit had colorful confetti on it and Minnie’s puff sleeve dress had pompoms and a bubble skirt. Each character's outfit was a little different.
Mickey’s Mix Magic — has now concluded — This new nighttime projection show with music and lasers turned Disneyland Park into a rockin’ dance party. Select nights were enhanced with fireworks. Good news! You might still catch this hoppin' party as a replacement show (without fireworks) on nights when Disneyland fireworks get cancelled due to wind or other factors!
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade — Jan. 18, 2019-July 17, 2019 — Now it's time to say good-bye to this poppin' parade. It's leaving on Disneyland's birthday to make way for a new parade coming next year and for the short-term return of The Main Street Electrical Parade in August.
Valentine's Day fun with Mickey and Minnie — Jan. 22–Feb. 18, 2019 — Minnie is still pretty sweet on Mickey after all these years, so she had a special celebration of her own. She hid valentines for Mickey around Disneyland during Valentine’s month. Guests could purchase a map and stickers to go on a scavenger hunt to find these hidden valentines. There were Mickey- and Minnie-shaped valentine treats and other ways to celebrate.
Disneyland After Dark — Feb. 7 and March 7, 2019 — These private parties require a separate admission ticket and take place for four hours after Disneyland closes for the day (guests can mix in starting at 6:00 p.m.) Sweethearts’ Nite was Feb. 7, 2019, and featured love songs, encounters with favorite Disney couples, photo opportunities, sweetheart décor, and romantic food, beverage and merchandise opportunities. The '90s Nite on March 7, 2019 threw guests back to the 1990s and featured an exclusive fireworks show, a Disney Afternoon Avenue, the chance to meet rare Disney characters from the 1990s and photo opportunities. Plus, you got a commemorative fanny pack — look at Disneyland making fanny packs cool again! Were they ever cool? Anyway, now I want one! Tickets for Disneyland After Dark events sell out quickly.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures — opened March 30, 2019 — If you’ve been wishing on a star for a princess character dining experience to make a comeback, then your dream has come true! Join the Disney Princesses for a fairytale experience in the luxurious Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel. Breakfast is available Thursday through Monday between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The breakfast for all guests 3 and up is $125 per person (tax and gratuity not included).
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge — opened May 31, 2019 — Free reservations (and a valid theme park ticket) were needed to access the land May 31-June 23. Since 24, no separate reservations are necessary. This is the largest and most immersive themed land yet. The 14-acre land transports guests to a trading post on the planet Batuu, where the stories and characters come to life. This remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge is a thriving port, home to smugglers, traders and those seeking adventure (as well as a haven for rogues seeking to hide from the First Order). Oga's Cantina* is the hoppening spot where adults can order drinks with alcohol for the first time in Disneyland's history. You can enjoy blue and green milk, meet characters and build a lightsaber or droid.
The six-person crew on the now-open Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run ride allows you to pilot the Millennium Falcon (or act as a gunner or ship engineer) and take part in a critical mission (cool!). You can shoot blasters, pilot the ship and prepare for hyperspace. Your performance in this mission has consequences. You could earn galactic credits or end up on a Bounty Hunter’s list (which would cause problems if you show your face at the cantina). The other ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (opening Jan. 17, 2020), is a trackless dark ride that puts you on a Resistance troop transport vehicle in the hangar bay of a First Order Destroyer. You'll get caught in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance (way cool). In this new land, you’ll encounter droids, creatures and other characters, be able to shop for a lightsaber* and eat alien foods. Is the force with you? I think so.
*Reservations are required for the lightsaber experience and to Oga’s Cantina. There are now reservations for Droid building as well.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run — now open — Guests will hit hyperspace while piloting the famed Millennium Falcon on this ride that will offer guests three unique crew roles.
Disneyland Forever — June 7, 2019 through Sept. 2 — This fan-favorite fireworks show made a comeback from Disneyland's 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration on June 7, 2019. With state-of-the-art projection, dazzling fireworks, special effects and a nostalgic musical score, this show is a definite must-see, especially if you missed it the first time around.
Mickey and Friends Band-Tastic Cavalcade — July 18-Aug. 1, 2019 — If you are looking for some parade-route entertainment to bridge the gap between Mickey's Soundsational Parade's departure and the Main Street Electrical Parade's return (see below), then hop in place twice a day for this limited-time "Band-Tastic" event. The procession features festively decorated Main Street U.S.A. vehicles, live music and a variety of favorite Disneyland characters. Classic characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto will join in the fun, along with a revolving cast of rarely seen characters. Perhaps you'll catch Peter Pan, King Louie, Genie, Marie and more! The vehicles and characters stop throughout the parade route for special show moments so guests can dance and clap along.
Main Street Electrical Parade — Aug. 2-Sept. 30, 2019 — Summer nights just got a little brighter with the announcement that this classic parade will be making a comeback. With it's half-million twinkling lights and memorable electronic music, this retro parade makes my parents starry-eyed as they take a trip down memory lane to when they first saw it as young tadpoles.
Halloween Screams projection show — select nights during Halloween time — The Halloween Screams projection and special effects show will be haunting the park most nights throughout Halloween time at Disneyland. On select nights (mostly weekends), the show will be enhanced with fireworks. This is a change from recent years where the show was strictly a fireworks show and was only shown to Mickey's Halloween Party guests. Now, all park guests can watch the show, and there will still be a show on nights without fireworks (kind of like Mickey's Mix Magic). We've got a full guide to Halloween time at Disneyland.
Disney California Adventure
Inside Out Headquarters and Pixar Pier — now complete — In 2018, Paradise Pier was transformed into Pixar Pier with new neighborhoods, restaurants, characters to meet, new foods to try, shopping opportunities and revamped rides (like the Incredicoaster and the Pixar Pal-A-Round). But there is another family-friendly ride that just opened, and it's perfect for my little sister, Lily. The fourth Pixar Pier neighborhood, Inside Out Headquarters, is now complete with the opening of Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. You can meet Joy and Sadness in the park to balance out your day. The colorful Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff had already opened with whimsical snacks and Memory Refreshers — frozen drinks of every color with toppings like cotton candy, popping pearls and colorful candy. The remaining areas of Paradise Pier from Paradise Gardens to The Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is now known as Paradise Gardens Park, but that area has not changed much.
Jessie's Critter Carousel — now open — Mosey on over to this new carousel ride in the Toy Story neighborhood, inspired by the characters from Woody’s Roundup. It replaced King Triton’s Carousel and traded the sea creatures for woodland critters inspired by “Woody’s Roundup,” the vintage television show in “Toy Story 2.” Giddyup!
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind — now open — Take a spin on the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. If you are familiar with the now-closed A Bug’s Land, this ride used to be Flik’s Flyers. Each riding compartment and ball are a different color and design, based on the different "Inside Out" characters. A different character takes over to narrate each ride.
Mickey’s Philharmagic — now open — Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and friends team up in this 3D show at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land. Donald comes across Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat and conductor’s baton while preparing the orchestra for Mickey. Donald magically enters a 3D dream world that takes him — and you, the viewer — into the world of Disney animated musical sequences from several classic films. Prepare to be swept away.
Vampirina joined the Disney Junior Dance Party on Feb. 1, 2019 — Vampirina has joined the Disney Junior Dance Party, a high-energy show featuring music and popular Disney pals.
Captain Marvel — has arrived — One of the most powerful heroes in the universe will begin greeting guests ahead of the Marvel-themed land debuting in 2020.
And speaking of Super Heroes … there was a Super Hero Party in Spring 2019.
Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble — April 30 and May 1, 2019 — The first Disneyland After Dark party at Disney California Adventure was Heroes Assemble. At this separately ticketed event that took place for four hours after the park closed, guests were blasted off into the past, present and future of favorite Super Heroes. Heroic characters greeted guests (including Iron Man in his first visit to the Disneyland Resort), and guests enjoyed special photo ops, dance parties, music and popular attractions without the lines.
"The Lion King" — June 7, 2019 through Sept. 2, 2019 — “The Tale of the Lion King” roared into Disney California Adventure to celebrate the movie's 25th anniversary. A traveling troupe of storytellers bring “The Lion King” celebration to life through story, song and dance. You can enjoy music and more to honor the spirit of Africa. It will only be around for a limited time this summer!
Meet Fancy Nancy — now through TBD — Fancy Nancy is ready to strike a pose and give hugs to her fans. You can meet her and show off your outfits to each other in Hollywood Land.
Meet Bo Peep — now through TBD — Come meet Bo Peep from “Toy Story 4” at Pixar Pier this summer. The movie will be in theaters June 21, 2019, and Bo Peep arrived June 12.
Celebrate 80 years of Super Heroes — Aug. 9 through Sept. 2 — Suit up in your DisneyBound outfit (park costume guidelines apply) and get your face painted to meet Super Heroes as well as classic Disney characters cosplaying as their favorite Super Heroes. Hop right into an "Avengers Assemble" comic book for photo ops, and power up with special limited-time menu items themed after your favorite Super Heroes. Of course, you'll find epic commemorative merchandise. You can learn to draw Super Heroes inside Animation Academy on Aug. 10, 17, 24, 30, 31 and Sept. 1 for a free souvenir. The actual 80th anniversary is Aug. 31. Guests who visit that day may receive a commemorative button upon entering the park (while supplies last).
Oogie Boogie Bash — A Disneyland Halloween Party — Select Nights . Sept. 17 through Oct. 31 — During Halloween time at the Disneyland Resort, the former Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland is park hopping over to Disney California Adventure. The party is transforming into a new event with new entertainment, shows and more immersive trick-or-treat trails. For all the scary details for the new party, hop over to the Oogie Boogie Bash — A Disneyland Halloween Party.
Ballast Point — now open — Serves up California cuisine, award-winning craft brews, and have the first brewery on-site in Downtown Disney.
Naples Ristorante e Bar — now open — This restaurant reopened after a lengthy refurb.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes — now open — Enjoy luncheonette-style food with old-school hip-hop music and out-of-control CrazyShake milkshakes. #drooling
Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration — now open — Get ready to get your selfies on! This exhibition is popping up in the old ESPN Zone space next to the Disneyland Hotel for a limited time. The unique exhibition created just for Downtown Disney will feature colorful, themed rooms with vivid and imaginative displays inspired by everyone’s favorite mouse couple, Mickey and Minnie. The photo ops will be fabulous, including a giant Minnie bow sofa that will make the perfect place for you and your friends to lounge and pose for photos. Be sure to say "cheese!" Tickets are on sale now, starting at $30, and include five hours of complimentary parking. The exhibit runs for a limited time (tickets currently on sale through September 2, 2019).
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
GHC Craftsman Bar & Grill — now open — A new bar and grill popped up (hopped up?!) in the pool area. It's an expansion of the nearby popular White Water Snacks, which recently underwent a refurbishment. White Water Snacks is now known as GHC Craftsman Grill but will keep serving its popular menu. (Whew! What a relief!) Then the new lounge area in the pool area is called GHC Craftsman Bar.
The GHC Craftsman Bar serves artisanal pizzas, avocado toast, sliders, nachos, shawarma and more. The tadpoles can enjoy chicken skewers, salmon, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, hamburgers and other tasty dishes. The desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth on a sunny southern California day. Try the salted chocolate chip cookie fingers with dipping sauces, a waffle-churro sundae or the root beer float. The restaurants is open to all guests, but use of the pool area will be restricted to hotel guests with wrist bands.
Tangaroa Terrace, Tropical Bar and Grill — now open — This Southseas hideaway is expected to reopen with a slightly new name after a refurbishment. They sell coffee, breakfast foods such as pineapple upside-down pancakes and breakfast sandwiches. For lunch and dinner, they have tropical meals like Kalua-style poutine, and fried spam musubi, but the big excitement is over the Dole Whip and Dole Whip float (at prices cheaper than in the park)! Mommy Frog is looking forward to kicking back with a Dole Whip with a splash of rum.
Disneyland Parking — Pixar Pals structure now open — Disney built a new Pixar Pals parking structure adjacent to Mickey & Friends with over 5,000 new parking spaces. This much-needed structure opened in late June. The new structure has six stories and will come with six additional entrance lanes, adding to the current 10 lanes. The new structure features a new electronic parking system designed to expedite the parking process (plus new lights in Mickey & Friends indicates open parking spaces). This helps us get into the parking structures and then to the parks even faster. Mommy Frog loves this time-saver, for sure! You can access the new structure from Magic Way.
Disney redesigned the tram loading area to accommodate both parking structures. If you’ve ever wanted to get to Downtown Disney more easily from the parking structure, well, that wish has been granted, too! The new structure will eventually have a pedestrian bridge over Magic Way (projected to open Sept. 2019), feeding into Downtown Disney, allowing you to skip the parking shuttle and get some food, play with Legos or do some souvenir shopping on the way to and from the parks. You could also hop on the Monorail from there to be transported straight into Tomorrowland.
There's new Downtown Disney parking, as well. The Stitch lot we've always used for Downtown Disney is no longer for guest use. The new Downtown Disney lot is on the other side of the Paradise Pier Hotel.
The Toy Story lot is also expanding with over 2,000 additional spaces and more entrances. We are most excited to hear that bathrooms are being built! Anyone with a potty training toddler knows what we're talking about! Guests who park at Toy Story lot will begin going through security screening before boarding the shuttle busses to eliminate screening in the esplanade outside the theme parks at peak times.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Running Universal 5K — May 11, 2019 — Have you ever wished you could run down the streets where movies such as "Back to the Future," "King Kong," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "War of the Worlds" and so many more were filmed? Get your running shoes laced up, because Universal Studios is opening up the gates for the first Running Universal 5K event, featuring Illumination’s Minions. The event kicks off May 11, 2019, with a 6 a.m. race time. You’ll rush through the front gates into the Upper Lot and make your way to the Backlot, racing through iconic movie sets. Finish at the 5 Towers on Universal CityWalk and find yourself surrounded by a party with live music, food and beverages (included!) and plenty of post-race swag (like collectible Minion pins and more). Runners must be at least 5 years old on race day — no strollers or baby carriers allowed — but you can wear costumes that fit specific guidelines. Register in advance.
Jurassic World – The Ride — now open — This Lower Lot ride used to be Jurassic Park — gee, things evolve rapidly these days. This next generation ride is part expedition, part water ride and will include new dinosaurs from the films. My heart is already pounding just thinking of the dinosaurs that are even more terrifying than before!
Also in that Lower Lot area adjacent to the ride, Blue, the beloved but also terrifying Velociraptor you can meet during “Raptor Encounter,” has gotten a new area in which to eat — oops, I mean greet! — guests. (Seriously, have you met her? She’s terrifying!) You can also meet a much gentler baby raptor named Tango and a triceratops named Juliet. Also, for tadpoles of all ages, a new interactive “Dino Play” area will add some educational components that will allow kids to excavate dinosaur fossils.
The adjacent restaurant, Jurassic Cafe, is now open and completely redesigned with an exciting new menu. We've hopped over to try the food and loved the pomegranate guacamole with plantain chips, slow roasted Mojo pork and the chorizo & potato empanadas! Yum! There is a new bar — Isla Nu-Bar — with fun tropical drinks as well. Plus, the redesigned Jurassic Outfitters is now open, as well.
Running Universal 5K on Nov. 16 and 10K on Nov. 17, 2019 — Experience a heart-pounding race that involves dinosaurs! The 5K, 10K and Kids' 1K Raptor Run feature fan-favorite "Jurassic World" dinos. The 5K and 10K races take you through the theme park and parts of the Universal Backlot. You can take photos with dinosaurs along the way and take advantage of other photo ops. End your race at the finish line in Universal CityWalk with swag, music and refreshments. Register at Running Universal.
What’s Coming to Disneyland and Universal in 2020 and Beyond
Universal Studios Hollywood
The Secret Lift of Pets: Off the Leash! — opening 2020 — 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 — S’up 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.
Disney California Adventure
Avengers Campus — opening 2020 — 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 in 2020. 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 headquarters around the planet to support the next generation of Super Heroes. Sounds MARVEL-ous to me!
This Super Hero land will feature Spider-Man and the Avengers, including members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Black Widow, Thor Loki, and Black Panther with his Dora Milaje. 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 or catch Star-Lord, Gamora and Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!
WEB — An immersive interactive experience is coming to the new land. The Marvel story is expanding with an attraction-based organization (founded by Tony Stark) called the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB), where guests can jump in on the action with their favorite heroes. According to the Disney Parks Blog, “Through a blend of never-before-seen technology and practical effects, guests will get to experience for themselves what it is like to have the abilities of a Super Hero.” Spider-Man may be swinging through the new land in a redesigned suit. The suit will be on display at Disney California soon so guests can get a taste of what’s to come. As if we weren’t already excited enough?
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — opening Jan. 17, 2020 — This new ride in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will not open until January 2020 (pushed back from 2019). Guests step inside an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order, with an appearance by Kylo Ren.
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway — opening 2022 — All aboard! Woot woot! This new ride rolling into Mickey's Toontown will be the first major Mickey-themed ride at Disneyland. Step into the cartoon world of Minnie and Mickey as you hop aboard a 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 visual effects that will immerse you into Mickey and Minnie's zany animated world.
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.