Disneyland Gets Ready for Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain Opens in November, Rivers of America Closes in January

September 24, 2015, 5:27 PM · Star Wars is coming to the Disneyland Resort, and as the park prepares to begin construction early next year, Disneyland will kick off its "Season of the Force" celebration later this year.

Star Wars Launch Bay
Star Wars Launch Bay. Concept art courtesy Disney

Disney previously announced its new Star Wars Land and special event, at the D23 Expo in Anaheim last month. The Season of the Force event will include a "Hyperspace Mountain" special-effects overlay for the Space Mountain roller coaster, as well as the opening of a new "Star Wars Launch Bay" exhibit and meet and greet area in the old Innoventions building. Disneyland will be adding a new scene to its Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride, too. The event starts November 16, though Disney has not yet revealed a closing date for what it calls a "limited time" event.

Construction starts on Star Wars Land January 11, 2016 and will be disrupting several Frontierland attractions. The Big Thunder Ranch, including the Barbecue restaurant, will close permanently at the end of the day on Jan. 10. In addition, the Disneyland Railroad and all the Rivers of America attractions — Tom Sawyer Island, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and Fantasmic! — will close for an extended period after Jan. 10, too.

Disneyland is building the 14-acre Star Wars Land on the site of the Big Thunder Ranch, as well as some backstage area behind it. Disney has not announced an opening date for Star Wars Land, but Theme Park Insider readers have guessed it for sometime in 2020.

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Replies (14)

September 24, 2015 at 7:57 PM · When was the last time the Disneyland Railroad has been closed for an extended period of time? Splash Mountain? Toon Town?
I'm assuming that they are having to excavate so that guests walk under tracks as part of Star Wars land. (Of course guests won't notice that they've walked under the tracks)
September 24, 2015 at 8:58 PM · Wow, I didn't expect to see this happen so fast. I'm glad Disney is being aggressive with the building plans, but also glad I didn't renew my AP. I can't imagine trying to navigate the crowds without the railroad available as a backup.
September 25, 2015 at 3:26 AM · I'm happy for Disneyland fans. Even though Star Wars Land hasn't opened yet (I know, Captain Obvious) this should keep them pleased for a little bit. I also hope that this means that they're doing what Ryan said, having guests enter the land under the railroad tracks, otherwise, the futuristic space setting is going to clash with the area around it, since it's all themed to America's past.
September 25, 2015 at 6:42 AM · A year without, yet they will have us suffer another price increase.
September 25, 2015 at 7:18 AM · I hope the space mountain overlay is still there in March. I enjoyed the Halloween overlays when we were there last year.

Glad they are getting things started.

September 25, 2015 at 9:06 AM · I wonder why the Rivers of America needs to close, which prompted the other attractions and Fantasmic to close. Does this suggest Star Wars Land will be viewable from the river bed instead of hidden behind a berm? Will they re-route the river to make it smaller? Or is this to add pipes and sewer lines under the river to service Star Wars Land.
September 25, 2015 at 10:01 AM · The biggest rumour is Star wars land will connect to Critter Country, as well as Toon Town, no longer letting any land be a dead end. If the entire rivers of america is closing...the rumour is almost guaranteed
September 25, 2015 at 10:11 AM · I wondered the same thing Anon. I have to think it is infrastructure like pipes like you mentioned. You wouldn't want it that visible from Rivers of America.
September 25, 2015 at 2:43 PM · I'm curious how long Season of the Force will last. My guess is probably six months or so (maybe until after spring break), but I hope it doesn't go on longer than that (limited time loses its meaning with extended events). I'm excited to try Hyperspace Mountain and hope it doesn't disappoint. As for the Star Wars Land closures, not a big deal for the most part. Yes, I'll miss Fantasmic, but I've got a feeling the new land will be worth the closure of that show and several second and third tier attractions for a year or so.
September 26, 2015 at 8:02 PM · So now that this is confirmed for the last large plot Disneyland has left, where does that leave future expansions? And does that mean Marvel will slither into Tomorrowland and take over what's left (Star Tours, Jedi Training, gift shops, etc)?
September 27, 2015 at 6:58 PM · Closing the DLRR and ROA attractions seems like a necessary by-product of building SWG. This is a major project and will require major infrastructural changes—power, water, sewer—plus substantial site prep to get ready for construction. What this means is there will be a ton of digging going on right where ROA bends around TSI and right where DLRR goes through. It'd be my guess that digging along the bank of a man-made river could lead to a breach that floods into the construction. So maybe it’d be safer to drain the river while this work goes on. No river means no river attractions. It’s probably also better to not have a steam train going through a major construction zone. Sounds like a reasonable decision.
September 28, 2015 at 2:50 PM · It makes zero sense to have Star Wars land connected to Critter country.

Poor Tomorrowland. Soon it'll be even more obsolete, and the only thing "tomorrow" about it will be a decades-old roller coaster and a bunch of stinky-exhaust, gas powered go carts.

September 29, 2015 at 4:05 AM · To my fellow anonymous posters

For the last year or so, there has been nonstop complaining about how Disney has built nothing new and exciting. Now they finally are....and we're giving them crap for it. What the hell? Look, I agree that Star Wars Land shouldn't be built on the other side of the park from a land that's had a prexisting Star Wars attraction for many years, but honestly, as long as it's awesome and is built in a way so that it doesn't clash with the theming of the surrounding lands, who cares? And if it really is the last amount of available space for expansion, then obviously, if not taken up by this expansion, then it would've been taken up by a future expansion that would then not leave any room for any expansions after that. So what's the point in trying to conserve it? And who said they can't build Marvel in DCA?

September 29, 2015 at 5:19 PM · Does anyone else think that the like of Star Wars and Marvek should come nowhere near any of the existing Disney parks?

I really feel it is a bad fit, and so not in-keeping with the themes or with the parks provenance.

If they really had to build it (personally I really wouldn't care if they didn't), it should have been completely seperate to the existing parks.

Perhaps it's a little better fit at MGM Studios, but not at Disneyland or DCA.

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