January 15, 2016 – Before Disney can build the new 14-acre Star Wars Land in either Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Orlando) or Disneyland (Anaheim), a whole lot of closures and tear-downs have to first occur.
Today, Disney announced additional closings of the following attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, effective April 2nd, 2016:
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (giant playground)
- Studio Catering Co. (quick-service restaurant)
- the Mike and Sulley Monsters Inc. meet-and-greet
- Watto’s Grotto (the often-empty temporary Star Wars shop)
- the iconic Earrfel Tower (hardly visible, as the Backlot Tour is now closed)
Today’s announcement essentially means that the entire back of the park – from Star Tours all the way back through the Streets of America and toward Lights Motors Action – is going to be demolished to make room for Star Wars Land and, next to it, Toy Story Land.
Remarkably, the Studio Backlot Tour closed back in September 27th, 2014 – almost 16 month ago – and just before that, the American Idol Experience (8/20/2014).
More recent closures at Hollywood Studios have included:
- The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (a 20-year tradition of synchronized Christmas/Holiday lights at Streets of America), closed on January 6, 2016
- Phineas & Ferb meet-and-greet (1/5/2016)
- Lightning McQueen & Mater meet-and-greet (1/5/2016)
- Joffrey’s coffee kiosk (1/4/2016)
- Animation Academy and the Magic of Disney Animation (7/13/2015) – replaced by the new Star Wars Launch Bay
- The Sorcerer’s Hat (1/7/2015) – the iconic structure and symbol of Disney’s Hollywood Studios since 2001
- The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow (11/6/2014)
The demolition of the Premiere Theater is likely imminent as well.
Muppet*Vision 3D appears to be safe from the wrecking ball for now.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, Disneyland (Anaheim) has announced temporary closures of the “Fantasmic!” fireworks show, the Disneyland Railroad, the Mark Twain Riverboat, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, the Sailing Ship Columbia and Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.
Permanent closures at Disneyland include:
Big Thunder Ranch
Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue
Big Thunder Ranch Petting Zoo
Big Thunder Jamboree
Disney has not announced an opening date for Star Wars Land, though four (4) years from now (2019) would be incredibly optimistic – and somewhat unrealistic.
Disney first must raze massive areas of both parks (Disneyland and Hollywood Studios) before it can begin basic infrastructure construction. Thereafter, Disney can begin the painstaking construction, detailing and theming that it is world-famous for.
So our best guess is at least 5-6 years (2021 or 2022) from now. Also, expect rolling openings of different subsections of both Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land – similar to the section-by-section openings of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom several years ago – during the above timeframe.