All the way back in 2018, several popular Downtown Disney locations closed down in preparation of being demolished in order to make way for a hotel. The AMC movie theater, ESPN Zone, and Rainforest Café were all set to be torn down, but that never happened as plans for the hotel fell through. Even though the hotel never came to fruition, AMC and ESPN Zone never reopened, and the former Rainforest Café became a Star Wars merchandise store. Many wondered what would become of the half-abandoned area of the Resort.
Finally, at the Destination D23 event held in Orlando in November 2021, Disney announced that beginning in January 2022, Downtown Disney would be seeing the major overhaul Guests were expecting years before. According to Disney, the project will be a multi-year reimagining of the Downtown Disney District, that will bring even more shopping, dining, and entertainment to the area.
At @Disneyland Resort, the multi-year project to reimagine Downtown Disney District is being planned with work starting in January 2022 and will include an even broader collection of shopping, dining & entertainment experiences. #DestinationD23
At @Disneyland Resort, the multi-year project to reimagine Downtown Disney District is being planned with work starting in January 2022 and will include an even broader collection of shopping, dining & entertainment experiences. #DestinationD23 pic.twitter.com/u39kgJCgRz
— Disney D23 (@DisneyD23) November 20, 2021
Well, the time has come, construction on Downtown Disney is set to begin, and a number of stores have announced when they will be closing — although most of the closures are only temporary. Firstly, Sugarboo & Co — a specialty home goods store — and the Starbucks next to it will be closing on January 16 with no reopening date announced at this time. Earl of Sandwich, located on the other side of the AMC Theater, will close on January 24 as construction is set to happen to the theater.
In addition to the temporary store closures, the Disneyland Resort monorail will also suspend operations for approximately 3 weeks. As confirmed by Disney, the monorail will close on February 14 and is scheduled to reopen on March 6.
The construction work being done at Downtown Disney is only the beginning of the major transformation that the entire Resort will go through in the coming years. Disney announced the project — called Disneyland Forward — in March 2021 and the plans are absolutely massive. Disney hopes to be able to expand the entire Resort, bringing in new lands, without having to sacrifice the attractions and areas that Guests know and love. The project will take years to complete, but the work being done to Downtown Disney signals the beginning of a great big beautiful tomorrow at Disneyland.