It’s going to be an exciting year for theme parks, with thrilling new rides and attractions and anniversaries to celebrate. If you haven’t been to your favorite park recently, or if you’ve never been to one, 2023 is a good year to plan a trip.
The atmosphere is always festive at Disney World and Disneyland but this year is extra special because it marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Walt Disney Company. Walt and his brother Roy Disney opened the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in California on Oct. 16, 1923. Disney parks around the world will mark the occasion with new décor, merchandise, character experiences and specialty food and beverages.
In addition, two nighttime spectaculars will debut at Disneyland in late January. World of Color — One, at Disney California Adventure, will span the storytelling legacy of Disney’s first 100 years and tell a new story, drawing on classic Disney films as well as modern favorites. Wondrous Journeys, a fireworks display, is coming to Disneyland. The show will feature nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date, taking viewers on a trip filled with the magic of storytelling.
In Orlando, Disney World’s TRON Lightcycle / Run is scheduled to open in the spring in Tomorrowland. It promises to be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park, as riders take off on an epic quest across a dark, computerized world. Journey of Water, inspired by the film “Moana,” is slated to open late in the year. Guests will stroll along an interactive outdoor trail in EPCOT’s World Nature that will allow them to explore the wonders of water. Disney World will also get a new nighttime show, which will debut in EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon in late 2023.
If you love all things Disney you’ll want to plan a trip to see Disney100: The Exhibition, which features more than 250 treasures from the company’s archives such as original artwork, costumes and props. It opens on Feb. 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Future stops are planned in Chicago and Kansas City.
If you love thrilling rides, you’ll have lots of options in 2023.
SeaWorld is opening new roller coasters in each of its parks this spring. Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, at SeaWorld Orlando, will mimic the movement and motion of surfing. At SeaWorld San Diego, Arctic Rescue will launch riders on a chilly adventure to help animals in danger. SeaWorld San Antonio will be home to Catapult Falls, featuring the world’s steepest drop in a flume coaster.
At Busch Gardens in Tampa, Serengeti Flyer is scheduled to open this year. The ride will reach a maximum height of 135 feet, overlooking the park’s 65-acre Serengeti Plain. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., is launching DarKoaster, an indoor ride on snowmobiles that takes place in the dark on the grounds of an abandoned castle.