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Some of my favorite Disney theme park happenings in 2022 – DePaoli on DeParks

by Jeff DePaoli

As we bid farewell to 2022 and welcome 2023, I wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the Disney theme park happenings that brought me great joy this past year. Whether it’s the launch of something brand new or the return of a beloved entity, these are some of my favorites.

disney favorite 2022

Early in 2022, The Walt Disney Company launched a first of its kind experience. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser officially opened on March 1, 2022, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to much fanfare. Although I didn’t personally experience it myself, I did keep a close eye on the overall experience while also trying to avoid some spoilers. Even without stepping aboard the Halcyon myself, I can easily say that it was a highlight for me in 2022 due to its sheer originality.

Although new technologies are often used for the latest and greatest attractions, it’s rare for a whole new way of storytelling to come along. As time passes, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will continue to make tweaks in the hopes of creating an even greater guest experience. That is the simply the nature of creating something that’s never been done before. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan and whether or not you feel it’s worth the hefty price tag, you can’t deny it’s historic significance in the world of themed entertainment.

star wars galactic starcruiser

Another big piece of Star Wars theme parks news to come in 2022 was the introduction of Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, along with The Mandalorian and Grogu later in the year, to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland Park. The introduction of new characters in the Disney Parks is fairly frequent. But the introduction of these particular characters in this particular location meant that Walt Disney Imagineering was easing up on the sacred timeline that had been created and stressed upon since the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019.

Similar to how the previously mentioned Galactic Starcruiser was a first-of-its-kind experience, the same can be said to a degree, with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Sure, folks had witnessed highly immersive theme park experiences like in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But the original commitment to timeline storytelling and continuity in Galaxy’s Edge was next level. Once again, Disney tried something brand new (an honorable and inspiring trait), but some adjustments have been needed along the way in order to satisfy guests even more. Even though I’m usually a stickler for continuity, I understand their reasoning and applaud the way they’re handling the timeline exceptions in Batuu at Disneyland.

disney favorite 2022

In September of 2022, we got the return of Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure for the Halloween season. It’s no secret that Halloween is my favorite time of year and that I’m a huge fan of Disneyland Resort’s Halloween party. The thing that puts this at the top of my list is how much the party reinvents itself year after year. In the case of a lot of Disney holiday festivities, much is the same year after year with perhaps a new specialty cupcake or popcorn bucket added. But the same can’t be said for Oogie Boogie Bash. And in 2022, I was especially impressed with new character additions to the party. I absolutely loved what felt like the complete randomness of Madam Mim from “The Sword in the Stone” and the superb makeup and effects created for Ernesto de la Cruz from “Coco.” I love seeing this party updated year after year and look forward to what’s in store for 2023.

Coco's Ernesto de la Cruz Talks with Guests at Oogie Boogie Bash 2022

Another returning piece of entertainment that came with much fanfare was Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This epic nighttime spectacular closed in March of 2020, along with all of the parks, due to the pandemic. But it didn’t return until recently in November of 2022. More than simply the excitement of having a favorite piece of entertainment returning, it was nice to see this production get some much-needed updates. Fantasmic! at Walt Disney World hasn’t had the same kind of attention paid to it the way Disneyland’s version has. I’m happy to see it finally happened with new technology and segments added to the show. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed for an updated Maleficent dragon as part of Walt Disney World’s Fantasmic! in the near future.

fantasmic

The final favorite of 2022 that I want to mention is something that truly began in 2021. That is the Beacon of Magic lighting show on Epcot’s Spaceship Earth. Although it all began last year, I truly love how many new iterations we got to experience in 2022. For each of the festivals and holidays taking place at Epcot, there is often a new Beacon of Magic lighting package to go alongside. With music and lights celebrating Figment, “Pocahontas,” “The Muppets,” and beyond, they’ve all been a true thrill to see. I hope this tradition continues for a very long time.

Epcot 40th Spaceship Earth Beacon of Magic Light Show

That’s a look at some of my Disney Parks favorites from 2022. What are some of yours? Leave a message and let me know.


Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.

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