Resort Updates – January 2016

Happy 2016!

This month, the Disneyland Resort was still recovering from holiday mayhem. There are a few decorations still scattered throughout the park, like the wreath on the castle:

But the biggest January news from Disneyland is the official start of Star Wars Land construction. This highly anticipated land will debut in 2017, and until then, the park will have major refurbishment and construction projects affecting Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, and the Disneyland Railroad.

To compensate for the closures, Disneyland is offering a private tour of the Disneyland Railroad, open to all guests (with the purchase of a separate ticket). Guests will be able to explore the train and parts of the track, and cast members will provide insider info about train operations in the park. The tour will be open throughout 2016, before the Railroad resumes regular operation.

END OF AN ERA

With the closure of Big Thunder Ranch and the temporary closures of the Rivers of America attractions, Disneyland has officially marked the end of an era. Western Disneyland will no longer be the quieter, more leisurely section of the park. Star Wars Land will bring new state-of-the-art attractions, new crowds, and new energy to the resort.

I visited Disneyland on the last day the attractions were open, to say a temporary “farewell” to the waterfront before the landscape changes. Here’s one of my favorite views from New Orleans Square, looking toward Fowler’s Inn (the Harbour Galley façade):

Resort Updates - January 2016

The Rivers of America attractions, Disneyland Railroad, and Star Wars Land are all slated to open/reopen in the spring of 2017. Until then, much of western Disneyland is a bit of a ghost town, with lots of construction throughout the various lands.

WALLS, WALLS, WALLS

Every park visitor knows that construction brings one of the dreaded Disney sights: walls. This month the Disneyland Resort raised walls everywhere, not just in the areas affected by the Star Wars Land construction. The entrance to Adventureland closed for about a week, leaving an eyesore right at the front of the park:

January20163.jpg Source: Theme Park Insider

And in California Adventure, the walls are still up in Cars Land, blocking what was formely Luigi’s Flying Tires. The good news, however, is that the sign for Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters has made its official debut.

January20164 Source: Disney Fan Tips

While there is still no official opening date for the new attraction, we can now at least see a step in the right direction!

LOOKING AHEAD

This month, Disney announced a TV special that will air in February: Disneyland 60. This show will give an overview of the park’s first 60 years, feature a taped in-park performance from Sir Elton John, and will also have an exciting peek into Star Wars Land, hosted by Harrison Ford. Next month fans will have a much better idea of what’s coming in 2017, and will get a much desired glimpse at the highly anticipated new land.

OTHER UPDATES

The official Disneyland app added two new features this month: menus and PhotoPass! Now when you look at a restaurant on the map, you can access its menu and browse seasonal featured items. Plus, you can use your phone as your PhotoPass and view images as soon as you take them.

And finally, Zootopia has arrived at the Disneyland Resort! You can see banners announcing the movie’s premiere at the AMC in Downtown Disney, and the It’s Tough To Be A Bug! theater is currently showing previews of the movie in A Bug’s Land.

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