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Follow the data to see what the theme park industry's leaders will do next

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Published: June 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

What's the best entertainment franchise to bring into a theme park? Let's start by defining what "best" is - and I'm going to go with an entertainment franchise that's already proven itself with the public through movie box-office success, guaranteeing a big launch for a well-executed theme park attraction that recreates the franchise's creative universe.

From Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Star Wars needs to be Disney's next big play in theme parks. Keep reading to see why.

So here's the data on the top US movie franchises, from Box Office Mojo. I'm including franchises that have grossed more than $1 billion, with an average of at least $200 million per film. That eliminates franchises such as James Bond and Star Trek, which have earned huge grosses over their life-spans thanks to having so many titles, but that don't move the needle much with each release.

  1. Harry Potter ($2.39 billion from 8 movies) Theme park rights: Universal
  2. Star Wars ($1.92 billion from 7 movies) Theme park rights: Disney
  3. Avengers ($1.72 billion from 6 movies) Theme park rights: Disney (outside of Orlando)
  4. Batman ($1.45 billion from 7 movies) Theme park rights: Six Flags
  5. Shrek ($1.42 billion from 5 movies) Theme park rights: Universal
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean ($1.28 billion from 4 movies) Theme park rights: Disney
  7. Spider-Man ($1.14 billion from 3 movies) Theme park rights: Universal Orlando, Disney outside Orlando
  8. Transformers ($1.08 billion from 4 movies) Theme park rights: Universal
  9. Twilight ($1.07 billion from 4 movies)
  10. The Lord of the Rings ($1.06 billion from 4 movies)

This list is incomplete in that it doesn't include other entertainment income that supports a franchise, such as toys and books. Toy revenue is what helped drive Disney to develop Cars Land, which did well at the box office, but absolutely killed in the toy store. But the list gives us a good place to start a discussion.

The list shows why the Marvel deal is such a BFD for Universal Orlando. It effectively keeps two of the country's top 10 entertainment franchises out of the hands of its archrival, the Walt Disney Company - which owns Marvel, the creator of Avengers and Spider-Man. Given that Avengers and Spider-Man are both active franchises, with new films in development, these figures convince me that Disney's going to have to make a billion-dollar offer to Universal to have any hope of getting those Orlando-area theme park rights.

The franchise data also explain many recent moves in the theme park industry. We all know at this point what a game-changer Harry Potter has been, and can see why Universal's is hot to bring Potter to its Universal Studios parks in Japan, Florida and Hollywood, too. But Universal also made a great call in bringing Transformers into its Singapore and Hollywood parks. (The data explain why some of us believe that Transformers will be coming to Orlando soon, too.) The list also explains why Universal just dropped that money to upgrade The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Orlando, and why Shrek isn't going anywhere in its parks anytime soon (and why Universal gave Shrek an entire land in its newest park, in Singapore).

So should Disney and Universal make a play for Twilight or Lord of the Rings? Perhaps, but I see a couple bigger targets higher up on the list. First, Six Flags has in no way maximized the theme park income potential of the Batman franchise. It simply lacks the capital to build the immersive Gotham environment, with high-tech attractions, that could rival Harry Potter and Cars Land in popularity. I can't believe that Six Flags' rights deal for the DC Comics franchises, including Batman - a remnant of the days when Six Flags was also owned by DC's parent, Warner Bros. - is so costly and iron-clad that neither Disney or Universal could make a play to wrest it away. (Heck, if I ran Disney, I would buy the DC rights out from under Six Flags and give them away to Universal as part of a deal to get the Florida theme park rights to Marvel. But if I ran Universal, I'd still demand a billion-dollar check in addition to the DC rights. This is why I can't negotiate with myself.)

The big target here is the franchise sitting at number two - Star Wars. One ride and a few fan-fest weekends don't come close to realizing the theme park potential of this franchise. Yesterday, we wrote about Disneyland's two options for expansion. One of them was in Tomorrowland. Given the commercial potential of the Star Wars franchise, I'm going to make a seemingly radical proposal - that Disneyland rebuild all of Tomorrowland as Star Wars Land.

Star Tours remains. Space Mountain gets a Star Wars overlay. But everything else goes - even Buzz Lightyear (there's a Toy Story-themed shooter over at California Adventure now. That'll do.) Make Tomorrowland an immersive physical visit to the Star Wars universe, using all the space from the Hub back to It's a Small World. Then use that as a template to remake the southern end of Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando.

Who here would pay up to visit that? I know I would.

At this point, from all I've heard in the industry, Disney's not yet decided for certain what it will do next in Disneyland. But I'm a big fan of the late Buzz Price, the consultant for Disney who helped select the locations for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He devoted his life to the study of data and wrote, "Guessing is dysfunctional. Ignoring prior experience is denial. Using valid numbers to project performance is rational."

The box office data provide clear, rational data to guide the theme park industry. They've worked for Universal, and they can work for Disney, too. Whatever else Disney might consider for its theme park properties, it'd be most rational for Disney to do something new - and big - with Star Wars.

Readers' Opinions

From 67.42.20.198 on June 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Star Wars land replacing Tomorrowland? No thanks I like star wars but leave Disneyland out of this. Put a Star Wars land in Disney's Holkywood Studios and I'll be happy.
From Jorge Arnoldson on June 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Twilight as a theme park attraction/land? No, just... no.
From Zack McDonald on June 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Well Avatar is not in the top 10, but Disney is putting it in the AK. I liked the movie, but I don't think it has a following even close to anything in the top 10.

Hunger Games has a huge following, and I wonder if anybody is trying lock it up.

From Skipper Adam on June 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM
As Robert pointed out, box office is just a small factor. Starting with Cars, movies didn't to wonders, but makes for a great land. Look as Shrek, it has the numbers, but the series is more or less over and Universal is banking on an element of timelessness that I'm not sure is there.

Other factors include the practicality of a franchise. Twilight just wouldn't make good rides or a land. Hunger Games...who wants to visit a totalitarian land where forcing kids to fight to make memories and a good vacation? Lord of the Rings, though did well in the box office, and still has films coming out, probably won't draw a crowd like Potter or Cars.

Franchises like James Bond may make more sense. Everyone knows who he is, grew up with him and as chances go, he will not go away for a long long time. So if you can give him a ride, that makes sense to me.

The trick, in my opinion, is to find a budding franchise and exploit it from the beginning like Disney and Avatar, with practically 4 more films guaranteed or a franchise that will be timeless, like Harry Potter who's popularity ferver will drop with the lack of movies, but no one is going to forget about him a long time.

Or, forget the franchise. All you need is one powerful movie to inspire a great attraction, like Jaws or E.T..

From Dominick D on June 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Put Star Wars in DHS and I'll be happy. My vision would be:

Replace the Comminsinary with Mos Eisley Cantina with Blue Milk
Have the ABC sound studio with a full JTA and a year round Carbon Freeze Me experience
Replace American Idol with a demonstration show that isn't similar to anything at SWW.
Turn Indiana Jones and the Catering Co. into a coaster

From robert morris on June 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Lord of the Rings is to me the big Free Agent out there. As of the three/four movies (I assume your counting the cartoon from the 70') are huge in America but even bigger worldwide.

But unlike many of the franchise's listed it's biggest feature is coming with the two Hobbit films forthcoming. Which for most is the signature novel in the collection.

The main problem I see with LOTR is that most of it is so over the top in its scale that it could make Cars or Harry Potter look cheap by comparsion to buid.

It also while I'm sure could draw guest it wouldnt be the merchandise machine that Star Wars, Marvel, Cars or Harry Potter are, unless you could create a demand for Gollum engagement rings.


That being said the best option to ever see a LOTR land is a retheme for Jurassic Park in IOA, as WB might sign off for the synergy.

How to do it:
River Adventure becomes Long Lake and your battle with Smaug replacing the TREX and the building overlayed to become the Lonely Mountain.

Discovery Center is demoed and Rivendale takes it's place

Triceratops Trail Rethemed for the Shire Family Ride

Camp Jurrasic becomes ruin of Gondor

The Flyers get a second track and are rethemed to be the Eagles

Thunder Falls gets expanded and becomes a Great Hall for dining

Thoughts?

From robert morris on June 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM
And for Star Wars if not a land at DHS can we all.

Can Disney at least just open the Canteen Bar adjacent to Star Tours, create some "out of this world" drink and us guest will buy it like Butterbeer.

From Anon Mouse on June 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM
There should be a Star Wars Land, but it needs to be in a secondary park, not Disneyland. Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyears should not be touched. They are classics.
From Aaron McMahon on June 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM
How much of an attendance boost did the Disney Parks actually get from the new Star Tours?

When I went to Disney Hollywood Studios last fall, the brand new Star Tours had one of the shortest lines in the park, well behind Toy Story Mania, Rockin Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror.

I have a feeling that people who fly from around the world to WDW mainly want to see DISNEY characters which is why the Florida parks have seem apprehensive about putting Star Wars, Indian Jones and Marvel in.

Disneyland has a lot of regional visitors who visit the park a lot and they're more interested in seeing stuff that is new than getting the "magical Disney family experience".

From Dominick D on June 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Aaron, Star Tours has a high capacity, thus short waits ( minus the crowded season or Star Wars Weekends )
From Robert Niles on June 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM
Aaron, the new Star Tours was HUGE at Disneyland, packing the park with much longer lines than in Florida, despite having the same capacity. That's why I'm suggesting the Star Wars Land go to Disneyland first.

Ultimately, the success of a new theme park attraction lies with its execution more than the box office success of the franchise that spawned it. But a huge box office legacy can help launch a new attraction with a massive publicity buzz that can ensure its immediate success, should the attraction designers pull it off. It's harder to get that initial buzz for a new property.

From Skipper Adam on June 28, 2012 at 1:26 PM
I think Star Tours did way better in Disneyland for three reasons. First, there are less thrill rides in Disneyland. Second there are less rides in Disneyland as a whole. Third, it's in Disneyland, which is a busier park and it fits in better with Tomorrowland than the backlot as well as having a better location.

Hoever, if Disney was hesitant about bring outside characters, then why have Avatar?

From Robert Niles on June 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM
If you're Disney and betting that a second and third Avatar movie will launch that franchise into the Top 10 (which I believe to be a pretty safe bet), I suppose you could justify going with an Avatar mini-land on the Innoventions/Autopia space in Tomorrowland, instead of the Star Wars plan. (Assuming that Avatar's a hit in DAK, and I don't know that Disneyland wants to wait for Orlando before proceeding with its own expansion.)

The reason why Star Wars would take the entire land is the placement of Star Tours in DL's Tomorrowland. Assuming you want Star Tours to be part of the Star Wars Land (duh...), since it's on the opposite side of Tomorrowland from the Innoventions/Autopia space, you pretty much have to devote the entire land to Star Wars to make the concept work.

You don't have that issue with Avatar, which could exist by itself in the rather large Innoventions/Autopia space, leaving Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Buzz alone.

But I still think that when you look at the entire picture - movies, toys, books, TV, etc. - Star Wars will remain a bigger franchise than Avatar, and a safer bet for a major new land in a Disney theme park.

This assumes that George Lucas would be on board and helpful to the effort, of course. If Lucas doesn't want a Star Wars Land, Disney's not going to make one.

From Robert Niles on June 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM
BTW, did I make it apparent that I'd really, really love to see what Universal Creative could do with a Gotham Island?
From Don Neal on June 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM
I have long wondered why Disney hasn't extended the Star Wars experience at one or several of their parks. Obviously DHS has the greatest opportunity and makes the most sense in my mind.

Replacing everything around Echo Lake isn't a bad concept however I think DHS needs to add rides not just replace them. I think the backlot area where Lights, Motors, Action is provides the greatest opportunity. New infrastructure, technology, and theming will help and be a more straight forward implementation instead of trying to make it fit into an existing area. Plus it gives them a basic blank slate.

Imagine entering the town of Tatooine with the Mos Eisley Cantina serving frosty beverages as well as a restaurant. Jawas and Stormtroopers running around. Droids here and there making noises, carrying on, etc. The "Death Star" gift shop. And two new rides, the first a coaster similar to Expedition Everest in scale and style. Make it a Death Star escape or Pod Racing or similar. The second a dark ride on the Harry Potter scale. Something like Naboo Underwater or just a Star Wars based adventure with all new story.

Then have a hub/plaza in the middle for a 360 stage that they can do stunt shows, music, or a laser light/pyro show at. Similar in size to the main plaza at MK's Tomorrowland.

The space back there is big enough for a town bigger than two Hogs Meade, a dark ride the size of HPFJ, and a coaster the size of Everest. So it's all doable and would b

From Don Neal on June 28, 2012 at 1:45 PM
The town area would also have enough space for a movie prop walk-through, a Bounty Hunter meet-n-greet, an ILM "Movie Magic" experience, a counter service restaurant, restrooms, and an all new Jedi Academy (pick our outfit, lightsaber, go through training, etc.
From James Rao on June 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM
I love the Star Wars idea for Disneyland, but echo the concerns about losing Space Mountain to a new theme. However, it's a small price to pay for a land devoted to Star Wars as long as we can get a signed contract that the new land will make no mention of muppets, Ewoks, Gungans, Zero the Hutt, or Midi-chlorians.
From 166.248.77.214 on June 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM
Finally someone brings this up! I definitely agree with u Robert . I could see a star wars land in tomorrowland at Disneyland . I can already tell u fans would be p.o.d about this proposal. I think universal should get Lord of the rings . I hate the idea of donald duck gollum
From Chad H on June 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM
It would solve the problem Tomorrowland has had since its creation, that it requires constant investment to look like "Tomorrow" and not "Tiredland".
From Derek Potter on June 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM
All of that Star Wars money came years ago though, whereas most others on that list are current or fairly recent in terms of pop culture. Even though this data suggests that Star Wars would be "next", I tend to think that the window for Star Wars themed attractions has passed because it's been a long time. I'm still waiting however, for someone to do something significant with Nintendo.

On the other hand, I don't think that these great creative minds and designers necessarily need (or perhaps even want) the latest multimillion dollar franchise all the time. The idea that an attraction has to be based on a blockbuster movie places a lot of limitations on park projects. It puts creative minds, imagineers, and artists in a box. Immersion and quality (and profits) can be created without expensive movie rights. One can't blame Disney and Universal for cross marketing their products, but that doesn't mean they need them to design a good successful theme park attraction. They have a ton of drawing power already with the big franchises they have. Why not dig into the giant filing cabinet of rights to movies/tv/etc they have and find something that lends itself well to an attraction. It doesn't really matter that much if the franchise was a hit, it's all about the design, implementation, and rider experience.

From travis traymoore on June 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM
rob not gonna lie the fact you included twilight on the list scares me into fear that a park might actually take you up on that. forget 400ft tall coasters, THAT is scary...
From Aaron McMahon on June 28, 2012 at 3:51 PM
The genius of WWOHP and Cars Land is that the properties had already designed the streets, shops and restaurants for them. The Parks only had to design the attractions and spend the money the recreate the movies.

I still can't imagine a counter service in Pandora or a gift shop in Degobah.

From 24.92.210.111 on June 28, 2012 at 4:49 PM
As much as i'm wanting to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I don't like the idea of an entire land dedicated to a movie franchise. I feel with both the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the new "Cars Land" at Disney California Adventure, that the interest in the franchises that the lands represent will fade to a point that every part of the lands aside from their signature attraction(Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Radiator Springs Racers, respectively) will become insignificant to the rest of the theme park itself. Now if Disney decides to capitalize on the Star Wars franchise, I would think Disney's Hollywood Studios would do well to, instead of devote an entire land to Star Wars, rather make a land dedicated to the "Sci-Fi" genre with a huge incorporation of Star Wars into the land to keep the fans of that series happy, but also to allow Disney to also incorporate other films or tv shows or stories of Science Fiction into the land to appeal to those who aren't necessarily Star Wars fans, but do still like the genre, otherwise Disney will only be catering to a specific guest demographic and forget that there are those who love more Science Fiction stories aside from Star Wars. Disney could then incorporate the "Alien" series as well as more recent Sci-Fi stories turned films into the mix like "John Carter". So I think Disney should be a bit more optimistic.
From Thomas Donovan on June 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM
Assuming that box office gross directly translates to theme park success seems naive to me. There are a multitude of other factors in play.

The audience must be one that is desirable for a theme park; generally families or younger people who are willing to spend money on merch and tickets. The audience also has to be able to suspend disbelief in a theme park environment, something that more serious films would not be successful at, such as Lord of the Rings. Surely many would come to see this hypothetical LOTR land, but much of the fan base would likely turn their noses up at a such a commercial venture, and stick to meet-ups conducted entirely in Elvish. The Hobbit films offer an opportunity to expand the audience to a younger generation, with a more accessible story. I for one would absolutely die for a LOTR land, but realistically, I don't think it's feasible. Harry Potter and Disney are both brands that attract and audience that is very merch driven, but has a sense of humor about their respective IP's, therefore having no problem visiting a theme park based off of them.

The brand also must have a distinctive setting, Disney castles, Radiator Springs, Hogwarts, the Death Star, and even Far Far Away to a certain extent, feature fantastical locations that make the audience want to visit them. LOTR does this as well, but the audience just isn't there. For this reason, superhero movies are less feasible, visiting a large scale Gotham as a hard core Batman fan would be less awe-inspiring than being able to visit Hogwarts as a Potter-phile, simply because we have cities in our world, whereas magic castles are decidedly less common.

Star Wars has both a feasible audience, and iconic locations, but it should not replace Tomorrowland. Disneyland has emerged as its on brand and does not need brand recognition to draw visitors, single-IP lands have their place in secondary parks that lack the same identity, a Star Wars land in the rumored 3rd park, perhaps, there will be.

From 108.33.35.61 on June 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Star Wars taking over Tomorrowland at Dinseyland sounds good because of its proximity to Hollywood but I do not like the idea for Florida. Tomorrowland has always represented a vision about a possible future for mankind, not about marketing toys and movies.

I agree with the suggestions of having SW land at DHS. It's currently a half day park at best and could use some new attractions.

From 12.69.234.130 on June 28, 2012 at 7:28 PM
Tomorrowland should always be tommorowland...to change it is a horrible idea like changing adventureland or frontierland. However I have always believed that a star wars land would be a great idea. The only problem is there's so many locations that could be done. I think the best thing to do is every park to have its own location like say tattoine in CA, Jedi temple in Florida or hoth in Paris....etc this keeps the Parks unique. Star tours should be in these lands and the software can reflect you leaving that particular area. Then one more attraction and an iconic restaurant and I think you'd have a very successful tourist draw.

PS adjusted for inflation star wars blows away the other franchises.

From 24.92.210.111 on June 28, 2012 at 8:12 PM
Following up with what I stated earlier, imagine this for a new "Sci-Fi" land at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Keep Star Tours, however re-theme it to John Carter. Make a bigger attraction(possibly a new roller coaster or a ride similar to Spider-Man at IOA, however themed to Star Wars). Have Magic Kingdom move the "Stitch's Great Escape" attraction over to Disney's Hollywood Studios and re-theme it to the "Alien" series(bringing back the scare factor that was with the original Alien Encounter). Get rid of Muppet Vision 3D and make the theater's theme Sci-Fi and move Captain EO from Epcot over to DHS since George Lucas helped make Captain EO, it would fit in nicely with the theme of the area. I would say keep the counter-service restaurant thats next to Star Tours, however get rid of Pizza Planet. As much as I love Star Wars, I will both not be surprised and at the same time, not be happy if Disney simply makes a Star Wars Land, just like they did with Cars Land and the upcoming Avatar Land.....It seems the only ideas for new theme park areas are "Any Big Movie Franchise"...Land, lol.
From AJ Hummel on June 28, 2012 at 8:37 PM
Here's my opinion: I'm not opposed to a Star Wars land, but I really don't want it to be in Tomorrowland. As one of the original lands at othe original Disney park, I don't think Tomorrowland should be converted into something else. Therefore, Marvel land would be out as well. I really think Disneyland's Tomorrowland should do the following:

-Build the Tron Lightcycle ride using the peoplemover track (new track could be built, but the layout would be the same)
-Retheme Innoventions to Stark Expo if they really want to get Marvel into the parks quickly
-Remove Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage and Captain EO
-Shorten Autopia to clear up space
-Add a new E ticket attraction based on Wall-E, as it doesn't yet have an attraction and would fit in Tomorrowland.

This would be a great project to coincide with Disneyland's 60th anniversary in 2015.

As for other lands, I think it would be great if Disneyland's third park was a collection of movie based lands, and could include Marvel Land, Star Wars Land, Avatar Land, and others.

From Ron A on June 28, 2012 at 9:11 PM
Like, Cars, I think Star Wars is a no-brainer, and should have already been built. Since it hasn't that tells me eithe Lucas is the holdup or Disney's got their heads up their you-know-what. I don't necessarily like the idea of scrapping Tomorrowland at Disneyland, though. However, it would fit very nicely at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

One on the list that surprises me, and that they haven't exploited further is Pirates of the Caribbean. I know they already have an attraction at both U.S. parks, and they have added some elements from the movies to those attractions as tie-ins. But, why not a stunt show or special effects presentation or something of the sort at DHS or DL/DCA? Seems to me it would have been a great fit in DHS at the Backlot replacing the tank scene, or even Lights, Motors Action. Since nobody mentioned it though, it leads me to believe that ship has sailed (pardon the pun), and perhaps their over-reaching with the last movie has diminished the public's fascination with this story and characters.

As for Twilight and LOTR, I really dont see those as being good theme park entities.

I have mixed feelings on the future of Avatar, but I think it has potential in that there are 3 more films on tap and James Cameron has a pretty good track record with story telling and blockbusters. I'm holding out hope for the unkown aspects of Avatar/Pandora and that it will fuel some theme park creations unlike any we've seen before. Wishful thinking perhaps, but for this Disney fan, I think it's our best hope for the short-term.

From 174.71.49.133 on June 28, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I really wish Disney would do something without a brand name. Something completely new that came from a blank piece of paper and imagination. I really don't like all the "attractions have to be based on a movie or franchise" idea. It really does put Imagineers in a box...the box office.
From 70.248.66.171 on June 29, 2012 at 5:15 AM
I agree about Star Wars, but completely disagree about how to do it. Space Mountain MUST remain Space Mountain. If Disneyland is going to add a new land, then they must pony up and buy more land which is problematic. On the other hand, a new Star Wars Land at Hollywood Studios is very possible. The space exists past the Star Tours area for a major expansion. The other thing to think of is box office gross adjusted for inflation. See, Star Wars fans are legion. There are many more than Potter or comic book fans. Many may disagree, but if you adjust Star Wars grosses for inflation, it blows everything out of the water. However, that is not the only concern. Marketing matters. Been to a toy section in a store lately? Every store has had a Star Wars section since 1977. They should do it, and they should do it in Orlando where they have the space. It is a licence to print money.
From Caroline Davis on June 29, 2012 at 5:53 AM
I really like the new Star Tours but that's enough Star Wars in the park. Maybe the idea of a restaurant to go with it and a signature beverage, but changing Space Mountain to Star Wars theme would be enough of an insult that I probably would avoid holidays to Disney for a while.

Gotham at Universal though sounds like an amazing idea. I think it would be particularly popular if it was based on the Nolan trilogy, but unfortunately I don't know whether he'd want to be involved. I think after Dark Knight Rises he doesn't want to do anymore work to do with Batman. It's possible without him, I just think it would be really special if he was involved in it too.

From Dominick D on June 29, 2012 at 6:26 AM
Ron, a POTC walk through is coming to DHS in a couple months.
From 208.110.209.18 on June 29, 2012 at 7:45 AM
Dom, that's a start, but it's much smaller and at least 4 years later than I would have expected. I understand this is going in the space where the Narnia exhibit was for the past few years, (way past the wave of the hype for that movie). I'll wait and see what it brings, but due to the size of that location, I'm not expecting a whole lot. The canvas is blank at this point though, and there is a lot they can work with, so hopefully they won't disappoint. But, I fear the wave of hype for Pirates has fizzled as well.


From Mary Opatz on June 29, 2012 at 8:43 AM
My three children and I camped in the plaza in front of Disney's California Adventure the night before the Re-Opening. Getting in line at 9:00pm, we slept on the cement pavers, watched the blimp fly over head and cheered with crowd for "Good Morning America".

After eleven hours, we watched the saw back of people's heads for the Grand Opening Ceremony. Buena Vista Street was packed to capacity, and we were in the middle of it. We saw the morning fireworks and heard Mickey Mouse.

Once the official opening was complete, the crowd surged toward Cars Land. We held back and picked up fast passes for "Radiator Springs Racers". A 9:20am-10:20am time...not bad.

A quick ride on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, which had no line, at all, and then then a fly through Luigi's Flying Tires, who's line was about fifteen minutes, and it was time for the Racers.

We got in the Fast Pass line and the ride went down...

With Cars Land packed to the rims, we headed back out to explore Buena Vista Street. Some photos with Mickey, Chip and Dale and a bag filled with secret 'treasures' from the Imagination Studio (Opening Day Pins and such) and we headed back to Cars Land, again.

The Fast Past line wove out past Stanley's Statue into the main stretch of Route 66 toward the Cozy Cones. Getting into the end of the line, we waited for about ten minutes before the Racer's ride went down, once again.

With reluctance, we decided the "Radiator Springs Racers" would be experienced on another day. Our DCA opening day fast passes for the Racers will be unique souvenirs for our Disney scrap book.

So, you could say we waited over 20 hours to NOT ride the new "Radiator Springs Racers" on June 15, 2012.

From 81.70.136.4 on June 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM
I understand Universal to go for themes based on movies because of it's origin, but Disney once was able to make awesome rides and experinces that wheren't movie related. Take the haunted mansion, space mountain, alien terrorrestial encounter, a small world, horizons, the living seas etc. That's where Disney is at it's best. Dipping everything onto movie themes is awefull. I hate the Nemo makeover for the living seas or the characters at world showcase, Stich in alien and Dep in Pirates. Star Wars is a very mediocre attraction for a very succesfull francise and I've heard Lucas mention often he wanted to upgrade it but it was always Disney who was to cheap. Thats why Disney missed out on Potter and is also loosing a lot of potential money on the Star Wars francise (or Indy for that matter).
From Mark Fairleigh on June 29, 2012 at 5:53 PM
I wouldn't want a Star Wars overlay at MK myself, but a whole SW park would be awesome! You could have lands themed to the different planets/moons...Tattooine, Dagobah, Hoth, Endor for starters. The stars would be the limit!
From Bob Liebe on June 30, 2012 at 2:29 AM
Robert I agree with everything pretty much! I am extremely shocked by the underutilization of Star Wars in the parks! I am not a Star Wars junkie, but it would be cool to see a whole land with another E-Ticket ride or two! I would also have no problem with it going into Tomorrow Land if it was done right. I would be a little sad about losing some classics, but Disneyland needs a bit of a facelift and with limited space, they have few options.

Star Wars Land at DHS is a no-brainer. That park needs more attractions, and movie-themed rides obviously fit in there. I had posted a while back about a Pirates of the Caribbean dark ride at DHS that is based on the movies and I would be in 100% agreement for it. A walk through is not enough. I know it's popularity isn't what it used to be, but there is talk of two more films, so if something was done well, it could be around 10-15 years easy.

Now I also am surprised that more Pixar films weren't turned into rides. Almost every Pixar film does well at the box office or in merchandise or both. And up until Cars land, Pixar is almost non-existent as for major rides. Pixar is today's version of classic Disney cartoons and their characters are just as recognizable as Mickey or Minnie! Toy Story could have been used more in the U.S. and tuned into a land like in Hong Kong. Or I really like the idea of a Pixar Land like at DHS, but have more than 1 ride!!!

Now for Universal, I don't know if it was on this site or on screamscape, but I remember seeing a concept drawing of Gotham City/DC land that was a possible idea instead of Marvel at IOA before it was built. Universal Creative could easily knock that out of the park and make a great immersive world! If that were to happen, I would do like they did with Marvel and base it on a comic / generic level and not strictly on the movies. That way if there is another reboot of the movies, you aren't stuck with a world based on one series of films.

And lastly after a novel and a half of comments, I'm a little surprised that Universal hasn't used a few more of their own successful franchises recently. Kudos to Harry Potter and Transformers, but I could see a Bourne ride / show / attraction do well to replace T2-3D or a Fast & Furious attraction in USF. At least one more film is on the way for each movie, they already own the rights, and they are proven franchises. I would also go with something a little more generic than basing an attraction solely off of one film in particular, thus giving the attractions a longer life span! Again sorry about the novel, but a writing spree came over me at 4AM local time! LOL :-P

From Will Chilcote on June 30, 2012 at 4:12 PM
I think a Star Trek based land would work if it was in Orlando, Fl or in LA, Ca. The problem that the Star Trek Experience had, which was in Las Vegas, was location and cost. At the time it was open it had only 2 attractions and cost a huge 50 dollars, which was about the cost for a 1 day pass to most regional parks. If, it was part of Universal or Disney it would be a huge draw.

Also, I love the Star Wars Land idea. Re-theming DL's Tommorrowland would be great. Star Tours would stay. U could turn Buzz Lightyear into like a Death Star Dark ride where u could be Han Solo and shoot Storm Troopers and end with an encounter with Vader's Tie fighter as u are Luke in his X-wing. Also, I would love a Swoop Bike or Pod Racer attraction.

From Eric G on July 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Star Tours at Disneyland and Walt Disney World do not have identical capacities. That's absolutely incorrect. Disney Hollywood Studios' Star Tours has 50% more capacity than Disneyland.

Star Wars land will not replace Tomorrowland and Space Mountain (the most iconic mountain of all-time and still the #1 attraction in the park) will not be re-themed. Will Tomorrowland see some upgrades in the future? Without a doubt, but the article includes words that almost suggest there is something seriously wrong at Disneyland that needs to be fixed. That's hardly true.

George Lucas has collaborated with Disney to create some attractions based on his movies, but that doesn't give them free reign to use his franchises for whatever they desire. This article and the comments infer that Disney has that right. Disney would have to get George Lucas on board before it could proceed.

From Andy Milito on July 1, 2012 at 6:05 AM
Wait wait wait wait WAIT....the Twilight movies made more at the box office than Lord of the Rings?

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Sorry, had to wipe the vomit off my keyboard.

From 98.21.205.155 on July 1, 2012 at 11:22 PM
The Hunger Games is not on the list, but probably will get there when they release a couple more movies. It basically will replace Twilight as the new hype.

That being said..... Don't you want to go on the Hunger Games Dark Ride? Where you are constantly being shot at by kids with bows?

From N B on July 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Robert, I am surprised you haven't posted the news about the new permits at Universal Orlando regarding the Hogwarts Express locations at each park.

I am putting together a Google Earth overlay similar to the one I did for the location of Gringotts in Universal. I will post that later tonight.

The IOA is designated Project 3641 and the Universal side is 7689 according the filings with the water management district.

They outline "de-watering" of both areas and the IOA permit shows the location of the train station.

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