We have a humdinger of a Disneyland news update for you today folks. Last night, Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock gave his state of the resort address to Anaheim community leaders and revealed some big plans for the resort. There’s a lot to cover here and plenty of concept art.
Downtown Disney Doozy
The old AMC Theater building was recently demolished on the west side of Downtown Disney. The Disney Resort is revealing some news about the look of what’s coming, and some new restaurants on the way.
The newly cleared space is massive…
Coming soon to the old AMC space is a sort of new mid-century modern-looking strip mall filled with new restaurants and shops.
Nearby there will also be more green space, a stage, and even some event space.
The current entry to Downtown Disney will drop the whimsical and take on a new retro vibe:
Oddly, the entry appears to have turnstiles in the concept art.
And what will the new offerings in the reimagined Downtown Disney be? Well, we have a few new establishments to share with you.
Din Tai Fung Downtown Disney
Locals will recognize the name of the super popular dumpling restaurant, Din Tai Fung. The ever-popular handmade soup dumpling purveyor will be headed to Downtown Disney. The last time we attempted to dine at the South Coast Plaza location, the wait was 4 hours. Just imagine what the waits will be at Disneyland! The restaurant is described as being located near the “Lawn Pavilion,” which we believe to be on the west end of Downtown Disney near the Disneyland Hotel.
Paseo and Centrico Downtown Disney
Chef Carlos Gaytan is bringing high-end Mexican cuisine to the old Catal & Uva Bar locations. The new Paseo and Centrico will still be owned and operated by Patina Restaurant Group.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Downtown Disney
Shockingly, Disney is keeping the Jazz Kitchen, but it will lose many of the decorative elements that make it so unique and will take on a more generic strip-mall look.
Here’s what the Jazz Kitchen looks like now:
And here’s the concept art for the renovated space:
Earl of Sandwich Downtown Disney
The popular and affordable Earl of Sandwich was demolished along with the AMC theater. But the location will get a special pop-up sandwich location later this year near the old ESPN Zone and the Star Wars Outpost.
Hotels of the Disneyland Resort News
Lots of changes are headed to the hotels of the Disneyland Resort.
- Many of you have been asking when early entry into the parks would return for hotel guests. We still don’t have a date, but the popular perk is confirmed to be returning later this summer 7 days a week.
- All hotel guests will soon be able to use a Disney branded Alexa device. By simply saying “Hey Disney,” you’ll be able to ask for park hours, weather, park tips, hotel information, get a wake-up reminder, ask for a bedtime story, and much more.
- Later this summer, guests of the Disneyland Resort hotels will once again be able to send select theme park purchases back to their hotel rooms.
But there are some even bigger hotel projects in the works…
As we’ve previously reported, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is slowly transforming. The hotel will be adding Pixar artwork and style throughout the building. The new hotel doesn’t yet have an official name, but we are calling it the Pixar Hotel for now just so folks get a clear mental picture of what the theme is.
Guests will find a Luxo Lamp balancing atop a Pixar ball in the lobby of the hotel. Above, light-catching mobiles evoke Pixar films and characters.
And, as you read here first, Disney has confirmed that a walkway is being built for Pixar Hotel guests to access Disney California Adventure directly (the walkway is located just across the crosswalk from the hotel near the entry into the parking lot for the Grand Californian Hotel). Ironically, California Adventure was built with a special entry for Paradise Pier Hotel guests, but it was quickly abandoned and later rendered unusable by construction on rides and Grand Californian hotel expansion. The new pathway shouldn’t take too much longer to complete.
New Disneyland Hotel DVC Tower
We’ve been following the construction of the 4th tower at the Disneyland Hotel for a couple of years now. But now that the new Disney Vacation Club tower is going vertical, it finally has a name, “The Villas at Disneyland Hotel.”
But it’s still a long way from being complete. Here’s what the property looks like now…
Mickey’s Toontown News
It’s no secret that Mickey’s Toontown is undergoing a complete reimagining in preparation for the early 2023 debut of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction. All pathways and some buildings and attractions have already been demolished and crews are hard at work on the land. When it is done, there will be more trees, green space, improved food service, and a brand new attraction.
From the air, you can see that all of the fountains, pathways, trolly tracks, and some buildings have already been removed:
It’s also now confirmed that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be a slightly enhanced version of the Florida original and have an entirely unique queue.
This and That
There are a few more items from the event worth noting:
- The Disney Aspire college tuition program, which 4,000 Disneyland cast are already taking advantage of is growing. The program was previously for online classes only, but Disney has partnered with Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College to provide in-person classes as well.
- The Disneyland Resort now employs approximately 30,000 Castmembers. About one third of the cast is new, making training more important than ever. There is also a need for even more cast to relaunch some of the programs and services listed above. As a result, staffing and retention are both being worked on to meet resort staffing need.
- Tale of the Lion King is coming very soon to the Fantasyland Theater and we got an inspiring preview of the opening number from the very talented cast.
- Looks like park reservations will be sticking around for quite some time. It was mentioned more than once that they are staying.
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For more news and photos from the Disneyland Resort, don’t miss our huge Monday Update:
Disneyland Update – Electric Entertainment, Magic Key Blues & Rumors Too