Disneyland Resort Update: The Castle Returns

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

Hello, howdy, and hi, folks! Hope you enjoyed a pleasant long weekend and an appreciative Memorial Day. This weeks marks the final countdown to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which debuts this Friday, May 31st and will change the Disneyland Resort forever. But outside of the land of Star Wars, there continues to be plenty of work happening around the Resort, so we’re taking a round through the parks for mostly non-Star Wars related news in today’s update.

Spoilers: a lot of it involves the new parking structure, which will NOT open up in time to handle increased Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge traffic. Hopefully, it can open close to when the land goes fully public and off the reservation system, starting June 24.

Pixar Pals Parking Structure

This past weekend showcased just how in need of parking the Disneyland Resort is when all available Resort parking filled up by the middle of Memorial Day. Though some capacity did open back up, the complete inability to even park at the Resort during parts of the day does not bode well for when Galaxy’s Edge opens—at least not until the Pixar Pals structure and its 6500 additional spaces are finished.

So that’s the focus now, as Batuu gets its finishing touches (on everything except Rise of the Resistance) completed. Work on the Pixar Pals parking structure continues to plow forward, with architectural elements on the promenade side continuing to advance, security and loading areas continuing to move forward, and the bridge across Magic Way and subsequent ramped walkway down to grade and alongside Disneyland Drive especially showing progress.

Meanwhile, the parking sensors at the Mickey and Friends side seem to have been fully installed, and there are even counters per row along the entry lane. But the system isn’t up and working quite yet.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Reopens

Over in the heart of Disneyland Park, Sleeping Beauty Castle reopened last Friday ahead of its original May 28th schedule. The new castle is exceptionally vibrant and colorful, with a pixie dust motif, gold gilding on the azure blue rooftops, and more expressive stonework.

The fresh painting, reroofing, and refurbishment have the castle looking like a new structure again, and while up close, the architectural elements almost look too new, from a photographic view, the castle dazzles in its color and boldness. It will make a wonderful subject for countless more memories in the years to come!

Project Stardust Update

The work walls are down all around The Hub, and the results of Project Stardust are largely complete. The curbs around The Hub have now been sloped down to be flush with the asphalt, allowing wheeled vehicles to easily transition from sidewalk to street and back. No trip hazards either!

Meanwhile, the Adventureland sign has reappeared, minus the extra bamboo faux structure on the right that previously created a bit of a bottleneck. Though some stone repainting was still needed as of the weekend, the gist of the change is complete, and the walkway into this jungle land has been maximized to its widest availability!

Glimpses of Galaxy’s Edge

Last week, we did our last official Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge construction update, so these photos are not construction photos. Instead, the work walls at the entrances to Black Spire Outpost have been taken down, revealing… not much. The Frontierland/Fantasyland entrances still curve so that the actual land is out of sight. Meanwhile, over on the Critter Country entrance, a small amount of foliage and light fixtures can be glimpsed if one goes all the way up to the cast member blockade, but nothing beyond that.

What can be glimpsed, however, is structure of Batuu’s rock spire from Mickey’s Toontown. It’s certainly visible from the elevated deck of Donald’s Boat, but unfortunately, even at ground level, there are angles where the exposed structure ruins the illusion. I won’t foam about this oversight and call “Star Wars” Land a failure, but I am legitimately a little disappointed that these angles weren’t properly accounted for. It would be like seeing slightly into the steel structure of the Matterhorn from a certain angle by It’s a Small World—not the end of the world (heck, this was the case back when the Fantasyland Skyway ran through the mountain), but still something you wish they could have gotten perfect.

If you’re going to Galaxy’s Edge anytime from May 31 to June 23, remember that an advance reservation is required. There will be no standby line for guests to just wait and get in. Reservations are all booked up, but guests can still book a hotel room on property and receive a reservation slot for every member on the hotel reservation.

Those who arrive should go to Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland to check in. They can do this up to two hours before their reservation time, which also includes those with 8am reservation times. The park gates will be open from 6am, though no attractions will be open before 8am. Once checked in, guests will go to their assigned entrance gate into Batuu when their reservation time starts. There is no need to line up in advance (so Disney says). Entrance will be controlled by wrist band, and guests will be asked to leave after their allotted four hours is up (though how strictly this will be enforced, and whether this will only be active for guests trying to get in line for Smuggler’s Run / some of the interactive experiences like Olga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop lightsaber experience / other dining establishments, or everywhere, remains to be seen).

Tomorrowland Updates

Over in Tomorrowland, the refurbishment of Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port into Alien Pizza Planet is complete. The rocket ship weenie now formally bears the Toy Story-inspired moniker. Space Mountain is also now running officially as Hyperspace Mountain again. And finally, at Tomorrowland Terrace, a dance party inspired by the Get Your Ears On celebration has been playing in the afternoons. It’s cute.

Buena Vista Street Patriotism

Buena Vista Street was decked in some very, very new looking bunting and flags and decorations over the weekend, in honor of Memorial Day. No doubt this will come out for July 4th as well. The land looked sharp in its new patriotic decorations.

Marvel Land Progress

After going up high last time, we’re back to our “pass by Marvel Land too late in the day when sunlight is fading” pattern. The show building for the Avengers Recruitment Center / upcoming Spiderman attraction continues taking shape, with its facade becoming more and more representative of the concept art released a few months ago. A topping off beam has also been installed at the high point of the facade, where a crane-looking structure is positioned.

“Marvel Land” (official name not yet announced, and it won’t be allowed to have “Marvel” in it due to the agreement with Universal made 20-something years ago) will open in 2020.

Pixar Pier Construction

The Inside Out: Emotional Whirlwind attraction continues moving forward, with the ride itself complete and working shifting to the queue and landscaping around the spinning memory orbs. The attraction should open sometime this summer.

In this week’s maintenance report, there’s a star that won’t light up on the backside of the Pixar Pier signage. This is an outrage! They went through all that effort with a new ornamental sign, and they couldn’t even make sure that all the stars glowed?? For shame, Disney! For shame!!

That does it from the Disneyland Resort this week. For everyone going to check out Batuu this weekend and the following weeks, may the Force be with you. Bring patience and understanding for the cast members, and an acceptance that things will not go perfectly. The new land will be mind-blowing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean operations will be super smooth. Even though Galaxy’s Edge has been soft open to employee and VIP previews this past month, things will be a whole different animal when it faces a full capacity onrush from the general public guests.

Batuu bah!!

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