So with D23 just about wrapping up for another two years I thought I’d look back at some of the highlights from the past three days at the Anaheim Convention Center. And what a three days us Disney fans have enjoyed!
Before the convention even started there were strong rumours that Star Wars would be grabbing the headlines and they were proved to be absolutely correct, we’ll get four Star Wars movies in the next five years; the sequel trilogy and the first of the spin off Star Wars Anthology movies entitled ‘Rogue One.’ Very exciting.
However this was merely the start. Last week the rumour doing the rounds was that Disneyland California was going to put in its park a Star Wars land and there were some aerial shots with a prospective area marked out over the Anaheim complex. Of course it hadn’t passed me by that Disney have been running their Hollywood Studios, over in Orlando, down over the past couple of years. Rides and attractions have gone and the controversial (or unpopular to put it another way) Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat has been removed. Why would this be? Why would Disney allow a park to rot without a plan?
Sure enough, during the Worlds, Galaxies and Universes presentation in Hall D23, a surprise appearance from Disney CEO Bob Igner in front of 7500 Disney fans he confirmed that both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios would be getting a Star Wars themed area.
Impressively both Star Wars areas will be 14 acres in size making them the largest ever theme park expansion and the largest single themed area of any Disney park.
“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the next 60 years of Parks & Resorts than with Star Wars Land. Every restaurant, building, everything will be inhabited by the aliens and droids you’d expect to find there. You’d expect to find a Cantina, and there will be one. You’ll have the chance to run into all the droids and fantastic beasts that Star Wars is known for. You’ll meet characters from The Force Awakens and more from the Star Wars saga.“
It sounds incredible. It will be an immersive experience set on a new planet in the Star Wars galaxy. This is Disney’s response to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Iger also had information on two signature rides saying:
“The land will have two fantastic signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission.”
There have been no schedules, budgets or exact information on where these landswill actually be located. However from the concept artwork it is going to be incredible.
But for Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World that wasn’t all!
During the Parks and Resorts presentation later on in the afternoon it was announced that a Toy Story themed land would also be being built.
Shrinking down to the size of a toy, guests will be immersed in Andy’s back garden where he has been playing with his toys.
One of the main rides is to be a family friendly, Slinky rollercoaster. From the brief projeections shown I believe this could be like a smoother version of Big Thunder Mountain. Other attractions will include an Aliens Swirling Saucers ride.
For me this is the news Disney fans ahve been waiting for, especially for Hollywood Studios. It’s a game changer and linked to the exciting annoucnements about Animal Kingdom becoming a whole day park, with nightime Kilimanjaro Safaris, a water and light show and a family river cruise which looks like a dark ride on top of a truly incredible looking Pandora: Land of Avatar, Disney really seem to have upped their game.
I just hope that the timescales for these amazing additions is not too dragged out.