Anaheim, California (Abbreviation: DL)
Walt Disney Theme Parks
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(7/29/17) Video of New Railroad Run Added (MORE...)
(7/24/17) Star Wars Galaxy's Edge and Railroad Construction Updates
(7/20/17) Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Update plus Pixar Fest
(7/15/17) Disneyland - Did the Star Wars Land's Official Name Just Leak? (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Aug. 14 through Aug. 17
Main Street Cinema - Aug. 21 through TBD
Space Mountain - Aug. 21 through TBD (Ghost Galaxy Install)
General Park News - (6/9/17) The big news from Disneyland over the past 24 hours is that the Big Thunder Trail pathway between the exit of Big Thunder Mountain and Fantasyland has reopened. It's been closed for the past year as Star Wars Land constructions has been progressing and apparently the Disney blogging community lost their minds this morning to be the first to walk along the refurbished pathway and amaze at a few sections of new rockwork that have sprung up to make everyone forget that Big Thunder Ranch used to be there.
Nothing eye popping... nothing really amazing to see... but if you are really dying to see it, LaughingPlace has posted a few photos and a video. But remember... you've been warned. As the man once said... these are not the Droids you are looking for... so move along.
Of course if you really want a sneak preview of what's to come, apparently you'll have to be at the D23 convention this summer, as Disney has already promised they will put on a showcase that will give an exclusive look at the new Star Wars themed lands under construction, revealing details not yet seen.
(5/15/17) A new report from California Coaster Kings shows off the addition of FastPass to the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction, and noted that the stand-by times for the Matterhorn were typically seen between 60-90 minutes now that FastPass has been added.
2017 - Main Street Electrical Parade Returns - (4/4/17) Disneyland has confirmed that the limited return of the Main Street Electrical Parade will continue on through to August 20th.
(3/3/17) In what may be a more controversial move for some, Disneyland is said to be putting the brakes on an age-old guest practice at the park by stopping guests from parking themselves along the parade route hours in advance of the big night parade. The change is coming just as the park has been ramping up the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and from what we've heard the new rule is that no one is allowed to sit and hold a spot for the parade until the entire parade route barriers have all been marked and put into place and all the crowd control / safety CMs are all in place for the show. And when you do go to sit and wait... don't think you are going to just drop off Mom and the baby in a stroller to hold your spot while you go ride Space Mountain one more time... because they are asking that your entire group be together when you arrive.
Personally I love this, as I've always disliked the fact that guests would just begin to stop and grab up viewing spaces all over the place, sometimes 3 to 4 hours in advance, as it really became a nuisance to traffic flow throughout the park whenever you needed to cross any location along the parade route, or even try to grab a bite to eat anywhere near one of the parade routes, only to find it impossible to still find a table to sit and eat at that was free from the squatters.
This move should prove to be even more interesting as the park prepares to restart nightly performances of "Fantasmic!" as we get closer to summer as well, as the entire river's edge has long been a favorite squatter spot. (Update - Disneyland has been using FastPass for Fantastmic viewing locations for the past couple of years, which seems to have solved that particular show's squatter problems.)
(1/4/17) Disneyland has created an incredible ad to promote the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade. Lots of easter eggs and member berries... Check it out below.
(12/7/16) Disneyland has confirmed that the Main Street Electrical Parade will return to the park on January 20, 2017 and run nightly through to June 18th, 2017. The park will also hold an exclusive ticket preview for the parade after ark hours on the night of January 19th. You can find out more information about how to attend at the Disney Parks Blog.
(8/11/16) In an interesting twist, it seems the rumors of a Disney night parade moving from one park to another were right… just not in a way that makes any kind of logical sense. Instead of the Disneyland’s well recieved Paint the Night parade going to Walt Disney World… well… we don’t know quite what the long term plan for it is, other than a rehab for now.
However the announcement from last night kind of throws all logic out the window for me. Disney confirmed that not only was the rumor of the Main Street Electrical Parade leaving Walt Disney World was true, with the last performance on to be held on October 9th, but that the parade will then be sent across the country to the Disneyland Resort for a limited time run in 2017. What happens beyond there is a big grey area… will the ancient parade be retired for good and sent to the scrap heap, or will they exile it to someplace like Shanghai Disneyland?
I do question the logic of bringing it back to the Disneyland Resort for another run, even if a brief one, simply because it just hasn’t been gone long enough to be worth it. The ancient parade was brought back already once, after it supposedly went away forever in 1996 when they even went to far as to sell off the light bulbs to Disney collectors, when it returned as “Disney’s Electrical Parade” for a long run at Disney California Adventure from about 2001 to 2010. So after only being gone for about 6 years, it seems a bit soon to bring it back… AGAIN. The parade seems to be confirmed as running in Disneyland, since it will return with the “Main Street” part of the name intact.
Disney did mention that Paint the Night will return to Disneyland on select nights during the winter holiday season later this year, so it looks like it will be staying in California for now at least. But what will happen to it in 2017 when the Main Street Electrical Parade is running again? I just don’t know…
There is also the big question about just what the Magic Kingdom is going to have to offer in 2017 as a replacement. No one is talking yet… but with Paint the Night sitting in a warehouse somewhere, you just never know.
(8/3/16) Some big changes are coming to the Disneyland Resorts evening entertainment lineups this fall. The Paint The Night parade will come to an end after Sept. 5th, 2016 along with the end of the Disneyland Forever fireworks show on the same night.
2017 - Fantasmic! Improvements - Confirmed - (7/14/17) I'm told that while Fantasmic may quietly put on public performances over the weekend, the first official public showing is said to be set for Monday, July 17th. For those who want to know more about what's new... apparently everything is new from the technical standpoint. Lights, projections, sound system, soundtrack... you name it.
As for the show itself, in addition to the previously confirmed Aladdin segment being added to the show, I'm told there are also appearances of segments and characters from The Lion King, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, Tangled and more. Oh... and yes... slight spoiler here, but a Pirates of the Caribbean segment has taken the place of the old Peter Pan segment.
(7/13/17) According to the latest rumors we should expect to see the all new Fantasmic show soft-open to park guests this Saturday, which is sure to delight all those who have come into town for the D23 Expo. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they quietly do it as well on Friday night.
(5/14/17) Disneyland has confirmed one part of an earlier rumor suggesting that when Fantasmic! returns to life at the park this summer, it will indeed feature some amazing new changes in the form of brand new show scenes as the show will be celebrating it's 25th season this year with the promise of taking the show to "brilliant new heights!"
According to the Disney Parks Blog, Fantasmic will feature brand new mist screens that will work with new "state-of-the-art projection technology for brighter and more vibrant visuals than ever before." They go on to confirm the rumors that the show will feature "new scenes" (yes, plural) inspired by Disney animated classics, and have already confirmed the first one will be an Aladdin scene that will showcase Aladdin and Jasmine "floating over a bed of fog on their flying carpet" to the song, "A Whole New World".
They promise more news about the other new additions as well as the official opening date are coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled as fans have been eagerly awaiting the introduction of a next-gen update to Fantasmic for years as the resorts premier nighttime spectacular.
2017 - Disneyland Railroad Renovation - (7/29/17) Disneyland reopened the Railroad yesterday and a video showing off the train making a full run around the entire park can be found on YouTube. If you start watching at the 4:12 mark you'll start the video as the train passes the Hungry Bear restaurant and begins to move into the new track section built over the past year passing along the rear-edge of the Rivers of America, reaching the Toontown Station at about the 7:00 mark.
(7/24/17) While the Disneyland Railroad has yet to reopen to guests, they have been testing the trains along the new tracks that run along the backside of the Rivers of America quite often lately. You can see some videos and still photos taken of the testing posted to DisneyGeek this weekend.
The railroad is expected to reopen on Saturday, July 29th, but like anything Disney does, a quiet soft opening could happen any day now.
(5/22/17) A few new details about the returning Disneyland Railroad journey through the new sections of the Rivers of America were posted to the Disney Parks Blog. Follow the link to see the details, which includes the addition of the first "left turn" for the railroad in the park's history and a bit of detail about the new location of The Indian Village.
(5/14/17) A video posted below by InsideTheMagic that the water has been returned to the backside of the Rivers of America as the construction work hits the final phases and the crews rush to finish up the brand new backside journey of the river.
(7/29/16) Disneyland has announced that the Disneyland Railroad and the rest of the Rivers of America attractions that are currently closed will reopen for Summer 2017. In addition to the railroad the list includes the return of Fantasmic!, the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. Now guests along the waterway will also be able to enjoy the new riverbank terrain along the back section of the river, including the elevated railroad trestle that the DLRR will now travel on.
(4/5/16) While it is simply too far out to know for sure when the Disneyland Railroad renovation will be finished and reopened, Screamscape sources tell us that the word amongst CMs is that they were shooting for it to be finished and reopened around April 2017. Meanwhile you can find a few shots of the construction taking place over at ThemeParkOverload, who also has pictures of the Autopia renovation as they are said to be changing over to a new sponsorship from Honda.
(3/20/16) Our friends at DisneyGeek sent in a few photos showing off the construction taking place behind Tom Sawyers Island to may way for the new reconfigured railroad as well as for Star Wars Land going in behind it all. Follow this link to see the entire huge picture update over at DisneyGeek, or this link if you want to see even more pictures from the park's other projects.
(2/23/16) DisneyGeek has posted some pictures showing off some early construction prep work starting at Disneyland for the Star Wars area and adjustments to the back end of the Rivers of America.
(2/2/16) It has been pointed out that on the construction walls at Disneyland, they have quietly updated the old Nature's Wonderland attraction posted. You can see the old version here, which mentions "Via The Mine Train Thru Rainbow Caverns" at the top. The new version of the poster has removed the four attraction labels, and now says "Via The Disneyland Railroad" at the top. Looks like a hint as to how they will present the new and improved railway along the back half of the river.
(1/12/16) Disneyland may have shut down the Railroad, Big Thunder Ranch and all the attractions that involve the Rivers of America area to help make room for the new “Star Wars Land” project, but as usually… some of the fans get worked up into a tizzy on the internet thinking that none of it will ever come back. To help put some of those fears to rest, Disneyland released an amazing new piece of concept artwork showing off what the Railroad and backside of the Rivers of America will look like when it reopens.
While they don’t address issue about how much of the river and island may be removed to make the extra room needed, they view of the back half of the river will now be amazing. The railroad will now run along the water itself over a series of rocky ledges and over a beautiful trestle past waterfalls and more. Of course the new rocky ridge background for the railroad will also be the perfect way to hide the train from the rest of Star Wars Land behind it as well, keeping the themed areas separate while being physically very close to each other.
2018 - Pixar Fest - (7/20/17) As part of the Pixar Fest! event coming to the Disneyland Resort in 2018, Disneyland will put on a new Pixar themed fireworks spectacular as well as see the return of the former Pixar Play Parade, but now moved from DCA over to perform inside Disneyland for the first time.
2018 - Pirates of the Caribbean Update - Confirmed -
I’m not so sure the new announced change coming in 2018 will be forgotten as easily however, as it will change what is hands-down the single most iconic scene in the entire Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and the history of dark rides in general. The famous “Auction” scene is going to go under the knife… and the drunken cries of ‘We wants the Redhead!” will be forever silenced. According to the news from Disney the popular Redhead animatronic figure will be transformed to now be a female pirate with a large rifle in one hand, a bottle of rum in the other, commanding the troops to oversee a line of villagers being instructed to “Surrender Yer Loot”, written across the banner in the background.
(7/1/17) Change… it is at the very heart of the entire theme park industry. Very little, if anything, stays the same forever, and while some changes are seen as welcome and others ripe to cause controversy, I’m usually ok with the majority of them. Beyond being a lifelong fan of the industry, I’m also proud to say that I spent almost two decades of my life quietly working inside of it as well before bowing out, so I like to think that the duality of it grants me a bit of perspective most of the time. I like new things… change can be fun… change is often for the better.
Once in a long while however… change hurts. Sometimes it feels like a hot knife it trying to sliced away a small piece of my soul. Often this is caused by the sad news that a ride or attraction that I really enjoyed was being retired for one reason or another. A few examples:
The Peoplemover no longer whisks riders through Tomorrowland at Disneyland
The Big Bad Wolf no longer howls through the woods of Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Dreamfinder and Figment no longer take you on a tour of your Imagination at Epcot.
No more trips to see glimpses of the future aboard Horizons at Epcot.
While the demise of all of these attractions made me sad, it was the closure of the Horizons dark ride at Epcot that I think hurt most. I just connected with it on some kind of personal level, likely because at a young age I was fascinated with technology and the idea of space travel. Hell, I even wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up.
Looking back, the untimely demise of many classic Epcot dark rides has been a sore spot for a good number of Disney fans out there: Horizons, World of Motion and we can’t forget the original Journey Into Imagination ride. The removal of the original Imagination ride itself has probably caused more fan-rage by itself than the other two combined. Not just because of the attachment to the Figment and Dreamfinder characters, but because unlike the other two, the Imagination ride still exists! It was just changed and reopened… hated… and then changed and reopened a third time, and still, those who remember the original loathe the current version. In fact, every time they ride it, the memories of the original flood back into the brain and you can’t help but step off the ride and shake your head a little bit, trying to fathom why they felt they had to change something that was so good and well loved in the first place.
You know the old saying… “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
This brings me to the sad news unveiled the other day… Disney is going to be making some more changes to the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions in California and Florida in 2018, following the opening of the updated version in Paris on July 24. The biggest changes coming to Paris will involve the addition of many new animatronic characters and updates scenes involving characters from the Pirates film series.
None of this comes as a surprise to those who have visited the US parks over the past, as those characters were added in back in 2006 I believe and were mostly seen as a popular addition as they were added in a way that really didn’t change the attraction too much from the original intent. This is unlike a small batch of PC movement (Politically Correct) inspired changes made way back around 1997 where the scene that featured pirates chasing women around in circles was altered to the current form, with the women now chasing the pirates who are trying to run away with stolen treasure. As I recall, there was much whining and moaning over that at the time. It was seen as just another reason why the whole “PC” push was being taken too far along with other odd changes at Disneyland at the time, such as the Jungle Cruise skippers being instructed to no longer shoot at the hippos. In the end, I think it has been mostly forgotten about by the general public, and remains just as a memory to us Disney park fans.|
I’m both mad and sad about this… of course I grew up in Southern California where my birthday request every year was to go to Disneyland. My first ride of the day, every visit as a kid and a tradition that held up 75% of the time even into my adult years, was to start off the day with a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. Drama aside, I can’t help but be a little upset as a happy piece of my childhood years are being taken away… and I just don’t understand why.
If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it!
Spring/Summer 2019 - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge- Under Construction - (7/24/17) Some of the latest construction photos from the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction site at Disneyland can be found posted to DisneyGeek this week.
(7/20/17) As rumored, Disney confirmed that the new Star Wars themed lands will indeed be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge when they open in 2019 at Disneyland at Disney's Hollywood Studios parks. An impressive model of the huge land was on display at the D23 Expo which we mentioned last Saturday, so if you haven't seen it yet, scroll down to the video and take a look at all the beautiful detail. New artwork showing off a hint of what scenes from the "First Order Battle Attraction" as well as a ride inside the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon (now outfitted to have 6 seats) will look like.
The First Order ride shows off a scene inside a huge hanger inside of a Star Destroyer, "an attraction built on the scale we've never done before." This would be the same attraction that we've seen the steel framework for a pair of AT-AT walkers set up inside as well, so you can imagine how big the scenes inside this attraction be.
"The second attraction will give guests the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon, piloting the ship, shooting blasters or preparing for hyperspace – all while completing a critical mission. But how you perform on the mission holds even bigger stakes: perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos’s list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina!" Speaking of the cantina... Disney has even confirmed that Rex, the former pilot of Star Tours, is alive and well within Galaxy's Edge where he has taken on a new job as a DJ at the local cantina. While you enjoy the latest tracks, you will also be able to enjoy a cool glass of "blue milk", a custom drink created just for Galaxy's Edge.
(7/15/17) D23 is underway and while the official Disney Parks presentation isn't until later today, lots of little things have been already revealed and/or leaked out. For starters, apparently the source code of the Disney Parks Blog accidentally contained a reference to the true name for the "Star Wars Land" spotted by the always curious people at Reddit who seem to excel at this kind of thing. The code has since been removed, but according to the source code it will be called, "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" which does make sense considering how they have described the theme of this location from the start.
Also, who's ready to see Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge? Our friends at Behind the Thrills have posted a video looking over the Star Wars booth at D23 where a huge scale model of Galaxy's Edge has been set up showing off every nook and cranny is perfect detail along with awesome concept art, costumes, and much more. Watch through to the second half and they even have a model of the ride vehicle you will sit in for the "First Order" ride, an 8-passenger (2 rows of 4) trackless vehicle piloted by a black and red Imperial Astromech Droid in the front.
The inclusion of the droid pilot also does help explain how an interesting twist of the ride's rumored experience will take place, as you may recall the rumors that at one point guests will be asked to depart the vehicle and take a journey on foot in the middle of the ride, only to find and climb back aboard the vehicle elsewhere in order to make your escape. Nothing like a timely rescue by your friendly/sassy Imperial Astromech Droid, who has been reprogrammed to assist the Rebel Alliance.
Take a look at the video below and look about at the world of Galaxy's Edge in art and the model... and you’ll notice something right away. This looks more like a model built to film a movie special effects scene from the old days (before digital effects) and not so much like something for a theme park. Why is this? Because it looks like a living, breathing world... no sign of tacky theme park style gift shops, vending carts, queues, or even stroller parking spots.
Could Disney have decided to take a nod from Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter concepts and be rolling out their own persistent world rules for Galaxy's Edge? For example, at Universal when you are inside one of the Wizarding World areas, you can’t even buy a Coke to drink or a bottle of Dasani branded bottled water to drink. All the food and beverages are themed to the Wizarding World universe. In the case of Disney just launching Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom a few weeks ago they had fully embraced the concept of themed food and beverages, but you can still also get Coke brand products because... hey... why not? It’s themed around the Earth of the future and you know Coke is still going to be around. But in the case of the Star Wars Universe... Earth is not a part of it and everything you know about food and even merchandise is... well.. from a Galaxy Far Far Away. So it would be very impressive if Disney were planning on going this route where they have to redesign everything to function and look in a new way and somehow keep the elements of the outside world just beyond the Galaxy’s Edge from creeping in however they can.
(6/26/17) The latest construction photos from Disneyland can be found at DisneyGeek this week. They've got pictures of Star Wars Land, new pics of the reopened Tom Sawyer's Island and a look new railroad area passing behind Rivers of America where the trains have begun making test runs on the rails during the daytime.
(5/14/17) The latest look at the Star Wars and Rivers of America construction sites at Disneyland were posted to DisneyGeek this week as those giant steel frameworks for the Star Wars buildings continue to grow even larger each and every week.
(4/24/17) This week we take a look inside the Star Wars Land construction zone with a new update from our friends at DisneyGeek.
(4/18/17) Some interesting news about the new Star Wars Land came out over the weekend when it was mentioned at a Star Wars Celebration Orlando panel that the actions you take within the land’s attraction (or those you decline to take) will help build up some kind of reputation profile on you and cause certain effects on your experience elsewhere within the land. For example, it your skills in the cockpit on the Millennium Falcon attraction are exceptional, you could attract the attention of certain characters who may seek your services elsewhere. By contrast, if you bungle your duty and bring the Falcon back with some extensive damage due to your bad pilot skills, you may also have to answer for that in some fashion elsewhere. The First Order will also have a presence within the land, so I suppose if you really stand out in your fight against them in the First Order battle attraction, you could find yourself on their most wanted list while they patrol the city. Or perhaps you'll even find yourself being trailed by a Bounty Hunter.
While this all sounds amazingly cool to me, I suppose there could also end up being some kind of outcry against this kind of guest profiling from those who value their privacy above all else, and would probably rather keep their experience as anonymous as possible. Depending on how this all plays out, it should be interesting to see how Disney can cater to both ends of the spectrum, allowing some guests to go unnoticed while others are seeking a Westworld style interactive experience.
Oh, one more thing… while I assume most of you have already seen the launch of the new teaser trailer for the new movie coming this December, you may have noticed one interesting scene where a group of flying ships appear to be crossing a large empty piece of terrain, but dragging something below them into the dirt, causing a red dust-cloud to appear below them. Apparently this is the planet “Crait”, which will be used as the location for a new action scene to be added to Star Tours after the movie hits theaters.
(4/11/17) A great new video showing off the progress of Star Wars Land at Disneyland was posted to YouTube this week, but this isn't your average video... this one was shot from the air by a local news chopper who was allowed over Disney airspace to cover an small incident that took place on the Guardians of the Galaxy tower, but while they were in the airspace, they decided to grab some awesome footage of Star Wars Land construction.
While I don't have the full footage of the land itself to share (it may have been taken down... I'm not sure) screen captures and a basic rundown of what we are looking at were posted to another video which is worth checking out just to get the unique view and lay of the land, so check it out below, but you'll probably want to jump about 2:30 ahead from the start to get to the start of the good stuff.
You can note the large building that is the Battle Escape ride, as well as a couple of interesting foundation circles in the ground that should be for whatever the Millennium Falcon themed ride is going to be. It has been pointed out by a couple of readers who think these look similar to how Mission: SPACE at Epcot looked during construction (except Mission: SPACE had 4 of them). I wouldn't go too far along that line of thought necessarily, given the motion sickness issues along with lawsuits between Disney and the that particular simulator manufacture that went on over various issues with that ride system.
That said, the long running story is that it is supposed to be some kind of cockpit simulator for the Millennium Falcon, so perhaps some of the basic concepts could carry-over to make a next-gen kind of creation.
Meanwhile we also get some new views of the Battle Escape ride building, along with another odd round structure next to it (or part of it) with thick walls going up around it, and a central structure covered in scaffolding.
Bonus... you also get a good look at the new train and river course that they are rushing to finish in time for summer. You can also pop over to ThemeparX for some new images shot from the parking structure as well.
(3/17/17) It seems Disney has now confirmed the presence of the AT-AT's inside the new Battle/Escape attraction and have even posted their own video teaser of them under construction which you can see below. Meanwhile a newer picture posted to Twitter this week here shows the AT-AT's now assembled and have been placed INSIDE the attraction building, so it seems these massive walking tanks will be part of the attraction experience itself.
(3/14/17) MouseInfo posted an interesting photo on Twitter from the Disneyland construction site for the new Star Wars land this week, spotting a pair of steel framework structures that sure look like a dead-on match for the main body of an Imperial AT-AT, along with two smaller units nearby that would work perfectly as AT-AT cockpits.
If I had to guess, these would most definitely be props for the outside (and queue?) of the Battle/Escape dark ride experience planned. After all, Walt Disney World's version has already had a nice AT-AT standing guard in front of their Star Tours attraction for years.
(3/13/17) Ready to see a bit more of the new Star Wars land? Our friends at BlooLoop have posted a couple of pieces of new artwork showing off a close up look at two new areas of the land we haven't seen before that will be built in both California and Florida. (NOTE: Unfortunately, I’m being told that the art seen isn’t new, it was previously seen in that Harrison Ford video about the new land last year... sorry... I just got excited I guess, it seemed new to me.)
(2/16/17) According to what I've been told that new building structure going up in Star Wars Land is for the "First Order" dark ride attraction. Elsewhere in the land the foundation work for the Millennium Falcon ride apparently also began last week. I'm wondering if that is what that large circular concrete foundation being poured last week was for.
More great pictures of the steel for the new attraction building going up have been posted to Westcoaster this week, so check them out.
(2/13/17) Who's ready for a look at some tall steel finanally rising into place on the future site of the Star Wars Land at Disneyland? DisneyGeek has you covered with video and photos of the site, looking over all the poured concrete sections as well as the steel rising for one of the large new building structures. Plus you get a peek at some of the rockwork being finished up along the new backside of the Rivers of America that will hold the new route for the Disneyland Railroad, all while hiding Star Wars Land from few from that side of the park.
Now when is Disney going to finally drop the final name for this thing anyway? It's starting to sound a bit silly to keep calling it Star Wars Land, even though that is exactly what it is, so can we get a final name reveal already?
(1/1/17) A huge collection of new construction photos from Disneyland, including a look at the current progress on Star Wars Land as well as the new Northern end of the Rivers of America can be found over at DisneyGeek this week. They've also sent us a few good shots just to whet your appetite.
(12/19/16) While things are still too far away to guarantee this for sure, Screamscape sources tell us that the first Star Wars land to open will be the Disneyland version, currently tracking to open in the first half of 2019, with the Walt Disney World version tracking to open about 6 months later in later half of 2019. Just don't buy your plane tickets yet, because a lot can happen between now and then, pushing the timetables months in either direction, but at least things are looking better than the previously rumored 2020 date for the moment.
(11/21/16) Fun news for Star Tours fans. Bob Chapek announced at a presentation that they are working on adding one or more new scenes to the attraction that will be themed to the new "Episode 8" film hitting theaters in December 2017. I'm going to guess that the new material could be added to the ride sometime in the first half of 2018.
On a semi-related note, Disney also released a new piece of artwork showing off how the new Star Wars themed land may look at night.
(10/19/16) In an interesting bit of news mentioned to me, those leaks last week about the Star Wars Stormtrooper battle/escape themed dark ride were apparently fairly on target, including the bit about getting out of the vehicle in mid-ride to walk around a themed environment before jumping back on and taking off once again on your dark ride experience.
The trick here is that when you get out to explore the environment, you will apparently be going on a specific path, where I imagine you will be kept separate from other guests somehow either by timing your experience to run through specific rooms in a specific order, or perhaps you will enter into one specific room of a group of identical rooms. Either way, from what I'm told, the actual vehicle you return to will not be the exact same one.
Between this and a ride experience that takes place inside a very large multi-level building structure, and an experience being designed from the bottom up to be the most intense themed adventure story attraction that Disney can tell, we are looking at something coming down the pipe that will be like nothing any of us have experienced before.
I can't wait for it to open... whenever that will be... because apparently no one knows when it will open because there is no set date... only that Disney wants to finish it all as soon as possible. The goal is to be able to open both the California and Florida versions at the same time, but it also seems fairly clear that Florida is fairly behind schedule by comparison to where Disneyland is at right now. So we'll just have to wait and see... a lot can change over the next couple of years.
(10/14/16) DisneyGeek has sent over a few images showing off the construction taking place along the River and backstage area for the new railroad and Star Wars land. You can see even more if you follow the link.
(10/10/16) I'm not sure quite how this would work, but a small update about the new Star Wars Land posted to MiceAge mentions that the Stormtrooper Battle Escape dark ride may attempt something never done before on a Disney dark ride. They may ask guests to disembark the ride vehicle to explore a room or two before being rushed to jumped back on and escape from the bad guys once again.
It sounds cool... until you really start to think just how this concept could be pulled off with guests who are of different ages, attention spans, and physical ability (or those with disabilities... both physical or mental) and I just don't see how this could ever work. This isn't the first time Imagineers have come up with such an idea however... as I seem to recall hearing about a proposal LONG AGO that would have seen a revamp of the old submarine voyage ride that may have been attached to a new Atlantis or Journey to the Center of the Earth overlay theme. The idea was to put guests on the subs, as normal, and go for a ride through the lagoon and into the caves... but when the subs came back they would be empty because the guests would actually dock and disembark somewhere inside a new ride structure that would be built up and over the old Autopia area that would resemble a volcano. Guests would get out of the subs in what would look like an undersea cavern inside the ruins of a lost civilization and board a ground-based dark ride vehicle for another wild adventure ride similar to the Journey To the Center of the Earth dark ride at Tokyo DisneySea.
In that case the two-segment ride idea would have worked, as guests would not be rushed from one vehicle to the other, but rather moved into a short queue to begin the next ride experience for their journey back to 'the surface'. But as for a rushed return to the Star Wars ride to escape an attacking legion of Stormtroopers? I just don't see it.
(8/26/16) A great collection of photos showing off the huge Star Wars Land construction progress were sent in by one of our new contributors this week. So much work is going on in this area now, and we are still years away from being ready to open, so it should be very exciting to see how this area develops and changes as the months go by.
(8/9/16) A great Disneyland construction report has been posted to Westcoaster this week showing off a look into the Rivers of America and Star Wars construction zone. And pokemon... lots of pokemon...
(7/26/16) Westcoaster is back this week to gaze upon the vast sandy landscape that will soon become Star Wars Land. They also take a peek at the new Frozen musical show in DCA as well.
(7/20/16) A great construction update from Disneyland showing off the progress of things over in the Star Wars Land area has been posted to Westcoaster. They've also posted an informative graphic showing off just how the Rivers of America's pathway is being changed and shorted to make way for it all. Meanwhile a few things are starting to go vertical in the new land, and from here I think the progress is going to start to move very quickly, forever changing the look of this side of the park.
(7/12/16) Disney released a new piece of artwork showing off a refined and slightly different look at the future Star Wars themed land coming to Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Unlike the previous piece of art that was more generic looking, this new piece is obviously showing off the Disneyland version of the land, as you can see the waterway, railroad track and even a keelboat in the water. We can also see what will likely be the entrance to the Millennium Falcon themed ride in the top center, the addition of an Imperial Shuttle on the right side, and Corellian Corvette on the left side in the shadows.
Meanwhile a new construction update on the land itself was posted by DisneyGeek with pictures taken just on Friday showing off the latest taking place on site with pipes going into the ground and the first walls going up.
(6/28/16) WestCoaster has posted a new photo update from Disneyland showing off the construction progress of the new Star Wars land site as well as a look at the latest changes within the parks.
(6/11/16) SlashFilm reports that Disney may be building and testing designs for actual interactive droids that will wander throughout the new Star Wars themed lands in California and Florida in the future. It isn’t known if they will be entirely human controlled or if they would be just semi-automatic droids they could let loose in the lands (with a handler nearby of course) and return to a base when they need a charge. (Kind of like a Roomba maybe? LOL) Either way, adding the droids to the lands would add another layer of realistic theming to bring the Star Wars environment to life, as droids are an important part of the Star Wars Universe, and I’m sure guests would love to take pictures with them as well. In addition to the Droids, add in ways for guests to try to learn to use The Force and interact with other aspects of the new land, and it sounds like there could be a lot of fun to be had in addition to the new attractions.
(5/19/16) Will select guests be chosen to be taught to "use the Force" in the new Star Wars lands coming to Disney in California and Florida? According to a report at Behind the Thrills they claim to have heard just such rumors that may at first sound like how Universal lets guests buy magic wands and interact with the Wizarding World. However the way they describe it, the objects guests may use the Force to move around may only happen a few times each day, which makes me believe we may see something more akin to The Sword in the Stone performance that takes place in front of the carousel at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.
(5/16/16) Some amazing pictures showing off the magnatude of size that the Star Wars Land construction project is causing at Disneyland can be found at DisneyGeek this week. This will soon include the demolition of the old Fantasyland side station of the long closed Skyway attraction, which can be seen in some of the photos as a quite brown building in the background of the large dirt clearing. I'm told that Disney has filed the necessary paperwork to demolish it entirely,
(4/17/16) Disney is having a little fun with what they are calling the official groundbreaking of thenew Star Wars themed lands coming to Disneyland in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios park in Florida. On the Disney Parks Blog they have posted a 360-view of the Disneyland construction site which is a swarm of activity... both real and enhanced with visitors from the Star Wars Universe. Check it out.
(4/14/16) A quick look at photos of the Star Wars Land construction taking place around the Rivers of America has been posted to DisneyGeek this week, which offers a good look at what's going on in the backstage areas.
(2/24/16) I've got some new updates regarding the Star Wars Land attractions this week. For starters, one of our sources confirmed that despite the media reports mentioning it, the E-Ticket "Battle Ride" concept is not a boat ride. Instead, the ride will feature a trackless ride vehicle that will move about and through very detailed sets and props from the Star Wars universe, including countless Stormtrooper animatronic figures, as well as large scale Tie Fighter, X-Wing starfighters and much more.
As for the Millennium Falcon attraction, there are two lines of thought on just what the Millennium Falcon ride system may be. Keep in mind this is mainly speculation right now, as facts are few and far between. Based on what is believed, one possible ride system may involve some kind ride cockpit pod that would also employ the use of a motion-base or KUKA power arm for some of the movement. Another concept I’ve heard of was essentially described as being a Disney Omnimover style ride system, loaded with an endless string of cockpit pods, featuring a steady stream of interactive projection screens for the riders to interact with.
One final note... while the new rides are cool sounding, there will be one major disappointment that Disneyland will be forced to live with that Walt Disney World wont. I’m told that once the new Star Wars land opens (which is still looking to be 2020 right now), we can pretty much count on seeing the Star Tours attraction in Tomorrowland closed for good soon after. In an earlier rumor I had heard there would be a Phase 2 build-out to Star Wars Land, and that rumored expansion was thought to include a brand new Star Tours attraction building. This would allow Disneyland to “move” Star Tours into the new land, while freeing up the old Star Tours space in Tomorrowland for something new.
Well, that last park will hold true, as a year or two after Star Wars Land opens, the old Star Tours ride is rumored to reopen as a copy of the Iron Man Experience ride opening in Hong Kong Disneyland this year. This will tie into a brand new Stark Expo / Marvel makeover for the current Star Wars Launch Pad attraction. But for Star Tours fans, there will be no joy in Disneyland, though Star Tours will continue as an active attraction in Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.
(2/22/16) Eagerly anticipated Disney special that included a segment with Harrison Ford showing off new details of Star Wars Land has aired... and what did we learn? Apparently... not much.
A lot of new Star Wars themed concept artwork was shown, though for most of it, it is hard to tell if it was artwork made for the movies showing off possible new scenes and locations, or if it was made for the new theme park land. You can see many examples of the artwork, screen captures and posted to Disney & More already, and there are a few bits that seem clearly for the parks, especially when they contain the image of someone walking around with mouse-ears on. As for details on the new rides... not so much either. We know you'll ride in the Millennium Falcon and can apparently swivel left to ride and shoot at targets (which sounds a lot of Buzz Lightyear, doesn't it?) and there were a few brief images of the new big ride where guests will find themselves in the middle of a battle between the First Order and The Resistance. Check out the artwork and see what you think of it all.
(11/16/16) Star Wars Land isn't even built yet, but would you believe the new land at Disneyland could already have a Phase 2 under consideration? According to Screamscape sources the long-term plan for the Star Wars Land to be built to the North of the park's riverbank, would be to add a second phase that would connect Star Wars land to Critter Country, thus completing a loop all the way around the backside of the park.
I have to admit, I like this idea... as I remember how crowded Toontown was back when it first opened with only one way in and out, and I can see the Star Wars Land having the same problem. Creating a loop would not only be best for Star Wars traffic flow, but would finally come up with a solution to the problem of how to effectively move guests through the Fantasmic! show area in the evenings who just want to ride Splash Mountain, Pooh or Haunted Mansion and not watch the show. For years guests wanting to get to the rides have to fight through a crowded and confusing bottleneck of people when passing through the Pirates of the Caribbean plaza and New Orleans Square areas because there is no other option.
(12/14/15) I've been sent a fascinating new rumor regarding one of the new Star Wars Land attractions in development. So far, the only fact Disney has issued about the attraction concepts for the land is that guests will be placed in the actual cockpit of the Millennium Falcon in one of the main attractions. Today, one of our sources have sent in a little more information about the possible ride experience, though keep in mind that the attraction is still under design and a lot can change between now and when it opens.
That said, I'm told that guests will board a vehicle where it appears that they are sitting inside the cockpit of the Falcon. In reality, there will be several such vehicles (unseen) on a track layout, where the ship will take off and move into a large star field projection room at first. Eventually the cockpit ships will move into place behind an individual projection screen for the simulator/action portion of the ride. The way this will work was described to me as being similar to how Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey works during specific sections of that ride (see picture), where the individual rider pods are placed inside a projection dome that is mounted to a huge carousel structure. The projection domes and rider pods will move around the carousel in sync during these sections of the ride, where the guests may have some control over the action taking place and what the outcome will be.
If you watch the start of this video showing off the addition of a new Star Wars themed area on-board the Disney Dream cruise ship, you will see mockup of the Millennium Falcon cockpit that simulates space travel, that may give you a good visual as to what your ride on the Falcon could be like.