Disneyland to Close Multiple Attractions in January to Build ‘Star Wars’ Land
Disneyland is set to close multiple attractions and eateries next month to make room for the new “Star Wars”-themed land in the Orange County theme park.
The 14-acre project would be Disney’s largest single themed land expansion, CEO Bob Iger said when he announced the project in August at the D23 Expo.
Groundbreaking is scheduled to take place in 2016 at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, which was also planning to build a 14-acre “Star Wars”-themed land.
Starting Jan. 11 at the Anaheim park, Big Thunder Ranch – which includes Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – will be permanently closed, according to Disney’s blog.
Meanwhile, attractions along the Rivers of America will be temporarily closed once the operating day on Jan. 10 ends. These include the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, Davy Crocket Explorer Canoes and the show “Fantasmic!”
Additionally, the Disneyland Railroad will also be shut down for an undetermined amount of time, as will all of its stations.
The closures represent roughly 14 percent of Disneyland’s attractions, while the areas they represent make up nearly a quarter of the theme park’s 85 acres, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It was not immediately clear when those attractions and rides would reopen. Disney has not announced a completion date for the new land, but industry experts told the Times they anticipated an opening date was at least a year away.
Once completed, the “Star Wars”-themed land would have two signature attractions, one offering a “thrilling battle experience,” and another that puts guests behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon, according to a Disneyland news release.
“We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever,” Iger said, according to the release. “These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”
To coincide with the December release of the newest installment of the popular franchise, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Disneyland debuted all-new experiences related to the film last month.
The Season of the Force, which started Nov. 16, included updates to the Star Tours ride; Hyperspace Mountain,” a reimagined update of the classic Space Mountain ride; Star Wars Launch Bay, which offers guests opportunities to visit with characters from the films, as well as sneak peaks from the newly released film; and a new twist on the “Jedi Training” experience by the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant.
Special themed food and beverages, along with merchandise and other entertainment, would also be offered for a limited time at the park. An end date has not been announced.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” had the best opening weekend ever at the box office last week, and industry analysts predicted it would rake in between $150 million and $180 million this weekend, according to CNN.