Star Wars and Disney fans around the country became excited when Disney announced that it will soon be opening a new Star Wars-themed land within its park system. Until the new park is open, however, fans of Disney’s Anaheim park will have to face enjoying fewer rides and themed areas than before. While some of the attractions will reopen at a later date, park officials says some rides will be shut down permanently in order to make way for Star Wars.
Looking Ahead to Star Wars
Although Disney officials haven’t provided much information about what the new Star Wars-themed area will look like, they have stated that the area will cover 14 acres of space within the park.
Plans to develop the Star Wars-themed land were unveiled by Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger back in August. At the time, Iger announced the new land will be added to both the Florida and California Disney parks. While the company has yet to announce a date for opening the new lands or providing specific details, Iger did say the parks will include one attraction that is based on the Millennium Falcon.
In the meantime, Disneyland has launched its “Season of the Force” Star Wars event at Tomorrowland. Featuring special exhibits and meet-and-greets, the area also offered previews of the Star Wars The Force Awakens film as well as specialty themed merchandise and food.
Closing Down Rides and Attractions
As of January 10th, Frontierland’s Big Thunder Ranch, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo were shut down permanently. According to park officials, the animals from the petting zoo will be adopted by a Southern California family that has helped Disney with its animals in the past.
Several additional attractions have also been closed temporarily as the park works on constructing the new Star Wars area. Among these are a number of attractions at the Rivers of America, including Mark Twain Riverboat, Fantasmic, Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, Sailing Ship Columbia, Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and Disneyland Railroad.
In addition to shutting down numerous rides and attractions as the Star Wars land is developed, the minicar attraction known as Autopia will also be closed. First opened in 1955, the attraction will be closed for routine maintenance before reopening with Honda as its new sponsor.
In all, the park will shut down approximately 14 percent of its attractions within an area that represents approximately 25 percent of the 85-acre park. For those who have purchased an annual pass to the park, this can be a bitter pill to swallow since the company also recently raised the price of the pass to $1,049. Previously, the pass was priced at $779 per person.
In addition to raising the price of its tickets, Disney is also implementing programs to help spread out attendance throughout the year while preventing overcrowding. On Christmas Day, for example, the park stopped admitting visitors for about 90 minutes in an effort to prevent overcrowding. Last year alone, more than 16.7 million people visited Disneyland while 8.7 million visited Disney California Adventure.
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(all data current as of 5/25/2017)
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