Construction for Star Wars Land is underway at Disneyland. As of Summer 2016, construction is not yet vertical, but it looks like the plot of land is almost totally cleared with some progress also occurring beyond clearing of land. The view of the construction from Mickey & Friends is almost an attraction unto itself, with crowds gathering to take photos of dirt and tractors across Disneyland Drive.
Those tractors are pushing around dirt for the construction of Star Wars Land, the 14-acre expansion coming to Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The construction progress at Disneyland certainly underscores the point that Star Wars Land will be Disney’s largest single-themed land expansion, as it transports guests to a remote trading port planet.
This is a pretty short and sweet update, but hopefully it answers some questions for those of you wondering about Star Wars Land construction progress. We began the year strong with our January and March Disneyland Construction Update posts, but have been quiet since. We’ll try to do another update over the summer, but can’t make any promises.
Between the summer crowds and our frustration with the continuing cuts at Disneyland, we don’t intend upon spending much time in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this summer. These “little” cuts have added up for us, and it’s more than a little irritating that we continue to pay more while getting less. It’s time to vote with our wallets.
Approximately one month later, it looked like this:
Exact same perspective, and you can see that virtually all backstage facilities have been removed. There was a question as to how much of this would be cleared, and now we have an answer: all of it. There’s still a small backstage road that cuts through the middle of the area, and that will presumably be re-routed.
Many trees have been removed on the north end of Frontierland, and new dirt mounds have appeared. Puffy clouds have also been added, which is a nice plussing to the frequently blah midday Southern California sky.
Looking towards Critter Country, you can catch glimpses of the park, including Critter Country and Frontierland. It’s tough to get a good angle on Tom Sawyer Island, but as Dateline Disneyland’s photos this week illustrate, the re-routing of the Rivers of America around the shortened Tom Sawyer Island has already begun.
The pace of the work on the backside of the Rivers of America has been surprisingly quick. We know this entire project has been fast-tracked, but we would not be surprised to see all of the Rivers of America attractions (including Fantasmic) return prior to their anticipated Summer 2017 reopening dates. It’s still unclear to what degree Disney will ‘plus’ scenes along the backside of the Rivers of America.
Also interesting is the work in the middle of the area, directly north of Big Thunder Mountain. Here you can see a lot of original Nature’s Wonderland rockwork that has survived for decades after the closure of Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland, and it seems that it has, again, been deliberately preserved. This will likely be near one of the trails that leads into Star Wars Land, and it’ll be interesting to see if it gets incorporated into that entranceway as a bit of an homage to the past.
Nods like this plus new scenes along the Disneyland Railroad and the Rivers of America would likely go a long ways in appeasing fans who have questioned the place of Star Wars in Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom. While the vast majority of casual guests will likely love Star Wars Land (and not give a second thought to its location), we’ve heard from a surprising number of Disney fans who take issue with the project in Disneyland.
This is something about which I’m still conflicted. On the one hand, I suspect the finished product will be phenomenal, with amazing attractions and a jaw-dropping setting. However, the inclusion of a single-IP land in Disneyland still bothers me. I recognize I’m in the minority on this, though.
Moving farther north, Toontown is now completely visible, and a large swath of land has been cleared and leveled. It would seem that this will be the foundation for a large show building, which would make sense given both the look of the cleared plot and also its geographic location.
Also worth noting is that the guest impact inside the park as a result of this construction is minimal (aside from the attractions that aren’t operating). Big Thunder Trail is closed, meaning guests have to walk through the hub to get between Fantasyland and Frontierland, and there are a few walls up in Critter Country, but aside from that, life continues as normal. There is not a large wall up running the length of the Rivers of America from Frontierland through New Orleans Square to Critter Country (our greatest fear), and the work isn’t noticeable from most places within the park. Definitely good news for those guests planning their summer vacations to Disneyland.
If you enjoyed this post, we’d really appreciate it if you’d share it via social media to spread the word. We put a lot of work into making this site a helpful planning resource, and hope it’s useful to you! 🙂
Have you been keeping tabs on the construction progress for Star Wars Land? Are you excited for it to open? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!