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Disneyland begins to drain Rivers of America to make way for ‘Star Wars’


Disneyland began draining part of the Rivers of America on Wednesday as it prepares to break ground next month on the 14-acre Star Wars theme land.

The southern half of the artificial river will retain its water, thanks to coffer dams on both sides of Tom Sawyer Island. The Orange County Register reports that’s because officials at the Anaheim, California, park wanted to keep the pleasant view of the river from Frontierland and New Orleans Square during the lengthy construction.

The Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad were closed in January as preparations began for the Star Wars area. As part of the massive project, the size of Tom Sawyer island will be reduced slightly, and the course of the river will be altered for the first time since Disneyland opened in 1955. When those areas reopen, the north bank will boast a new waterfront (seen in an artist’s rendering released in January).

Announced in August at the D23 Expo, the plan for Star Wars land at both Disneyland and Disney World features as its centerpiece a Millennium Falcon attraction in which visitors can “actually pilot the fastest ship in the galaxy,” and another that places guests in the midst of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order “in a race against time.” Other attractions will include a street market, a cantina and an upscale dinner club.

There’s been no announcement for when construction will began at Disney World, or when the Star Wars lands are expected to open.

Artist's rendering of the new Rivers of America waterfront

Artist’s rendering of the new Rivers of America waterfront



Made my first visit to Disneyland two years ago. Would love to go back again, but will probably wait until they get the Star Wars thing done. Maybe in time for my 50th Birthday 4 years from now.


March 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm

I was there opening day. My mother bought tickets for my friend and me. I’ve never forgotten it. Pure magic.
Sorry to see so much of the river will be lost.

I have been to Disneyland over 100 times, I grew 5 miles away and all I can say is that I hate Disneyland. Boring rides and all you do is wait in line, not fun!

Duncan, that is so special that you were able to be there opening day! What a nice piece of History you have in your memory. It’s very exciting 4 many of us Star Wars fans to have that land we’re going to get to visit at our favorite park in the world. You’ll be happy to know that the rivers are just down for a while as they need the space to bring in big pieces for the new land. Everything will be back to normal 1 Star Wars land opens, if not sooner. Regarding the comment someone posted about Disneyland being boring, if you’re ever bored with Disneyland please don’t go and make more room for those who love it.

Only a tiny part of the river will be lost.
Less than 100′.

Why would you go to a theme park 100 times if you hate it?

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