Has Disney Gone Insane With Star Wars?

No. We’re not saying that Disney has gotten deranged or insane over Star Wars. But you have to wonder…

You have to wonder what’s up these days at the Walt Disney World Resort with much of the park being closed for repairs…has this led to insanity for not only park-goers but Disney itself?

The suggestion came from a respected internet site.

They had this headline:


No, it was not a question.

Of course, those new additions at the park are causing visitor disruption. And confusion.

But what is happening with “Star Wars?”

The “insanity” note mentioned that Disney Orlando ticket buyers in the future will soon be able to see Star Wars Land…

Old news, of course.

And no real firm date of when that will happen.

But the most recent “Star Wars” film has greatly help fan the flames of the public interest.

“Following the extraordinary popularity of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ Walt Disney World Resort unveils even more Star Wars-themed entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios — including one of the most elaborate fireworks and projection shows in the park’s history,” the story said.

Disney ticket buyers already know many details about what they will be able to see in the future.

But we’ll give you an update here.

And also get into some helpful hacks on the subject or insider details that might add to your appreciation of what Disney has done so far…and what it will bring in the future.

For even casual fans, there’s been no letdown of new developments.

The latest in what was called a “big announcement” was not from Disney.

Right here and not very far away

But it was news that the “Star Wars Celebration” was returning to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center on Easter Weekend of next year.

This event is often described as the “ultimate fan experience…” based on a galaxy far far away.

It’s obvious good news for convention and business promoters. And it will certainly do nothing but add even more interest to Disney’s own future plans.

The convention will be held April 13-15. Next year.

Ticket sales (if you want a head start) start May 25 at 3 p.m. Four-day, single-day and VIP tickets will be sold.

This is a relatively small event compared to the millions who will get their Disney World tickets to Star Wars when it opens here and at Disneyland in California.

But the last Star Wars celebration did attract 30,000 people.

As the “insane” story noted, Star Wars themed desserts, attractions and shows have been popping up for months at Disney — even as more of the Orlando park’s attractions are shut down to make way for the new land. Perhaps the best received of any related event:

There’s no question the Star Wars fireworks show is the most elaborate projection show in the park’s more than 40-year history

But the nightly event…not every night but on select evenings…is really just a prelude to what’s ahead.

Changing entertainment experiences

The new show, if you have not seen it, is being described as changing how guests’ experience evening entertainment.

Sure, video projected shows are not new such as “Celebrate the Magic.” But the combination of lasers, special effects, etc. is a technological milestone.

No park at Walt Disney World currently offers a combined projection mapping-and-fireworks experience. Also:

Neither of the Disney parks in California or Florida have ever introduced one specifically for a certain genre of movies and their characters.

What else is now at Disney?

Already, a lot for fans to get passionate about. Perhaps the most popular are:

—Reports are that fans have been flocking to the live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.” Well-known characters with several shows daily at the Center Stage area near “The Great Movie Ride.”

—Or the multiple-times-a-day Stormtroopers March in formation from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the Center.

—Or “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” the journey to several destinations via a digital presentation with Dolby 3D. Utilizing motion simulator-based technology accompanied by a dramatic musical score.

But for Disney World ticket buyers this summer, there’s a lot more going on. And often technology will be the primary motive for being there…but there are also some very familiar touches.

Striking technology touches and familiar characters

The delayed “Rivers of Light” at Animal Kingdom and many other events opening this summer are intended to make it not just a daytime but add to nighttime going as well.

Tiffins’ is a new restaurant set to open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer.

It will celebrate the “art of traveling,” whatever that is…(and perhaps only Disney could come up with that phrase to describe it).

It will include some waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Open for both lunch and dinner.

The menu is described as featuring diverse food drawn from places that inspired the creation of Animal Kingdom.

What else?

Just a few repeats of what summer will bring…

Some new meet and greet characters

One is Frozen’s Olaf. He will be at the Celebrity Spotlight in the Echo Lake District.

Also “old-timers” Mickey and Minnie. Starring in Red Carpet Dreams opening near the Commissary Lane and the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theatre restaurant.

And then there’s the Frozen sisters to meet when “Frozen Ever After” opens at Epcot. They will be found holding court at the Royal Sommerhaus.

Another historically popular attraction will be “Soarin’ Around the World.”

Taking you to far-flung lands to see some of the best known natural landscapes and man-made wonders. At Epcot.

The technology again. For that, it is expected to be as good as anything Disney has ever offered.

Disney Springs is undergoing the largest expansion in the history of downtown Disney. So what that means:

New shopping. But also new restaurants (STK Orlando is among new offerings that should have wide appeal. Steak’s appeal is universal except for vegetarians).

STK is a modern steakhouse that will offer versions of new dishes including burgers from Wagyu beef and Lobster Mac & Cheese (that should be different enough for anyone’s particular taste).

Other new restaurants will include Amorette’s Patisserie, B.B.Wolf’s Sausage Co., the Daily Poutine.

And Sprinkles. Which you may already know offers the world’s first ATM cupcake machine. Yes, a machine.

New restaurants at Disney Springs

Some of those restaurants are due to open this month.

Thirty new retailers are also expected to be in operation this summer.

But that’s not all.

A new live stage show is expected at the Magic Kingdom.

“Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” will definitely be for the kids with characters from some movies such as “Tangled” and the “Princess and the Frog.”

Not all of this relates to “Star Wars” but then, it is certainly adding to the frantic mix of activity, isn’t it?

It’s easy to forget that the films were the fastest ever to reach the billion dollar sales mark in ticket sales.

There’s always something new to learn about the franchise, however, even for die-hard fans.

For instance, some of the world’s most famous directors on first viewing were dubious the first film would even be profitable…or did you know about the Ronald Reagan connection (no, he was not seen hidden somewhere in the film)…or that perhaps the movie’s most famous actor viewed his own dialogue with the dismissive term of “rubbish?”

Well, as we said, there’s always something new to learn.

Many of us already know a lot about “Star Wars” but here are some character revelations from books and films that will make your enjoyment of Disney’s offerings a lot more fun not only today…but also when you see Star Wars Land (whenever it does finally open).

So let’s start with famed directors whose names you undoubtedly know who did not like the film.

They did not enjoy the film

Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian de Palma, and John Landis saw rough footage of it at a time when it was far from finished. The air battle scenes looked like dogfight sequences from World War II films.

When the preview was finished, everyone was strangely silent.

“The crawl at the beginning looks like it was written on a driveway,” de Palma told director George Lucas. “It goes on forever. It’s gibberish.”

Landis also didn’t think much of it. He asked asked Lucas:

“George, is everybody in outer space white?”

Spielberg, however, saw its potential.

He reportedly told a worried Lucas his film would make millions.

He is believed to be the first to predict it would be a huge hit after that disturbing first screening.

Spielberg was then finishing another film that would change the industry’s future, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

The two directors had a discussion over the fate of the two films:

They made a bet.

Each would give the other 2.5 percent of their cut of their film if it made the most money.

“Close” did OK, but the first “Star Wars” did even better.

Spielberg earned an estimated $40 million from the bet.

Reagan’s role in Star Wars

Then, there was the Ronald Reagan connection.

Most people don’t know this but the musical score was inspired so much by an earlier film starring Ronald Regan, there were complaints.

John Williams composed the highly rated “Star Wars” music. But an earlier work was similar.

It was Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s music for the 1942 film “King’s Row,” which modern-day movie-goers are probably not even aware of.

Ronald Reagan was the star. He was then an up and coming Hollywood movie idol.

In the film, a doctor jealous of Reagan being favored by a woman cuts off his legs. An act of unmitigated spite. Cruelly and horribly memorable (what kind of doctor would do that, anyway?).

Reagan wakes up in the hospital and utters one of the most famous lines in movie history:

“Where’s the rest of me?”

As president, Reagan requested that the original orchestra score to the film “King’s Row” be played during his first inauguration.

Then, there were the famous actors in Star Wars.

Actors who didn’t like it either

Even those who don’t know his name saw the late (and great) Alec Guinness in many movies.

He was better known to many as as the dignified and noble Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was the best-known of any actors in the early films.

But in his own official biography, he did not have a high opinion of his role.

In fact, he wrote to a friend:

“I have been offered a movie (20th Cent. Fox) which I may accept, if they come up with proper money. London and N. Africa, starting in mid-March. Science fiction—which gives me pause—but is to be directed by Paul [sic] Lucas who did American Graffiti, which makes me feel I should. Big part. Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps.”

Another Guinness letter was critical of the dialogue:

“New rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable,”

Guinness only took the role after they doubled his pay.

He also had complaints about other cast members, saying they treated him like he was “106 years old.”

No wonder. The actor never got Harrison Ford’s name right. He repeatedly referred to him as “Tennyson.”

If a film was made about Guinness’s participation, it would be something about an actor’s “revenge.”

Guinness filmed for just one day. He started at 8:30 a.m. and finished his scenes just after noon.

He reportedly was paid a quarter of a percentage point for his efforts…which translated into millions of dollars.

And talk about names and dialogue.

All of the cast reportedly had trouble with that.

“None of us knew what we were saying,” said Carrie Fisher of some of her comments as Princess Leia.

“You can type this shit, but you can’t say it,” reportedly said Harrison Ford (Tennyson, to Guinness at least).

Not all characters were friendly off-screen

Then, there was some bickering and character conflicts.

In the films, C-3PO’s Anthony Daniels and R2-D2’s Kenny Baker are buddies.

Hardly the case in real life.

“Once when I said hello to him he just turned his back on me and said, ‘Can’t you see I’m having a conversation?’ I was blazing with rage… It was the rudest thing anyone had ever done to me.”

So said Baker to Hollywood.com in 2005.

And so is Disney, under the stress of so much construction and so many big changes, going insane over “Star Was?”


Not anymore than the dubious directors and the startled stars who never expected such a happy ending. ###