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What's Coming to the SoCal Theme Parks in 2016 & Beyond!

by Tad on March 22, 2016 2 San Diego

If you’ve spent time on our blog, you’ve probably seen our posts on not-to-miss attractions and top tips for the San Diego and Los Angeles attractions. Today, I wanted to offer a peek at what’s coming to Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and the other SoCal theme parks in 2016 and beyond. In addition to being the head videographer for our very popular YouTube channel, I like to think of myself as the keeper of all the cool theme park happenings. And there are some really cool things on the way in 2016. If you're a theme park fan, it's a great time for a trip to SoCal!

Now, don't think these are the only new things happening next year. This is only what’s been announced so far. Don’t worry there will be even more great things announced ... and we will post them all here!

Special Note: Only brand-new experiences are listed below. Here are separate guides to Southern California and Disneyland annual events.

With that, let's look at what's coming to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016!

What's Coming to Disneyland & Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016 - Season of the Force

  • Season of the Force began in November 2015, but it's going to continue very shortly into 2016, as well, before the construction of Star Wars Land. With this celebration of all-things-Star-Wars, you can experience the iconic film series like never before. Space Mountain has been transformed into Hyperspace Mountain, and you can meet some of your favorite Star Wars characters over at Launch Bay! You can also experience new scenes from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at Star Tours and tadpoles can enroll in Jedi training.
  • While a number of attractions are closed temporarily for the creation of Star Wars Land at Disneyland, there are some special experiences you can enjoy while you wait. Guests visiting the Main Street and New Orleans Square train stations can visit the historic Disneyland Railroad steam engines and learn more about them from the train engineers. More experiences will be coming soon for the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia.

What's Coming to Disneyland & Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016 - Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

  • Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters officially opened March 7. Guests can take a spin on the outdoor dance floor in the back of Luigi's tire lot on this trackless ride inside Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. Lines have been quite long for the new attraction that replaced Luigi's Flying Tires, so make sure to get in line early if you want to ride since there is no FASTPASS.

What's Coming to Disneyland & Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016 - Hogwarts Castle

  • Universal Studios Hollywood will be getting its very own Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The magical world will be officially opening on April 7, although we already got a little sneak peek during employee training. You'll be able to experience Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Hogwarts Castle, visit Ollivander's, drink Butterbeer in Hogsmeade and more! Don't forget to stop by Honeyduke's for some Chocolate Frogs.
  • A new "Frozen" stage show is headed to the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure. Replacing Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular, which ran for 13 years, "Frozen - Live at the Hyperion" will feature beautiful costumes, sets, special effects and reflect the film's story.
  • Re-opening at Disney California Adventure Park is one of my personal favorites, Soarin' Around the World. This classic ride will have new digital screens and projection systems, while taking guests on airborne journey all around the globe!
  • The Walking Dead, a fixture of Halloween Horror Nights for the last several years, is getting a permanent home inside Universal Studios Hollywood this summer. This walk-through attraction will feature "authentic walker makeup effects, sophisticated animatronic walkers, substantially more detailed set design and costuming, and highly recognizable props replicated from the series."

What's Coming to the Southern California Theme Parks in 2016 - GhostRider

  • Knott’s Berry Farm is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Ghost Town in summer 2016! The celebration will bring two new experiences for guests to enjoy. The first is a whole new interactive experience of Ghost Town Alive!, which brings in new stories and adventures in the town of Calico. Guests will have the chance to experience the town's working establishments, such as playing a game of cards with the Sheriff at his office. The Barn will close on April 4 and reopen just in time for Ghost Town Alive!, where it'll be a working horse stable. GhostRider will also be returning from a long and major restoration; the coaster has all new trains and over 4,500 of new wooden track!

What's Coming to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017

  • SeaWorld announced major news—that it's ending its practice of keeping orcas in captivity. Starting in San Diego in 2017, then rolling out to San Antonio and Orlando finally in 2019, the parks will end their theatrical shows and will introduce "natural orca encounters."

What's Coming to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood - Date Unknown

What's Coming to Disneyland & Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016 - Star Wars Land

  • Star Wars Land is headed to Disneyland some time in the future. Construction is set to begin on the land itself in April, but already work is under way to reroute the Rivers of America as part of it. The land will include two signature attractions. One will be a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The other attraction will put fans at the helm of the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret admission.

We hope you've enjoyed this look at what's coming to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016. If you're planning an upcoming trip, make sure to come back to see what's been added as you get closer to your visit.

Related: Guide to Disneyland Special Events

Related: Guide to Southern California Theme Park Special Events

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
View Comments
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Apr 4, 2016 at 6:07 p.m. Busy mom Says...

The Harry Potter feature is great and all, it's a shame that Universal Studios Hollywood is starting to follow the foot steps of Disney. The cost of tickets, is bad enough, then they make it worse by unable to go due to crazy black out dates, really people, money into the executives pockets.

Jan 1, 2015 at 9:27 p.m. Jeannettea Kelly Says...

iWould like to know what events will be doing the month of Februray 2015.

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