What would you do? Designing a Star Wars theme park
If 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.
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?
In Florida, they could re-theme Blizzard Beach into a Hoth waterpark. It would be worth it just to get an AT-AT on property.
I think re-theming a restaurant into the Mos Eisley Cantina with an animatronic cantina band playing all the "hits" from Star Wars is a no-brainer. I'd like to see them put some real effort into it by taking all the big songs like the main theme and the Imperial March, and playing them in the cantina band-style rather than using the orchestral versions.
If the economy was on its feet again, I would build a Star Wars park outside of Florida and Southern California. Each of the themed lands would represent a planet in the Star Wars universe. That's all I have for you now..
For the DHS "Star Wars Land" I'm thinking it could go one of two ways:
Redd Rocket becomes the Cantina.
"There should also be a prequel themed ride that's terrible."
Disney Hollywood Studios:
You forgot retheming Captain Eo at DL as a mash-up with Star Wars.
First of all, leave Disneyland alone. It is classic and does not need to be Star Wars anymore than it is. Since Disney needs to compete with Harry Potter (or does it?), it makes most sense to put it in Hollywood Studios, but stop with the replacing things. Try to work it where an area is expanded without removing things. If you do remove something, remove the Indiana Jones stunt show and put the Indiana Jones ride in. To continue the Star Wars land, keep moving past the Jedi Training and add a Cantina restaurant and two more rides. You have Star Tours already, so there should be two that mesh with that without replacing it. I say a fast indoor roller coaster that is where the preshow is that you are a rebel spy that has to escape the second Death Star before it explodes or make it similar to mission space in an escape capsule. Another ride could be a slower dark ride similar to Haunted Mansion where you slowly go through a spaceport. I can tell you that woulod draw legions of fans yearly to Orlando. But stop it with the replacing things.
I would make it a land at DHS
Really, either one would work.
I'd be for a Star Wars land, and not a whole theme park.
hollywood studios has room. right in front of tatoine traders has a small area that can be turned into multiple scenes for photo shots with different props, currently they have one now, the muppets can go and make a jedi temple out of it,and possibly a small ride...the pizza place should turn into a cantina/restaurant...and, redo part of ny ave like blizzard beach, phony snow and do a hoth sequence..although it would be a small star wars redo, it would rival harry potter in that you now have a restaurant bar the cantina, hoth...jedi temple ride...and, something small in front or the existing star wars store...
I've been batting this idea around as well ever since the 1997 re-do of Tommorrowland. I'd hate to see Tomorrowland completely replaced and/or turned into Star Wars Land; that dedication to a single movie-franchise license feels like it goes against what Walt seemed to have in mind. Unfortunately the romantic ideas about "the future" aren't what they used to be in the 50's. As we find ourselves actually living in "the future" it almost seems like Tommorrowland needs to rely on a bit more of the escapist views of the future to remain interesting. I'll admit TL should have star Wars elements but it can feel free to draw on Buzz Lightyear and the ( possibly ) upcoming Black Hole reboot. Disney owns plenty of other futuristic space-based tie-ins that could be used here and hopefully STILL find a way to fit in something of scientific informational value. ( To me, the best part of the '97 Tomorrowland re-do was the science pavilion with the x-23 prototype and a space suit, etc. )
I actually really like Robert's idea of changing Tomorrowland to Star Wars Universe. The Tomorrowland theme has been trivial since the '70s. They simply can't design a land that mimics the future for an extended time because of incredible developing rates, e.g., Moore's Law. On top of that, today's Tomorrowland is so... cold. It has none of the heart that existed in its original inception.
The only really good prequel rides I could come up with would be a launch coaster based on podracing and a hot/cold coaster theme for Hoth and Mustafar.
As I read comments I am agast at the number of people that are OK with replacing classic rides. Why don't we turn the Haunted Mansion into a Twilight ride, turn Space Mountain into a teen rock show coaster, and retheme all of Fantasyland to High School Musical? Leave Magic Kingdom and Disneyland alone. I am fine with plussing classic rides, but if it ain't broke don't fix it. If a Star Wars area is to come to the parks, it needs to have its own area and not replace or modify existing areas. This is coming from a die hard Star Wars fan. Don't replace. Add.
So Tomorrowland will become Long-Ago-Land? That'll really confuse the clueless.
Personally, I do not think Disneyland's Tomorrowland should be removed, as it is so well known. However, this would be my idea for a Star Wars replacement. Note that this is not too realistic as the budget would likely be too high, but given no constraints it is what I would do.
I don't think they should redo DL's Tomorrowland completely, it's ok if it's a combination of themes. Leave Buzz, Nemo, Space Mtn, but do something different with Starcade and Captain Eo, and change Redd Rockett's into the Cantina. The best idea is to do an E ticket animatronic attraction similar to Pirates or Haunted Mansion. I would love to see an animatronic Jabba the Hutt. They could do a Harry Potter type ride with the Kuka arms, but unfortunately, they have to wait 10 years.
"As for Mos Eisley, while it is a "wretched hive of scum and villainy," I think they could claim that it has since been cleaned up due to "new management.""
"I shudder at the thought of Gilbert Gottfried singing in the cantina."
Han shot first.
Don't take Indy away. They could change the Chronicles of Narnia into a walk-through advertisement for Star Wars the Clone Wars.
Okay, lets be realistic. There's no way Disney will change Tomorrowland into Star Wars Land beyond what they've already done. It's current decor is already quasi-Star Wars. Indeed what Disney needs to do is go back to the original concept of Tomorrowland that Walt disney envisioned as science-speculation rather than science-fantasy. There's still a "big beautiful tomorrow" out there as they used to sing in the Carrousel of Progress not so long ago. A future Star Wars Land would be a better fit in California Adventure where there's space right next to the new Cars Land under construction. But instead of Mos Eisley Spaceport lets base it on Coruscant, call it Coruscant Square like New Orleans Square in Disneyland and Liberty Square in Walt Disney World. Disney could either relocate Star Tours there
Um, I could write for 7 hours on this as being a Disney dork and an even bigger Star Wars nerd leaves my brain bouncing around with ideas that are unsettled like asteroids in an asteroid field. And I'm not even sure that made sense.
Pretty sure Disney wouldn't replace rides as much as they would build new things. I think if anything, next to Cars land they might build something there, probably not in DLR. Star Wars is more of a Studios thing. I'm sure they won't replace Indy because that still brings on huge numbers. There is ample space to build that park outwards and I do think they could use the Sounds Dangerous Space, re-theme the quick service place over there and maybe add a courtyard that has one or two more rides. Honestly, the question is how much is Lucas willing to let happen?
So many options. . . I mean, who else (besides me) would like to make the Kessel Run in the Falcon?
I don't ever see it happening, but it's nice to dream. DHS has lots of room for expansion; all it would take would be to re-route the south entrance drive to the parking lot closer to the canal. That said, retheming the Streets of America is a great idea. Lights, Motors, Action and (of course) Muppet Vision can stay. Otherwise the only other reason to really visit Streets of America for is the Osborne Lights at Xmas. I'd be all for turning into a Star Wars Universe.
Lots of great ideas! I need a life size Millennium Falcon. Great for meet and greet pictures with droids or Han and Chewie. Inside, guests will be able to tour the ship with all the sound effects playing in the background. Some will find it boring so to save space, put in on an elevated landing pad on top of a ride.
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