Disneyland continues clearing out the northwest corner of the backstage area to make more acreage available for Star Wars Land. Despite the fact that an official groundbreaking was held, not all the ground is yet available for construction.
Among the non-descript buildings that have been demolished, one plain but venerable structure deserves special mention. Within the last couple of weeks, the original Santa Fe and Disneyland roundhouse was removed with no fanfare. The plain shed ran parallel to the remnant of Winston Road that granted access to the west side shops. In 1955, this building was usually Walt Disney’s first stop on his morning visits, as he checked on the two original engines of the SFDRR.
The three photos above how the fairly rapid sequence of events. The old roundhouse (actually a long, narrow building) had become part of a small complex of service structures. The rest of the buildings, including paint shops, a mill, and staff shop appear to have been cleared out, presumably for removal.
Grading and leveling of both sets of berms is also taking place. The original berm of 1955 was expanded northward in 1965 to make room for it’s a small world. The old tunnel was left in place to provide pedestrian access, most recently to cast members working at Big Thunder Ranch.
One can plainly see the back of the Toontown hills, and even see a glimpse of Gadget’s Go Coaster’s first hill. From inside Toontown construction fence can be seen.
Along the remnant of Big Thunder Trail that leads from Frontierland there have been visible changes. The tunnel and hillside that once enclosed the small lagoon with the jumping fish is gone, replaced by a smaller, closer hill. Earthmovers and tractors can be seen parked on top of the hill.
Out in the main parking lot all tram activities have been consolidated in an area directly adjacent to the main tram stop. Early morning guests descending the escalators from Mickey and Friends will see an impressive display of the Disneyland Resort tram fleet.
Lastly, a few early morning guests were doing double takes at the Disneyland Resort on Wednesday, April 27. Although Disney fans know that elephants can fly, it was quite another thing to see a large gray specimen on the wing. The occasion was the delivery of major show elements to the newly refurbished Jungle Cruise. The elephant, as well as a large artificial tree, were delivered by helicopter from the backstage to the Adventureland attraction.