Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA
Welcome to a galactic themed update from the Disneyland Resort. No, not Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm talking about a galaxy far far away. Yes, "Star Wars" Land is gaining visual prominence from many angles around and outside the park, and today, we're going to find a few of them to show the progress being made. The construction is starting to reveal the truly epic scope of this largest expansion in Disneyland Park history. It's difficult to accurately communicate the scale of the project, but hopefully, a few new perspectives in today's update will make a decent attempt.
Firstly, though, lets set the mood for the monumental undertaking of the construction project with a little background music...
That's right. Play that entire track as you're reading this update. You can thank me later.
Escape from the First Order
The most eye-catching part of "Star Wars" Lands continues to be the First Order attraction. Vertical construction is slowly connecting architecture that will stretch southward beside Disneyland Drive. It wasn't but a few months ago that we were staring at circular pits and wide trenches. And now, walls and columns and steel are rising out of them.
It was very warm this weekend.
And from the outside, it seemed as though the heat kept a lot of people away from the parks.
Though that might have just been appearances.
The parks were still pretty busy, apparently.
Here's the site. Look at how much has risen up over the past month!
Lets zoom in on that main building.
Steel and braced frames are growing southward over that trench, which is far less obvious now, with all the structure and scaffolding in the way.
Over by the former pit and beside it, however, the structure changes from steel to reinforced concrete.
Not too much change on this side, at least not along the main skeleton. But secondary steel framing to support ride elements seems to be progressing.
A thought occurred to me that these penthouse elements could both be part of the ride experience (or play a part in certain scenes) and hold up the mountainous terrain that will be covering the entire building from the park side.
That could be totally false, but playing double duty makes some sense.
They continue to cast more concrete around steel reinforcement and formwork here, rising out of the ground.
Right beside it, more noodles for Guy Selga, and more formwork with openings framed for wall openings and slots in the footing to allow for utilities to pass through underground.
A few months ago, this area was puddles.
Back to the steel building, with a different perspective of the structural steel framing.
AT-AT's are still in there, but with everything going up around them, it makes sense now why they were installed so early.
In the foreground, the brown steel almost looks like it has a curving element. How interesting...
The bigger this building grows, the more monumental the First Order ride looks like it will become.
They're clearly aiming for this to be the new premiere and super advanced Disney attraction. Also, this section has an inordinate number of braced frames in multiple directions--an indication of a narrow part of the building that needs more lateral resistance.
More steel porn for all you construction fetishers.
Joking aside, I've always enjoyed seeing building skeletons. Even when I was a child, I was most fascinated by the phase of construction when the columns and beams were erected (teehee) but nothing else.
A closeup of braced frame palooza.
Those are a LOT of connections!
Moving around to the former pit. You can still see hints of the circular outline, but walls are starting to close that in.
That walls separating the "pit" from the adjacent footprint is about 30 feet tall.
Again, epic is the scale of everything going on here.
Those boxes in the middle will frame openings through the concrete wall.
This shot should make rebar fans particularly moist. The density of that section near the middle is kind of mind-boggling.
It looks like they are framing a deck. Whether this forms the roof of this part of the building or a second floor remains to be seen. But I think my structural engineering friends might find interest in the density of reinforcing (and just of everything in general) here.
Happy AT-AT's, staying cool in the shade.
And with plenty of steel lying in the adjacent yard, this building shows no signs of slowing down its growth!
Lets teleport to the sidewalk along Disneyland Drive to get a closer-to ground level view.
Again, it's a bit tough to give you a sense of scale, but these are large structures.
And this is still from an elevated perspective that's about a story above the ultimate ground level of this land.
Trenching the ground for more footings and concrete work.
Lets glance in the direction of Critter Country. That wall has been up for a while but hasn't been extended. My guess is that the groundwork they're laying now will eventually tie into the already freestanding wall.
Another look at the building. It's two stories, but each is basically a double story.
This angle gives a better sense of some of the scale. Things be tall!
Looking into the scaffolding around the pit.
And one more angle, looking southward along Disneyland Drive to see how building is rising above the fencing into public view.
Along the Berm
Progress continues along the berm between "Star Wars" Land and the Rivers of America. It's just tough to see behind all the trees that keep springing up in the way. But you can see that the rustic, rocky/wilderness look will form a pretty seamless transition between an area dedicated the frontier and one rooted in science fiction.
Not too much visual change here... except that those concrete structures and "watch towers" from a couple of months ago seem to be getting rockwork applied.
Of course, that does match what the artist rendering showed. And since we know that there were most definitely walls and a roof cast previously, we know that these "peaks" pull double duty.
From closer to ground level, we stair toward one of the main entrances to "Star Wars" Land, plus Guardians Tower in the background.
They haven't really planted anything on the backside of the berm yet; just the front.
Then again, they probably don't really have to.
From this point of view, you can see some of the existing demolished trees still partially in place, not yet cleared from the site.
The backside of rockwork, not yet fully painted, but you can see the layers of paint going across. It's a multi-step process!
By the Hungry Bear
The concrete bridge for the Disneyland Railroad span over the Critter Country entrance to "Star Wars" Land seems to be curing. Meanwhile, here too, they seem to be moving more vegetation to obscure the view. Of course, this a good thing. It means that from within the park, angles to the outside world will be minimized--as Walt intended.
Trees, trees, everywhere.
But through the trees, you can see some concrete spanning across where the Disneyland Railroad runs.
This work is a priority now, since the Disneyland Railroad is supposed to reopen in the summer.
It will be interesting to see how the Rivers of America progress, and if a lot of finishing work happens in a short amount of time.
The Millennium Falcon Site
Over the past couple of months, construction of the Millennium Falcon attraction has proceeded hidden right in front of our eyes. Of course, that's mostly because from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure, the attraction building footprint was obstructed by the trees lining Disneyland Drive and by its neighboring First Order ride. But nothing at Disneyland remains hidden forever, and we're starting to see formwork and shoring rise up. And if you happen to walk by a certain other location, the view is even more wide open...
The backstage building we've been featuring for months is getting skinned.
Looks like a substantial shed building, used for either storage or offices or a combination of both.
But as you can see, just in front of it, new signs of development have been appearing.
This has been ongoing for a while, but unless you knew what to look for, you just figured it was dirt or junk going on behind the First Order building.
But lets go to ground level to get a better view.
Please note that this series of photos was taken from the public sidewalk without any trespassing.
The gate backstage happened to be wide open, allowing any passer-by to gaze in.
Westcoaster reminds everyone to never enter private or backstage areas, to climb on ledges to peer over fencing, or do anything that risks safety or intrusion just for the sake of getting a shot of work.
These shots are just benefit of a telephoto lens.
The waist to chest height concrete along the outside is the ultimate footprint of the building, but the circular formwork seems to be creating interior concrete walls for the ride enclosure.
Aerial views have shown two circular footprints, mirrored to each other, which bear an uncanny resemblance to EPCOT's Mission: Space when it was under construction.
Disney has said that "Star Wars" Land will feature an attraction that allows guests to pilot the Millennium Falcon (and engage in some seriously in-depth augmented and enhanced reality experiences that impact and arise from on-ride performances). Perhaps this will be via a more advanced motion simulator like Mission: Space, rather than the updated Star Tours people initially speculated.
And if you ever wanted to know where some of the Christmas decorations go... well, here they are.
That's it from the Disneyland Resort this week. I only had a brief time to stop over on Saturday, so I decided to just peruse the perimeter instead of angles I don't usually shoot (in addition to the ones I do). It's exciting to see the work progress, and before we know it, it will be time to debut the whole thing.
Before we warp up today's update, there's one more order of business...
Let us say a prayer for the victims of last week's windstorm... these toppled over chainlink fencing sections. May they rest in peace, not pieces.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.