That disturbance in the force last weekend was not the Death Star destroying a planet. It was Star Wars fans rejoicing over a major announcement at the annual D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Star Wars Land is coming to Disney!
Star Wars Land Coming To Disney
There had been speculation for years that Disney was going to add a Star Wars land somewhere. The rumor mill jumped into high gear when Disney bought Lucasfilm. Bob Iger (chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company) added to it earlier this year by saying there would be an increased Star Wars presence in the parks.
Many fans were pulling for a Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios in Orlando. This made good sense because the Studios already had the annual Star Wars Weekends in May and early June. And with the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter just down the road at Universal Studios Orlando many people were waiting for Disney to answer Universal’s challenge.
But there were also rumors that Tomorrowland at Disneyland in California might be the new Star Wars land. There was little to actually suggest this but reality has never had a big impact on rumors and wishes.
It turns out that both coasts are about to experience the power of the Force. Hollywood Studios will be getting a Star Wars Land. Disneyland will also be getting a Star Wars land but the location is not yet clear.
What To Expect From Star Wars land
As you might imagine there were a lot of teasers about what the new Star Wars land would look like but not a lot of details. Here is what we were told…
The new land (presumably at both parks) will be 14 acres and according to Iger, “Our largest single themed land expansion ever.” To get an idea of the scope of this project old Fantasyland was 10 acres and the expansion made it 21 acres.
The Star Wars land will not be set on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s homeworld. Nor will it be set on any other planet we are familiar with. Instead it will be on a new, as of yet unannounced planet, from the upcoming Star Wars trilogy. This planet has been described as remote port on the edge of wild space.
There will be two major attractions in the new land. One will give guests an opportunity to pilot the famed Millennium Falcon on a secret mission. The other will put guests in the middle of an battle. This battle will not be from the previous trilogies but will be from the upcoming Force Awakens.
Being Disney there will also be merchandising and food options. These locations will be heavily themed and feature creatures both old and new from the Star Wars universe.
One thing was conspicuously absent from the announcement. There was no opening date announced. We will have to wait for that but Disney has announced some teases until the new land opens.
The good news is Disney is not going to wait to start introducing new Star Wars themed content. There are changes coming to some existing attractions and some new attractions and events coming. They are expected to begin arriving before the end of the year.
Star Tours will be getting some new variations. Not only will new scenes be introduced but new characters as well. With the randomness that is already built into Star Tours this just adds more options to the mix.
The Jedi Academy is also scheduled for some updating. There will be a new design as well as new characters and story lines.
There are two completely new elements that will be introduced. They are Launch Bay and Season of the Force.
Launch Bay will evidently be a new location. There will be character meet and greets and opportunities to interact with designers and directors. How and when this interaction will take place is still to be revealed. There will also be props, artwork and opportunities to experience some of the best Star Wars video games.
Season of the Force is a new event. It will debut on both coasts but each coast will have at least one unique experience. At Disneyland Space Mountain will become Hyperspace Mountain. At Hollywood Studios there will be a new fireworks show set to the famous Star Wars Soundtrack by John Williams.
Both coasts will share character interactions, special merchandise and food. This will no doubt be similar to Star Wars Weekends.
But What Does This Mean For Star Wars Weekends?
Nothing was specifically mentioned about Star Wars Weekends but Season of the Force would seem to replace the popular event. If so it will greatly expand the opportunity for guests to experience Star Wars and that is a good thing! Guess we just have to wait and see how it all plays out!