With all the closures that happened this month at the Disneyland Resort (including the various Rivers of America attractions, the Disneyland Railroad, the Big Thunder Ranch area including the Jamboree and the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue and show, as well as the ending of Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular), is there anything to look forward to at the Resort in 2016?
Why yes, there actually is!
First, and likely my favorite bit of news was the return of Tangled to the Royal Theatre in Disneyland Park just last week! It is now running three times per day along with the Frozen show. I’m still hoping that the Beauty and the Beast show will return here at some point as well, but getting Tangled back was really, really welcome!
Soarin’ Over California is currently in the midst of refurbishment in anticipation of its new iteration as Soarin’ Around the World. As long as they keep that original exquisite and iconic Jerry Goldsmith music score, I will be open to what the new film adds to the experience!
The Star Wars Season of the Force event in Disneyland Park’s Tomorrowland (to be spotlighted here soon!), expected to continue through the springtime, seems to be getting refreshed after only being open for a short time with the announcement last week that Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be joining the Meet & Greet characters at the Launch Bay starting next month (although Darth Vader will no longer be meeting here as a result).
And of course, the biggest production coming in the summer of 2016 will be Frozen at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure! While I was very, very upset at the loss of Aladdin there, I’ve no doubt that this show will be incredible and showcase plenty of Mousertainment talent. The question is: will it manage to be as relevant and constantly refreshable and inspire the kind of repeat viewing that the Genie managed to accomplish for the Aladdin show? Will it appeal to all ages and genders or just to little princesses and their accompanying parent? We’ll find out in a few months!
Autumn 2016 will bring the end of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration at the Disneyland Resort. This means that Diamond Celebration entertainment ranging from song changes in regular shows to the Diamond Mad T Party will likely evolve again. Although I expect the Disneyland Forever fireworks and Paint the Night parade to stick around long past the anniversary year, I’m remaining optimistic that our seasonal fireworks and castle lighting shows may return again in 2016 for the holidays. The timing of the Diamond Celebration ending in September also makes me hopeful that the Mad T Party will return to it original incarnation with its constantly changing set lists and move quickly into its Halloween and Christmas versions that were so dearly missed this past year!
There will still be other seasonal events held throughout the year, starting with the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure from February 5-8, featuring cultural experiences and character Meet & Greets. No doubt Easter, Halloween and Christmas will also bring their usual seasonal entertainment as well.
As for other possibilities, there is a persistent rumor that Disneyland may try out a dining experience with Tiana aboard the Mark Twain while it is currently docked on the now-closed Rivers of America during construction for the upcoming Star Wars Land. I think this would be a wonderful use of the venue TEMPORARILY. More character experiences that are well-themed to their area are always welcome. But I still look forward to riding the Mark Twain again around the Rivers in 2017 when they are supposed to re-open.
As for wishful thinking… for New Year’s Eve, Disneyland Park once again hosted TOMASINA on the Tomorrowland Terrace stage, proving it possible for bands to still perform here despite the scenery changes for the new Jedi Training Academy show (to be spotlighted here soon!). So I’m still really hoping that Disneyland rethinks its decision to get rid of the terrific bands here and at least brings them back for the summer nights.
Of course, all of the wonderful regular shows are supposed to continue this year, so go ahead and treat yourself to musical sets by The Dapper Dans or The Bootstrappers or Jambalaya Jazz Band or head over to see Mickey and the Magical Map at Disneyland Park or stop by Disney California Adventure to watch the News Boys and Five & Dime. All of which are definitely worth your time to go see!
I also plan on finally checking out some of the bands and shows I haven’t yet made enough time for including ones on Disneyland Park’s Main Street, U.S.A. like the Hook & Ladder Company or the Royal Street Bachelors in New Orleans Square, and others over at Disney California Adventure like the groups playing at the Paradise Garden Bandstand.
And I still want to keep an eye on what’s happening in Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Resort Hotels, including what will happen to the House of Blues site which is expected to close at some point this year. I’m hoping it will remain an entertainment location of some kind.
While Mousertainment at the Disneyland Resort started 2016 with a down note, there is still much to be grateful for and much to look forward to in the coming year.
What shows are you most excited to see at the Disneyland Resort in 2016? What show will you miss the most that recently closed?