It’s been a while since we shared a Star Wars Land construction update, and this time, we have one for both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’ll start with California first, where I just shot the photos in this post earlier today (March 1, 2017).
Based on my observations, construction for Star Wars Land is further along at Disneyland. Construction has now gone vertical, and there is also a lot of rock-work visible that makes it look like things–in some places at least–are fairly far along. However, some of this is for the rock-work that will separate Star Wars Land from the Rivers of America.
With the attractions along the Rivers of America, including the Disneyland Railroad and Fantasmic, returning in Summer 2017, it should be no surprise that this element of the project is further along than the rest of Star Wars Land construction. The actual substance of Star Wars Land won’t need to be ready until sometime in 2019…
Now let’s take a look at the view of the Star Wars Land construction site at Disneyland from the Mickey & Friends parking structure…
It’s almost an attraction unto itself, with crowds gathering to take photos of the very active construction site across Disneyland Drive.
Here’s a closer look at construction on the backside of the Rivers of America.
Above is (approximately) the back side of that from inside the park, near Hungry Bear Restaurant. The rock-work above looks like that featured in the Rivers of America concept art Disney released…
For those unfamiliar with this part of Disneyland, what we’re looking at would be the far left of this art, where the train is pictured.
Another closer look. I believe the building frame is for the Stormtrooper Battle Escape attraction.
Back inside the park, this time over by Big Thunder Railroad. Looking behind the attraction, we can see the new berm, which is rock-work to the left (basically, the far right side of the concept art above) and a themed barricade (pictured directly above) to the right.
Disneyland Star Wars Land construction has progressed quite nicely since last time we checked out the view from Mickey & Friends. While it’s still too early to tell, we’re hopeful that a Christmas 2018 soft opening remains in the realm of possibility. If both Star Wars Lands are going to open in 2019 (as Disney recently announced), it seems likely Disneyland’s Star Wars Land will have a longer soft opening period beforehand, as it is definitely further along as of right now.
Now, let’s take a look at Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land construction progress at Walt Disney World. We were recently in Florida, and it was nearly impossible to see anything from the park (I have a couple dirt pile photos I’ll post in our coming trip report in case anyone is into that sort of thing). Fortunately, NearMap sent me these photos to use. I have no idea why they sent the images–perhaps their PR team has determined that my audience is the prime target for buying some “near maps.”
I like this one the best, as it provides a look at both Toy Story Land (top left) and Star Wars Land (bottom), as well as some current in-park context (Toy Story Mania is top middle and MuppetVision is lower middle).
Here’s Toy Story Land by itself. My question here is “what’s taking so long?!”
(That’s rhetorical–I know Pandora going over budget and the desire to spread capex over multiple years is the “reason.” It just seems like a lousy one given Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ current state.)
On the other hand, I was actually a bit surprised to see this much progress on Star Wars Land at Walt Disney World. Based upon what you can see from Muppets Courtyard, it looks like they haven’t even finished demolition work.
In actuality, the plot is entirely clear (except for a stray Streets of America facade–perhaps it’s being repurposed), foundation work appears well along, and Star Wars Land construction is even going vertical in places. (It seems like the pace always picks up considerably once things go vertical.)
This assuages some of my concerns that Star Wars Land opening in 2019 at Walt Disney World is a long shot. Despite my complaint about Toy Story Land’s progress, there’s no denying that the next 3 years (Pandora in 2017, Toy Story Land in 2018, and Star Wars Land in 2019) should be a really strong 1-2-3 punch in terms of additions at Walt Disney World. When you factor in other additions, I wonder if this much has ever been spent on the Florida parks over the course of 3 years…
That’s it for this Disneyland and Walt Disney World Star Wars Land (and I guess a little bit of Toy Story Land) construction update. As a side note, we’ll be back later this week with a more general Disneyland update. Today was our first time this year spending any significant time in Disneyland, so we have a lot to catch up on–from Red Rose Taverne (we tried almost everything on the menu!) to Guardians of the Galaxy: MISSION Build-A-Warehouse, Fortress-Like Power Plant Kinda Oil Rig-Looking Monstrosity.
Have you been keeping tabs on the construction progress for Star Wars Land? What do you think of the progress at Disneyland versus Walt Disney World? Are you excited for it to open? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!