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Spring has turned to summer and, at the Disneyland Resort, preparation work for Star Wars Land has finally turned to actual construction. This update covers roughly a month, from the removal of the last of the buildings on the west side of the property, to final preparation of the property that will encompass the new development, to actual grading and placement of forms and flags for infrastructure. Along the way we will also look at work being conducted across Harbor Blvd. to the east, some videos of construction vehicles, and the removal of a highly visible structure that would have turned 60 on June 23.

The last of the backstage buildings that housed various shops and maintenance facilities were removed by late May. Guests inside the park likely would not have noticed some subtle changes. In New Orleans Square a new “screen” of trees appeared right in the path of the Rivers of America. These were placed in containers on the other side of the dam holding the waters into the southern bend of the river. This was done to block the clear view through to the construction zone and out to the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Diners at the Hungry Bear may have found some interesting views, as well as heard some very active construction equipment right next door.

On the far northern corner of the construction area, where the pony farm once stood, a tremendous mound of dirt has been created. From Mickey and Friends it actually dwarfs Toontown, although it is visible from there only from Gadget’s Go-coaster. It can also be seen at the dead end of the Big Thunder Trail in Frontierland. The last of the Big Thunder rockwork, some of which dated back to Nature’s Wonderland, also appears to have been removed, with one exception.

On June 14, guests could still see the original Skyway station chalet above the west end of Storybook Land in Fantasyland. The next day, June 15, it was gone — and just about a week shy of its official 60th birthday. Remnants of the structure, which had not been well maintained in many years, can be seen in the view from the parking structure. In Fantasyland there is now a highly visible blank space in the “skyline” between Pinocchio’s Village Haus and the Casey Jr. boarding platform.

And finally, a word about other work that is part of this expansion of Disneyland. In the last week, demolition commenced on a large commercial structure on Manchester Avenue, east of Harbor Blvd. Disney has purchased three properties in the area, all connected. They are 1515 Manchester, 1585 Manchester, and the Carousel Inn and Suites at 1530 S. Harbor Blvd. The purchase of the motel has led to speculation that Disneyland may openly cooperate in the creation of the Anaheim Rapid Connection (ARC), a streetcar system designed to connect the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) with Anaheim Stadium, the Platinum Triangle, Garden Walk, the Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center.

For more information, here is the official site for the ARTIC: http://www.articinfo.com/ And for Anaheim Rapid Connection: http://aconnext.com/arc/

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