As many of you know, Disneyland is gutting Big Thunder Ranch as part of the new Star Wars Land expansion (which Jason thinks is terrible, but that’s another post). What you may not know is that in order to fully expand the way they want, Disney will have to demolish many shops, warehouses, and workshops behind the scenes.
Here are a few photos of the current view backstage, where the demo work has already begun. If you look closely, you can see the hills of Toontown in the background there.
Here is a better view of the backlot – you can clearly see that some buildings are still remaining, but not for long.
Not everything is being torn down, however. The two images above show two views of a foundation for something called The Pope House, which is the last remaining building left over from the days before Disneyland was Disneyland, and the area was a working ranch. The Popes, Owen and Dolly, first met Walt in 1951 when he approached them with the idea of Disneyland. Three days before the park opened, the Popes moved into the house located behind what is now the Circle D Corral.
Clearly this is an amazing piece of Disneyland history, which is why the park is going to great lengths to preserve it. As you can see below, they are moving the entire house down to Ball and Cast Place, in the current back stage visitor parking lot. While we aren’t too clear as to what the future will hold for it (if it will be open to the public or stored there permanently), we are pretty excited to see such care taken with this old house.
Along with the construction in the back lot areas, the Disneyland Rail Road is off line for the next year while they divert some of the track to make way for Star Wars Land. Here’s a cool shot of some of that track being torn up behind the Rivers of America:
When we know more, you’ll know!