Disneyland Resort: Projects Galore!

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

it’s been a few weeks, so it’s time to check in at the Disneyland Resort to see the multitude of projects currently in process. Most will culminate toward the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and a couple will extend past that. But there is a ton of work happening, and so little time to cover it all. Lets race through it, shall we?

Pixar’s Pinocchio Pal-A-Round and Fox and Friends and Friends and Associates Parking Structure featuring Marvel Motorpool and Star Wars Shuttle Stops and Other Acquired Licenses aka the Cleo Structure that Will Probably Still Be Part of Mickey and Friends Anyway

Work continues on the parking structure expansion, with the construction appearing to shift focus toward more architectural portions. The big canopy topper over the escalator promenade has been lifted into place—presenting a great “weenie” at the intersection of Disneyland Drive and Magic Way, and the planter framing has been anchored to the side of the structure facing Disneyland Drive. As one drives along, the mimicry of the new structure to the old provides a nice continuity and also suggests that this structure will probably be identified as part of the Mickey and Friends parking structure, just with new characters on the new portion. UPDATE: The new structure has officially been named the Pixar Pals structure.

Other details, like progress on the escalators, stairwells, and building finishes, continue to advance. What does seem to be missing are any signs of the bridge over Magic Way that is supposed to connect pedestrians directly to Downtown Disney without waiting at a stop light, as well as a large canopy shown to be extending eastward from the long facade of the expansion structure. The escalator promenade still has a gap for where the bridge is to be connected, so one would assume that’s still in the plans. But it’s possible that the canopy has been value engineered out of the project since the rendering was published.

Downtown Disney

In Downtown Disney, work continues at the old ESPN Zone building in preparation for the upcoming Pop-Up Disney!—A Mickey Celebration attraction that will be opening Friday, April 26. This Instagram-geared attraction follows the fad of many recent limited-time pop-up events, providing photo ops for Disney fans to share on social media. Tickets are on sale now for this.

Meanwhile, over at the center of Downtown Disney, Black Taps continues to plod along. We’ve now come to the point where it may be a legitimate endeavor to wager on whether Ballast Point’s future, ground floor neighbor will open before or after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! There’s certainly lots of work going on inside, but there’s been little exterior progress visible since our last check-in a few weeks ago.

Tangaroa Terrace

Another recent restaurant renovation we missed was the reopening of Tangaroa Terrace, located next to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel area. This quick serve was revamped and outfitted with an additional bar area and Dole Whip booth. Guests can still order food inside to the left (though the automated machines have been taken away), and the seating area remains around the establishment. But its use as a watering hole has been expanded with the bar addition, and the Dole Whip addition also means that guests can order alcoholic Dole Float—previously only available at the little bakery/cafe next to Goofy’s Kitchen nearby!

Disneyland Hotel Pool Work

Also, the water slide at the Disneyland Hotel has been under refurbishment the past couple of months. I think this might be its first major rework since it opened several years ago. The E-Ticket and D-Ticket pools beside remain open to hotel guests, though.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Pool Work

Speaking of Disney hotel work, the cabana structures next to the Grand Californian’s pool continue to progress. Light gauge framing is now outlining some clear structure. The project should be complete this summer.

Pixar Pier and Paradise Park Construction

Over at Pixar Pier, Jessie’s Critter Carousel had progressed to the point where it was testing last Friday. It looks to be on track to open next month (or maybe even this weekend if early?). Jessie continues to creep over the work walls to eye your soul, and she’s been joined by a cute cactus piece supporting the attraction signage.

Over at the site of Inside Out: Emotional Whirlwind… a whole lot of nothing! Though they have added an enlarged rendering of the ride.

Also, Silly Symphony Swings is currently down for refurbishment. It’s shown to be closed at least through May 8th, the furthest out the day-to-day Disneyland Resort calendar currently stretches. The entire ride structure has been disassembled, much like the Astro Orbitor’s was, so this is not a quick bit of TLC.

Marvel Land

Not much more progress visible since last time at the land of Marvel. The exterior demolition work of the It’s Tough to Be a Bug theater seems to be slowly moving along, but there’s nothing too exciting to see.

Over by Grizzly River Run…

Grizzly River Run has been refilled with water and was testing last weekend. It will reopen this Friday. And in other good news, sometime over the past few weeks, the park came to their senses and moved the smoking area next to the Grizzly River Run lift hill over to the Silly Symphony Swings. This is great news for the poor cast members at the Golden Dreams Food & Wine Festival booth, who had been dealing with secondhand smoke waving over regularly. And to have this next to a food serving area was pretty surprising, to say the least!

Captain Marvel Lands in Hollywood Land

Lastly in DCA, Captain Marvel has arrived with her own meet-and-greet in Hollywood Land. Over at the far end of the land, a hangar and protruding F-15 fighter jet has emerged, providing a dramatic backdrop for the newest Avenger to been unveiled. It’s been a pretty popular meet-and-greet thusfar, no doubt due to the movie’s success.

Disneyland Refurbishments

Springtime renovations continue at Disneyland, with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the Astro Orbitor, and parts of Frontierland and New Orleans Square getting work. Springtime blooms have also finally come to The Hub, after all the rains we got over the winter. It looks nice, though the tabebuia trees aren’t blooming simultaneously this year. It’s just a bit of a shame that the castle is covered up and detracting from a complete composition.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Finally, the big news since we last checked in with “Star Wars” Land is that Batuu finally has an opening date! Friday, May 31 is the big day when Galaxy’s Edge debuts to what is sure to be a ravenous and overwhelming crowd.

The reveal won’t be exactly complete, however. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will not be operational when the land opens, though Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and all shops and restaurants will be. In addition, admission to the land—though free—will require reservations. I’m guessing they’ll implement a FastPass style system, perhaps accessed via the Disneyland app. Guests staying on Disney property will automatically receive a reservation, though there’s no guarantee on what time that reservation will be. In addition, initially, the Millennium Falcon ride will not have FastPass, in order to keep the queue moving along as fluidly and continuously as possible.

The phased roll-out is intended to ease crowds into things. I would guess that Rise of the Resistance will open in June—possibly after Annual Passholder blockouts kick in toward the end of the month. But opening the land early (it was originally officially announced for a June opening) functions as a sort of soft opening to get things running. Undoubtedly, Friday, May 31 will be a zoo at Disneyland, and probably the Resort as a whole, as the crowds will also bring with them traffic congestion on the streets as well.

That does it for this update—our final Disney update of the month. It’s a little crazy to think that in two months, the Disneyland Resort as we know it will be changed forever, as Disneyland welcomes a galaxy far, far away. The Black Spire Outpost will be amazing, and this summer is sure to be packed to unprecedented capacity as the hype works its way through. It’s definitely going to be interesting to observe, but we’ll do our best bring comprehensive updates!

Batuu bah!!

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