Disneyland Resort Update: Back to Dirt, Rocks, and Renovations

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

Welp, now that Pixar Pier is mostly behind us, it's time to get back into the daily grind of all the other projects going on across the Disneyland Resort.  After all, there's still the massive, yearlong transformation of Downtown Disney, a brand new parking structure cruising forward at full speed, and that one place about laser swords and pew pew ships.  This will probably take less than 4 hours to read.  But no guarantees.  Shall we proceed?


Since we last checked in, a significant amount of progress has been made on the new 6500-stall parking structure located next to Mickey and Friends (which itself can hold about 10,000 vehicles).  A host of columns have gone up, with the concrete for the first floor portion for many of them already cured.  This also means a ton of exposed rebar for the next pours, which is sure to make our favorite steel noodle fan, Guy Selga, very excited.  On the far end, near the corner of Disneyland Drive and Magic Way, crews have even started framing the first of a series of decks that will connect escalators from the parking levels down to the tram loading promenade.  There's plenty of work to do, especially if workers hope to finish this before "Star Wars" Land opens next year, but we're seeing some visible developments!

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Over in the future home of Batuu, the latest update is--oh, no, wait... more rocks.  The rock-spires-that-are-actually-giant-petrified-trees continue to be plastered and painted, while even more new steel has gone up closer to Disneyland Drive to frame rockwork that will be in the "background" of the Star Wars skyline.  More interesting is seeing how the backdrop looks from inside the park, as the background of the Rivers of America and Frontierland.  As we've been discussing since plans were first unveiled, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will interplay with the vista of Frontierland, providing a rustic panorama behind the classic themed land.  That visualization is starting to turn into reality, and I think it's pretty exciting!

Miscellaneous Interlude

We interrupt this update for some random notes...

Downtown Disney Improvements

Since we last checked in around here, the tenants overlapping the footprint of the future new "four diamond" hotel have finally all closed down, reducing the portion of Downtown Disney west of the monorail line (and Lego Store) to a relatively dead passageway to the parking lot and the Disneyland Hotel.  If you didn't have a chance to say your last goodbyes to ESPN Zone, Earl of Sandwich, the AMC Theaters, Disney Vacation Club storefront, Starbucks DtD West, and Rainforest Cafe, you've missed your chance!

Meanwhile, Ballast Point and Black Taps continue getting worked on from the inside.  It's taking longer than I would have expected, given that items such as the old Ridemakerz wall graphics are still visible, but they'll finish it when they finish it.  Hopefully sooner, given the loss of dining establishments on the west end.  Additional refurbishments have begun on the Wetzel's Pretzel's store, which will remain  Wetzel's but is getting a facelift.  Work continues on the future Salt & Straw, while Naples Ristorante's remodel has now shifted to its western half and majority of indoor dining.  The place is still open, but diners primarily sit in the new expanded outdoor dining area and bar.

World of Disney Half Reopens

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, World of Disney completed its renovations on its western half and switched closure areas to its eastern half.  This gave guests a chance to see the new look of the store, and if my totally scientific and indisputably factual survey has provided any insight, most people seem to find the new look "nice" but completely lacking of any Disney magic.  And I'd tend to agree. 

The interiors are now much cleaner and modern, with a sort of cozy industrial aesthetic that is pretty popular in retail design these days.  It would not look out of place in a fancy mall, but in its haste to provide a less dated look, the Disney charm and details seem to have gone away.  It's more "Disney Store" than "World of Disney," which is disappointing if you consider a proper World of Disney store to be an extension of the parks, bridging the more commercial style of Disney Stores with the immersive atmosphere of Disneyland proper.

Paint the Night Gets Incredible

I completely neglected to this in the original post yesterday, but our last bit of news concerns the Paint the Night parade at Disney California Adventure.  A few Fridays ago, The Incredibles float finally premiered as part DCA's nighttime spectacular.  Rolling in at the position formerly occupied by the Frozen spot (between the Disney princesses segment and the Mickey Mouse and friends finale) this new float features all five members of the Parr family, plus their pal, Fro-Zone, around a spectacular metropolis under siege.  The new float dazzles and fits in with the other Paint the Night segments, and it's great to have a full lineup for the parade again.

Less great is the fact that at some point over the past month, Paint the Night has gone from two showings a night to one--at 8:50pm.  This has resulted in greater crowds, and especially with World of Color still down, it doesn't make much sense to limit the nighttime entertainment--especially as the summer season hits its high point--unless it's for budgetary purposes of some sort.  I guess it is what it is, though.  

That takes care of this week at the Disneyland Resort.  The focus from here to year end will be Downtown Disney, the parking structure, and whatever visibly new developments of "Star Wars" Land we can discern.  But next month, "Marvel Land" will join the ranks of active DLR projects when A Bug's Land closes down to make way for annexation.  It's Tough to Be a Bug has already been shuttered to make way for a new Marvel experience.  Soon, DCA will commence with the next phase of its IP-zation as its eastern zone fully embraces the domain of superheroes.

Moo vah!!

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