What’s New at California’s Popular Theme Parks This Year

Hop on the latest attractions at LEGOLAND, Disneyland, and more.

“Fire of the Rising Moons” fireworks display over Disneyland Resort's Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
“Fire of the Rising Moons” experience at Disneyland Resort's Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Courtesy Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort

If your enthusiasm for California theme parks is based at least partly upon the creative new rides and attractions unveiled each year, now might be the time to start planning a visit. The Golden State is home to some of the most visited theme parks in the world, and, this year, they promise new fantastical lands, new rides, and the highly anticipated reopenings of a few fan favorites. Ticket holders can explore a prehistoric jungle with magnificent dinosaurs, cavort with Peanuts characters at a reimagined summer camp, and embark on an adrenaline-fueled journey to a galaxy far, far away. Here’s what’s new at California theme parks in 2024.

Disneyland & Disney California Adventure

The Happiest Place on Earth gets even happier this year with major updates to many crowd-pleasing attractions. As of April 5, you can jump to new galaxies aboard Star Tours - The Adventures Continue with worlds and characters pulled from popular Disney+ series. Intergalactic travelers will delight in over 250 story variations that feature The Mandalorian and Grogu, Ahsoka Tano, and Cassian Andor, all guided by the reluctant co-pilot, C3-PO.

From April 26 through August 4, 2024, fans of Buzz Lightyear and Elastigirl won’t want to miss Pixar Fest, which celebrates the studio’s beloved movies via live shows, immersive decor, and themed food and drinks. At Disneyland, you can boogie down with Woody, Buzz, and others at the Pixar Pals Playtime Party and enjoy treasured scenes projected onto Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular. At Disney California Adventure, you can groove to performances at Club Pixar, nab nibbles from themed food stands such as Gusteau’s To-Go (available from May 10 through Aug 4, 2024), and watch colorful floats and characters such as Miguel from Coco parade throughout the park during Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!

May 24, 2024 marks the return of Fantasmic!, the hugely popular nighttime spectacular which dazzles along the shores of the Rivers of America. Set to a rousing soundtrack and bursting with pyrotechnics, the live-action show will delight fans with the return of Peter Pan’s swashbuckling adventures and Sorcerer Mickey battling Disney rouges including a fire-breathing Maleficent dragon.

Closed for a revamp earlier this year, the Haunted Mansion will soon welcome brave guests back to its happy haunts. As fans know, the fun starts well before you enter the Mansion, with a meandering path that winds past a pet cemetery and engraved tombstones (e.g. “Here lies good old Fred, a great big rock fell on his head”). Now, the spooky estate doubles the fun with newly expanded gardens featuring a themed statuary, fountains, and a garden inspired by the attraction’s Madame Leota and Master Gracey. Speaking of the Madame, you might heed her call to “hurry back” and purchase something from a new, ghostly gift shop placed at the ride’s exit. Plus, the plaza that sits between the Haunted Mansion and the newly transformed Tiana's Palace restaurant—an instant hit with Disneyland regulars—will be transformed into a park setting with live entertainment set under the shade of historic trees.

Nearby, the former Splash Mountain is being rethemed as the forthcoming Tiana's Bayou Adventure, an indoor-outdoor flume ride inspired by the New Orleans-set The Princess and the Frog. Floating along an atmospheric bayou, you’ll follow the musical adventures of Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen as they prepare for a festive Mardi Gras-style celebration. Expect a chorus of singing, dancing animatronic characters and the squeal-inducing plunges held over from Splash Mountain.

Kids play with the LEGO Dinosaur models inside Dino Valley at LEGOLAND California Resort.
Explore the new Dino Valley at LEGOLAND California Resort.
Sandy Huffaker


LEGOLAND California turns 25 this year, and it’s celebrating with new attractions and events. This March, LEGOLAND welcomed adventurers to Dino Valley, a prehistoric-themed land shrouded in a jungle of Jurassic fun. The Explorer River Quest leads boat-bound voyagers down a waterway filled with behemoth dinosaur LEGO builds. On the DUPLO® Little Dino Trail, kiddos can cruise into the wild in search of adorable dinos, and snap pics via their camera-equipped vehicle. Dino Outpost offers an interactive dino-themed build and play area where you can uncover fossils and build your own creations. Plus, you’ll get to mingle and snap selfies with costumed characters including a LEGO T-Rex and LEGO paleontologist.

Back in the modern era, the inaugural LEGO® World Parade features a festive procession of larger-than-life reproductions of LEGO kit faves including a pirate ship and a fire truck accompanied by costumed actors cavorting along the way.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Aspiring Beagle Scouts will have more to explore at the newly refreshed and expanded Camp Snoopy. The summer camp-themed land featuring the Peanuts gang was reimagined this year with new rides and entertainment. Snoopy’s Tenderpaw Twister Coaster offers family-friendly thrills as the pint-size coaster zips through a forest setting, while Camp Snoopy’s Off-Road Rally has campers navigate an obstacle-filled course via character-themed jeeps. You can hop aboard the Beagle Express which chugs along a scenic railway with a covered bridge and fun camp scenes, and join the jamboree at Camp Snoopy Theater, a log bench amphitheater with daytime shows and evening campfire sing-alongs. Keep watch for your favorite Peanuts characters including Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy who make appearances to welcome campers. 

This year, Knott’s also opened a semi-secret lounge that’s only available for Prestige Pass holders. Located in the Old West-themed Ghost Town, the Calico Social Hall is hidden within Gertie’s Dress Shop, and features lounge seating, big screen TVs, refreshments, and photos of classic rides.

Guests ride past the house from the movie Psycho as part of Universal Studios Hollywood's studio tour.
Celebrate the 60th anniversary of Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour.
Victoria Wall Harris/Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

This year, Universal Studios Hollywood goes back to its roots with special programming to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Studio Tour, the tram ride attraction that started it all. From April 26 through August 11, 2024, guests will see the return of several GlamorTrams, the candy-striped vehicles designed by the art director of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This summer’s commemorative tour also holds a few surprises including a hi-tech upgrade to Earthquake—The Big One, a Doc Brown actor and time traveling vehicle at the Courthouse Square set from Back to the Future, and a photo opp stop with cars from the Fast & Furious films, the original hanging Jaws shark, and a first-ever replica of the Hollywood sign to mark its 100th anniversary.