Sunday, January 10 found fans of Disneyland crowding the Resort to experience the last day of several attractions. Following announcements about the coming of Star Wars Land, the news that the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America would be closing for up to eighteen months confirmed for many the exact location for the expansion.
A week later, the signs were subtle but unmistakable. Big Thunder Trail is closed, river traffic is stilled, and track has been removed from the Disneyland Railroad right-of-way from Critter Country to Toontown station.
To take up some of the slack, Disneyland has added alternative experiences. Steam trains have been pulled up to Main Street Station and the platform in New Orleans Square, where members of the train crew are on hand to greet guests and give them a closer look at the equipment. The dock in Frontierland is also open, as guests are invited to explore the moored river craft.
It is harder to know exactly what is happening behind the scenes. There are, however, clues for that indicate the shuffle going on back stage. In the main parking lot next to the guest boarding area a new tram service facility is well under construction. On the opposite side of the parking structure finishing touches are being put on a new emergency services building. This joins the central bakery, which has been located in this area for a couple of years.
At the fabled Disneyland pony farm, horses have been replaced by earthmovers. And in one corner of the corral a small house has appeared. This is the Pope House, a small residential structure that was the home of Owen and Dolly Pope who oversaw the pony farm during Disneyland’s construction and early years. The structure will soon be moved to a new location as the land is cleared for new development.