Rumors. Yes, it was coming. And you waited.
More rumors. Soon. You were still waiting.
Finally, Disney made it official.
Star Wars Land was on the way.
So now you don’t want to wait much longer, do you?
But really, there’s no choice…or is there?
How long the new land will take to become a reality at Disney is up in the air…or space, in this case.
Disney does not say.
But the best guess seems to be at least three years. Based mostly on other major additions.
But can you do anything but wait?
Well, there are alternatives in the meantime.
Let’s see what we can do for substitutes.
Remember Star Wars?
Just as a reminder (and for those who may be too young or have forgotten), Star Wars was cConceived, written and directed by George Lucas, Star Wars was an instant hit when it was released on May 25, 1977. Read More
onceived, written and directed by George Lucas.
A genius of a modern film director. With unforgettable movies.
The first movie was an instant hit way back when it was released on May 25, 1977.
With 2 sequels and 3 prequels, the film saga tells the mythic story of the rise, fall and eventual redemption of Jedi Knight, Anakin Skywalker.
The movies are famous for their memorable characters, vivid visual effects and even the stirring music.
They have continued to enthrall and collect fans in the past several decades.
Fans come in all ages.
Enter Disney, as it has done with so many other memorable movies (and filmmakers).
Building on a successful partnership that began with Captain EO starring Michael Jackson, Lucas and Disney Imagineering brought Star Wars universe to life as a theme park attraction.
Disney enters the war
On December 15, 1989, Star Tours, blasted off for the very first time at Walt Disney World.
And, like the movies, a happy ending.
But now there’s the new prospect of a far more ambitious Star Wars Land, which can only be viewed in the future.
Meanwhile, here are two chances here in Orlando to visit the force that have passed for right now. But they can hardly be ruled out in the future.
1. You had to be the right age, very young, but there was Disney’s Jedi Training Academy. It was described as “immensely popular.”
Laser-fighting was a big hit.
But that was closed earlier this month.
It is going to undergo some changes and reopen later this year.
There is no set date on when it will open exactly. It’s believed that Jedi Training will at least reopen by the time Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens opens in theaters.
A new Jedi show
That is scheduled now for Dec. 18.
The new show titled “Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple” will feature all new Star Wars characters. Also, an updated set.
But the kids will again be able to train in some lightsaber fighting.
OK. For the kids, anyway.
2. The force was here in Orlando in another and more adult way.
An entertainer named Charles Ross replays on stage the first three Star Wars movies.
He was seen at the Pugh Theatre at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
His show was called the “One Man Star Wars Trilogy.”
“In the fast-paced show, Ross plays at the familiar characters: Darth Vader, Hans Solo, Yoda, and C-3PO,” said a newspaper story.
Ross has had a long time to know the characters.
He grew up on a rural farm in western Canada, where the film characters replaced real friends missing in the neighborhood.
The show has been described as a Monty “Pythonesque bit of theatrical absurdity that calls to mind the comedy of Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters.”
Lucas approved it
Star Wars creator Lucas and his legal team have approved the show, which ran during a weekend in October in Orlando.
Chances are you missed the performances here but the Canadian creator’s one-man show is often seen at Star Wars conventions and other events such as fund-raisers. And there’s the possibility of its return to Orlando.
You can also connect with the movie by buying Disney-sold Star Wars toys (of course, merchandise is always easily available and you can always buy). That includes characters and a lot of toys. Items have been available since 2002.
Expect a new series of toys when the film opens in December.
Meanwhile, you can now or in the near future fill your craving for more Star Wars by going to sea.
Disney Cruise Line has embraced the Force.
Ships plan to offer day-long celebrations.
Day-long Star War celebrations
The ships will have eight special sailings on the Disney Fantasy: Star Wars Day at Sea.
This will mark the first official appearance of the heroes and villains of Star Wars aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship.
The events include a full day of Star Wars celebrations. This includes a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise.
Also featured will be exclusive at-sea screenings of the Star Wars films and the new Disney XD animated series, Star Wars Rebels.
Disney says highlights for young and old include:
- Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and other characters from across the Star Wars galaxy will be onboard for scheduled meet and greets, as well as roaming on deck and elsewhere. Guests also are encouraged to dress up in their own stellar costumes.
- A shipboard version of the popular Jedi Training experience invites young Jedi hopefuls to learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master. They can then use the Force and face off in a final test against the evil Darth Vader.
- Kids and families enjoy friendly competition during Star Wars trivia games, covering facts from the film and television sagas.
- Star Wars-themed arts and crafts, games and activities will be offered throughout the day in Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab youth clubs.
- In the evening, the nightclub will transport adult guests to another galaxy with Star Wars-themed specialty cocktails and lively cantina music.
- Guests can watch the first six Star Wars films and follow Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke and Leia along their epic journey.
- On each of the special sailings, insiders from the Star Wars galaxy will share their experiences, meet fans and sign autographs.
- Star Wars characters converge on the deck stage for a celebration of the Star Wars saga in a show featuring special effects and guest participation.
- The deck party culminates in a display of themed pyrotechnics, lighting, sound effects and Star Wars music.
Schedule at Sea
Star Wars Day at Sea will be on Disney Fantasy cruises sailing on Jan. 9, 23; Feb. 6, 20; March 5, 19; April 2 and 16, 2016.
Departing from Port Canaveral, the seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, or call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500.
More Star Wars…or something like it?
There’s also Disney and Star Wars in “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.”
The 3-D attraction opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park on May 20, 2011 and in Disneyland Park on June 3, 2011.
Based on the Star Wars films, Star Tour takes Walt Disney World Resort guests to multiple Star Wars destinations where they interact with characters from throughout the Saga. And it’s all in 3-D.
Disney calls it an “eye-popping” show.
It certainly offers dramatic music, as well as motion similar-based technology.
Star Tours was a popular attraction that was “powered down” at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2010. Imagineers then began work on the present attraction.
Never the same show
The twist here is that guests will be able to enjoy the attraction many times without ever having a repeat performance.
More than 50 story combinations are possible for guests to experience.
Star Tours has multiple stories and scenarios that will hurtle park guests throughout the Star Wars galaxy. And all of the storyline’s twists and turns will be random, affording guests the chance to ride the attraction multiple times.
Entering the attraction queue area, Star Tours guests walk into a bustling spaceport. The famed Star Wars droid duo, C-3PO and R2-D2, greet them as the Starspeeder 1000 is prepped for service.
Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO and the only actor to appear in every theatrical chapter of the Star Wars Saga, again takes on his role as the golden protocol droid. Daniels worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to record new dialogue for the attraction.
Ace is the pilot
Guests also are introduced to AC-38, a hotshot droid pilot known simply as “Ace,” and Aly San San, the “spokesbot” for the spaceport.
After winding through the spaceport, guests board the Starspeeder 1000 spacecraft and prepare for Star Tours Flight #1401.
Through a series of mishaps, however, C-3PO finds himself in the pilot’s seat instead of Ace, and it’s up to him and R2-D2 to navigate their passengers through the galaxy.
But the tyrannical Empire is out to stop the Starspeeder.
C-3PO and R2-D2 take the controls and try to outwit and outrun the Imperial forces and a galactic bounty hunter hired to pursue the spaceship and its passengers.
Fifty different outcomes
Utilizing the 50+ random story combinations, the Starspeeder then embarks on a wild trip through the galaxy.
Ride participants visit several planets made famous in the Star Wars films.
Among the locations that might provide haven from the Empire’s pursuit are the icy planet of Hoth, the lush jungles of Kashyyyk and the underwater Gungan world of Naboo.
And along the way guests may encounter Star Wars characters that offer to help (or hinder) their journey, including Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Darth Vader and Boba Fett.
“Skytroopers,” a legion of stormtroopers created just for the Star Tours attraction story, might join in the chase.
“In fact, with multiple ways to experience each flight, guests will never know where the Force will take them,” Disney says.
New show will be like the movies
The Force may be with you during the ride but the real excitement should come with the new Star Wars Land.
Disney officials have made it clear it will be like the movie but will have ride techniques that promise to be light years beyond present attractions.
Blast off on a thrilling tour of the Star Wars universe aboard a Starspeeder 1000. Read More
“We’re going to do things with Star Tours that have never been done in any theme park attraction, at any theme park anywhere,” was one comment from Disney officials.
The new Star Wars at both parks will each have two main attractions: one allows visitors to board the Millennium Falcon and fly what is described as a “secret mission.”
The other is a battle that puts visitors between the New Order and the Resistance from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The parks will be populated by characters from the new movies as well as the classic Star Wars trilogy.
This is something entirely different, however: a completely immersive experience that lets visitors step into the land of a galaxy far, far away, where everything — including shop merchants — are in-character as part of the universe.
Or at least…
That is the working premise…
No date was given for the park opening other than a vague “coming soon.”
So when will it open?
Disney has only said “it will take a while.”
Both parks will have to start major demolition and infrastructure work as the first steps in their Star Wars Land construction. Disneyland is moving some of its backstage facilities to remote locations in order to expand the on-stage boundaries of the park to accommodate the new attraction.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is said to be working on new access roads and expanded parking, which will allow for the expansion of on-stage boundaries for its Star Wars Land, as well.
In addition, existing on-stage facilities will be need to be demolished to clear space for Star Wars Land on both coasts.
Other new attractions have often taken several years.
Disney announced its Avatar in 2011. It is set to be complete by 2017, or a six-year timetable.
When it will open
The major reason why Star Wars Land will not take as long is that its plans appear to be farther along than Avatar’s.
It’s almost certain that Disney would not want it to open around the same time or shortly after Avatar.
That would squander and diminish the much-hyped Avatar (opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom).
So that puts Star Wars perhaps at 2018 or 2019.
Will you wait for it?’
Of course, what else can you do? ###