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Disney Announces Star Wars Land

August 15, 2015, 12:32 PM · Disney CEO Bob Iger announced "the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney parks and Star Wars," the largest land expansion in the Disney theme parks' history, during the D23 Expo in Anaheim today.

Star Wars Land
All concept art courtesy Disney

The 14-acre Star Wars Land will debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland in California. Star Wars Land will include a Millennium Falcon ride that includes "the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy," the iconic cantina, and a second E-ticket ride themed to Episode 7.

Millennium Falcon

“We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever," Iger said. "These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

Battle

Update: In the afternoon session, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek did not reveal an opening date for Star Wars Land, but brought Imagineer Scott Trowbridge on stage to talk about the land and several other Star Wars-themed attractions and events that would be coming to the parks. Trowbridge said that Star Wars Land would "take some time," but that these new experiences would be debuting soon.

Star Wars Launch Bay: An interactive experience, to go to into the former Innoventions pavilion at Disneyland and the former Animation pavilion space at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Star Wars Launch Bay will include character meet and greets, exhibits themed to the new Star Wars films, and new stores. It will open later this year on both coasts.

Star Wars Launch Bay

Season of the Force: A new limited-time event that will run at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios, beginning in 2016. At Disneyland, Space Mountain will transform into Hyperspace Mountain during the event, with new on-ride projection mapping and special effects. At DHS, the park will be getting a new Star Wars-themed fireworks show. The events in both parks will include expanded meet and greets, street entertainment and special food and merchandise.

Hyperspace Mountain

In addition, Disney will be updating its Star Tours rides in Anaheim and Orlando with new destinations and characters from the upcoming Star Wars films. That will happen later this year.

More 2015 D23 Expo Coverage:

Replies (48)

August 15, 2015 at 1:04 PM · October 1st, 2021 .... Game on, WDI!
August 15, 2015 at 1:02 PM · So we will be able to fly the Falcon in a simulator ride?

I have been hoping for some sort of shoot em up gallery themed to Star Wars like Toy Story Mania, so I hope that we will be able to fire at Tie Fighters and wrack up a high score while flying the ship. I have been dreaming of a ride like that for over ten years.

Also, 14 acres. The entire park is 135 acres so it won't be as big a part of Studios as I assumed. Let's say that it will be around Star Tours... about how much of that space will 14 acres be? Will it gobble up muppets and Indy?

August 15, 2015 at 1:05 PM · Interesting that Disney "solved" the problem of where to site a story that takes place across multiple planets by... creating a new planet within the canon to house all the action of the new land.
August 15, 2015 at 1:11 PM · YAY! About time, Disney. This will do amazing things for attendance at Hollywood Studios.
August 15, 2015 at 1:12 PM · Even though we all knew it was coming, this announcement is fantastic news. I CANNOT WAIT TO VISIT STAR WARS LAND!!!!!!
August 15, 2015 at 1:26 PM · Does anybody offhand know the acreage of Hogsmeade and Disgon Alley?
August 15, 2015 at 1:28 PM · No time frame? Can't wait till the year 2034 when this should be finished.
August 15, 2015 at 1:28 PM · I think it's great for Hollywood Studios, but I'm not sure how I feel about it being in Disneyland...
August 15, 2015 at 1:29 PM · Concept art looks great. The place kind of reminds me of Naboo, but I do like the idea of creating a whole new world for the zone. I'm stoked that DLR will get the upgrade too, I hope it includes everything from the Orlando version.
August 15, 2015 at 1:36 PM · YES!!! This is going to be great, and I really hope Disney tries to get it open by the end of the decade (the sequel trilogy concludes in 2019, so that would be a good target). Both parks will definitely benefit from two new E-ticket attractions. Even better (at least for me), since the land sounds pretty similar at both parks it's not going to force me to delay my Florida trip.

14 acres is bigger than I expected, at least in California, and I'm curious where it will be. I know the popular rumor is that Autopia will be leaving, but given the size of the land I can't imagine that clearing enough space. It sounds like we may be losing Toontown and Big Thunder Ranch at Disneyland for this, which I am completely OK with.

August 15, 2015 at 1:46 PM · How will they integrate Star Tours in their design? It might look disjointed. The art looks great. No Pixar Land art? That's another thing that might come first. Is it called Star Wars Land or something more appropriate to the actual places in the movies?
August 15, 2015 at 2:14 PM · The grand irony is ex-Universal Creative vet Scott Trowbridge is a player on the Disney Star Wars team.
August 15, 2015 at 2:28 PM · I have mixed emotions. First of all I am very happy that Disney is finally going to build a Star Wars land. It is both bigger and includes more new attractions then I expected.

My disappointment is greatest in them putting it in a planet that is in the new trilogy, which is cool for a second or third star wars land, but any true fan will say that the first star wars land could and should be Mos Eisley. It is the most iconic city in by far the most relevant planet in the saga.

I also was hoping for different planets represented by each star wars land, there are so many great locations its a shame to build only one.

I'm also disappointed to have it in Disneyland where I was hoping it to be used in a 3rd gate. I would be much more excited for a reimagined tomorrowland and a frontierland expansion for Disneyland. But of course this is much better than nothing.
It's going to be a long hard wait for this promising new land. Unfortunately unlike Universal, Disney announces projects long befor their completion. Disney is finally answering Universals immensely successful new lands. Perhaps even equally exciting is how Universal will now answer Disney. Bring it on!

August 15, 2015 at 2:47 PM · WOW!!!! If the end result looks like the concept art, I'd be inclined to consider a visit.
August 15, 2015 at 2:47 PM · I
Can't


WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please Disney gives this to us this decade, pretty please , and we need to hear about Pixar place!

August 15, 2015 at 2:50 PM · Please, do not demolish Toonland and Tomorrowland. They are very important!!!
August 15, 2015 at 2:50 PM · Disney will need 24/7 construction like Universal does with all of its recent expansions and upgrades. If they hire the 9 to 3 "Island timers" which Florida is famous for, it will take three times as long.
August 15, 2015 at 3:10 PM · If N B is thinking even he might make a return visit to a Disney park because of Star Wars Land, then the folks at WDI are finally back on track!

Hopefully the Empire will be employed to oversee the construction effort. After quickly building a couple of Death Stars, a 14 acre theme park land should be a snap.

August 15, 2015 at 4:10 PM · Iger said, "we are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever," so it sounds like Star Wars Land in California will simply be an expansion of Tomorrowland, which I feel makes the most sense since we already have Star Tours in Tomorrowland. Can't wait to see a crazy makeover for Tomorrowland! I'd imagine they would probably utilize the now closed Innoventions building for Star Wars Land. I have a feeling a lot of the Star Wars Land will be behind Space Mountain where the proposed "Hollywoodland" was supposed to be before Toontown/ the current Hollywoodland at DCA were built. That Hollywoodland was supposed to have a west-coast version of the Great Movie Ride and a Roger Rabbit themed motion-simulator ride

You could see all the storage buildings behind Space Mountain where the "Hollywoodland" would've been:

Map of Tomorrowland...you could post links like this if you know HTML code :)

UPDATE: looks like Star Wars Launch Bay will be Innoventions' replacement!

August 15, 2015 at 4:17 PM · Woo-hoo!!!!! Unfortunately won't see it 'til about 2030. Uni would have it done in about 2.

Also like the tie wing fighter shooting ride.

Now hoping for a Monstropolis announcement!

August 15, 2015 at 4:39 PM · I think a "new" planet is a fantastic idea (and one that I'd not really considered). Tatooine/Mos Eisley is iconic, but once you remove the Cantina from it there's not too much to it, and themeing may be difficult.

Opening a new land allows the imagineers to think up fresh and innovative ideas and themes, all within the Star Wars universe. The can have a Cantina, complete with animatronic patrons (I'm thinking along the lines of a rainforest café with Star Wars themeing and maybe some narrative), and it doesn't have to be the Cantina from A New Hope.

Tying the new zone to the original trilogy would be great, as that is the Star Wars that most people love and associate with, but I think this is the right choice.

August 15, 2015 at 5:34 PM · Concept art looks fabulous. That's what I've been hoping to see from Disney, good imagination....I believe Hogsmeade was 20 acres plus whatever the new train station & entrance occupies. Diagon is 12 acres....Darron: That 135 acre figure for DHS is kind of confusing since that includes all of those backstage areas that were originally reserved for film production, costuming, scenery etc. that's closed to the public. The actual area open to the public is really only around 60 acres so it's actually a fairly small park at this point in time. So Star Wars & TS land will actually be significant portions of the park in respect to it's overall real size.
August 15, 2015 at 5:36 PM · ...and, of course, they'll HAVE the original trilogy tie-in with the Millennium Falcon and, you know, Star Tours.
August 15, 2015 at 5:39 PM · Aaron:

Hogsmeade and Diagon are about 20 acres combined.

I'm not impressed with this announcement at all. I learned my lesson with the New Fantasyland.

August 15, 2015 at 6:14 PM · Leaked from an unnamed source: During the Millennium Falcon experience, one of the ground breaking effects will allow guests to look into a rear view mirror and see Harry Potter riding a broom stick.

(Snark)

August 15, 2015 at 5:46 PM · Sorry, I take that back.

Hogsmeade and Diagon are each about 20 acres, if you include the train station, etc.

August 15, 2015 at 6:01 PM · This new Harry Potter land looks awesome!
August 15, 2015 at 6:02 PM · The same two guys who built the Dwarf Coaster in 3 years will be building the new 14 acre Star Wars Land. WDW will only budget for these two castmembers to work between 11 am and 2 pm, so we will see this in about 6 years.
Diagon Alley took a year and a half including removing Jaws.

Don't see the complaining about the "movie screen"rides yet. Two screen rides and a spinner. Toy Story Land look like the WDW cheap-out that we've become accustomed too in the last 12 years.

Man, can you imagine all the stuff Universal will have opened, including the themed waterpark, third gate, resorts and 6 new E Ticket attractions during the next 6-7 years. I see TH is happy WDW hired a Universal Imagineer - I guess we all admit now that WDW of the past 12 years needs Universal help.

August 15, 2015 at 6:06 PM · Where are they going to build in Disneyland???????

They could get rid of ToonTown and Autotopia. I thought Auto was fun when I was a kid, but not anymore. I hate to see submarine go, but I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world. I hope they don't destroy Tomorrowland completely to make room for Star Wars. Tomorrowland was a big original concept thought up by Disney himself. I know it is out dated. Buzz Astroblasters sucks. But I like the idea of Tomorrowland as a themed land. Any news or even guesses on what they will do in Anaheim?

August 15, 2015 at 6:25 PM · I certainly am excited, but I wonder how they will control the crowds? As it stands, you will get to ride just three with FP+ then stand in a line for hours. Hopefully by the time these are completed, they will have worked out the people problem. Maybe release a Rancor or two during peak times. I have to say I will have to be there within the first six months of opening.
August 15, 2015 at 6:28 PM · Who wants to join financial resources and buy a house in Golden Oak with me? :P

August 15, 2015 at 6:37 PM · The TPI Frat House at Golden Oaks! I am so in!!!!!
August 15, 2015 at 6:54 PM · Why is Hyperspace Mountain only limited to Disneyland? Shouldn't DHS' RnR coaster get the makeover?
August 15, 2015 at 6:55 PM · I know who could sell that to us... ;-)
August 15, 2015 at 7:39 PM · I'm curious what this will do to Disneylands attendance. It very well may catapult it to the number 1 visited theme park in the world.
August 15, 2015 at 7:55 PM · Just like with the Toy Story Land that was announced, along with this and the Avatar Land coming to Animal Kingdom, I also have mixed feelings on these projects. Whilst I am excited for new things coming to the parks, I am saddened that the best they could come up with is to stick to a single movie franchise rather than do a more general theme and incorporate those franchises into the lands that the theme represents, like things currently are. I said back when Star Wars Land was first rumored to be coming that it would be better to have a "Sci-Fi" land at Disney's Hollywood Studios and then both expand on Star Wars, but also incorporate other sci-fi films that are apart of the Disney brand(Perhaps something themed to John Carter or the Alien movies) added in so as to appease those who aren't as big of a fan of Star Wars as others. Same with Toy Story Land. It would've been nicer to simply expand Pixar Place to include other attractions from other Pixar films not already in use at other parks(i.e. no more Finding Nemo stuff), but perhaps adding in attractions based on Cars, Monsters Inc., Wall E, Up, etc. That way the "Studios" aspect of the park could remain which I hear the name of the park is also going to change, but if so, will the Great Movie Ride fit the general theme of the new name of the park? Also, if(probably won't, but if) the new Star Wars movie isn't as well received as its being hyped to be, will that scrap the plans for the Star Wars Land?
August 15, 2015 at 8:04 PM · Since I live in Florida, I my opinion is generally focused on Walt Disney World, however, hearing about the Star Wars Land being brought to Disneyland Park in California almost appalls me. While I like Star Wars and it seems like an ideal fit considering Tomorrowland has Star Tours, to suggest changing the land itself to a Star Wars Land feels like a slap in the face to Walt Disney himself. It is a wrong way to go about revamping a land as classic as Tomorrowland. I'd feel less upset if they decided to make a Star Wars Land at Disney California Adventure park and move Star Tours over to that park and replace it with something new in Tomorrowland as a means to begin revamping it into something more futuristic than it is, but to cover it with a single film franchise is awful. Maybe I'm wrong though and maybe it will be embraced well by both fans of the story as well as disney fanatics. I for one will miss the classic Tomorrowland that was and never will be again. Hopefully the Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World won't succumb to a movie franchise.
August 17, 2015 at 3:29 PM · Everything I have read says that Star Wars Land will either replace ToonTown (and even surpass it's borders)or be built beyond ToonTown. Many backstage buildings are supposed to be repurposed into onstage show buildings as well as the engulfing of the Festival of Fools arena area at Disneyland. If these rumors hold true, this will be one massive undertaking. i guess we have Universal to thank for Disney's wake-up call.
August 15, 2015 at 9:29 PM · Tomorrowland needs an update. Either bring it up to standards or replace it with Star Wars Land. Otherwise the shiny new Star Wars Land will have a miserable companion and people will talk about his sick brother that also tanked at the box office.
August 15, 2015 at 9:32 PM · Disney's said nothing about the site of Star Wars Land in Disneyland. And, frankly, some of the sources reporting a site for Star Wars Land in Disneyland have had a pretty awful record in reporting the identity and location of new attractions. (You will note that there were no new Marvel attractions revealed today for Disneyland. Nor were there any Indiana Jones attractions at DHS, or a Monsters Inc coaster in what became the new Toy Story Land.)

It's 14 acres. That's all we know for certain about SWL in Anaheim. There have been no contractors hired, no permits pulled and no plans shared with reputable sources outside the company. In other words, Disneyland is pretty far behind Disney World in the development of Star Wars Land at this point.

August 16, 2015 at 4:58 AM · My guess as to the year of completion for all these new lands at WDW is 2021 which coincidentally is the 50th anniversary of WDW
August 16, 2015 at 8:10 AM · It all looks great. Star Wars land looks a little bit like the concept images they showed of Avatarland, but I'm sure it will capture its own identity upon completion. The new Toy Story land looks great too. These are much better replacements than what was currently occupying the space.
August 16, 2015 at 8:11 AM · According to the LA Times, Toontown and Tomorrowland will not be harmed in the construction:

"The new land is targeted to replace Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch and take over backstage areas currently not accessible to guests, a company spokesperson said, adding that speculation “Star Wars” would replace or impinge on Mickey's Toontown was unfounded."

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-disney-new-star-wars-themed-lands-d23-20150815-story.html

Thunder Ranch is fairly isolated for site lines. Still not sure how this might impact the view from Rivers of America though.

But I agree with Robert, it feels like this is still really early concept. I'm sure internally Disney has more finite details, but I can't image anything official being announced for DLR until the new parking structure is complete, in 3(!) years.

August 16, 2015 at 12:06 PM · I must say I'm glad that Star Wars Land is gonna take so much inspiration from the new movies. I've said in one or two previous comment threads that I can't imagine what Disney would do with an entire Star Wars-themed land as every ride-worthy moment from the already-existing films were taken by Star Tours thanks to the new update. This only makes me hope even more that the new movies are good. JJ Abrams, if you screw this up, I will personally send Boba Fett to assassinate you! (Better make sure I tell him no disintegration)
August 16, 2015 at 12:43 PM · We need to harm Tomorrowland.

I wonder if they'll solve the fireworks problem. No getting kicked out during the show.

August 17, 2015 at 6:15 AM · The concept art look great as well as the ride lineup. I'm really looking forward to this new land in DHS.

But no defined opening date? Really? The pre-eminent theme park company in the world can't even commit to a rough opening date? Epic fail, Disney!

August 17, 2015 at 10:32 AM · I almost died looking at that concept art. If it looks half as good when built, it will be awesome. I know we're waiting a long time for this, but...should be worth the wait.
August 21, 2015 at 12:11 AM · I don't think Disneyland would have STAR WARS LAND replacing in Tomorrowland, but since I called Disneyland couple weeks or days ago this year, that the Disney Cast member/operator says to me that STAR WARS LAND is not going to be replacing Tomorrowland nor Toon Town, but it will be replacing BIG THUNDER RANCH, as I voted for that too what I agreed.

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