Disney reveals more details from Star Wars land, in Orlando
Walt Disney Imagineers today revealed more details from the upcoming Star Wars lands, now under construction at Disneyland in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.
The reveals came during the Disney Parks panel at the Star Wars Celebration event at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of the original
Star Wars film in 1977. VIDEO
Disney's Scott Trowbridge, the creative director who is overseeing the Star Wars project, said the the escape from the First Order ride would be the most epic adventure ever constructed in a Disney theme park. In addition, on the Millennium Falcon attraction, riders will have the ability to control the iconic smuggling vessel, and riders' choices in doing that could affect the way that they are treated by characters elsewhere in the land.
This raises the concept that Disney's Star Wars land will support ongoing narratives that involve visitors in a way that carries on from location to location within the land. Each attraction will not be a separate experience, but a chapter in an ever-developing narrative.
Disney experimented with this type of in-park immersive storytelling with its Legends of Frontierland experience at Disneyland in 2014. Knott's Berry Farm has been expanding the concept with its Ghost Town Alive! experience, which debuted last summer and will return for this summer, as well. We will see how Disney applies the concept with Star Wars land.
We also learned more about the location of Star Wars land within the Star Wars universe. According to Disney publicity, the land lies on a planet "somewhere on the Outer Rim — lying on the edge of the Unknown Regions."
The remote village was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but the prominence of the outpost has been bypassed with the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer less attention, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe-haven for others intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order.
Disney's Star Wars land also will include as-yet-not-yet-fully-revealed interactive elements, potentially including
much more convincing lightsabers than the light-up toy tubes now sold in the parks.
Panelists promised to reveal more about Star Wars land at the D23 Expo in Anaheim this July. Star Wars land is scheduled to open sometime in 2019.
Update: Forgot to add this: Disney also announced that it will add a scene from Star Wars: The Last Jedi into the Star Tours The Adventures Continue attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World later this year. The scene will be set on the planet of Crait, which is seen in the new Last Jedi trailer. It's the one with the funky "blood" dust.
This will be it. Disney aims for nothing less than creating a land that will far exceed what Universal has done with Harry Potter. Carsland didn't quite do it and - I believe - Avatarland won't quite do it either. But Star Wars-land will raise the bar.
Not excited. Nothing here for fans of the original trilogy.
Will a Club 33 go into Star Wars Land? It will be highly anticipated. People will pay top dollar to be a Jedi Academy member.
I think they will do an amazing job with Starwars at Disney and Nintendo at Universal
I can't wait to hear more details in the coming months.
If Star Wars Land delivers as promised, it will be the next huge game changer in the theme park industry. However, it seems that Disney is focusing on the entire land as one huge attraction rather than as a traditional theme park land, and that comes with a major risk: Everything in the land needs to work, or the whole experience will suffer greatly. While I'm confident Disney will do a great job, I am a little worried about everything connecting in a setting completely unfamiliar to fans.
It's sounds like a "best off" location heavily retooled to make it "theme-park smart". That is probably great for the casual guest but as a fan I want to step foot in the original location like the cantina at Mos Eisley and not a scaled up, foodcourt size cantina I don't have a connection with.
I think choosing a unique space port was the only way to go for Disney, in order to do an immersive land for Star Wars.
I'm feeling a little uneasy about this. What makes Harry Potter so great is that it has real sets from the movies that you can feel like your immersed in. This is sort of Star Wars and sort of not. Where's the cantina or Hoth? Those kinda look like Star Wars healing tanks but kind of not. I'm confused. You have this great material that you bought for billions of dollars that everyone knows and you come up with all new setting for your theme park?? Where's the immersion if no one has connections to it? I'm a big Star Wars fan but see this and then look at Harry Potter and wish they did something like Potter. I'm not happy.
I'm a huge Star Wars fan. Like some of the other posters, I was hoping to see things pulled directly from the original and new movies. This is really strange, to create all new sets when you have so much material to pull from.
I think the interconnected storytelling has the opportunity to bring that familiar Star Wars 'story' to life. Good vs bad, light vs darkness in an alien world.
Oh this'll be amazing.
Before passing judgment, I think we should wait to see what Disney will have done with Pandora next month. If Pandora proves to be a success, then Star Wars land will be even better. Disney will have had two more years (likely more, I'm not convinced of a 2019 opening date) to utilize better technologies and create a world based on exponentially better source material.
Disney is creating Star Wars Land not for the relatively small number of hard core SW nerds who will be duly devastated that they can't actually sit in the cantina or walk on Hoth or whatever but rather for the literally millions of ordinary people out in the world who 'kind of like' Star Wars but frankly couldn't tell you what planet they were on or what was supposed to have happened there. To these people, the vast majority, so long as it feels 'Star Wars-y', looks like the kind of places they've seen in the films, and has cool droids and light sabres and stormtroopers and nasty black-robed baddies, then they'll be as happy as pigs in muck and the land will be every bit as successful as Harry Potter. I appreciate the true nerds don't want to hear that as it means they will (inevitably) going to be disappointed, but then I suspect that no matter what Disney did they were going to be disappointed anyway.....
This is finally the second chapter on the theme park wars that started in 2010 with WWOHP and I can't wait. I think Star Wars and Avatar lands will be spectacular. Chapter 3 with Volcano Bay and Nintendo land is also coming soon. What a great time to be a theme park fan!
I am a huge Star Wars fan. Massive. I think this all sounds great. The new planet allows continuity of story, and setting it within the new movies is fine as well. I love the idea that what happens on the ride affects you in the park, but that introduces a huge problem, and one I have mentioned as a challenge to this new land- their line management. So, let's say a young kid gets to come to Disney and the only thing they want to do is Star Wars. You have Fast Pass Plus. You get to ride the attraction once. The outcome is not what the kid wanted. Now the reaction post ride is a negative one, and the way they have set up the line management, there is no way to experience it again on that vacation. I love what the new land sounds like, but they need to bite the bullet and gut FP+. I like the armbands for the key, ticket, purchasing, and you can use it to reserve fast pass like with the paper system, just not with the app prior to the day and not on attractions that never needed it. I know this new land will be successful, I am afraid it will be too successful.
I think the brilliance of WWOHP is that you are essentially doing the same thing as Harry is in movie 1. You are staring in amazement of this whole new world, eating, shopping, and performing small amounts of magic. It's a perfect way to create immersion.
After visiting Harry Potter and expecting the hyped immersive elements, I couldn't help but notice it was obviously missing. Yes, my expectations were built-up by feedback from hardcore fans. Then again, I didn't enjoy the Harry Potter films so maybe that played a part.
How to improve attendance? They need to add walk around characters and meet and greets. If JK Rowling put the restriction on characters within the park, its a very limiting Harry Potter experience.
The concept art looks like a cross between Harambe at Animal Kingdom and Port of Entry at Islands of Adventure, but with a Star Wars flare. I hear about all the cool interactive ideas but have real doubts on how that scales to the numbers showing up for the land. I think the juries still out, but I'm not convinced that it'll be a knock out of the park.
With Disney poised to pump out a new Star Wars movie every single year for the rest of the decade, it makes sense for them to set the new Star Wars land in a more generic location in the "Star Wars Universe". If the land were to be set in a location tied to an existing movie, it would limit the flexibility of the attractions, restaurants, and overall theming of the area. The generic location (out of time) can be morphed to meet whatever the designers want it to be. While it deliberately leaves out specific beloved characters and sets (many have criticized Disney for not doing an exact replica of Episode IV's Mos Eisley Cantina or even Episode VII's Maz Kanata's place), it affords Imagineers to insert whatever characters they want, and to even rotate them without fear of getting challenged by the Nerd Police.
Funny how some folks are ripping Disney for continuity/canonicity in Star Wars Land while praising the way Universal did Harry Potter. How exactly does Dumbledore being dead in Escape from Gringotts while appearing alive in Forbidden Journey fit into the storyline?
What I am kind of curious about is how will the interactions between characters and guest be handled. In the article it states that if you are piloting the Falcon during the ride it will affect how you are interacted with later by others. How will Disney deal with the fall out of a child, on the Autism Spectrum of Disorders (ASD) being lucky enough to be the pilot, getting treated differently at another location in the park for something that isn't at the fore front of their attention.
Why does everything that Disney or Universal come up with have to be compared to what the competitor is doing? Can't we just immerse ourselves in these new lands and attractions and just enjoy them without drawing comparisons?
Vaughn, I think what we're talking about here is the use of Magic Bands or other similar technology to track guests through the land. It might be through a character interaction during a meet and greet (perhaps Chewbacca, through a translator, says you piloted the Falcon well earlier today) or through other set/ride interactions - perhaps they can aggregate experiences on the ride to ensure everyone gets a unique ending based on the previous experiences relayed through the Magic Bands.
Lookalikes? Seriously? You merely need an approximation. Harry Potter is generically described in the books with round glasses. That's basically it. Is it any wonder why it can't be done? The new play has Hermione played by a black actress. I wouldn't go that far for a walkaround character.
It seems the mistake Disney is making is the same one that Universal made. They're underestimating the power of the franchise and not dedicating an entire theme park to it.
This is a new land, but the key to its success will be the quality of the rides. The surrounding land and interactive elements will be the icing on the cake. They won`t make or break this land.
Anton - Would you stand in a line to get a picture with some CM dressed like Harry Potter? Perhaps some would, but most HP fans are not little kids fooled by a CM wearing a costume. They visit WWoHP to be immersed in the world, and meeting an obvious facsimile of their favorite character would break the illusion. The beauty of most of the Disney meet and greet characters is since most of them are animated, liberties can be taken with the in-park lifelike counterparts. Anna and Elsa are just colors and lines on a computer screen, but in real life, they can have slightly different facial features and be played by different real actors (Disney does do some level of facial casting for their "face" characters to ensure consistency among their walk-around/meet and greet characters). Disney also has a whole fleet of "head" characters they can use as well that can be played by virtually any CM. The HP movies don't have too many characters that would lend themselves to be used as "head" characters, perhaps Dobby, some of the Goblins (which already exist in AA form), and maybe Voldemort. The "face" character problem is exacerbated in WWoHP since the real actors appear in the attractions, so any generic cast member playing the characters as a walk-around or meet and greet would be obvious and rejected by visitors unless they were a really good look-alike. Having real life "face" characters would break the illusion of reality created by the land.
"unless they were a really good look-alike"
I'd say the CMs that typically play those classic characters are pretty good look-alikes. Also, all of those characters are from long ago when films were grainy and HD (and 4K) were not even fantasy, so you can get away with a little bit of inaccuracy. Each of those characters also has a recognizable, iconic look distinguishable from other characters they may be juxtaposed against. If you were to dress a CM with a wig, robe, and glasses (with a lightning scar hidden beneath his bangs) in the WWoHP, do you really think the public would stand in line to meet him and accept that as Harry Potter? IMHO, he'd look just like the hundreds of other guests walking into the park with their house robes and HP fan gear, so no, you can't pull off HP face characters.
Thor and Captain American were featured in Disneyland with little makeup. Jack Sparrow was featured with plenty of eye makeup, but no one said they looked exactly like Johnny Depp who has a very specific Jack Sparrow look. Yes, people will photograph with Harry Potter characters. They are there for the experience.
Star Wars...hmmm...I think I once saw a breakfast cereal on the shelf with that name. ;)
Anton: I simply cannot accept your argument that HP face characters would work at WWoHP. You cannot dress CMs up in gear to look like the iconic characters and expect guests to line up for pictures with facsimiles. It might work for 5 and 6 year olds lining up for princesses at WDW, but not for the more mature HP audience - they're simply not going to buy it unless the actors are dead on (not saying Universal couldn't fine some talented impersonators). If you stood in line for 20+ minutes expecting to meet Harry Potter and at the end is just some CM wearing glasses and the same Griffondoor house robe and wand you purchased earlier in the day you'd be pretty disappointed.
What's ridiculous is you Russell thinking meet and greet characters will FAIL to meet expectations. There's no such precedent of any adverse audience reaction. That you think Harry Potter characters are the only exception when Disney did it successfully with Thor and Captain America with little makeup is making a new Russell rule. Obviously can be tested.
Disney probably would prevent cosplay on a regular basis because they would not have control over it (a couple of weekends a year is probably fine as superfan events). They've introduced new rules during their Halloween Parties to limit the costumes that adults can wear for fear of their own characters being upstaged and creating log jams in the park with guests wanting to pose for pictures with other elaborately costumed guests. Also, it's occasionally customary (depending upon the setting) to tip for a selfie with a cosplayer, which I think Disney would also want avoid. Perhaps Disney could bring on cosplayers as contract employees, but my guess is that Disney will avoid officially wanting to or sanctioning the portrayal of lead "face" characters for the reasons I've already articulated and will further elaborate upon.
A minor character is opposed to a major character and you're the one distorting roles. As if people can't tell if Harry Potter isn't a major character and people won't tell the difference between another Hogwarts student. Your anecdote about people thinking any male character dressing as Harry Potter tells you more about people wanting to see the actual character in the park. Universal can make their own Harry Potter character meet and greet more distinguished between the mere crowd. It isn't that hard. They just chose to not do it.
The generic Star Wars continues. You already demonstrate it by describing Star Wars 7. Weird that you refer to something new and different as nothing new. It is all new. You just have to trust it is Star Wars. I would be more than happy to visit the new desert planet that looks like Tattooine. Thats Jakku actually. So lots of unnecessary duplication and cloning. People can only accept so much more of the same which is why I say it's a risk. The new land actually looks quite like planet Takodana in Episode 7 complete with new cantina. Well, maybe if they had the actual Tattooine and cantina, I will feel more comfortable sinking my hundreds of dollars for a trip to visit it.
"Padme can dress without makeup in her disguise as a servant in Episode 1."
"Dressing a 5'6" male cast member with scruffy blonde hair wielding a blue lightsaber does not Luke Skywalker make."
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