3 lots for major renovations and changes at Disneyland Resort

Three parts of the Disneyland Resort are undergoing massive overhauls — and two will see entirely new themes — Disney Parks, Experiences and Products President Josh D’Amaro said Sunday at the D23 Expo.

D’Amaro revealed more details about two of the projects already underway: the Splash Mountain retheme at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and the reimagining of Toontown. But the third was a complete surprise: Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure will become San Fransokyo, the vibrant setting of “Big Hero 6.”

The 2014 Disney animated film features a future city that is a mix of San Francisco and Tokyo, highlighting San Francisco’s steep hills and Victorian architecture and Japan’s bright neon lights and peaked rooftops. Pacific Wharf is currently a holdover from California Adventure’s original days, when the entire park was a tribute to California tourist spots. The wharf’s collection of quick-service restaurants and outdoor food court nod to Cannery Row. Concept art released at D23 shows its bridge, which occasionally shakes to mimic earthquakes, redone with a Golden Gate Bridge motif, and lanterns adorning the wharf.

Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure Park will become San Fransokyo from “Big Hero 6”.

Artist concept/Disneyland Resort

There will be new restaurants and stores that have yet to be announced, as well as a meet and greet opportunity with Baymax.

READ ALSO: Disneyland ditches the long-awaited Marvel ride for a new concept at Avengers Campus

On the other side of the esplanade, the vast Toontown construction project is taking shape. The main attraction will be Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a ride already in operation at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. D’Amaro announced that the Disneyland version will be distinct, with very different items in the queue, including “costumes and props from the cartoon world.”

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in Disneyland's Toontown will have its own elements, separate from the Disney World version.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disneyland’s Toontown will have its own elements, separate from the Disney World version.

Artist concept/Disneyland Resort

“We’re going to be making very special adjustments to make sure it fits into our Toontown story,” D’Amaro said.

In an effort to make Toontown more vibrant and sensory, D’Amaro announced Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard and Donald’s Duck Pond. Goofy’s attraction will feature seating for weary adults and lots of interactive features for kids, like a sound garden, “squishy” faux grass play areas and a new clubhouse. The pond will have “larger-than-life lily pads, balance beams and rocking toys that will keep adventurous kids busy,” Disney said in a press release. Toontown, which is currently completely closed for construction, is expected to reopen early next year.

Goofy's How-to-Play Yard will have interactive elements for young children exploring Disneyland's Toontown.

Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard will have interactive elements for young children exploring Disneyland’s Toontown.

Artist concept/Disneyland Resort

Finally, a few more details have been released on the highly anticipated Splash Mountain theme. The project was originally announced in 2020 as Disney sought to cut ties with the racist 1946 film “Song of the South.” Concept art unveiled at D23 shows a heavily modified exterior, with the iconic Splash Mountain tree removed entirely. The hole from which the log channels screech screaming down a 52-foot drop should be lit with waving, colored lights, and the entire exterior will be filled with bayou-appropriate trees.

Imagineers at D23 said the ride would pick up when ‘The Princess and the Frog’ ended, with Princess Tiana throwing a party for her friends in New Orleans. A “key ingredient” goes missing, taking guests on a ride across the bayou to help Tiana kick off her carnival party.

D’Amaro said the new ride will be operational by the end of 2024.

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