It was announced earlier Saturday that 14 acres' worth of Star Wars-themed lands are coming to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World -- but fans won't have to wait the years it'll take for those attractions to get built to feel more of The Force at Disney Parks. At the "Walt Disney Parks and Resorts" presentation Saturday afternoon at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced several new Star Wars-centric elements coming to both stateside Disney Parks.
"Star Tours - The Adventure Continues," the relaunched update of the classic "Star Tours" attraction that debuted in 2011, will incorporate elements from this December's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as of later this year. Also coming in that same time frame: "Star Wars Launch Bay," a similar experience (props, artwork, photo opportunities) as Marvel Studios tie-in Disney Parks promotions like the "Iron Man Tech" exhibit. Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, and in Tomorrowland's former Innoventions space at Disneyland, which will also house the newly named "Super Hero HQ," which will include Thor and Captain America photo-ops plus the return of "Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries."
Then in early 2016, "Season of the Force" will bring more Star Wars flavor to both parks, including a temporarily rebranded Space Mountain at Disneyland -- which will be dubbed "Hyperspace Mountain." Disney World's Hollywood Studios will feature a fireworks show set to the Star Wars score.
Also announced at D23: "Toy Story Land" is coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios, incorporating the existing "Toy Story Mania" along with a new Slinky Dog-themed family-friendly roller coaster and a teacups-esque ride centered on the Toy Story aliens, complete with a looming claw. Imagineer Kathy Mangum appeared at the presentation to talk "Toy Story Land," dubbing it an exploration of the ""wild and adventurous outdoors of Andy's backyard," and comparing it to Disney California Adventure's Cars Land.
The Iron Man Experience, coming in 2016 to Hong Kong Disneyland, is the first Marvel-themed attraction (read: ride) at any Disney park, and also got the spotlight Saturday at D23. Creative Director Ted Robledo talked the plot of the ride, which he called an "authentic Iron Man adventure" that picks up at a Stark Expo set in Tomorrowland -- leading to attendees boarding the "Iron Wing" to team with Iron Man to take on Hydra. During the Iron Man Experience portion of the program, Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee joined the panel -- calling himself "the world's greatest cameo actor," leading to a compilation shown of his cameos in Marvel Studios films (but not his appearances in Fox or Sony Marvel movies).
The "Avatar" team of James Cameron and Jon Landau joined the presentation to talk "Pandora – The World of Avatar," in the works at Disney World's Animal Kingdom. "The adventure is yours," Joe Rohde, Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive, told the crowd. "We are presenting to you a world in which you will have your own personal adventures."