Disneyland announced Thursday that "Season of the Force," focusing on Star Wars, begins Nov. 16, though to clear the way for the new Star Wars Land, other attractions will be closing — some temporarily and some permanently — in January.
An upcoming Star Wars Land was announced at last month's D23 Expo in Anaheim. That's set to break ground in 2016, with featured attractions including the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon, but Disney isn't keeping fans waiting for Star Wars content in the meantime. That's the thinking behind "Season of the Force," a special time of year to give you Star Wars action in more of Disneyland than usual, similar to how the park changes around for Halloween and for Christmas.
Come Jan. 10 though, to make room for Star Wars Land, they'll be temporarily closing a number of iconic Disneyland attractions, including shutting down the Disneyland Railroad — all stations. They'll also be temporarily shuttering the Rivers of America attractions, which include Tom Sawyer Island, the nightly "Fantasmic!" show and more.
Disney fan site MousePlanet reports that a spokesperson told them the attractions would be closed down for more than a year, though they are all set to reopen. MousePlanet notes that these closures likely affect more than 300 Disneyland cast members. Disney would not confirm that number, but did say that all cast members will be offered transfers to other roles.
One that's not set to reopen — Big Thunder Ranch is closing permanently, though the railroad that shares that name will remain up and kicking.
In the meantime, for Season of the Force, the biggest new area: Star Wars Launch Bay, where visitors will be able to meet Star Wars characters along with seeing a variety of special exhibits. They're also adding a new scene in the Star Tours ride based on the movie, updating their Jedi Training shows with characters from the cartoon show "Star Wars Rebels" and several other limited time events.
The biggest of those limited changes to the park: Space Mountain becomes Hyperspace Mountain, sending visitors flying an X-Wing. They'll also be playing classic Star Wars movie scenes at the Tomorrowland Theater, and adding other Star Wars entertainment, concessions — and merch.
Season of the Force is also heading to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, but the dates for that have yet to be announced.