June 21, 2017
The initial reveal of both Star Wars Lands, was back in 2015 by Bob Iger, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Back then, Iger had mentioned that, “the attractions, the entertainment, [and] everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology.” Picture: complete immersion.
Fast forward to February 2017, when Iger announced that both the Star Wars Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) in Walt Disney World (WDW) as well as the Star Wars Land in Disneyland Park will open sometime in 2019, the same year DHS celebrates its 30th Anniversary and the final Star Wars sequel trilogy is to be released.
It is no surprise that during the two years between the reveal and the announcement that few details have been revealed, which has resulted in a soaring level of guest excitement. But, there’s plenty of reason for high levels of excitement: both Star Wars Lands will be the largest-ever, individually-themed land expansions at the parks on each coast. Neither land will be like anything guests have ever experienced, even in the films, though much will be familiar. In each land, guests will have the opportunity to experience a remote trading port in the Star Wars universe where the fan-favorite Star Wars characters will come to life.
Fans of the Star Wars films will notice when looking at some of the original concept art that the Millennium Falcon, Imperial Shuttle Crafts, and even a pair of Tie Fighters may play some part in upcoming land.
The Importance of Details
At the Star Wars Celebration at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from April 13-16, 2017, new renderings of the lands were introduced. It was during the Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making panel, where Disney Executives, Scott Trowbridge, Asa Kalama, Chris Beatty, and Wendy Anderson as well as Lucasfilm film designer Doug Chiang and creative executive Pablo Hidalgo all shared new details of the upcoming 14-acre land at DHS.
Specifically, for Star Wars fans and future guests of the Star Wars Lands, the details are the most important. To Trowbridge as well as the other creators the details are just as important:
“It [the land] is a bit off the beaten path. For those Star Wars cartographers who obsess over where it is, know that we obsess over it too, and know that putting a dot on the map brings a lot of history to it. We have discussed what the ramifications to its location are.”
For example the picture below prominently depicts an X-Wing and the pilot dressed in a typical flight suit, from both the original and sequel episodes, standing near. To keep guests and cartographers guessing, it doesn’t seem completely clear in the concept art whether this is part of the trading post or potentially a Resistance base.
There won’t be any recreation of areas from the films. The land has always existed; but, like the development of later films in the saga, the creators have just now been able to consider bringing this experience to the surface. Trowbridge continued on to say, “We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations. It’s a new planet. It’s a new place.”
So what is this new place? Like Trowbridge said, “it’s off the beaten path. Picture a place filled with the most interesting people and aliens from the films including the scum-and-villainy variety, this is similar.” Trowbridge even described this place (whose name has yet to be revealed) as a “remote frontier outpost that used to be a vibrant trading port whose prominence has fallen and faded a bit”.
Quite possibly, guests could even expect Stormtroopers to be patrolling around the land. As seen in the picture below, at what appears to be the Imperial Garrison’s dwelling at the trading post (signified by the landed Imperial Shuttle Craft), there are several Stormtroopers doing just that.
Stars Wars Land will include a cantina serving Star Wars-themed food and beverages where guests can mix and mingle with new and familiar characters as well as other extraterrestrial patrons. Guests will have to wait and find out if these additional characters and patrons will also be served the same food and beverages though!
Based upon early descriptions and concept art drawings, Stars Wars fans have been considering the cantina to be inspired by the Mos Eisley spaceport (from Episode IV) or Maz’s castle. In the picture below, it looks like the cantina will be in the streets of the trading post and very well could have some interesting patrons roaming about. Guests may even encounter R2 units or characters in disguise similar to the characters in the foreground where the one to the right of the R2 unit looks to be wearing the same style of outfit as Princess Leia wore to disguise herself when she tried to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt in Episode VI.
What about new attractions? Guests can potentially expect to step into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon as they embark on a secret mission devised from their own choices and actions. Think: Star Tours (DHS and Disneyland Park) combined with Mission: Space (EPCOT). However, like the other details of the lands and even the future films, it’s unlikely that we will see any details until much closer to the opening of the lands.
Full Guest Immersion
Guests can expect the storytelling to be based upon the films beginning with The Force Awakens (see the photo below with the in-flight X-Wing with the paint scheme of Poe Dameron). It will be this narrative that will be seen in every single aspect of the land and the streets will be filled with numerous and varied inhabitants. Even the typical character meet-and-greet interactions will be elevated beyond Disney’s high standards.
The most exciting immersive experience? Patrons of the cantina could build a reputation in the land based upon their experiences and decisions. How do you think this could influence your experience once the lands open in 2019?
If 2019 is just too far away and you have the opportunity to visit the D23 Expo from July 14-16, 2017, in Anaheim, California, the Show Floor will be a must see! Expected to be on display will be models and concept art of the new land and plenty of additional details will be revealed during the Parks and Resorts panel. Of course, if I were a betting individual, I would wager that Star Wars fans and park guests alike won’t find out too much!
As featured on Fairytale Adventures Travel on June 21, 2017.