The Latest Disney Theme Park News Includes Ride Openings, Park Reservation Changes, and More

TRON Lightcycle / Run finally has an opening date!
TRON Lightcycle / Run is one of the fastest coasters in any Disney park (Photo: Disney)
TRON Lightcycle / Run (Photo: Disney)

If a visit to Disney’s Orlando theme parks is on your family vacation ideas wishlist in 2023, you’ll want to pay attention to all of the big news announced by Disney over the past few days. Here’s a look at what’s coming—and what’s changing—at Walt Disney World, per all of Disney’s recent announcements.

Nighttime Spectacular Return Dates Announced

Epcot Forever fireworks spectacular (Photo: Kent Phillips)
EPCOT Forever will return for a limited run beginning this April (Photo: Kent Phillips)

The night skies above Disney World are about to change as two firework spectaculars prepare to return to the parks this spring.

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The beloved nighttime show “Happily Ever After” will make its grand return to Magic Kingdom with new projections up and down Main Street starting on April 3, and “EPCOT Forever” will be back at EPCOT also starting on April 3. EPCOT Forever will return for a limited run as the park prepares for an all-new nighttime show which will debut later in 2023.

TRON Lightcycle / Run Opening Date Announced

The long-awaited TRON Lightcycle / Run ride will open at Magic Kingdom on April 4. Previews for Cast Members, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members were also announced for the upcoming E-ticket roller coaster, with exact dates and information to come at a later time.

Park Reservation Rules Ease Up for Annual Passholders

In addition to those returning shows and new attractions, Disney also announced a series of updates that will have a significant impact on how some guests plan their Disney World vacations over the next few months.

To kick things off, Disney World’s Park Reservation System is about to see its biggest change since it was rolled out in 2020. In the coming months, Annual Passholders will no longer be required to book a Park Pass Reservation if they are visiting the parks after 2:00 p.m. (An exact date when this change goes into effect has not been announced.)

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There are also exceptions to this new rule: On Saturdays and Sundays, Annual Passholders will continue to be required to book a Park Pass Reservation when visiting Magic Kingdom, regardless of the time of day you are entering the park.

Complimentary Offerings for Hotel Guests and Genie+ Users

While the latest price hikes for theme park tickets went into effect in December 2022, there are now some new (and newly returning) ways to save on your upcoming Disney vacation.

Guests who choose to stay at Disney World’s resort hotels will once again save on overnight parking, which is included in the cost of the hotel stay. And all guests, regardless of ticket type or accommodation, will soon have the opportunity to collect memorable photos at no extra cost. In the next few months, same-day on-ride attraction photos will be included with the purchase of Genie+. The price of Genie+ in Disney World starts at $15 per guest per day. 

Changes Coming to the Disneyland Resort

Festivals and celebrations are back at Disneyland (Photo: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)
Exciting changes are coming to Disneyland (Photo: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

Finally, some exciting changes are coming to the Disneyland Resort too, which will kickoff the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company with several new in-park offerings starting on January 27.

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Since Disneyland reopened its gates in 2021, park hopping was limited for guests with Park Hopper tickets and Magic Key holders to after 1 p.m. daily. But beginning on February 4, that window of time will move up two hours and park hopping will be allowed after 11 a.m. daily. Speaking of Magic Keys, Disneyland has shared that the passes will continue to be sold from time to time throughout 2023 as “inventory becomes available.”

Finally, Disneyland guests can look forward to the limited-time return of Earl of Sandwich, which will be located in the former location of La Brea Bakery, which permanently closed in January (per theme park reporter Scott Gustin). The location will later become the home of Porto’s Bakery, which was announced during the D23 Expo.

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Carly Terzigni
Carly Terzigni is a New England-based writer who specializes in theme parks, local attractions, food and drink, and travel. Her expertise for all things Disney has been featured in numerous industry-leading sites, and over the years she has become a trusted voice in helping first-timers and experts alike plan their Disney vacations. When Carly isn’t planning her own Disney getaway, she can be found catching the latest Broadway play. Visit her website at carlyterzigni.com for more information, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @carlyterzigni for theme park news, other daily musings, and pictures of her pets.

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