Will the Force Awaken in Disney's Star Wars Land? Looking Forward to the New Rides
This week we have been taking another look at Disney's plans for Star Wars Land in the context of what the company did so successfully in rebooting the Star Wars franchise with The Force Awakens
. We've given Disney credit for delaying its plans
to accommodate the new film's characters and locations, looked at the importance of cosplay
in encouraging fan loyalty for the franchise, and talked about the need for all elements in the land to reinforce its theme
, including cast member support as well as food and beverages.
Today, we will wrap up our series with a look at what will become its most popular elements — its core attractions. Disney has announced that the two major attractions within its Star Wars Lands will be rides based on flying the Millennium Falcon and on fighting against the First Order.
[Spoiler warning: This is where you bail out if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to know anything that happens. If you don't care about minor spoilers — including stuff that was revealed in the trailers anyway — you can keep reading, as we won't reveal any major plot or character developments.]
Those choices seem all the more inspired after watching The Force Awakens. The Falcon is the first "star" from the old films that we see on-screen in The Force Awakens. Having the chance to fly the Falcon will give fans the opportunity to put themselves in the same position as one of the new stars of the film — allowing them the chance to see just how good of a pilot (or how Force sensitive) that they might be.
From what we've heard so far, imagine a ride experience that combines elements from Star Tours and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. You ride aboard a spaceship that moves with multiple degrees of freedom (like on Star Tours), however, you will be in smaller ride vehicles that are each matched with its own domed projection screen as the vehicle and screen move in tandem on a ride track (like on Forbidden Journey). The spaceship in question will be the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, and the action on the screen will change in response to your actions in flying the ship. (Another analogy might be a plussed-up version of Mission: Space — without the claustrophobia triggers and zero-G nausea.)
Such a system creates wonderful opportunities to reward repeat visitors with different experiences, as well as the potential for a competitive element, as visitors try to "fly" better with each ride. We do not know yet exactly what Disney will do with this ride, but the opportunities are there.
For the First Order battle attraction, we know less — just that this appears to be a new type of experience from Disney. But after watching The Force Awakens, I cannot wait to see another fight with this crew. The movie creates a worthy successor to the Galactic Empire, one that replaces the sometimes dispassionate conformity of the old Empire with a fascism that teeters on the edge of unchecked fury. General Hux is one crazy son of a b----, and Kylo Ren is the emotionally unhinged Force user that Anakin Skywalker should have been in the prequels. Forget the Trade Federation — this is an enemy worth rooting against.
So how do we feel about Star Wars Land, now that we've seen The Force Awakens? Here's the TL;DR:
Bring. It. On. We can't wait.
Construction begins on Star Wars Land at Disneyland on January 11, for an expected opening sometime in 2019 or 2020. Disney has not yet announced an opening date.
The core attractions really are the key to the new land. All the other things we've discussed in these articles are important, but if the attractions aren't up to snuff, fans will consider the expansion a disappointment, or worse, a complete failure. All the immersion and story in the world can't save a bad ride. I am very hopeful that all the talk about WDI finally getting a chance to strut their stuff again will come to fruition and be manifested in these attractions. My expectations, at this point, are off the charts.
Since the two sequels are unseen and Star Wars Land will open after the completion of the trilogy, I expect more surprises. So what you suggested could be changed and improved upon. It may not be what you're describing.
Looking forward to visiting the land and attractions!
Attractions are the key of any theme park land, so it is critical that Disney pulls out all the stops for these rides and doesn't cut corners. Even if the land was the most detailed ever created and felt like a perfect recreation of the Star Wars universe, without a headliner attraction the whole thing would be a waste. I am really looking forward to seeing what Disney comes up with and I just hope that they control the hype and don't create unrealistic expectations. This was one of the issues with Season of the Force and (to a lesser extent) The Force Awakens, so while it is guaranteed that not 100% of visitors will like this area they need to get 90+% to enjoy it rather than the 2/3 or so that seem to like Season of the Force.
I really don't know how to feel about Force Awakens immediately after I saw it. During the movie, I kept thinking how similar it was to "New Hope" and "Empire Strikes Back". When I was watching it, I felt like it was a greatest hits package of those movies, but with new actors. Then, I thought about it more and I think this was actually pretty brilliant on Disney's part. This movie kind of resets everything and brings you back to what you loved about the original trilogy. There are just a few characters that are really bad CGI (Maz and some creatures). Everything else looked so great. And, there were so many little puppet creatures that could easily come to life in a Disney park. I thought they were smart to have characters like that, which could be replicated in a theme park. Maz's castle seems to be the setting for the Star Wars Land in the parks (if not the castle itself that was destroyed, then something very similar). I think any ride they build around the Millennium Falcon will be a grand slam home run that will be bigger than Gringott's. Several generations now have wanted to fly on the Millennium Falcon. So, that will be a ride of a lifetime. They really can't lose with any of these space themed rides. They have limitless potential. The only thing I wish is that they were building something for the whole family as well, like a dark ride that family members of all ages can go on. That's the piece that is missing from Star Wars Land as it has been described. Grandma and little kids can't go on the Millennium Falcon or a loud battle ride. Too bad they don't have an "alien zoo" kind of ride, where you could take a Jungle Cruise type ride through the jungle on that alien planet...or a Mystic Manor kind of ride where you would be inside one of the buildings, going by the cages with all the alien creatures or something. That would be fun for the whole family. I have not seen anyone write about this yet: but Star Wars Land really breaks from Disney's long held practice of making a ride for the whole family; Star Wars Land seems to be all rides for teens and adults, not for little kids.
The only people that won't like it are the hardcore Star Wars fans and hard core Disney fans all of whom can never be satisfied
Very upset that WDC is making Millennium Falcon a motion simulated ride.
From Micechat, re DL SW Land...
Don't really know how a Millennium Falcoln ride could be anything but a motion simulation. However, to make it akin to Forbidden Journey, it would need one hell of a footprint. Also, not sure two rides will cut it. They need more than just two. Harry Potter really allows shops to stand in for attractions, but not sure that Star Wars would allow for that. Also, and this is the biggest question for me, how in the world are they ever going to manage the crowds? I can ride Forbidden Journey 5-6 times on the busiest day at Universal. On a slow day the way things are now, it would be two rides max at a Disney park with these Star Wars attractions. I have always said that this show have been a seperate park by itself, and the current box office gross is bearing that out.
Keep in mind that FJ includes practical sets, which take up a lot of footprint. Presumably, MF would not have practical sets, and the track's purpose would be to allow a continuous load/unload of riders (a la Haunted Mansion), rather than the pause/run-style load on rides such as Star Tours. That would mean a smaller footprint than FJ.
I am really curious what Disney will have for sale in the Star Wars Land, the way that Harry Potter items are for sale in Wizarding World. Universal should be thankful every day that JK Rowling came up with not one but TWO shopping areas in her books that perfectly translated into theme park worlds. Star Wars really has nothing like that.
Call me cynical, but i very doubt this will be built anytime soon. Bob Iger has already shown a complete disregard for the parks in Orlando. Announcements just to appease the hardcore fanbase, and investors. He has no real intention to actively invest in the parks.
This comment is in response to the discussion thread about completely converting DHS into one entirely themed Star Wars park.
I think Star Wars could exist in all four parks in Florida as a different "Planet" at each park. I am sad that Disney chose to go cheap and make both WDW and Disneyland have the same Star Wars planet, whatever it will be. They could have had all the same rides but just designed it to look like a different planet at each park. Then each Disney park could have had a different planet to visit in the Star Wars world.
Spring 2019? Give me a break.
Film just hit 1 billion faster than any film in history...so expect this to land to charge into production...Disney got a fantastic deal buying this from Lucas for only 4 billion
Aw man, not more of this Universal fanboy crap, here I was hoping we've grown past this already...
I am a huge Disney fan. Love it. But the new Fast Pass system does stink. They crafted a system that was convenient for them instead of the customer. Now the lines are long for everything. We went to Orlando and did Universal for four days just because of how unreasonable the lines are now. Every, and I mean every, family that is a Disney regular despises the new system. I am sorry to say, but the theme parks have slipped. My favorite place on earth is Magic Kingdom, but I will return when the line for Pirates of the Carribean is less than 45 minutes on a daily basis.
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