Star Wars is coming to California’s Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida. The Star Wars Lands will encompass 14 acres at each park — the company’s largest-ever single-themed expansions. Disney CEO Robert Iger announced the new attractions today at D23 in Anaheim.
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Iger said a highlight of the Star Wars Lands will be a pair of new flagship experiences. One of those transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance” — and the other will let participants take control of the Millennium Falcon during a “customized secret mission.”
And these new “Star Worlds” will be populated by humanoids, aliens and droids in keeping with the Star Wars mythology. It follows that there will of course be a cantina where fans will encounter droids and creatures as well as characters from the Star Wars saga and The Force Awakens.
Later in the day, Disney’s Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek gave a more comprehensive breakdown of what to expect in the new Star Wars-heavy take on Disney resort parks. While details on Star Wars land remain largely under wraps, some revamped versions of current attractions and new additions to the main park were revealed:
- Star Tours, the long-running Tomorrowland attraction, will be upgraded to Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, adding locations from The Force Awakens and other new experiences for fans.
- Star Wars Launch Bay, an interactive experience based on The Force Awakens will provide “special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.” It’ll be in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, and Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Jedi Training Academy will be updated to include elements from Star Wars Rebels.
- Season of The Force, a new season event was announced. In early 2016, visitors to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disneyland will experience a Star Wars themed event. At Tomorrowland, there will be special entertainment, themed food locations and more, and Space Mountain will be rebranded as Hyperspace Mountain, with the ride taking fans through and X-wing battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an all new fireworks display set to Star Wars music will be unveiled.
Other new Disney attractions of a non-Star Wars nature include Toy Story Land, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, which will give guests the feel of having been shrunk down to toy size. A family friendly rollercoaster based on the Slinky Dog, an Alien Saucers attraction, and an expansion to Toy Story Mania! will be part of this.
Also revealed is After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of AVATAR, which will see Disney’s Animal kingdom transformed into the moon of Pandora after dark. Other changes to Animal Kingdom coming with The World of Avatar include “Rivers of Light,” expected in spring 2016, an expansion of Kilimanjaro Safaris, and AVATAR Flight of Passage, allowing guests to fly on a Banshee over the alien world.
For Hong Kong Disneyland, Iron Man Experience was announced. Guests will be taken on an epic battle against Hydra over the streets and into the skies of Hong Kong, beginning at the new Stark Expo.