D23 is over, and boy do we have a lot to discuss. This will be a general overview of the changes, and I’ll be getting into more detail in future articles. Let’s jump right into the major changes coming to Disneyland shall we?
The MaxPass System
Disney announced the new MaxPass System will begin Wednesday, July 19th. It’s basically a digital Fast Pass that you book from your smart phone, but you pay $10 per person per day to use it. The biggest potential issue with the system is that everyone in your party will need to have signed up. Annual Passholders will be able to buy the service for $75 per year per person, except for those (like myself) that have the Signature Plus Pass – where you get the new service at no additional charge. The nice thing about the service is all guests who sign up will get access to Photo Pass for free. This sounds great unless you are a signature or Signature Pluss plan member, where you already get this service. Plus, if you don’t have a smart phone, you cannot use the service. The parks will still give out the hard copy passes, but it’s obvious they want to move people to the digital plan. We’ll see soon enough how guests react to this new and possibly controversial service.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Walt Disney Imagineering showed off their giant model of Star Wars land at the Expo, and it this new land comes in at 14 acres! Cast members will be dressed up as aliens living in this spaceport at the edge of the galaxy. There will be blue milk served at the cantina, and Captain Rex, the original robot captain from Star Tours will be a DJ in the cantina as well. There will be three separate entrances, so hopefully getting in and out of the new land will be fairly easy. Though let’s be honest, who is going to want to leave?
The Paradise Pier area in California Adventure will be changing to permanently become Pixar Pier. The change will be happening in 2018, and the pier will be home to “whimsical neighborhoods filled with your friends from “The Incredibles,” “Inside Out” and even more of your pals from “Toy Story.” Rumor is that the Paradise Pier Hotel will be getting a makeover and become Pixar themed as well.
Halloween Time at Disneyland:
Christmas and Halloween are two of my favorite times at the park, and this year Disneyland Resort is expanding their offerings to guests. Ghost Galaxy will return to haunt Space Mountain, the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay of the Haunted Mansion will continue, but now California Adventure gets to dress up. Buena Vista street will take on an overlay designed by Oogie Boogie from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Cars Land will have each shop get unique Halloween decoration and all the cars will be dressing up in costumes. Over in Paradise Gardens, we will get a Dia Los Muertos display that will help promote the new Coco film from Pixar that opens this Thanksgiving.
One of the most exciting pieces of news to come out of D23 was the confirmation of the long rumored Marvel expansion that began with the Guardians of the Galaxy: Breakout ride. There are still not a lot of details confirmed other than the 2 new rides will be centered around the Avengers and Spider-Man. Rumor is that the Avengers ride will be an indoor roller coaster set behind the Guardians ride that will be similar to Rock n’ Roller Coaster in Florida. The ride will be a launch beginning, possibly incorporating 3D technology, and more. Disney is said to be pulling out all the stops to make this a must experience ride. Another rumor is that all of Bugs Land will be removed to make way for these rides, a restaurant, and shopping. However, that removes a lot of the rides for smaller children, so we’ll see. Another rumor is that the land will expand to the area where the Muppets 3D movie used to be, take out Monsters Inc. and the soundstage behind it. Either way, major changes are coming to parts of California Adventure that aren’t currently optimized.
Fantasmic had gone dark while the Rivers of America were drained during the work on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and Imagineers took the downtime to make some changes to the show. The projections on the water are much brighter and cleaner, they switched out the Peter Pan/Captain Hook fight on the Sailing Ship Columbia with Captain Jack Sparrow fighting ghostly pirates. There is some new music additions as well. It debuted this week, and early reports are most are happy with the show overall, but there are some issues with the pacing. I’ll be there over Labor Day and will have a full report for you then.
That’s it for now, but soon I’ll do a deep dive into the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land and all the exciting things we have to look forward to experiencing in 2019 when it opens.