Disneyland Resort Update: Star Wars, Soarin', and Trains

THE DISNEYLAND RESORT

We're back with another update from the Happiest Place on Earth, this time going into a little further detail on a subject on which we only gave a cursory glance last time, plus a few other notes.  Lets get on this!

"Star Wars" Land

The photos posted last week were a bit outdated, since they were taken two months ago.  Here are photos from Friday showing a much larger swath of land cleared and even the beginning of some possible forms for footings to be poured.  We have a long way to go before the land debuts (whenever that will be, since no official date has been announced yet), but progress is definitely being made.

Security

Thanks to asshats who like to work through their own insecurities by slaughtering innocent people, now everyone has to go through the metal detectors.  Previously, the metal detectors installed a few months ago were spot checks--guests were randomly selected to go through.  That is no longer the case, and this has created long lines through security.  Unfortunately, this is the world in which we now live.  It's a definite shame, that's for sure.

EDIT: According to a reader, on Sunday, it was not universal again, so who knows how consistently they're applying this.  Either way, put longer security lines on the expectation list.

Soarin' Around the World

On June 17th, Soarin' Around the World opened at Disney California Adventure (and EPCOT), one day after its debut at Shanghai Disneyland.  The revamped attraction features sparkling 4K video projection and a new experience taking guests all over the world instead of just California.  Destinations include Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria (inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle), the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China, Igazu Falls, the Taj Mahal, the plains of Kilamanjaro, Sydney Harbor, the actual Matterhorn, the Pyramids of Giza, the fjords of Greenland, Monument Valley in Utah, the waters of Alaska, the islands of Fiji, and of course, Disneyland Park.  I'm a big fan of the new iteration.  The videos are absolutely stunning and gorgeous (though some of the CGI does distract a little bit in a couple of scenes--the average guest probably won't notice though).  And my biggest gripe about the original--the cuts between scenes instead of more seamless transitions--has been addressed through multiple clever ways of doing more dissolve-type transitions between scenes.  There are also new and more varied scents to accompany the scenes, and they're pretty great!

The Disney Gallery: Disney's Steam Trains

This gallery opened back in February, coinciding with when the Disneyland Railroad went down to accommodate the infrastructure and Rivers of America expansion of "Star Wars" Land.  It's a nice look at Walt Disney's love of railroads and their part in Disneyland history.  Featured are concept art and sketches, some model work, and information on the trains of the various Disney parks--primarily Disneyland (of course).  It's a cool little feature, especially for Disney history train buffs!

The Disneyland Railroad: Main Street Station

Also on display at two of the Disneyland Railroad stations are the locomotives that pull the railroad trains.  They seem to alternate, and on the day I went to photograph, Main Street featured engine #3, the Fred Gurley.  On good weather days, you can also find the Lilly Belle caboose on display.  Guests can actually climb up and stair into the interior (although they are not allowed to enter) to glimpse a sight that few have the privilege of ever entering!

The Disneyland Railroad: New Orleans Square Station

At New Orleans Square, engine #4, the Ernest S. Marsh, was on display the day I took pictures.  In addition, a little footbridge has been built over the tracks to allow guests onto the other side, where the old New Orleans Square Station stands.  This is where the morse code recording of Walt Disney's opening day speech is played, and it's an area that hasn't been open to the public since 1967!  It's a great treat to be able to wander around here during the time that the railroad is closed, since it keeps the trains relevant during their downtime.

Frozen Still Exists

It's been four weeks, and the new Frozen show at the Hyperion Theater hasn't flopped yet and is actually now doing four showings a day.  So...

That does it for today!  Thanks to people's positive comments on our return.  We're sure to disappoint you in the near future, but for now, we definitely appreciate the love and patience.  And as you've already noticed, we're definitely branching out our content, so expect to see features on non-theme park attractions such as museums and sights to see, plus some travel blogging.  And because the old site is now forever lying with the fishes, I plan on reposting Halloween content from previous seasons, especially as we count down to our favorite time of year.

Also--and this is a blatantly cheap plug--but if you like pretty Disney park photos such as some of the ones posted above or in last week's post, go check out my other site, Disney Photoblography!  It's got photos from every Disney park from around the world--except Shanghai, because I haven't been there yet.

In the mean time, go forth and be good people.  Erin go Braugh!  (Dangit, still can't do it like Jim does it.)

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.