Thousands of people hushed August 15 as Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger unveiled the news of an expanded “Star Wars” world at both Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Rumors of what would happen to Hollywood Studios had been running rampant due to the numerous ride closures that have happened over the past few months, so the hype for this year’s D23 EXPO was even higher than normal. This expansion is also a first for Disney Parks.
“We are creating jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single-themed land expansion ever,” Iger said at the D23 EXPO 2015, which seems to be taking a jab at the huge competitor down the road at Universal Studios with its The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Clearly a little competition is good for business because this new “Star Wars” expansion “will transport guests to a whole new ‘Star Wars’ planet, including an epic ‘Star Wars’ adventure that put you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance,” and will take up 14 acres of land, Iger revealed.
An aspect to this unique, full submersion “Star Wars” expansion is that there will not be any regular cast members walking around. Iger went on to say that “every store and restaurant will be operated by local inhabitants” so that the bubble isn’t popped. While a person explores this part of the theme park, it will truly feel as though you have stumbled across and random alien planet, plucked right out of the movies. Expect full costumes at all times, as well as remote controlled droids.
This full subversive experience also applies to food and merchandise – or we hope it does. Iger commented that “every single thing will be in the story,” so people will be able to let their imaginations run wild. Very little has been confirmed, but we can only assume that much like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, all foods, drinks, and merchandise will be strictly to the “Star Wars”-themed land. The obvious would be high quality light sabers and a sip of the blue milk.
Disney announces that there will be two signature attractions. The first is one featuring the Millennium Falcon, which fans know is Han Solo’s famous ship. It is labeled as “a customized secret mission” where you will have “the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy.” From the sounds of it, not only do you get to fly and control the space craft, but it seems like each experience on the ride will be a unique one. Whether each guest will have a choice in the outcome or there are is a set yet randomized couple of storylines, it is not confirmed.
The second attraction will put its guests right in the middle of a huge battle. Not much has been said about this ride, other than that the fight will take place between the First Order and the Resistance, which tells fans that it will be set during a post-“Return of the Jedi” era and will tie into the new movies set to release throughout the next decade.
Fans have been able to get a “Star Wars” experience in the park since 2003 with its annual “Star Wars” weekend, but have only dreamed of a more permanent experience. Patience has proven itself as a virtue after fans finally get what they wanted – and more. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information on this new Disney expansion.