Like you, my mind (and heart) went racing 100 miles per hour after the announcement of the Disney Company buying Lucasfilm. Sure, the new trilogy announcement for the Star Wars movie was nice, but what really got me (and probably you) most excited is the potential extravaganza in the Disney theme parks. The Star Wars franchise is already entrenched at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Star Tours, The Jedi Training Academy, Tatooine Traders, and a yearly celebration of Star Wars Weekends. But, now we get to think, or dream, beyond just those attractions and events. We get to think bigger….Much bigger! As big or as little as we want, but who really wants to think little here. It’s not every day Disney plops down $4 billion plus dollars for one of the biggest movie franchises ever. This has got potential, HUGE potential, to revitalize the theme parks in a way we haven’t seen since early in Michael Eisner’s CEO career. While I was reflecting on Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm here are some ideas I thought of for inside the theme parks.
Expanding the Star Wars Area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I have to admit, this was my first dream right after the announcement. We’ve always wondered why it wasn’t expanded years before Disney’s acquisition. One attraction, a stage show, and a gift shop just don’t seem to cut it with a movie franchise so big and popular. Also consider the space around the Star Wars area seems under-utilized with a dated Indiana Jones stunt show and the Backlot Express quick service eatery. My first thought was to turn the Backlot Express into a Star Wars character meal themed after the Cantina scene in Episode 4. Secondly, I’d love to see Indiana Jones (despite it being a Lucas derived movie series) bulldozed away and replaced with another Star Wars indoor ride attraction. Next, put a Star Wars character meet and greet behind the Star Tours attraction. Place a few sets in the area for background photos. Lastly, convert Sounds Dangerous to a permanent stage show similar to the Hyperspace Hoopla performed each Star Wars Weekend.
A Star Wars 5th Theme Park
As many Disney Imagineers and Execs would say “Think big and dream big.” If that’s the case, why not? I know many of us would love to see a 5th theme park (5th gate). Why not theme it around something as popular across the world like the Star Wars franchise. I’m sure we could all think of several lands or planets themed towards the Star Wars movies. Do we need a central park icon? Not necessarily, but something identifiable in the middle of the park would be nice. May be a death star or just simply a Star Wars logo marquee.
Attractions in each land would fit the theme. Sit down and counter service restaurants would be sprinkled throughout the park. The table service restaurants would be heavily themed. Shops would sell several Star Wars themed novelties, shirts, hats and other collectibles.
I don’t feel like this would have to be a big theme park similar in size to Disney’s other 4 parks. It could be much smaller. A couple of large E-Ticket attractions, a few smaller attractions, a show, some restaurants and gift shops would be all that is needed. If Disney built it on a grander scale that would be fine with me.
Star Wars Attractions at the Existing Theme Parks
We’ve already covered the possibilities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but what about the other 3 theme parks? Could Disney possibly place Star Wars attractions, shows, meet and greets, and other experiences inside the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, or Animal Kingdom. Could a Yoda meet and greet end up in the Animal Kingdom? Think green! Although, I guess if Kermit doesn’t end up there neither would Yoda, but who knows, anything is possible.
What about Star Wars attractions in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. Would that be valid? If Star Wars took place “A long time ago, in galaxy far, far away” would Tomorrowland be suitable? I guess if Monster’s Inc laugh Floor fits then why not a Star Wars attraction. What about Future World over at EPCOT? Future World strikes me as a place of discovery and conservation. You could potentially stick a Star Wars attraction there, but Disney would really have to put a discovery or futuristic-type spin on it. Trying to fit attractions into specific sections of the theme parks may not serve the Star Wars franchise well, and it certainly may not appeal to its millions of loyal fans and followers.
The possibilities of Star Wars in the theme parks or even outside the theme parks are endless. Bob Iger already said in his video announcement about the deal with Lucasfilm that new theme park attractions would be coming. You can see the video announcement here. Who knows, we could even see a resort hotel themed around the Star Wars franchise. That could possibly be the toughest resort hotel to book if it came to fruition. If Disney fans can think up attractions, shows, and other Star Wars related ideas consider what Disney Imagineers could cook up for the parks and resorts. The only thing holding back Disney and it’s slew of Imagineers is financing these projects. With such a huge investment made to purchase the Lucasfilm enterprise we may have to wait for a while before Disney makes any kind of Star Wars attraction announcements. In the meantime we’ll have to just dream of the possibilities. The future looks much brighter for the “dark side”.
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