The Disneyland Resort is gearing up to break ground on the largest project since Cars Land. Star Wars Land, which was announced this past fall at the 2015 D23 Expo, will make use of some 14 acres behind the Rivers of America and Big Thunder Ranch. The expansion is so large that it will actually take over a large portion of Disneyland’s back-stage area, all of Big Thunder Ranch, and some of the Rivers of America. Because of the land grab the attractions around the Rivers will be modified, including the original route of the Disneyland Railroad.

Disney recently released concept art showcasing how the new area will appear when it is completed in 2017.

As a result of this massive project, the Disneyland Railroad will be closed to guests for all of 2016. But not entirely. It seems that during the closure Disneyland will be allowing guests to obtain a special up close look at the locomotives and some of their cars. The Disneyland Railroad engineers will also be available to answer questions and pose for photos. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see a Disneyland steam locomotive up close at the annual Fullerton Railroad Days events then you know just how special it is to get this close to one of these historic trains. On the tracks at Disneyland, with the wheels covered in grease, and the people who operate them so accessible is even more special.

The E.P. Ripley at the Main Street train station  The E.P. Ripley at the Main Street train station

The Ernest S Marsh is stationary at the New Orleans Train Station The Ernest S Marsh is stationary at the New Orleans Train Station

Guests can enter the caboose attached to the Ernest Marsh at the New Orleans Train Station Guests can enter the caboose attached to the Ernest Marsh at the New Orleans Train Station

The cab of the Ernest Marsh Disneyland Locomotive   The cab of the Ernest Marsh Disneyland Locomotive

Guests also have a similar opportunity at the Sailing Ship Columbia, which is currently docked for the Rivers of America closure. Although stationary, guests can still explore the ship above and below deck and learn to tie nautical knots.

The Sailing Ship Columbia is also available to visit during the Rivers of America closure   The Sailing Ship Columbia is also available to visit during the Rivers of America closure

Although the massive closures and changes that will take place thought 2016 will no doubt be disruptive to guests visiting Disneyland, it is nice to see these special steps being taken to ensure some unique guest experiences.

Read more on Star Wars Land and the changes coming to the Rivers of America.