Disneyland Closing Attractions Temporarily to Make Room for ‘Star Wars’ Land

Star Wars Land Concept Art

To make room for construction of a 14-acre “Star Wars” themed land, Disneyland Resort officials announced today several popular attractions will close for a year at Disneyland, including the railroad, Fantasmic! and most everything along the Rivers of America.

And, the Big Thunder Ranch, which houses a barbecue restaurant, petting zoo and the Jamboree stage, will close permanently on Jan. 10, Disneyland officials said on their parks blog.

On the same day, all four train stations along the Disneyland Railroad, the nightly Fantasmic! show, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island will close temporarily. Disneyland officials said work is expected to take a year, but did not set a date for when these attractions will return to action.

Cast members will be offered other roles during the temporary closures.

News of the closings comes on the heels of The Walt Disney Co. Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs’s announcement last month that construction of the “Star Wars” land in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will begin in 2016.

Disneyland’s expansion is part of a $1 billion investment agreement made with the city of Anaheim in July in exchange for a continued ban on collecting a gate tax. Disneyland officials said it will also build a 5,000-spot parking structure nearby.

As part of the deal, construction must begin no later than the end of 2017, and additions be completed by December 2024.

Disney officials previously said the new “Star Wars” land at Disneyland will be built in the northern part of Frontierland and will encompass the Big Thunder Ranch, some backstage areas and the Circle D Ranch, where the horses are stabled. Disneyland officials said the ranch and horses will be moved to a nearby off-property location.

The Big Thunder Ranch area is mostly a way station for people passing through Fantasyland and Frontierland. The Jamboree is typically closed except when it is used for special Disney events or is rented for corporate parties or by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who recently used the space for a birthday party for their daughter. Disneyland officials did not say what would become of the goats, horses and cow that sometimes appear in the petting zoo.

The “Star Wars” area will be the largest single-themed land expansion at Disneyland, and will be the most “immersive,” Staggs said last month.

The land is described as a remote trading outpost on a never-before-seen “Star Wars” planet populated by humanoids, aliens and droids. It will feature two signature attractions: one will put riders at the controls of the Millennium Falcon spaceship, and the other will drop visitors into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Visitors will also be able to eat and drink at a cantina similar to the famed Mos Eisley Cantina from the films.

From the Orange County Register

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