New Star Wars Attractions at Walt Disney World
Ever since Disney's Hollywood Studios connected with George Lucas's Star Wars universe, rumors have circulated that there would be a whole new area added to Disney parks that was Star Wars themed.
Disney already does well with its Star Tours themed ride and the Star Wars Weekends are so popular and packed that some people wait in line overnight for special autograph passes and souvenirs.
So a Star Wars themed area of Disney Hollywood studios makes sense. Here's the evidence that there may be one soon.
Acquisition of Star Wars Franchise by Disney in 2012
When the Walt Disney World company bought the Lucas enterprise in 2012, some were excited and some were afraid that it was the end of the road for Star Wars as we know it.
However, Disney has promised new films, beginning in 2015, and a new cartoon series on Disney XD to replace the wildly popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
There are also unconfirmed rumors of a live action, TV series for Disney's ABC network.
With film projects and TV projects in the works, a themed land to capitalize on its popularity makes sense. Star Wars has proven to have staying power and has lasted several generations. Star Wars is something that grandparents, parents and children can enjoy together. Disney World itself has also, always been a theme park that promoted fun for all ages. It seems to be a natural fit.
They Don't Mind Movie Tie Ins
Disney has been working on an Avatar themed land as part of its Animal Kingdom theme park for the past few years. While Avatar was an extremely successful movie and plays well into the Animal Kingdom park's themes of conservation, it does not have nearly the following or marketing power of the Star Wars series.
Yet Disney, at this point, is still going ahead with the Avatar project although an opening date has not been set.
If the company is willing to invest millions of dollars into the popularity of one movie, there is no doubt they see the potential of a money-making powerhouse such as Star Wars.
They Aren't Saying No
In September 2013, Disney CFO told Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference attendees that "the sky is the limit" when asked if there would be a new Star Wars themed land.
While this isn't exactly a confirmation, it does mean something that Disney is not saying the standard "we do not have any plans at this time."
They Are Making Room
According to Theme Park Insider Robert Niles, Disney's recent announcement that they are getting rid of Lights Motor Action stunt show would open room for a new Star Wars Land,
Niles argues that the expansion would make the most sense out from the current Star Tours ride. This would mean the end of Muppet 3D Vision and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Neither attraction is the center piece to the park so it would have minimal impact on the guests.
There are also rumors that a new Cars Land will be opening up in that area as well.
The back portion of Hollywood Studios with the empty theater and character meet and greets is a perfect place to take a dead area of the park and make it the most popular destination.
Niles further argues that Disney has been long overdue in this kind of project with popular movie and theme park tie-ins such as Harry Potter already taking place at Universal Studios just up the road.
Details! Details! Details!!
With the nearly confirmed Star Wars land in the works, Disney and Star Wars fans alike are naturally clamoring for details. But Disney has been tight-lipped about the expansion. Even though there were rumors that details about the park project would be released at the August D23 expo, very little information was gathered.
The reluctance to release details is either puzzling or brilliant. As the new Fantasyland projects are underway, such as the highly anticipated Snow White themed mini roller coaster, Disney has provided updates and even sneak peaks via windows to the construction park within the Magic Kingdom. Guests are already enjoying the new Little Mermaid Attraction and the very popular Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant.
One unconfirmed detail builds on the same idea as the Beauty and the Beast restaurant--A Star Wars themed cantina. Other details are more nebulous such as some kind of new ride and character meet and greets.
So, either there are not many finalized details to release or Disney is keeping a lid on it to build anticipation and excitement for the new project.
Disney does, also, unfortunately have a history of giving details of projects that never get off the ground.
While there seems to be little doubt that a Star Wars themed land is coming, how, when and what remain a mystery.
The Star Wars franchise has been given new life since Disney's acquisition of the company. For better or worse, new interpretations, movies, shows, characters and theme parks will be a part of the franchise's move forward.
Purists may wish that the momentum had stopped with the iconic 70's and 80's films. The new projects insure Star Wars' place and influence for many generations to come.