Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA
Another week, another Disney update. We're at the end of August and very nearly the end of the summer, and while we all bake in this typical Southern California end-of-summer heatwave, lets check out what's been going on at the Happiest Place on Earth!
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
The biggest development over the past week has been the topping off of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Earlier last week, the steel that will mark the highest point in the new "Star Wars" Land was hoisted up and installed into place. As you may remember, the new uncharted outpost planet guests will be exploring features a fair amount of mountainous peaks, and this will be the highest of them all.
Aside from that, the Millennium Falcon and First Order buildings continue growing like a ravenous sarlacc--the Millennium Falcon building especially. Soon, we'll be able to board the sequel to Mission: Space as well. Hopefully, Gary Sinise will play a Resistance commander or something, now that he has been removed from the original Mission: Space safety video at EPCOT (may he never be forgotten).
Star Wars, Star Wars, S-S-S-Star Wars!
Welcome to the distant planet of Cranescant.
Here, a whole race of towering mechanical beings hoist things up and down using the force...
...of hydraulics and pulleys and stuff.
Starting on the south end of the First Order building, we see that the concrete building now has things on its roof!
In the last update, I wondered what those anchor bolts and concrete podiums were for.
The answer: giant mechanical equipment. I guess that checks out.
On the Disneyland Drive side of the First Order building, wall panels are starting to go up, beginning the process of enclosing the building.
Actually, panels have gone up on the Rivers of America side too, so the process had already begun a couple weeks ago at least.
This lattice work will provide a force field against potential intruders and proton torpedoes.
Aw crap, a giant opening...
The roof of this building is starting to become a mechanical mess.
But if you're a mechanical engineer or really love HVAC, then it's the roof for you!
Framing is progressing at the rooftop penthouses.
I'd love to tell you that these Star Wars penthouses will be for future sexy Force time.
But that would be a lie, and very disturbing.
The deck on this side is still waiting for its concrete to be poured over that welded wire mesh reinforcing.
Speaking of reinforcing, I'm reinforcing the likelihood that this will be an Imperial or First Order hangar.
It's a massive, cavernous space.
Kind of like the mouth of a certain guest writer of this update way back at the beginning of this year, but that's neither here nor there.
Peeking through the steel, we can see into what used to be an open pit.
Also a poor, solo guy applying fireproofing on beams on a Saturday.
There's speculation that the columned area within could house the loading area of the ride, which would take riders into the main hangar space as one of the first scenes. I have absolutely no idea whether this is completely off the mark or not, so take it with a grain of Dagobah swamp salt.
Lets peruse the site closer to ground level. This gives a better sense of scale at how grand everything is.
Some overhead track-like supports are going up. This isn't actual track, since the diagonal bracing gets in the way, but it's definitely going to be something dynamic in the ride.
Looking into the former pit.
They still haven't closed off this wall, but the rebar is there and ready for it!
Another angle at the overhead "track." And the fireproofing guy.
Lets zoom back out and move over to the Millennium Falcon building.
As I mentioned, the big news last week was the topping off of the highest part of the structure in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
This point will be a rock spire towering 130 feet in the air, or nearly twice as tall as Sleeping Beauty Castle!
It's Cars Land Cadillac Range all over again.
Only taller, with skinnier peaks.
All those steel beams sticking out will help support the secondary structure and mesh that will hold up the plastering to form the rockwork.
Meanwhile, the building itself continues to grow more complete.
A quick glimpse through an open gate, from the street. A security guard promptly Dikembe Mutombo'd me by coming out, finger wagging, telling me I could take photos. I'm pretty sure that's not the case for someone standing on the public right of way (the sidewalk/street), but out of respect, I didn't persist.
We've got a long way to go, but simultaneously not that long at all. But it's fun to follow along.
Rivers of America: Part 2 - Watercraft Boogaloo
A couple updates ago, we covered the reopening of the Disneyland Railroad. What we didn't have time to look through was the reopening of the Rivers of America attractions. Yes, although the new train route was major news, the return of the Mark Twain, S.S. Columbia, and Davy Crockett Canoes provided new opportunities to enjoy the redesigned backside of the Rivers of America and unique glimpses at the future Star Wars expansion. Lets go ride on a fantastic voyage around Tom Sawyer Island to see what's changed!
Don't be deceived by the lack of canoes here, the Davy Crockett Canoes are back in operation!
See? Here, guests can participate in Magic Kingdom exercise plan: DizFit.
The first rule of DizFit is that you have to tell all your friends about how you're in DizFit.
You also have to let them know about all the crazy workouts you do and how they're totally sculpting a bigger, better body.
Little known fact of DizFit is that if you fall off the wagon (or canoe, in this case), Jasper Beardly gives you a paddlin'.
DizFit members put their exercise to the max by chasing the Mark Twain.
The S.S. Columbia is also back on the waters of the Rivers of America.
It starts operation later and ends sooner than the Mark Twain, but it's sailing around Tom Sawyer Island!
DizFit members can partake in a grueling obstacle course that requires traversing the rigging across the ship while wearing two dozen turkey legs to weigh them down.
The Mark Twain is back too.
It sounds a celebratory toot every time a DizFit member completes 500 Churro Curls.
Lets take a cruise along the river, shall we?
It's so wild and naturalistic!
Guests on the top level of the Mark Twain can get glimpses of "Star Wars" Land.
Complete with Cranescant creatures.
Closer to ground level, and closer to our own galaxy, some Native America braves greet riverboat riders down the river.
Up top there is Chief Doling Whip.
Chief Doling Whip is also the originator of DizFit.
Legend says he once experienced a vision telling him to take the long and tiring journey from Journey into Imagination all the way to Superstar Limo.
...it was a time journey, really, and it tested his physical limits and inspired the tenets of DizFit.
Among said tenets, swimming upstream up waterfalls as a test to prove physical ability, just to join!
At the same time, DizFit members must retain mental acumen by reciting the rivers that these cascades of the Columbia Gorge are inspired by--the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Missouri, and the Rio Grande. All during the swim!
Those who make it to the top can quench their thirst with the official DizFit electrolyte replenisher: Mint Julep-ade.
Just beyond lies the new Disneyland Railroad trestle.
DizFit members can prove their mettle by outrunning a Disney steam engine via the Carolwood 100 yard dash.
It's a pretty scenic run for those crazy DizFitters who participate!
Such rugged and beautiful wilderness!
More waterfalls for advanced DizFit upstream swimmers.
It's really quite nice!
Over here, a beaver demonstrates the DizFit nutritional program.
This railroad trestle support wood is rich in fiber, proteins, and anti-oxidants while low in fat and pesky carbohydrates.
Wood you believe that the beaver is a DizFitter himself? Gnaw doubt about it, he has gotten into dam good shape!
The bridge, on the other hand, might want to have some OSHA inspections.
On the Tom Sawyer side of things, the old "burning cabin" is now Mike Fink's little retreat. A nice nod to the old keelboats that once sailed the Rivers of America.
Up ahead is the official DizFit shaman.
He tells the story of how the first DizFit natives learned how to work the glute.
These days, DizFitters will do 600 Laughing Place Lunges to keep their glutes in shape.
Up above, an eagle serves up food to her young.
Perched in perfect balance at the edge of the nest, the eagle demonstrates the core control that DizFitters should aspire to.
past this, we encounter an entire village of native DizFitters.
They gather to compare workout tips, diets, and how to push themselves to more and more intense Bread Bowl Belays and Pizza Port Push-Ups.
Inside their custom sauna tents, DizFitters can lose additional weight through sweat and tears and more sweat.
Additionally, those DizFitters with nagging injuries can rest and recover with their Grey Stuff Power Shakes.
Everyday, the Disneyland Railroad brings in new DizFitters eager to join the craze.
Most of them dream of eventually being able to scale the great barriers and make it over to "Star Wars" Land beyond. They see the wall panels going up on the First Order ride and dream of being the first to battle on behalf of the DizFit Resistance.
They come from far away lands.
Lands like turn-of-the-century America, and the future.
But only a few will ever attain sufficient DizFit status to be welcome into the village.
One last glance at the DizFit commune area...
As we continue along, we spot moose along Tom Sawyer Island, perfect for weight lifting, as DizFitters are apt to do.
A wildcat along the river provides the perfect DizFit running companion. He motivates by trailing DizFitters with the constant threat of mauling.
The DizFit pull-up chains are particularly torturous.
But hey, if you nest in the system and persevere, you too can become a master DizFit member!
Miscellaneous: The Other One(s)
Finally, we've got Splitsville progress and a new Starbucks "You Are Here" mug available at Market House inside Disneyland. The mugs alternate being in and out of stock, but the past week has seen more regular availability after the initial rush has died off.
With construction workers on site on weekends as well as the week, the Splitsville building is coming along pretty swiftly now.
There's no good way to spin this, though, they're still behind.
At this rate, it's unclear if they'll finish before Turkey Day or not.
Walls are going up quickly, seemingly in split seconds.
Just beyond the canopy, parts of the escalator have arrived. They're waiting for the other parts to roll in.
Splitsville will have more than just bowling. It'll be a restaurant and bar too.
The canopy here will frame the entrance nicely.
We'll be able to flush out how well they can catch up to schedule in the upcoming couple of months.
If this venue can make its original schedule, they'll strike these construction walls down by the end of the year, though.
We shall see...
Also, the new Disneyland You Are Here mugs are positively adorable. They're more like Fantasyland You Are Here, but they're certainly lovely.
In general Resort news, Disney also announced a nighttime Halloween overlay to the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at Disney California Adventure. Named Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark, the spooky alternate will see Rocket and friends go back into the Collector's Fortress to save Groot, who was unintentionally left inside, because apparently, the Guardians are kind of dicks. The attraction runs after dark at DCA and is part of a push to move a lot of popular Disneyland content over to its neighboring park to balance out the eventual crowds that will flood the original Magic Kingdom once Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens. In the meantime, this year, Mickey's Halloween Time will touch California Adventure with Halloween decorations in Cars Land, a Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired Halloween atmosphere set onto Buena Vista Street, as well as other goodies.
New park ambiances are always a good thing, especially since Disneyland's Halloween decorations had gotten stale, so it's great to see the Resort's seasonal events freshened up! Of course, traditional Halloween favorites like Space Mountain: Goats--I mean Ghost Galaxy and the Haunted Mansion Holiday return to Disneyland Park.
We'll close things off with a few more follow-up photos of the recently unveiled area between Frontierland and the future Star Wars expansion, showcasing the ambiance under sunnier lighting conditions than last time!
That does it from the Disneyland Resort this week. Tomorrow marks the start of September, and before you know it, Halloween season will be upon us again! Yes, our favorite and spoopiest time of the year. Are you excited? You should be.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.