Let’s face it. Disneyland might have once been dubbed “the happiest place on Earth,” but over the years that title has lost its merit. Complaints about cheapened experiences are common—from huge crowds, to broken-down rides and even foul smells. This, combined with insanely high ticket prices, has made guests feel like the Disney magic has dimmed.
However, it seems that Disney might be helping the wish for a better park come true, as it just announced several positive updates happening to its resorts in 2023.
One of the biggest changes will be more days available to purchase low-tier tickets at $104. Folks should be seeing nearly two months worth of these low-cost ticket days.
In addition, guests will receive more flexibility with Park Hopper tickets—allowing them to cross over to different parks starting at 11 a.m.—as well as complimentary Disney PhotoPass digital photo downloads.
Lastly, passes to Disney’s Magic Key program, which provides reservation-based admission to one or both Disneyland Resort theme parks, will be available for purchase more times throughout the year.
JUST ANNOUNCED! 🎆 Beginning April 3, fan-favorite “Happily Ever After” returns to Magic Kingdom AND “EPCOT Forever” will fill the skies above World Showcase Lagoon at EPCOT for a limited time! 🌐 Learn more: https://t.co/TFGe9j0kki pic.twitter.com/OZPh0xfBpi
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 10, 2023
The Walt Disney World Resort will also be undergoing some changes, including Annual Passholders being able to visit after 2 p.m. without a reservation (except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom Park and during normal blockout dates) and complimentary self-parking for guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. That last one is already in effect, as of Jan. 10.
Both parks will have a few new offerings and attractions as well. As Walt Disney World says goodbye to Splash Mountain, it will say hello to a highly anticipated Tron Lightcycle/Run roller coaster in April.
Meanwhile, Disneyland’s Splash Mountain won’t be torn down, but instead reimagined as a “Princess and the Frog” themed ride called “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure,” which will accompany the soon-to-be debuted restaurant Tiana’s Palace, replacing the French Market Restaurant.
French Market Restaurant at @Disneyland will be reimagined into Tiana’s Palace, the newest restaurant on Orleans Street, later this year! Tiana’s Palace will offer authentic New Orleans flavors inspired by Tiana’s friends and adventures. Learn more: https://t.co/vJ8fAt4IEw pic.twitter.com/o0q4nosaXn
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 12, 2023
These updates are almost certainly due to a leadership shakeup at Disney headquarters. Or perhaps we should say … a leadership reversal? Bob Iger, who retired as CEO of Disney in 2021, was replaced by Bob Chapek. However, after Chapek lost a significant amount of fan loyalty (due in part to price gouging), Iger returned to his post as CEO less than a year after retiring.
Iger’s comeback and the upcoming changes to the Disney resorts indicate a renewed sense of what was once a major part of Disney’s culture—which is to honor the fans. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro, who wrote about the updates on Disney’s website, shared:
“I’m excited about all of these changes and offers and want you to know that we are committed to listening, adapting, and staying relentlessly focused on making the guest experience at our Disney parks even better.”
He continued, “I believe there’s no other place like Disney and of course, nothing helps our guests connect with Disney like you do. And while it’s easy to celebrate the products we make, the moments we create, and the experiences we provide … I think it’s important that we recognize all of YOU who make it happen.”
Read the full Disney update for 2023 here.