With all eyes on Anaheim this weekend for the upcoming D23 Expo (which Dork Side will be covering on the scene), the rumor mill is heating up about what Disney plans to unveil is in store for the Star Wars franchise.
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While there will most likely be some news about the films (although not the kind we were hoping for), and both Battlefront and Disney Infinity 3.0 will be on display, the most earth-shattering announcement will likely be in the realm of theme parks, as Disney no doubt has an ambitious vision for integrating its new Star Wars universe into the parks.
And Disneyland may be the first such park to see some additions from a galaxy far, far away, according to a new report. MiceChat claims to have some insight as to how Disney plans to alter the landscape of Disneyland to make room for new attractions as well as some details on what those attractions could be.
According to the site, Disneyland is planning a “Star Wars Land” section for the northern area of the park, pushing out the Festival Arena, the Circle D Ranch, Mickey’s Toontown and a host of rehearsal halls and office buildings. All of these structures will be shifted elsewhere in the park.
Here’s a map from MiceChat envisioning the proposed area for Star Wars Land:
So just what rides will be included? The attractions will reportedly be based off of the new films instead of the original or the prequel trilogy, after Disney CEO Bob Iger ordered that the park integrate properties from the latest series of films to stay fresh and relevant. MiceChat will only say that the themed area will be “anchored by a mega E Ticket using a trackless vehicle that will break the mold when it comes to how theme park visitors interact with a ride environment,” which sounds pretty cool.
While all that is likely years away, there is reportedly going to be a new Star Wars addition to Tomorrowland coming this fall. An interactive museum called Star Wars Launch Bay, which has already been announced for Shanghai Disneyland in China, will likely open by Veteran’s Day this year. The exhibit will display props and vehicles from the recent and upcoming movies and will likely act as a preview center for Star Wars Land once it finishes construction.
Visitors gather at a gift shop at Star Tours in Disneyland.
There will also be a preview of The Force Awakens shown at the Captain EO theater through January of this year, although other details are scarce.
It appears that Disney is accelerating its theme park plans in an effort to capitalize on the anticipation for J.J. Abrams’ film, but it’s also got a longer-term vision for enhancing its Star Wars theme park experience. I’m also hoping that Disney incorporates the spinoff films, like Rogue One and the Han Solo adventure, into its plans for theme park rides.
Much of this will likely be confirmed or debunked at this weekend’s D23 Expo, so stay tuned for more updates and a preview of what to expect from the convention.