Well, J.J.’s movie certainly did not let the vast majority of us fans down... and actually restored the rampant lack of faith in Lucas’s creation that followed the trainwreck known as the prequels.
That being said, I am sincerely hoping Star Wars Land also rises to the occasion (and let’s face it — almost impossibly high expectations) and follows suit in giving the fans what they want.
Now as Robert has explored in his previous articles, we have a general idea of what to expect as far as some of the rides and attractions. More than that, it will be the details featured in these new lands that will determine their success in transporting us to that beloevd galaxy far, far away.
Here’s my own wish list for the experiences I want to have in Star Wars Land — one for each good Star Wars movie.
Use the Force, me! (Okay, you too, Luke.) Yeah okay, Harry Potter might have done it first in Universal’s Wizarding World, but come on… Disney Imagineers can certainly do it better.
Let’s have interactive areas everywhere so we can unlock the Jedi in all of us (not just the kiddies at the Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple.) Maybe we use lightsabers (only $49.95!) instead of wands, which would certainly be cool.
But how about we unleash our inner Jedi and focus the force via hand gestures tied in to Disney's Magic Bands. It would be yet another use for the ubiquitous and “beloved” band that already gets me everything I could ever want while WDW, except of course my annual passholder discount.
Drink and Dine at a Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy
I don’t care if it’s the Mos Eisley Cantina, Jabba's Palace, or Maz Kanata's castle. Make it look awesome on the outside and even more amazing inside! How about some advanced audio-animatronic bands such as Max Rebo, Sy Snootles, or Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. Maybe even a stage for live music performed at dinner time.
I want spectacular and immersive theming like Be Our Guest, the WWHOP restaurants, Trader Sam’s, or Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. The tables and booths should make me feel like I’m sitting down on a movie set. And throw a few performers/characters in there for advanced interactions like a Star Wars version of the old Adventurer’s Club. Kenobi-loosh!
Walk Around Inside the Millennium Falcon
Yes, there's supposed to be a ride that takes place in the most famous cockpit in the history of cinema that allows guests to “fly it,” but I want a full-size scale movie model of the ship that made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
I could literally spend a whole day inside something like that. They make playlands for kids, make a Falcon for the big kids. It could even be part of a themed Jakku “graveyard” area that has a half-dozen large ships and vehicles and shuttles to explore.
I love the Stormtroopers on patrol and the trading Jawas at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Hollywood Studios. And for my money, I think this kind of next-level character interaction/experience is so much cooler than a standard meet and greet.
Now, I’m not saying to dump the traditional character stuff, I’d still get in line for a photo with Slave Leia. (Hmm... I feel a disturbance in the Force as if one among a thousand uncomfortable couches suddenly cried out that I will be sleeping there tonight.)
Seriously though, having a lot of Star Wars characters just walking around and doing what you’d see them do in the movie is awesome. Think about it: Bounty Hunters checking to see if you’re on their list, Imperial Recruitment Officers trying to get you to sign up, Resistance Spies and Droids (Hello there, BB-8!) hiding out from the First Order goons by walking with your family to blend in. The possibilities are endless!
That’s why I want to see in Star Wars Land. Tell us what’s on your wish list in the comments below.
More News about Star Wars Land:
To be honest I am thrilled by the new movie and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Star Wars Land!
Unfortunately, DIS has decided to clone STAR WARS land vs building a unique planet at each of their resorts. Like the way auto manufacturers build different cars off the same platform.
Walt Disney was the original creator of immersive environments.
Walt Disney lead the charge to tear out and rebuild a bigger and better ride that would allow him to increase capacity and revenue!
Have read speculation (perhaps on this website?) that the new Star Wars themed areas will be based on the new Disney-produced movies because Disney will own all the distribution rights to those movies, compared to Episodes 4-6, which are still under Fox control.
By the way, I read an article about a month before the new movie was released that the Slave Leia costume most likely will not be included in any future Star Wars marketing or merchandising, and is off limits for future graphic novels. Which probably suits Carrie Fisher and younger female Star Wars fans just fine.
Star Wars has been popular since the late 70's and is not going to lose that world wide following any time soon. Just look at the movie numbers from this new movie..
If you build it, they will come - Disney will finally be to compete with WWHP at Universal....
At the bare minimum, I just want to see Mos Eisley Cantina or Maz's Watering Hole. An Ewok village. Photo ops with life size X-Wings, Speeder Bikes, etc. And of course meet and greets with more characters.
I'd like to see a wide variety of background characters walking around, but I feel that could occasionally get ugly with how there is always a family or group of people who feel the need to harass costumed characters.
just because you want something to happen doesn't mean it should happen. I would love to have my own personal secret vault filled with infinite cheeseburgers and pizza, but my own physical limitations as a regular human being say otherwise. I would love to spend all day playing videogames in my bedroom instead if going to school (stuck in the middle of mid-terms right now...ugh...) but I kinda want to have a future.
Look, Star Wars has been one of my favorite franchises since I was 7. But I seriously don't think it should completely take over DHS. Especially because of Tower of Terror. I've spent almost a year defending Disney. But if they change/replace Tower of Terror, I will throw all that away and jump right over to Universal's side. That ride is about as perfect as you can get. I know that DHS really isn't the most popular Disney park, but let's look at IOA.
Before WWOHP, IOA was barely a 2/4 day park. The only things absolutely worth doing in the park were Hulk, Dragon, Spiderman and, depending on the time and weather, the 3 water rides. Then WWOHP came, which blew all of our minds. Harry Potter is still a really popular franchise that will most likely remain relevant for years to come. But even now, IOA is still just slightly over a 3/4 day park. So would the most logical step be to just turn the entire park into just one big Harry Potter-themed park? Well, maybe, if it wasn't for one ride...Spiderman. Could you honestly imagine Spiderman, such a near-perfect ride, being altered in any way? No! That's pure blasphemy! Well, guess what? That's how we'd Disney fans feel about DHS being converted into one big Star Wars park.
Yes I do want Disney to Wake up and see the potential in Hollywood Studios. Currently this park is 100 percent useless as a park… Needs major fixing. What would be better than making this overly boring, overpriced 3 ride park into a destination? Oh, sure Disney will add some new land a few underwhelming rides for 8 year olds and add some over prices food shops…
But why not journey into the unimaginable… They spent a lot on monies to create a new area Fantasy land… And it is below average. One damn ride that slightly ricks back and forth, several meet and greats and a restaurant... Underwhelming, period… I bet this new Star Wars Land will be more of the same.
I want to open their eyes to the possibilities of something bigger. Heck the already destroyed ESPN. ESPN used to be great, now it has no back bone, no personality, nothing. They have destroyed that once good outlet. They have laid off folks recently at ESPN in Bristol, CT since the popularity has diminished with the Disney management running it into a boring, vanilla piece of wasteland. Yes I am being harsh… But sometimes the truth is painful.
Disney use to have a vision but is now blind. They had to buy Pixar since they were getting destroyed in animation by DreamWorks. Steve Wynn once said “In the valley of the blind, the one eyed man is King”. Disney needs to find its one eye again… (These opinions are simply an opinion). If you do not like them, move on, nothing to see here…
Here is your challenge Disney - Prove me wrong, but I believe the Force is weak at Disney.
I can't back up ESPN, since I don't particularly care about sports, but everything else I can.
First off, I know these are all opinions. And I get that. And I try not to be mean. I try to avoid swearing and calling people nasty names. But I look at all these comment threads and I see so much disrespect towards Disney and the opinions of their fans. So why should I be obligated to show respect towards Universal and the opinions of their fans? Now, this might sound a little weird but, my problem isn't other people liking Universal more than Disney. Unlike other Disney fanboys (and you know who I'm talking about) I acknowledge that Universal is great at what they do and they succeed in some areas where Disney is a little lacking. What makes me mad is when people just flat out say that Disney sucks or aren't as good as they used to be. And I personally find it rather
unfair that the number of Universal supporters on this website greatly outnumber the Disney supporters. And some of those Disney supporters (again, you know who I'm talking about) are kinda...nicest way I can put it...kinda immature about it. Hence the reason so many of my comments are argumentative. I'm one of the few people who wants to defend Disney but still has enough objectivness in me to admit when Universal gets something right.
Which leads to my next point:
They have not lost any vision. They can see perfectly clearly. Their plans usually take 5-10 years to develop. And I'm not just talking about recently. Space Mountain, Pirates of the Carribbean, a Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain...all those rides took years just to get off the drawing board. The Imagineers had to come up with good storylines and technological innovations. I know that Universal often gets praised for being able to churn out new rides more quickly, but I bet that if they were to release behind-the-scenes documentaries for some of their more innovative rides (which I'd like to see) I'd bet we'd see that they took more time to plan out than we might've thought. So this slow pace is really nothing new.
And on the subject of their Florida parks: out of all the Disney parks, WDW is the most popular of them all. So they did not need any significant changes for a while. They had to make sure the other parks were caught up. And let's see what happened.
-DCA went from a laughing stock to one of the best parks in the country
-Mystic Manor, one of the park's most critically-praised rides, was built.
-Ratatouille, another well-reviewed dark ride, was built.
-Shanghai Disneyland, the "most ambitious" Disney park ever built.
A lot of people seem to forget that New Fantasyland wasn't supposed to be a new land, just an expansion of a preexisting one. And it's pretty good. The theming and attention to detail is almost on par with WWOHP; the Dumbo ride is better than ever, Enchanted Tales with Belle is a very cute show with amazing special effects; Little a Mermaid is an awesome dark ride which I will take over Peter Pan, Mr. Toad and Winnie the Pooh (with the exception of Japan's version if it's really as good as everyone says); and while 7DMT is disappointingly short for it's super-long wait time, it's still a really fun ride with impressive Audio-Animatronics. Sure, you might never see them on anyone's top 10 list of greatest Disney rides, but so what? Not every new ride has to be the next big e-ticket. If New Fantasyland is a disappointment then, by comparison, Springfield USA should be a disgrace. All it gave us was a lazy, uninspired spinner and a couple of new restaurants.
And, throughout the 2000s, Disney's animated films were a little lacking. ***cough cough, Home On The Range, cough cough***; but in recent years their animated movies have vastly improved. Yes, it is pretty annoying show Frozen is now on everything you can put a price tag on, but there's a reason for that. And it's because Frozen's an awesome movie! And you also have Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6...all awesome movies. And guess what? They weren't made by Pixar. They were made purely by Disney.
And again, can't really speak for ESPN because, again, I don't really care about sports. But there's Marvel and Star Wars. Before the MCU, superheroes were pretty much considered a thing that was only for nerds and elementary schoolers. The only Marvel superhero that most people probably cared about was Spiderman. But the MCU has turned Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, superheroes that were then considered B-listers at best, into icons of pop culture. All because of Disney. And Star Wars. Thanks to Disney, now is probably a better time to be a Star Wars fan than any other point in history. The new movie is creating an entirely new generation of fans while winning back all of the old fans who were scared off by the prequels.
And I know what you're going to say, "so, why not turn DHS into one big Star Wars park?" Well, Brian, while I do have a huge respect for you (I was really touched by what you said in the "Why We Love Theme Parks" discussion forum), but again, just because you want something to happen doesn't mean it should happen. Just because you don't like DHS doesn't mean others do. I don't think the majority of people really hate the park, they just don't think it's as good as other offerings in the Orlando area. And, again, how could you take away such a perfect attraction like Tower of Terror?
So, to sum it all up, no, Disney hasn't lost their path. They are not blind. They know exactly what their doing. But if anything I have said hasn't convinced you of anything, then I want you to consider just one other thing. And I know this is a pretty generic Disney fanboy argument, but it's a pretty valid one: look at the numbers. Disney is still the most highly attended theme parks in the world. The majority of all those who visit still have a really good time. And despite all the price increases, the parks are still gaining more visitors and fans with each passing year. If that's not a sign that Disney hasn't gone blind, than I don't know what is.
Ok, I'm done. I'm gonna go settle down now. Have a nice weekend.
In terms of the things happening in just Orlando only, Universal has shown it does not need to take 5-6 years from announcement to reality in terms of building new lands if one compares WWHOP phase 1&2 to Avatar.
From the viewpoint of adding & subtracting attractions, Universal has also demonstrated that you can add and subtract concurrently rather that the minus first add later approach that Disney had somewhat adopted.
Take for example that from 2010 when WWOHP phase 1 opened till Avatar opens in 2017, Universal will have added Skull Island, Cabana Bay and Sapphire Falls, Transformers while having Volcano Bay, Jimmy Fallon, Fast and Furious, Simpsons, and despicable me replacing Wet N wild, Twister, Disaster, BTTF and Jimmy Neutron respectively.
On the other hand all WDW will have done is expand fantasyland, replace Norway with Frozen and open Avatar at AK.
Universal has done much more reinventing Universal Studios Florida in the last 5 years than has Disney has with DHS thats all.
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At minimum, have an accurate Mos Eisley Cantina, Jabba's Palace, and the Jedi Council, and perhaps the space port that the Millennium Falcon took off from in Episode 4. We should be able to walk around the Imperial Starfleet's warships or the Death Star's interiors.