It’s been nearly four years since the announcement that the Walt Disney Co. was purchasing Lucasfilm and making new Star Wars movies. Since then, Star Wars has become an ever-larger part of the Disney universe, between the films, carton TV shows on Disney XD (see Star Wars Rebels), novels/comic books, and much more.
Of course, in 2015 there was the release of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, the first Star Wars movie released by Lucasfilm under the Disney banner. Disney Stores are suddenly filled to the bring with R2-D2 and BB-8 toys (along with other forms of tie-in merchandise), where there used to be Mickeys, Goofys and Snow Whites. Stormtroopers and other characters have begun appearing at Disney’s theme parks, as have strange hybrid hats featuring Mickey Mouse ears on R2-D2’s head.
Disney’s theme park division announced last fall that it was moving ahead with “Star Wars-themed lands” in both California’s Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. Now, the company has officially broken ground on both. In fact, the company has released a 360-degree photo of the Disneyland groundbreaking, thanks to its partners at Littstar. You can check out the photo, below.
In the 360-degree photo, you can see BB-8, R2-D2 and some stormtroopers, along with an AT-AT walker. Disney says on its Disney Parks blog that the Star Wars lands will represent the largest single-themed land expansions at both Disneyland and Disney World. To make room for the new attractions, Disney earlier this year permanently shuttered several attractions, including: Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.
Star Wars attractions at the Disney theme parks sound like a no-brainer. Kids - boys and girls alike, of course - love Star Wars, enough to spend time enjoying it amid all of Disney’s other themed attractions. However, Star Wars has also been around long enough that there’s plenty there for the kids’ parents, too. There’s also a whole lot of iconography - as glimpsed in the full 360-degree moving photo, as well as previous reports that the Millennium Falcon will be a part of it - that kids and adults will want to see in person. Disney, through its Lucasfilm purchase, likely has access to all of the Star Wars memorabilia in the world, at that.
Can’t lose, right? Unless, that is, you really loved Big Thunder Ranch.
The Walt Disney Co. has not yet announced an opening date for the Star Wars attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Disney Parks blog