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Monday, May 30, 2016

Disneyland's Star Wars Land Progress Report

By Daisy Sparks




Last August at the D23 Expo, Disney announced that a Star Wars themed land was coming to Disneyland and also Walt Disney World at Hollywood Studios. Creating 14 acres into a Star Wars Land on both coasts is going to take some time, but the work has already begun at Disneyland and now you can see the current stage of the project right here. Join us in today's new article for a progress report on Star Wars Land at Disneyland...







 
One of the biggest obstacles at Disneyland is, unlike Walt Disney World, when it needs to evolve or add something to the resort, it absolutely has to be done within the confines of its existing real estate. Disney gets very creative, thoughtful, and takes its time. For example, a second gate at Disneyland was not realized until 2001, almost 46 years after it first opened. Disney California Adventure was built on the former Disneyland Parking Lot. The popular Star Wars franchise was acquired by Disney in 2012 and the official groundbreaking of a Star Wars themed land was celebrated on April 14, 2016. Disney Parks Blog shared a post featuring a 360-Degree close up view of the work that has begun to create this new area.




360-Degree close up view of the Star Wars Land construction site

Star Wars Land concept art

Star Wars Land concept art

Star Wars Land concept art

Star Wars Land concept art




As a Disneyland Annual Passholder, I’ve been taking some photos from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure of the progress of this Star Wars themed land. For now, from this location you can get a good view of the particular area that is under construction. This location used to be the area where Disneyland housed its Facilities building (eg. sawmill, paint shop), service garage, and trams. Circle D Ranch, which housed the Disneyland horses, was located here, as well as the oldest building on property known as the Pope House.




Pope House




All of this land was considered a "back-of-house" area until this year. Here are some photos to document the changes to the area...











Most of the buildings have been there since the beginning. I know they were there when I worked tat Disneyland in the early 1990s. Disney made the decision to move these departments and work offsite in order to make room to expand the Park...








 

Trees have been disappearing. It looks like a lot of grading of the area for now. Recently, it was discovered that Disneyland took out a permit to demolish the old Fantasyland Skyway building. It had just been sitting there behind growing trees since its closure in 1994. This is another example of how long it takes for some things to change at Disneyland, as well as Disney being thoughtful of what to change in an area and why.

From inside Disneyland, the Star Wars construction brought walls around Frontierland. The Big Thunder Ranch area had its final days this past January. Big Thunder Trail is completely closed off so you can’t walk through Frontierland to get to Fantasyland...









 

If you ride Big Thunder Railroad, you can get a very quick (and I mean very quick!) glimpse of the construction site...







 

Happy to see that they figured out a way to not have to drain the Rivers of America completely. They need to only work on the back end of this area. So, the Mark Twain and Columbia Ship remain docked for awhile...







 

The Mark Twain is usually open during the day so you can still explore this attraction. There are usually Princess and the Frog characters available for a photo op, too.

If you walk towards Critter Country, you’ll find more construction wall to block that area where the river is dry. They have become creative and placed some great themed signs. Looking at Disney artwork sure beats looking at a plain old construction fence...



















 

Up on the second floor where the Hungry Bear Restaurant is located, there are really decorative but purposeful screens to block or hide the view of the empty River. If you get your camera at the right angle up against the screen or the sun shines in the right places, you can usually get a peak of what’s going on...











 

There hasn't been an announcement on when the Star Wars themed land will make its debut. They keep referring to the area as “the Star Wars themed land” so they haven’t officially named the new land either. Whether you are an excited Star Wars fan or not, this expansion proves one of things that Walt Disney always said about Disneyland...




"Disneyland is like a piece of clay. If there is something I don't like, I'm not stuck with it. I can reshape and revamp." -Walt Disney




Have a great week and see you in the Parks!

-Daisy






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Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her "college job" led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 

Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy's Duck's help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland's Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it "the happiest place on earth."

You can read more about Daisy's Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

You can find all of Daisy's articles here.

1 comment:

  1. Daisy - very informative and nicely done. Thanks for your hard work on this report.

    ReplyDelete