What would you do? Designing a Star Wars theme park
By Robert NilesIf there's one thing I've learned from our many recent posts and discussions about the new version of Star Tours launching at Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland in California, it's that theme park fans would love to see Disney do even more with Star Wars.
Published: May 17, 2011 at 1:39 PM
Give us an immersively-themed land, as Universal did for Harry Potter fans, they say. Or, give us an entire Star Wars theme park.
Personally, I don't think a new U.S. gate is feasible for Disney at this point, in this economy. But could Disney expand and retheme a land in one of its existing parks for Star Wars, as Universal did in changing much of Islands of Adventure's Lost Continent into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
So let's make that our "what would you do?" discussion exercise this week: What would you do, if you were in charge of Disney's theme parks, to develop a Star Wars land or park?
Here's my pitch, to get the conversation started:
I wouldn't try a separate gate, and I would build from the foundation laid by the new Star Tours adventures. It makes little marketing sense to develop a Star Wars land separate from the multi-million-dollar investments that Disney has just made in its Star Tours ride. So my new Star Wars lands would include those rides.
That means: a retheme of Disneyland's Tomorrowland as "Star Wars Land" and the creation of a Star Wars Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.
Once the construction crews are done place-making the new entry to Disney California Adventure, bring them across the plaza to transform the hub entryway to Tomorrowland as Mos Eisley spaceport, with Star Tours departing to the far reaches of the galaxy.
That's the easy part of this. After that, decisions get tougher, as attractions and restaurants would need to be rethemed. But to what?
I hate to lose the kid-friendly Buzz Lightyear theme from Astro Blasters. But Buzz isn't part of the Star Wars universe. Space Mountain could stay, with a bit of Star Wars theming added to the queue and load platform. And anything that went into Innovations would represent an improvement over that trade show floor.
I'd leave Autopia and Finding Nemo alone, ceding them to an expanded Fantasyland. Star Wars land would extend only between Star Tours and the Jedi Training Academy stage (meaning a theme change for the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant, as well).
What replaces Buzz and Innovations though? What would serve as the themes for the former Redd Rockett's and Tomorrowland Terrace restaurants? Does Space Mountain get a Star Wars-themed story?
Maybe I should just bail out of my plan at this point and defer to the Star Wars experts on the site. (Heck, I haven't even addressed Florida yet.) What do you think Disney should do to expand the presence of Star Wars in its theme parks? (If anything?)
What would you do?
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