"The Happiest Place on Earth” is becoming even more magical in 2024.
Noticeable changes are afoot at Disneyland and California Adventure Parks. Some new elements have been underway since mid-2023, and some have unspecified opening dates for 2024.
For anyone familiar with Walt Disney’s philosophy for the parks, you’ll know that change was always part of the plan, noted in his succinct statement, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Now, here’s a look at what Mickey Mouse and friends have been up to and what you can expect the next time you find yourself at The Disneyland Resort.
Get Your $50 Ticket for Kids Before Availability Runs Out
The Disneyland Resort raised ticket prices last October, making an adult single-day theme park admission as high as $194. However, around the same time, kids ages 3 to 9 years old became eligible for a special one-day, one-park ticket as low as $50 for use from January 8, 2024, to March 10, 2024, with a park reservation. “As low as” is key wording here, as a range of pricing is offered, dependent on timing, availability, and demand. At the time of this writing, the special ticket price was listed at $85 for the entire January to March time frame. Regularly priced tickets for this age group in this time frame ranged from $112 to $183. As availability for this special ticket dwindles, prices will continue to climb, so make any planned purchases as soon as possible.
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INSIDER TIPFor Park Hopper tickets, make a park reservation for the first park you plan to visit. After 11:00 a.m., you will have access to the second park and can go between both properties until closing time.
This limited time deal includes entry to either Disneyland Park or California Adventure Park. With an extra $35, you can turn it into a Park Hopper ticket to explore both parks on the same day. (The regular add-on Park Hopper fee is $65 for both kids and adults.) As always, this ability is subject to the second park’s capacity limitations.
The New Adventureland Treehouse in Disneyland Is Open for Exploration
In 1962, Walt Disney and his Imagineers created a real–life version of the enviable treehouse from the 1960 Swiss Family Robinson movie in Adventureland. In 1999, the attraction was revamped with inspiration from Disney Animation’s version of Tarzan. Once again, the walk-through experience has gotten a facelift and opened in November after a year–long hiatus to become the Adventureland Treehouse Inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson.
The massive tree holds a cozy abode inspired by nature and found objects, as well as for a recreation of the original Swiss Family Treehouse waterwheel, adding a kinetic touch to this quiet oasis. Stone steps bring explorers through the mother’s music den, the twin sons’ room filled with plants and animals, and the daughter’s haven of celestial inspiration. The ground floor contains a kitchen and dining room, as well as the father’s art studio, showcasing artist renderings of each room, which is helpful for those whom the branch borne rooms are not accessible.
New Flavors Abound at San Fransokyo Square
Two iconic cities come together to form the landscape inspired by the 2014 Disney movie, Big Hero 6, in San Fransokyo Square, which opened Aug. 31, 2023 at Disney California Adventure Park. This newly imagined area was once the Pacific Wharf dining area, and features shopping, sights, and several eateries. From street tacos to ramen, San Fransokyo Square’s restaurants showcase a mash-up of influences Western and Eastern cuisine, including clam chowder with hints of miso and street corn topped with Togarashi mayonnaise and furikake flakes.
Jeremiah Balogh, culinary director of Disney California Adventure, Candy Production, Park Banquets and Festivals notes, “San Fransokyo Square is home to a diverse neighborhood of eateries, and the menu items in the area tell the story of how those establishments inspire one another. Together, these different cuisines create a melding of flavors that guests of all ages will enjoy.”
In addition to eating their way through new food flavors, guests will have the opportunity to meet, greet, and hug Hiro Hamada’s robotic healthcare companion Baymax, walk the 54-foot-tall San Fransokyo Gate Bridge, and a experience a walk-through Bakery Tour hosted by San Francisco’s iconic Boudin Bakery. Like the food, the street art, architectural details, and landscape brings to life a West Coast pier with Asian flair.
New Rooms, a Bar, and Amenities at The Villas at Disneyland Hotel
Last September, Disney Vacation Club opened its 16th property, The Villas at Disneyland Hotel, offering 344 all-new themed rooms with home-like amenities that sleep up to 12 guests. All rooms are bookable by members and non-members of the Disney Vacation Club, which start at start at $400 per night for a two-person Duo Studio. Infused with the magic and imagery of Walt Disney Animation Studios’s beloved classics, such as Jungle Book, The Princess and the Frog, and Sleeping Beauty, this 12-story “Discovery” tower is the 4th of three existing towers. The property features a brand-new Palette Pool, the Palm Breeze Bar, and a Steamboat Willie-inspired splash pad where kids take the helm as captain. These amenities are open to all Disneyland Hotel guests.
Pixar Place Hotel Becomes the Only Fully Pixar-Themed Hotel in the United States
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, the high-rise hotel that overlooks Disney California Adventure Park, is set to be reimagined into the Pixar Place Hotel. Guests have already seen elements of its transformation beginning in 2023, but its official opening is set for January 30, 2024. Once open, the hotel will become the nation’s only fully Pixar-themed hotel.
INSIDER TIPThe Pixar Place Hotel pool deck will be a prime place to watch the mesmerizing Disneyland park firework shows.
Pixar characters and imagery will be featured throughout the hotel grounds and in guest rooms, including a Finding Nemo-inspired water play area with a 186-foot-long waterslide, curated artwork, and a colorful mobile featuring Pixar characters at the front desk, and a monumental version Pixar’s iconic lamp balanced on a red ball in the lobby.
The new restaurant, Great Maple, opened in the fall, serving upscale comfort food with specialties such as soda pop-braised baby back ribs and buttermilk fried chicken & maple bacon doughnuts.
Overnight guests at the hotel with park tickets and reservations will still enjoy the perks of staying at the Disneyland Resort, including early park entry for select attractions, a special entrance Disney California Adventure park, and easy access to Disneyland Park and the Downtown Disney District.
Goodbye French Market Cafe, Hello Tiana’s Place
As of last September, the French Market restaurant in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square has become Tiana’s Place, which Princess Tiana worked hard to bring to life in the 2009 Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog.
Expect New Orleans classics at this quick-service style restaurant, such as house-filled beignets (with lemon ice box pie filling), 7 greens gumbo (plant-based), gulf shrimp and grits, and a muffuletta sandwich. Chef John State, culinary director of Food and Beverage at Disneyland Resort, notes, “We made every effort, through research and our team’s collective years of global culinary experience, to represent the flavors of New Orleans through dishes that we imagined Tiana would serve, sourcing local ingredients from the area where possible.”
You’ll find the Mint Julep Bar next door, serving up the ever-popular Mickey Mouse-shaped beignets and a non-alcoholic mint julep drink, as well as Eudora’s Chic Boutique featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets, a new Orleans Square shop featuring housewares, decorations, and apparel, inspired by the creations of Tiana’s dressmaker mother.
Princess Tiana’s Story Grows in the Coming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
New, original stories of Princess Tiana will soon come to life when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in 2024. According to the Walt Disney Imagineers, Tiana’s post-restaurant trajectory includes a business expansion into a multi-faceted enterprise, featuring a boutique farm, a working and teaching kitchen, and an original line of hot sauces. This floating journey replaces Splash Mountain, taking guests through a magical, mystical Mama Odie and critter-infused world of the bayou, complete with some of the film’s beloved elements, as well as a new slate of original Disney characters, musical renditions, and story twists.
New Attractions Added for the Genie+ Service
Last October, Disney announced that the Genie+ service will feature variable pricing, increasing to at least $30 per day, per person, up from a low of $25. The service allows guests to reserve windows of time on select attractions to access the Lightning Lane entrance and decrease the time waiting in line. To make up for the price increase, two attractions have been added to the service: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland Park, and The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at California Adventure Park.
The Genie+ service is not to be confused with the purchase of individual Lightning Lanes, which are for high-demand attractions not on the Genie+ service. This à la carte option is available to all park guests with a valid ticket and reservation. Lightning Lane entrances can be purchased for up to two attractions per day, with varying prices and limited availability. Both add-on options can be purchased through the My Disney Experience mobile app upon entry into a park.