A ‘Star Wars’ attraction ahead of Space Mountain at Disneyland (Getty/Disney)
Andy Richter once controlled the universe, but unfortunately, he has no say over what happens in the Magic Kingdom.
The comedian and co-host of Conan spent Tuesday morning lamenting the recent and ongoing Star Wars-ification of Disneyland. The theme park, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015, has introduced several new Star Wars attractions already, including the Star Wars Launch Bay (a commercial hub for merchandise, video games, and more) and temporarily turning the classic Tomorrowland ride Space Mountain into Hyperspace Mountain. The latter change proved unpopular with Richter’s family during a visit on Monday.
…Yesterday we went to the park & rode what is now Hyperspace Mountain. The changes made my 10yo daughter cry after. Really cry…— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) December 29, 2015
While Space Mountain will eventually revert back to its more classic form, Disneyland will look very different over the next few years. In 2017, the park will open a brand new area called Star Wars Land. The Force-themed destination will mark the biggest expansion in park history — 14 full acres — and include new rides (including a big Millennium Falcon simulator), shows, and eateries. But given the limited amount of space at the Anaheim park, Disney announced earlier this month that several older (and some beloved) rides and attractions will close to make way for the construction.
Of course, a Star Wars land is going to be a huge success, which means they’re right & I’m wrong, but it’s sad to me & my family…— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) December 29, 2015
…that a movie that’s already made a billion dollars has to consume a romantic, historic family experience…— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) December 29, 2015
Classic rides such as Mark Twain’s Riverboat and the Disneyland Railroad will close temporarily, starting on January 10, while other attractions, such as the Big Thunder Ranch (and its petting zoo) will be closing permanently. Richter was very displeased with this revelation, he wrote on Tuesday.
…There’s a little petting zoo both my kids have been going to since they were babies. It’s gone. Now instead of playing w goats & sheep…— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) December 29, 2015
…they’ll get to see the Millenium Falcon. I don’t know if that’s what toddlers would choose, but the choice has been made for them…— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) December 29, 2015
Disney has spent the last decade integrating movie properties into its theme parks, starting with Cars Land, based on the hit Pixar series, at Disney’s California Adventure theme park adjacent to Disneyland. They’ve also worked the Marvel films into the parks, and even licensed Avatar from Fox for its Animal Kingdom park in Orlando.
The Mouse House isn’t alone in this endeavor, either; as we’ve reported, most film studios are looking to extend their intellectual properties with theme parks, from Harry Potter at Universal Studios (a deal with Warner Bros.) to new parks featuring characters from DreamWorks Animation films and even The Hunger Games. But breathe easy, Andy: At least It’s a Small World isn’t going anywhere… for now.