With the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in cinemas around the world, legions of the movie franchise’s fans are hotly debating the latest film and eagerly anticipating the next installment. Well, the next movie might be a couple of years away, but so is something much, much bigger – Disneyland-sized huge, you could say.
Back in August 2015, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that Star Wars fan would not have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to experience stories from their favourite movie franchise. Disney had planned for Star Wars-themed lands to be built in its Disneyland parks in Anaheim and Orlando. The 14-acre additions would be Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever, with two signature attractions – the first being a life-sized Millennium Falcon where guests can pilot it on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that would put them in the middle of a grand galactic battle with a never-before-seen planet.
Starting Jan 10, a total of ten attractions and eateries (approximately 14% of Disneyland’s attractions) will be closed at the Anaheim Disneyland. Six will be closed temporarily and four will be dismantled permanently to make room for Disney’s plan to build a Star Wars land.
Permanently closed attractions:
- Big Thunder Ranch
- Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue
- Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo
- Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree
Temporarily closed attractions:
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Disneyland Railroad
- Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
For those of you crying out ‘But what about the petting zoo animals?!’, don’t worry – Disneyland officials have said that they have been adopted by a Southern California family that has worked with Disney animals in the past.
Several existing rides at Tomorrowland were overhauled to include special effects from the latest Star Wars movie, part of an overall celebration called Season of the Force which was launched in mid-November. An underused area in Tomorrowland’s Innovations building was converted into Star Wars Launch Bay, where visitors can play Star Wars video games, buy merchandise, and meet their favourite characters from the franchise. Star Wars-themed treats were also added to the Galactic Grill eatery, including a ‘Darth by Chocolate’ dessert and Cheese 3PO Burger. Check out the 5 Things to See at Season of the Force!
There’s no confirmed date for the completion or opening of the Star Wars land yet, but you can be sure it’ll be one that will attract visitors from near and far, far away when it does.