What went down on August 15, 2015

Edited: August 16, 2015, 12:41 PM

Is this everything that was announced today?

Walt Disney World
-Star Wars Land coming to Disney Hollywood Studios, featuring 2 E-Ticket attractions, one where guests fly the Millennium Falcon, the other based on Star Wars VII
-Toy Story Land coming to Disney Hollywood Studios, featuring a spinning ride and a family coaster
-Soarin will become Soarin Over The World
-Animation Pavillion will become Star Wars Launch Bay, an interactive Star Wars "experience"
-Limited time themed fireworks show at DHS

Disneyland Resort
-Star Wars Land coming to Disneyland Park, featuring the same attractions as the Star Wars Land at Walt Disney World, replacing Big Thunder Ranch
-Space Mountain will be turned into Hyper Space Mountain, Space Mountain with a Star Wars theme, for a limited time
-Innoventions will become Star Wars Launch Bay, an interactive Star Wars "experience"
-Soarin Over California will become Soarin Over The World

Please Tell Me If I Forgot Something Or If Some Of My Information Is Incorrect

Also, is anyone aware of the location of Star Wars Land at Disneyland Park?

Replies (32)

August 15, 2015, 6:41 PM

Art of Animation Building at Hollywood Studios will also become Star Wars Launch Bay, and the park will also gain a new limited time Star Wars themed Fireworks Show.

Things we didn't learn...Time Map or the new name for Hollywood Studios.

August 15, 2015, 6:53 PM

What went down is a demonstration of how in a single sweep Disney can change the game.

Edited: August 15, 2015, 7:07 PM

Change the game? Not so fast. Disney is still trying to catch up with Universal and the Harry Potter lands (both of them). Disney would have changed the game with the announcement of a fifth gate at WDW or a third gate at DLR. Instead, they announced a Star Wars Land on a world that is new/does not exist in the Star Wars Universe. The only part of the land that is iconic is the Millennium Falcon. It does not even compare to Hogsmede, Hogwarts Castle, and the Hogwarts Express. Universal is on the cutting edge of theme parks NOW. Next up, Nintendo Land!

August 15, 2015, 7:03 PM

Soarin Over the World...I hope that doesn't mean that instead of smelling oranges over California we smell garlic over Italy!

August 15, 2015, 7:18 PM

Exited for soarin and Star Wars but I was hoping more Pixar things , incredibles , or monstropolis themed land, oh and ratatouille themed restaurant.

August 15, 2015, 7:28 PM

Overall, some pretty great upgrades!

I highly anticpiate all the new additons, although Toy Story Playland looks like it's missing something.

Okay, now that I've said that, can someone tell me when the Universal expo is?

August 15, 2015, 8:34 PM

I would not say that today's announcement is really a game changer, but I would say it is enough to guarantee Disney is still at the top of the industry. Among all of the announcements, Star Wars Land is obviously the biggest and is perfectly timed to be as big as (if not bigger than) the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In addition, Toy Story Land gives DHS some much needed family attractions. The other announcements are good but are relatively minor by comparison. Overall, nothing we haven't seen done before but something that many fans are still looking very forward to.

The biggest question after today's presentation is when? The minor attractions are all scheduled to premier next year, but presenters were very quiet on the timeframe for the lands. Obviously you can't construct a whole land overnight, but based on the fact that Disneyland and DHS have become stagnant (plus the latter is really lacking in attractions at the moment) and the fact that they do have serious competition on both coasts now, I have to think Disney will not drag their feet on these new lands. I heard elsewhere that Disneyland will begin construction on Star Wars Land in 2017 once the 60th anniversary celebration has ended and I really wonder if there is any hope of having it done in 2019 for the conclusion of the sequel trilogy. It would be a push, but they somewhat need it if ticket prices continue to rise. In Florida, Toy Story Land definitely looks like it could be a relatively quick install, so with Frozen next year and Avatar in 2017 a 2018 opening for that area seems realistic. Star Wars Land could then wait a couple years before opening...probably 2020 or 2021 for WDW's 50th.

August 15, 2015, 10:04 PM

Avatar in 2017.

So let's say Toy Story Land in 2018. Three years from now seems reasonable, given these plans. Disney has said that the third TS track would be ready next year, but I think if the land were to be ready by next year, they would have announced that today. And I don't think that Disney will want to distract from Avatar by opening another land in the same year.

That puts Star Wars Land in 2019, at the earliest, given the same logic on promotions. Given how often Trowbridge kept saying "It'll take time," or some variant of that, let's pencil in 2020 or 2021 for Star Wars Land. Given that a contractor is on payroll, at this point, let's be generous and go with 2020.

DHS has a contractor on board and there's been nothing happening in Anaheim - no contractor, no permits, nothing. So I'm guessing that Anaheim will lag Orlando by at least a year on this. So let's say 2021 for Star Wars Land in Anaheim.

I'll have more on this tomorrow or Monday.

Edited: August 16, 2015, 10:17 AM

Right now details are vague and no completion dates announced. I wouldn't say it's a game changer quite yet, but that doesn't take away from it being a very impressive expansion. I'm glad someone at Disney has looked at what is being produced in video games like Halo. Nature mixed with Sci-Fi, a harmony between the two. It's not all concrete and buildings like we saw with every other Tomorrowland since its conception. The mountains with built in buildings and plenty of foliage will make for a timeless land that won't need to be updated every couple of years.

August 16, 2015, 9:58 AM

Mr. Niles writes: "...let's pencil in 2020 or 2021 (for the Star Wars expansion opening).

I Respond: Hmmm ... Hasn't someone in this joint referenced the year 2021 before?

August 16, 2015, 10:00 AM

Mr. Schneider writes: "Disney is still trying to catch up with Universal and the Harry Potter lands (both of them)."

I Respond: Um, "catch up?" In terms of what? Attendance? Revenue? Please.

August 16, 2015, 10:23 AM

By catch up he means an immersive interactive land that compares to Potter. Both Knotts and Disney have always had these types of extremely immersive lands since their conceptions with Ghost Town, Adventureland and Frontierland. Cowboys and Indians just aren't as popular as they used to be.

August 16, 2015, 10:36 AM

Disney already has "immersive" environments like the Potter attractions. No need to catch up.

August 16, 2015, 11:29 AM

Star Wars Land is less iconic than the Harry Potter Lands. Simple math. Hogsmede, Hogwarts Express, and Hogwarts Castle IS MORE than the Millenium Falcon. Star Wars Land does not have Hoth or Tatooine or the Death Star or Dagobah or Naboo or Cloud City. Nothing that Star Wars Land offers is even close to iconic as Hogwarts Castle. And I bet when Nintendo Land is announced it will put Toy Story Land to shame.

Edited: August 16, 2015, 11:35 AM

"Disney already has "immersive" environments like the Potter attractions. No need to catch up."


August 16, 2015, 11:33 AM

Radiator Springs at DCA is more iconic than what Disney is offering with Star Wars Land. It should have been better. Remember you're dealing with rabid Star Wars fans.

Edited: August 16, 2015, 11:42 AM

Because Star Wars fans were rabid and annoyed when the old Star Tours went to the non iconic Comet scene. With the non iconic "Pilot Bot". And the non iconic "Starspeeder"...

We should all be thankful they got rid of that and gave us the iconic Pod Racing in 3D...

The fact people are assuming this won't have any synergy with the new films coming in the next few years is ridiculous.

August 16, 2015, 11:43 AM

Disney has been successfully satisfying Star Wars fans for decades -- note successes of Star Tours and the wildly popular Star Wars Weekends. It is silly to imply they don't know the fan base.

August 16, 2015, 12:18 PM

Universal would have done more with Star Wars and better than Disney. And it would have been done five years ago.

Edited: August 16, 2015, 12:49 PM

Mr. Schneider writes: "Universal would have done more with Star Wars and better than Disney. And it would have been done five years ago."

I Respond: Whatever.

August 16, 2015, 1:40 PM

Yes, it's a well-known fact Universal has set the new standard for themed environments - however I fully expect both Star Wars and Avatar to meet this standard and maybe even more. Star Wars was of course the big news, but did you all check out the Pandora model and info also released at D23? It looks absolutely phenomenal.

August 16, 2015, 2:02 PM

Justin Olsvik writes: "Yes, it's a well-known fact Universal has set the new standard for themed environments ..."

I Respond: No, it's not a "fact". It's an opinion and one that I share.

August 16, 2015, 3:10 PM

What was the previous standard for themed environments?

August 16, 2015, 5:12 PM

The Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is the ONLY standard regarding immersive themed environments. Period.

August 16, 2015, 5:26 PM

Oh come on. We should know by now that the correct answer is Tom Sawyer Island.

August 16, 2015, 7:01 PM

Not backstage Epcot?

August 17, 2015, 8:34 AM

I love the assumption by some here that because Disney announced all this Universal is now just going to give up building the best attractions in the world.

Lots of cool stuff coming from both companies. It's a shame some have to pick sides.

August 17, 2015, 8:37 AM

It's not about picking sides. It's about capitalism at its finest.

August 17, 2015, 8:38 AM

^^Huh? That makes no sense as a response to what I said...but okay.

August 17, 2015, 8:41 AM

Is Disney the only one that sets standards? Goodness. Universal sets standards too. If you didn't notice, Disney fans are already foaming in the mouth because they don't like Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. They want sci-fi land and Pixar Land. They want an non-exclusive general topic land instead of a specific IP land. Disney's old standard is general topic. Universal's old standard was behind the scenes. Both Disney and Universal have merged with Universal being first with Harry Potter. So yes, Universal set the standard.

August 17, 2015, 8:45 AM

Anon, not to mention that MANY of the rides showcased for Shanghai and the future of domestic Disney parks are clearly WDI riffs on the current crop of Universal attractions.

The industry always reflects in on itself. We're just reaping the benefits.

August 30, 2015, 1:40 PM

I think they should change the name of Hollywood Studios to Hollywood Kingdom, and Epcot to Future Kingdom?

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