Star Tours was just the start: Saturday at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed plans for two 14-acre Star Wars-themed lands at both Disneyland (across the street from the D23 Expo, held every two years at the Anaheim Convention Center) and across the country in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s said to be Disney Parks’ “largest single-theme land expansion ever.”
“We’re going to transport guests to a whole new planet,” Iger told the crowd of 7,500 at the “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios” presentation. “Every encounter will bring more of the Star Wars story to life than ever before. Every store and restaurant will be operated by local inhabitants. Nothing in the land will be out of character, or stray from mythology. On a planet like this, you’d expect to find a cantina — and there will be one. But you’ve never seen a cantina like this one before.”
The new lands will include characters from this December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” along with “familiar faces from the Star Wars saga.” They’ll be modeled after a previously unseen planet in the Star Wars galaxy, described as a “remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.”
Iger disclosed that the lands will have two main attractions: one where attendees will be able to “take the controls” of the Millennium Falcon on a “customized secret mission;” plus an, as Iger put it, “epic Star Wars adventure that puts you right in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”
A lot of details are not yet known about the project, including an official name (which could be as simple as “Star Wars Land,” but that hasn’t been confirmed), an approximate time frame for an opening (something like this will take several years) and what current attractions will be eliminated from both parks to make room for the new Star Wars-themed lands.
The shared history between Star Wars and Disney Parks dates back to 1987, with the opening of “Star Tours” at Tomorrowland in Disneyland. The attraction quickly opened and more Disney Parks around the world, and relaunched in 2011 as the completely updated “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.” In 2012, Disney acquired Star Wars rights-holder Lucasfilm for $4 billion.
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