Disney Confirms 'Star Wars' Expansion in Domestic Theme ParksAP

Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has been cagey about what, exactly, the theme parks' plans are for the recently acquired "Star Wars" properties. Even at this summer's D23, in the Imagineering pavilion, things were only hinted at without ever being specifically addressed. Rumors persist, however, that both Disneyland in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida will get major "Star Wars"-themed overhauls, with the Orlando plan going into effect long before the "Avatar"-themed land opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

In an interview with Bloomberg Media, Iger at the very least confirms that expansion plans are underway. The use of the word "expansion" is telling, because that implies that the rumors of a "Star Wars" overlay for Disneyland's ailing Tomorrowland section of the park are indeed true, as are the plans to devote a large section of Disney's Hollywood Studios to all things "Star Wars." (If the latter is true, it would handily trump Universal Orlando's Harry Potter stuff.)

"The only thing I can share, which actually I don't think we've talked about much, is there is a fair amount of development going on at Disney Imagineering right now to expand the 'Star Wars' presence in California and in Orlando and eventually in other parks around the world," Iger explained, in his patented political way. He then said that the "Star Wars" theme park plans won't be confined to the continental United States. "We do have 'Star Wars' in other theme parks... I think it's likely that Star Wars will be in more than just our two domestic parks."

So, yes, "Star Wars" will have a much bigger presence in both theme parks, probably bigger in the Orlando park because they have the space (basically the current plans are to have this section wrap around the left side of the park, staring at the giant Sorcerer Mickey's hat and encompassing the area between the '50s Prime Time Café and where Star Tours is now). They also need to woo people away from Harry Potter at Universal. But the "Star Wars" overlay of Tomorrowland will be just as ambitious and ballsy, a way to keep the theme of tomorrow alive by visiting a galaxy long ago and far, far away.

While Iger reiterates that the "Star Wars: Episode VII" shift from the summer of 2015 to Christmas 2015 was to accommodate the changing writers' line-up and give the creative team more time to make the best possible movie, it's not hard to wonder how many attractions and rides could be developed and implemented with that additional time...

[via Bloomberg Media]

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