When Will Star Wars Land Open?

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star-wars-landWhen Bob Iger announced Star Wars Land last Saturday at the D23 Expo, the one big question everyone had was when this massive 14-acre expansion would actually open.

While there are areas in Disney’s Hollywood Studios that have already shut down, leading some to believe it’s for Star Wars Land, that park is also getting a new Toy Story area. That means the closures there could be for either expansion.

It’s a bit easier to predict things in Disneyland, as we know where the area is going to go and we have some hard construction deadlines to go by. Recently Disney struck a deal with Anaheim to avoid ticket-gate taxes for another thirty years if they do a $1 billion expansion to the resort. This deal stipulates that Disney must begin construction on the expansion no later than 2017.

Word has come out today that Big Thunder Ranch, where the entrance to Star Wars Land will be, is going to close on January 11th of next year:

Big Thunder Ranch in #Disneyland is officially closing January 11 to make way for #StarWars Land.

— Vincent-Big Bubba B (@Big_Bubba_B) August 20, 2015

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Does that mean that construction on Star Wars Land is immediately beginning next year? Not exactly.

The problem with where it’s going in Disneyland is that it’ll be replacing currently-used backstage buildings. Those buildings will need to be relocated before construction on Star Wars Land can begin in full.

Disney recently purchased 15 acres of land off of Harbor Blvd behind the hotels directly across the street from the Harbor Disneyland entrance. That land is likely where these relocated support buildings will go along with a brand new parking structure to support the amount of people who will flock to the park for Star Wars Land’s opening.

So even though Big Thunder Ranch is closing in a few months, we’re not likely to actually see Star Wars Land construction begin until those backstage buildings are relocated across the street. That means the rumored late-2017 start date for Star Wars still seems the most plausible date.

It took Disney two and a half years to build the 12 acre Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, and if that timeline is anything to go on it’s not likely that we’ll see Star Wars Land open until 2019 or 2020…