“Star Wars”-themed project begins at Disneyland

star warsANAHEIM >> Disneyland announced it has officially broken ground on “Star Wars” land at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

On Thursday, officials posted a 360-degree view of the site at Disneyland on its Disney Parks blog. The picture shows stormtroopers guarding a barren landscape with construction machines, and freighters carrying cargo overhead. There’s even an All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT in “Star Wars” lingo) walking around.

For the past couple of weeks, on its Disney Parks blog, Disneyland officials have been teasing the announcement for its newest themed land about the galaxy, far, far away. One teaser showed the popular BB-8 droid from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” peeking at construction crews. Another showed R2-D2.

“Star Wars” land will span 14 acres and will be built just north of Frontierland and take up some backstage areas in the northern part of Disneyland. A similar land will be built at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Disney promises the new land will be an immersive experience featuring “authentic locales,” where visitors can feel like they’ve been transported to a different planet.

The land will have two signature attractions, including one that will put riders at the controls of the Millennium Falcon spaceship from the movies, and another that will drop them into the middle of a fierce battle between the rebels and the Empire. Disney is also building a cantina similar to the Mos Eisley Cantina from the films.

Several attractions were closed, temporarily, to make room for the land. Digging equipment and other machines can be seen clearing several parts of the northern section. The northern half of the Rivers of America has been completely drained of water to make way for the land and a new route for the Disneyland Railroad.

A Disneyland spokesman did not say how long construction will take or the land’s exact footprint.

Disney’s announcement comes a week after rival Universal Studios Hollywood unveiled its Wizarding World of Harry Potter, based on J.K. Rowling’s popular “Harry Potter” book series.

Many theme park experts believe Disney is building “Star Wars” land in response to Universal’s new themed land in Hollywood, which has drawn millions of people at its parks in Orlando and Japan.

View full 360-degree view of the site: http://www.dailynews.com/lifestyle/20160415/this-is-the-construction-of-star-wars-land-youre-looking-for