A Galaxy of Stories: Disney unveils Star Wars Land at D23 Expo 2017

July 14, 2017, 11:21 PM ·

Every other year, Walt Disney Imagineering showcases their latest major theme park project(s) at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion inside D23 Expo. This year, the focus is entirely on one thing: Star Wars Land. As was revealed last night, the central focus of the pavilion this year is a complete model of Star Wars Land, built on the scale of ½ inch to 1 foot.

At 14 acres (2 acres larger than Cars Land), Star Wars Land is the largest themed area added to any Disney theme park. Both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida are currently in the construction phase of duplicate installations of this land, with both areas scheduled to open at some point in 2019. Set on a forgotten planet on the edge of Wild Space, far from the standard hyperspace lanes, Star Wars Land is likely to be the most cohesive and completely immersive land in the industry upon its debut.

Guests entering Star Wars Land will travel away from the existing theme park and into another world. Here, they will find themselves in an alien settlement inhabited by all manner of beings from across the galaxy. Many shopping and dining opportunities will be present, and guests never know which of the galaxy’s most famous (or infamous) residents they might meet on the streets.

The featured dining location is the cantina, which will serve refreshments from many different worlds. Here, guests can kick back and enjoy a beverage while interacting with the locals. While not a direct copy, this should satisfy the desires of any fan who ever fancied a visit to the Mos Eisley cantina, as this was said to highly resemble the more famous establishments found on heavier trafficked planets.

Within this settlement, guests will also find the Millennium Falcon docked for a stopover. Those wishing to go for a spin can try their hand at taking the controls of the Falcon for themselves. Be warned, however…word spreads fast here, and there is a good chance that your adventure as a pilot will be known to others.

While exact details are being withheld for the moment, it has been said that the Millennium Falcon attraction is the next evolution in the simulator technology pioneered by Star Tours, but it is unlike anything else Disney has ever done in that the ride is 100% interactive. You’re not being taken on an adventure anymore…this time you are in charge, and it is up to you where the adventure goes. There is also no news about whether or not familiar characters will be featured in this land’s attractions, but if a certain duo is to appear, this is likely where they will be.

Guests traveling beyond the settlement will find ancient ruins currently playing host to the Resistance. As a remote planet, the Resistance has set up shop here as their latest effort to hide from the First Order. However, as is true in every story, the First Order will eventually show up, and a second attraction puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the two opposing factions.

Disney is currently even more tight-lipped about this one, stating only that it is the single largest attraction they’ve ever created and that it is unlike anything they’ve done before. Based on a model of the ride vehicle on display, this appears to be the latest evolution in Disney’s trackless technology. While there is much conflicting information, several sources state that this could be so massive and so unique as to be the first “F-Ticket” attraction. Regardless, if the scale of the model is anything to go by, the attraction will be enormous.

In addition to the gigantic model, the pavilion also featured prop models and concept art from the land on display, including but not limited to what is shown below.

Star Wars land debuts on both coasts in 2019, and a promise was made that information about the land will be revealed piece by piece over between now and then, including potentially as soon as tomorrow's Parks and Resorts presentation.

Replies (17)

July 14, 2017 at 11:45 PM · Six or seven hour lines easily opening weekend.
July 14, 2017 at 11:58 PM · No doubt you'll need some kind of fast pass ticket just to get in the land...

Looks categorically awesome. And it was a smart choice to set it on some distant, unknown planet, just to head off the demands of fans who would've preferred Tatooine or some other planet. As long as you get the right Star Wars look and spirit, that's what really matters. And it certainly looks like they will nail it.

July 15, 2017 at 3:33 AM · Great coverage, AJ. Keep 'em coming. Star Wars Land looks as brilliant as we all expected, truly Disney has brought these classic films to life in a way that will bring crowds like we have never seen before. While the new land may open in 2019, some fans in line may not get to see it until 2020....

Keep an eye out for anything related to the rumored Epcot refresh, AJ. As exciting as Star Wars is, I am dying to know what's coming to my favorite park!

July 15, 2017 at 4:54 AM · And whose not to say that this "Galaxy's Edge" planet doesn't appear in a future Star Wars movie.
July 15, 2017 at 5:59 AM · Once again, Disney has redefined the themed entertainment experience -- raising the bar to a level that no other park operator will be able to reach.
July 15, 2017 at 6:34 AM · I disagree about no other park will be able to reach. It looks great and a life long dream to experience Star Wars in person. But if I have to reserve a ride two months in advance and tier it to where I have to pick one or the other per day, then they do not need to be too proud of the technological terror they have created. Even with the best system the lines will be long. This looks great, but they have to change the system in Orlando or it will always be a mess. On the other hand, I love, love, love how they themed it to be a unique, unknown planet. They appear to be doing everything right
July 15, 2017 at 7:19 AM · Great write up, AJ! All these years I thought you were just a rollercoaster guy and it turns out you're a theme park aficionado like a lot of us here.

I'm really looking forward to the opening of Star Wars Land and Pixarland at DHS. With Avatar Land and the additions at DHS and the proposed upgrades to Franken-Epcot, and, ...oh yeah, those FREE parking garages at Disney Springs that TH is so proud of, Disney is on a roll!

And TH, you forgot a few words at the end of your last post.. "or surpass until Universal opens their next theme park in Orlando."

July 15, 2017 at 7:55 AM · Making a long family trip to DW next year, and will just miss it ??. However, kind of hoping the promise of a 2019 opening keeps a lot of crowds away next year. Still planning a 2020 spring trip to California, so hoping to experience it then at DL.
July 15, 2017 at 9:11 AM · Hmmmm I wonder if they’re planning on adding a hyperloop in the future to transport you to a third Anaheim park.
July 15, 2017 at 9:22 AM · 14 acres is pretty small if im honest.
July 15, 2017 at 11:05 AM · @TH Apparently you haven't heard of Nintendo Land..
July 15, 2017 at 1:02 PM · Responding to the boldly anonymous poster who tossed up Nintendo Land.

I have no doubt that Universal Creative will do a magnificent job on Nintendo Land. Just like WDI will do on Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ratatouille and the Tron Light cycles and Pixar Land and NBA Experience.

July 15, 2017 at 1:31 PM · The real new hope (as it were) is that the DHS expansion further advances the "park as a platform" concept -- wherein entering 'Star Wars: Galaxy of Stories' is the equivalent of experiencing an attraction. Raising queues and the act of walking through the area to the level of riding an attraction.
July 15, 2017 at 3:33 PM · I'm sure I represent the 0.1% but I hate this 'Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge' land. It's a collage of known architecture from many location, but non of them represents anything from the movies. What is done is done very well but it's not cohesive and doesn't tickle my inner Star Wars fanboy. Neither does the random collections of space ships form different movies thrown in the mix.
I would have loved to go to Tatooine and walk into the cantina to order some drink at watch the band from the booth or find the Millenium Falcon in docking bay 94, maybe meet Chewie there and see the landspeeder parked to the side. I don't care for a cantina made for a theme park with the engine of a podracer above the meat preparation station. I'd love to go to Hoth or Dagobah to visit Joda.

What is presented is a best off, with all architecture, vehicles, villains and heroes thrown together in a blender. It feels like Disney only wants to build one Star Wars themed land and that is it. That this land only houses 2 rides (maybe a third one if they put "Star Wars the mix tape travel bureau" in there) is also a disappointment considering how popular the land to the general guest will be and the lack of rides at DHS.
Don't get me wrong, every individual thing on the maquete looks great, including the bigatures of Jabba's Palace, the part of a "graveyard" ship from Jakku and the AT-AT walkers. But I would have loved to visit them in their own environment, not in a collage.

July 16, 2017 at 12:25 AM · Any word yet on what happens with Star Tours? Is it being replaced with the new Millennium Falcon attraction, or will we have Star Wars in two locations on opposite sides of the park?
July 17, 2017 at 8:41 AM · You know, OT, I agree completely with you about what I'd like to see in the land too, but considering that I've been waiting 40 years for a theme park environment that is worthy of the Star Wars franchise, I'm elated. The new Star Wars Land (or whatever it's supposed to be called) is going to be an awesome experience!
July 18, 2017 at 2:53 PM · @Tim I hear that lately very often, people are glad Disney at least is doing something. That was never before. They were market leader in innovation not good enough or great they are doing something. Disney had the theme park licence for ages and did a terrible generic patchwork collage ride, now we get the same as a land and that is disappointing. There is some much more Disney could and should have done.

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