By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
Lots of clients have asked me over the past few months “is it worth going to Disneyland right now with all of the construction going on?” I didn’t really have a good answer for them because I hadn’t seen the construction for myself, but now I have.
First, a little background: what construction is going on? Recently, the Disneyland® Resort announced one of the largest land expansions in its history: the building of the upcoming 'Star Wars Land' project. This unprecedented expansion is going to be amazing when complete, transporting guests to worlds only seen before in the movies we all love. But the expansion comes with a price— parts of Disneyland® Park are shut down indefinitely in preparation for construction. At the present time, Rivers of America, Fantasmic!, the Mark Twain Riverboat, Pirate Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, the Sailing Ship Columbia, and the Disneyland® Railroad are closed.
“Wow, that’s a lot,” might be your first reaction. Yes, it is. But Disneyland® Park is doing everything in its power to reduce the impact of the closures. The Rivers of America might be closed, but apart from the Mark Twain Riverboat being docked, you’d never know it from walking around New Orleans Square. They’ve ingeniously dammed the river out of sight of guests so that it does not need to be fully drained. There are no unsightly walls up around the river like during similar closures in years past. There are a few discreet walls visible back in the Critter Country area near the Hungry Bear Restaurant, but New Orleans Square itself remains unsullied. While the Mark Twain Riverboat may be docked, you can still board and explore the boat, and sometimes you may even encounter characters that call the New Orleans area home like Princess Tiana and her alligator friend Louis.
While the Disneyland® Railroad is closed, trains are parked at the Main Street train station and the New Orleans Square train station. While you can’t board the trains, you can get a good close-up look at them, and there are conductors available to answer questions and give guests a little history on the trains. At the Main Street Station, you can view the legendary Lilly Belle train car that Walt’s wife Lillian had a hand in designing. For Disneyland history buffs like me, this is a rare chance to see this piece of Disney history up close and personally. At the New Orleans Square station, you can even cross the tracks to explore the buildings on the other side.
Let’s circle back to that original question: is it worth going right now? I’d say the answer is a qualified yes. While you won’t be able to run around Pirate Lair on Tom Sawyer Island or ride the Disneyland® Railroad, you can explore the Mark Twain Riverboat and the trains like never before, and the ambiance of New Orleans Square remains unsullied. The biggest negative right now in my opinion is the closure of Fantasmic!, which is a big drawback for guests that are fans of that nighttime spectacular. If Fantasmic! being closed is not a dealbreaker for you, right now is a fantastic time to visit the Disneyland® Resort.
I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.