Theme Park Insider

Disney Officially Breaks Ground on Star Wars Land

April 14, 2016, 9:47 AM · The Walt Disney theme parks today are celebrating the official groundbreaking for its two Star Wars lands, at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

To commemorate the groundbreaking, Disney released a 360-degree view of the construction site at Disneyland in California.

As many Disneyland visitors have seen — and is obvious from the panoramic image — Disney actually broke ground for the project months ago, shortly after closing the Rivers of America attractions in January. Demolition of the existing park locations, berm and backstage support facilities on the 14-acre construction site has been swift. Drivers approaching the Mickey and Friends parking structure via the flyover from the Interstate 5 exit have the best view of the site, which now offers an unobstructed view of the cleared land all the way back to Big Thunder Mountain.

In Florida, Walt Disney World recently closed the Streets of America and the Lights, Motors, Action stunt show in Hollywood Studios, clearing the way for the start of construction on the east-coast version of Star Wars Land.

On each coast, Star Wars Land will feature two major attractions: one where riders will fly the Millennium Falcon and another where they will be caught in a battle with the villainous First Order. The land also will include Cantina dining, character meet and greets, abundant retail, and role-playing cast members, creating the experience of visiting a new planet in the Star Wars universe.

The Star Wars land projects will be the largest themed lands Disney's history when they are completed. When will that be? Disney hasn't said yet, but Insiders are projecting that the lands will open sometime in 2019 or 2020.

Replies (17)

April 14, 2016 at 9:51 AM · Finally!

So we should probably know where exactly this land will be in disney World now, right? Along with what rides should being replaced?

April 14, 2016 at 9:55 AM · I doubt there will be simultaneous openings of Star Wars on both coasts. Orlando will open 1 to 2 years later after Disneyland.

On Screamscape, it is rumored an additional $3 Billion is requested from the Board of Directors to improve WDW. It does seems like EPCOT and DHS needs more work and maybe more improvements for Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.

April 14, 2016 at 10:04 AM · To be fair, if any park needed to get this stuff on the east coast, it was definitely Hollywood Studios. EPCOT and Magic Kingdom are all full-day experiences, and Animal Kingdom will likely be much closer whenever Avatar's fixed.

Hollywood Studios hasn't gotten a big, tangible update to it since Midway Mania and "Pixar Place", and even back when the Backlot Tour was in operation wasn't really considered a full-day experience. Star Wars land, like Avatar, should give it the push, the momentum, that it needs to become a full-day experience.

And I think that's mostly what they're trying to do. Get people to stay in one park per day, which I'd imagine translates to more money. It was feasible to hit up all the relevant experiences at Hollywood Studios and then roll into any other park after noon and do whatever you needed/wanted to get done.

After Star Wars and Avatar finally open across the board, I'm really hoping they finally earmark a budget to improve EPCOT, 'cause that's what needs to come next in my opinion.

April 14, 2016 at 11:08 AM · Don't personally think Epcot is a full day either if I was to be honest, yes going around the different countries and going on Sorin and Test Track but after that the rest of the rides are not that exciting, as for the Star Wars lands, will it be a race to see who finishes first east coast or west.?
April 14, 2016 at 11:35 AM · "Star Wars"....never heard of it. My bet is it closes on both coasts within the first year due to lack of interest. ;)
April 14, 2016 at 12:42 PM · If you look the boxes to the side says transport to Disney World. Linking that to this one.
April 14, 2016 at 1:05 PM · *sigh*
April 14, 2016 at 2:14 PM · I love that picture of the work site with the AT-AT towering above it.
April 14, 2016 at 2:16 PM · Wait, why aren't the AT-ATs shooting down the X-Wings?

Anyway, demolition on this area has moved very quickly. I was at the park a month ago, and even since then there has been significant change. Given the current state of the land, I've got a pretty good feeling Disneyland is shooting for a summer 2019 opening. As for Walt Disney World, expect their land to be a year or two behind the California version. Not only does California need it more than Florida, but Toy Story Land is currently under construction at DHS as well and everything I've heard says that will open first (though not until after Avatar opens). To my knowledge, they haven't even started demolition work for Star Wars Land in Florida yet.

April 14, 2016 at 3:23 PM · I saw else where that the backlot in Orlando has been demolished so they have started to clear some of the area round the back but with lights camera action only just finishing I would think Orlando is some way behind california
April 14, 2016 at 4:48 PM · "There has been an awakening....have you felt it?

The West Coast....


.....And the East."

April 14, 2016 at 7:29 PM · Really hope the rides will be new a unique like the FJ and Gringotts. (They will probably both be screen based so, sorry Universal/screen haters.) If done correctly, this could be really cool and for Disney to prove they can beat the Wizarding World! I am really excited!
April 14, 2016 at 8:35 PM · "To my knowledge, they haven't even started demolition work for Star Wars Land in Florida yet."

They put up posters at the walls at the entrance to the soon to be demolished Streets of America depicting the Star Wars Land will be there. Also, the Toy Story Land's new artwork next the Pixar Place shows a tunnel where Star Wars Land begins. This suggests Toy Story Land and Star Wars will butt up against each other. Since both lands need 14 acres each for a total of 28 acres, they need at clear up least 10 more acres for Star Wars Land. Oddly, this means Muppets Courtyard will be orphaned between Star Wars Land and Star Tours. And Star Wars Land will wrap itself around the backside of Muppets Courtyard.

This is just my conjecture, but Disney had better figure this out especially since DHS has the worst layout of any Disney theme park.

April 14, 2016 at 9:59 PM · Anon, I'm pretty sure Toy Story Land is smaller (10-11 acres if I remember right...I know for sure it was smaller than Cars Land). But anyway, I've heard from a pretty reliable source that portions of Star Wars Land will be built on areas not currently used by the theme park. A new entrance road is being built for the parking lot as the current one runs right next to the park and would be in the way of construction. The need to complete this before working on the land is why it will take longer in Florida and why Toy Story Land is being done first.

As far as positioning goes, I'm not particularly familiar with the layout of DHS, but I'm assuming Star Wars Land will essentially be a rotated version of the one going into Disneyland. In that case, it is likely that one entrance would be down by Star Tours, one at the Streets of America, and one connecting to Toy Story Land. The big First Order Battle attraction will likely be on new land, with the Millennium Falcon attraction and the main part of the land back in the Lights, Motors, Action and Catastrophe Canyon areas. That would put Toy Story Land mostly behind Toy Story Midway Mania, with the two lands sharing a common border.

April 15, 2016 at 9:59 AM · In doing some research, Toy Story Land is actually 11 acres, but this already includes Toy Story Mania so the actual new construction is much less, maybe 8 or 9 acres. Only 2 new rides in this area. Not exactly much and I assume they can finish in 2 years easily. Since they haven't finished clearing all the Star Wars Land, it will be a 4 to 5 year project from this point on.

https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/live-updates-from-walt-disney-parks-and-resorts-presentation-at-2015-d23-expo/

April 15, 2016 at 11:17 AM · This is the only way to draw some of the mobs away from the Magic Kingdom...
April 18, 2016 at 1:44 PM · Aside from my genuine enthusiasm for these projects, my favorite words in the article are "abundant retail." It binds the galaxy together...

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