Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA
We interrupt our haunted attraction coverage to take a stop at our favorite original Magic Kingdom resort and have a probably incomplete look at what's been happening over there the past few weeks. Spoilers: It's mostly Star Wars stuff. But also, there've been some Downtown Disney developments too, and that doesn't even include the newly announced upcoming 4th Disneyland Resort Hotel, which will swallow up ESPN Zone, AMC Theaters, Rainforest Cafe, Starbucks DtD West, and Earl of Sandwich (NOOOOOO!!!!) when it begins construction next summer!
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
We begin this update as we do most updates: in "Star Wars" Land. The buildings have been progressing at a rapid clip, and the First Order building has been significantly enclosed. The Millennium Falcon building has been receiving building panels too, and perhaps before year's end, we won't be able to see anything inside anymore.
Ducking down to a ground level view, we see the monumental scale of these buildings. We can also see how high the rockwork spires will really tower and get a sense of the dominating scale of this land. There's a lot of building for a land with two attractions, which means there are going to be a lot more features than just two rides. Restaurants and shops for sure, but likely some entertainment areas as well--perhaps of the groundbreaking type? Disney has mentioned that Galaxy's Edge will feature cutting edge immersion and interactive elements that vary as guests perform different actions on rides or just in the lands...
The view of "Star Wars" Land from inside the park varies depending on the angle and location. From ground level, there are less of the spires visible than I expected, especially near the entrances into the land. The best view seems to be over by the Hungry Bear Restaurant, where the geology of this new, "never before discovered" planet in the Star Wars galaxy will loom beyond the Rivers of America. Other than that, rockwork will be visible from Tarzan's Treehouse, but only if you look closely.
River Belle Terrace
Meanwhile, the River Belle Terrace renovations continue. New paint, new pavers, new interior kitchen and serving area, new mechanical equipment. I'm not sure when it's due to reopen, but hopefully before the winter holidays to help supplement the Christmas and New Year's crush.
A Downtown Disney Halloween
Downtown Disney has become laden with autumn squash, and it's almost absurd. Pumpkins pumpkins pumpkins everywhere. Some are in towers, but most are just littered about. I'm not sure if I find this sloppy or charming--perhaps a bit of both--but it's kind of amusing. You wouldn't even find this density in a real pumpkin patch, so it kind of just looks like the result of a mysterious hoarder!
Construction is proceeding very quickly on the future bowling alley of Downtown Disney, with walls and curtain wall glass going up. Soon, this building will also be fully enclosed. The looks of the architecture seem to indicate a pretty sleek look with a bit of a retro feel. I think Splitsville will turn out pretty slick when it opens, though whether that will still make the end of year deadline remains to be seen. It's a little more realistic now than it appeared a few months ago, though!
Other Downtown Disney Construction
In other Downtown Disney news, construction for the upcoming Star Wars "hyper reality" experience, Secrets of the Empire, by famed themed augmented and virtual reality designers ILMxLAB and The VOID, has begun (or began sometime between now and the last time we stopped by). This attraction will open at Downtown Disney on January 5, 2018, but tickets have already gone on sale and have been selling very quickly. If you've heard about what The Void has done in other locations, you'll be very eager to try this out, since it promises to be an incredible experience.
Also, the Sephora store is getting a bit of a facade facelift. See what I did there?
Disney Dress Store
Finally, the Chapel Hats store--one of three tenants announced to be going away a couple of months ago--has already shut down and reopened as the Disney Dress Shop. This boutique features a lot of cute Disney-inspired fashion, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the products here worn on Dapper Day or other dress-up days.
Build-A-Bear Workshop and Ridemakerz remain open, but it seems their days may be quickly numbered if their mutual neighbor has already transformed into a different store.
And that is it from the Resort for this week. And perhaps month. Obviously, our Halloween coverage takes precedence, and our busy schedule running through so many haunts across Southern California means Disney takes a bit of a backseat. Good news for haunters, but maybe less useful for Disney fans. Don't worry, we'll return to more regularly scheduled updates after the Halloween season.
But if you're enjoying the Halloween updates and want to make sure you haven't missed anything, check out our Southern California Haunted Attraction Guide for this year, which also has an index of all of our haunt reviews this season! There's one more weekend of haunts left for most places, so you still have time to check out some spoopy hits!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.