The world of Star Wars is heading to Disneyland, starting next year.
Let’s take a look at it’s likely location and what will need to go in order for us to visit a galaxy far, far away.
What Will Be Removed For ‘Star Wars Land’?
Disney has already announced the removal or relocation of several developed areas. The following locations will definitely be going away:
Big Thunder Ranch
Big Thunder Ranch will be demolished to serve as the gateway to the new ‘Star Wars Land’ beyond the berm. It will have a similar function to the area between It’s A Small World and the Fantasyland Theater- a sunken pathway below the Disneyland Railroad.
It will be interesting to see if Imagineers leave the trees along the berm in place, blocking the view from behind Big Thunder Mountain into the new area. I think they’ll leave them or erect some other natural looking barrier, to avoid a conflict in theme with the nearby Frontierland and Fantasyland areas.
The goats, donkeys, and other animals from the petting zoo will be relocated to new homes, outside of Disneyland.
Owen Pope House
We also know that the Pope House will be relocated backstage. In fact, the building permits have already been filed and approved.
The only structure remaining from before Disneyland’s construction, the house will move to a new foundation in the Team Disney Anaheim (TDA) building guest parking lot and supposedly serve as a Cast Member conference room.
I think the most likely place for the house will be on the East side of the lot, next to TDA auditorium.
Circle D Ranch
One of the more unfortunate backstage removals will be the Circle D Ranch. Home to all of the real animals at the Disneyland Resort, including the horses that pull the Main Street Trolleys, Disney has announced that the ranch will be moved off-site. It looks like they’ll move the horses by truck each day to their new home.
I’m curious to know where they’ll move the secretive ‘Disney cat’ feeding stations, which are rumored to also be in the area.
What Else Will Be Removed Backstage For ‘Star Wars Land?’
Other than the well known areas we’ve already discussed, a large number of Disneyland backstage facilities will also need to be demolished, their services relocated elsewhere.
If our guess on the projected area of ‘Star Wars Land’ is correct, this will include the following:
Disneyland Environmental Services
Once you cross over the berm, the first facility you come to is the Disney dump. This facility must either be removed or avoided. It would be possible to build the guest area on the East side of this site, but the smell alone would be hard to mask and I imagine they’ll just move it elsewhere.
Transportation Service Garage
The maintenance area and coordination facility for the Disneyland Resort shuttles will have to move. In this picture, you can see an extra tram parked outside, as well as what looks to be some Autopia cars in the parking lot.
Just across the street to the South is the maintenance building for the resort attraction vehicles. I wonder if they’ll combine these two functions in one location. Spare parking lot trams could be parked outside the perimeter fence in one of the parking lots.
Operations & Maintenance Costuming
Next door to the garage and backstage Cast Member entry gate, this building provides uniforms for Disneyland Resort transportation, security, horticulture, and custodial staff.
This building houses the equipment and personnel responsible for plants across the resort, primarily consisting of replacing dead and damaged plants. You can see rows of seedlings and planting materials surrounding the building.
Parade Storage Building
The information I have says this is a parade storage building for Disneyland. Look closely, there seems be at part of a float on the right side of the building.
It still makes sense to have the storage building in this area of the park, so that floats can be pre-positioned at the beginning of the Disneyland parade route near It’s A Small World. However, if the building is going to be in the way of the new ‘Star Wars Land,’ I see a couple of relocation options.
Option 1: Move the parade storage into the adjacent Entertainment Building. It’s already being used for performer rehearsals, so why not share the space? Perhaps the building could be remodeled to house the floats on the ground level, with training and warm-up rooms above?
Option 2: Move the storage building behind Space Mountain. The parade goes backstage in two locations, so demolish the two existing buildings behind Main Street, USA and store the floats next to the South end of the parade route.
Magic Music Days Building
This building houses rehearsal facilities for the Disneyland ‘Magic Music Days’ performing arts programs.
What Won’t Be Removed For ‘Star Wars Land?’
With all the buildings that need to give way to progress, there are a few spots I don’t expect Disney to touch.
Fantasmic Dry Dock
The launch facility for the Fantasmic floats sits next to Big Thunder Ranch on the Rivers of America. It’s also the starting point for the Disneyland ‘dark water system.’ I expect the ‘Star Wars Land’ entrance won’t touch this area.
The friendly Indian Village has sat on the banks of the Rivers of America since 1955. Not only will this stick around, I expect the surrounding trees to stay intact as well, to separate this Frontierland spectacle from a different galaxy not so far behind it.
Fantasyland Theater Backstage
Behind Big Thunder Ranch, but still inside the berm, is a backstage area that suits a number of purposes.
- It provides backstage access through the berm into the interior of the park.
- It serves as an access conduit to the backstage area behind the building housing Snow White’s Scary Adventures.
- It services the Fantasyland Theater.
- It houses the garage and repair facilities for the Casey Jr. Circus Trains.
The new entrance to ‘Star Wars Land’ may slice off a portion of this area, but it should stay basically intact.
Things will be shaken up for a while as construction of ‘Star Wars Land’ begins in earnest in January 2016. After the first year, when the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America are restored to us, I’ll bet guests will hardly know anything is happening.
We’ll walk by construction walls for years and, behind the berm, Disneyland backstage buildings will be shuffled around and combined. Then, one day years from now, the walls will come down and we’ll all be transported to a strange new world that sprang up like magic.
I can’t wait to see what it looks like.
That’s all for now. Leave me a comment. I’d to hear your thoughts on my thoughts about the new ‘Star Wars Land.’
Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!