Since the park’s opening day in 1955, Disneyland has gone through a number of renovations and expansions. Various rides and attractions have come and gone, but nothing will change the face of the Happiest Place On Earth like Star Wars Land. Officially announced back in August 2015 by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at the D23 Expo, the 14-acre addition to the Mouse House’s beloved theme parks in California and Florida will be the largest single-themed land expansions in Disney Park history. Now, a galaxy far, far away is one step closer to Anaheim as closures have begun to pop up around the park this week.
In order to make room for the Millennium Falcon and whatever else is landing from the ‘Star Wars’ universe in Disneyland, Walt Disney Imagineering will remove Big Thunder Ranch and reroute the Rivers of America. The first steps have been taken this week as the dining area and petting zoo near Frontierland closed its doors and all activity on the river such as nighttime spectacular ‘Fantasmic!’ and the activities on Tom Sawyer Island have been ceased for approximately a year. The only piece left before going into full construction mode is the temporary shut down of the Disneyland Railroad. And though we’ve seen concept art of the new land (which you can see above), what will the rest of Disneyland look like once construction is finished? We now have a better idea.
/Film recently shared this piece of concept art showing the new look for the north bank of the Rivers of America. As you can see, the Indian tribes are still taking up residence along the riverbanks, but they have a breathtaking new view of what are sure to be gorgeous waterfalls and the new track for the steam-powered Disneyland train. No word yet on whether or not new audio-animatronics will be added to this section of the river. And by the looks of the heavy foliage behind the waterfalls, the show buildings for Star Wars Land will likely be hidden by the trees and rock formations. For a better look at what this could look like on a map, here’s an aerial view of what the expansion could look like courtesy of Tumblr user Did You Know Magic!:
Though some fans may be worried about the Rivers of America being decreased by almost 25%, the day-one attraction looks like it will be coming back better than ever, even if it ends up looking half as good as the artist’s rendering. Not only that, but the Disneyland Railroad will probably get better too thanks to these new additions. And if you’re worried what Walt Disney would have thought of these changes, don’t forget what he said about the beloved theme park: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
What do you think about the new look for the Rivers of America in Disneyland? Do you think that these other changes being brought about by Star Wars Land will be good for the park? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.