Disney delivered lots of exciting news during their D23 Expo this past weekend, but their many big announcements weren’t just related to upcoming feature film releases. The company also shared some huge news regarding their theme parks.
The biggest of these announcements is that a pair of massive Star Wars themed lands are on the way, promising longtime fans of the franchise and the many new fans that upcoming movies will create alike the chance to step into a galaxy far, far away. Additionally, Disney also announced a new Toy Story themed land, an Avatar expansion, and an Iron Man experience.
You can learn about all of them and see some concept art that was released below.
Bob Iger made the announcements, confirming that Star Wars themed lands were on the way to both Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando.
Here’s some quotes from Iger about the coming attractions:
“We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single-themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new “˜Star Wars’ planet.”
[The new areas will be] “occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids “¦ the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology
[There will be a cantina where fans can] “run into all the droids and roaming beasts “˜Star Wars’ is known for.”
The two themed lands will feature two signature attractions. The first is a ride in which you’ll be able to take control of the Millennium Falcon for a secret mission. The second sees you in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the resistance.
But the Star Wars fun doesn’t end there. In addition to these two new massive themed lands, other attractions were also announced, including an update of Star Tours, which first opened at Disneyland back in 1987. The new version will feature locations and characters from The Force Awakens.
Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland and Hollywood Studios will offer guests the chance to check out exhibits and grab special merchandise and food items, and the Jedi Training Academy experience will be updated with new characters and a villain from Star Wars Rebels.
Finally, a seasonal event called Season of the Force is set to begin in 2016 at Disneyland and Hollywood Studios, with guests at the former being able to enjoy special entertainment, themed foods, and an re-imagined Space Mountain called Hyperspace Mountain in which you can take part in an X-wing battle, while guests of the latter will be treated to a fireworks display set to Star Wars music on weekend nights, possibly inspired by that awesome concert put on at San Diego Comic-Con recently.
On to other upcoming attractions, Disney also unveiled the 11-acre Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, which will see visitors “shrunk” down to toy size to hang out in Andy’s back yard. Things to do here include a toy-filled Slinky Dog roller coaster ride around the attraction and a spin in an alien flying saucer while “The Claw” hovers above you.
The announced Avatar expansion takes us to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, where the planet Pandora will be re-created, including the floating mountains, bioluminescent forest, and the winged Banshees. The park will transform at night, offering attractions such as the “Rivers of Light” experience, which combines live music, floating lanterns, water screens, and animal imagery on Discovery River planned for a spring 2016 opening, and also an extended version of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests will also have the chance to jump on the back of a Banshee and fly over an alien world in the ride Avatar: Flight of Passage.
And lastly, the new Iron Man Experience has been announced for Hong Kong Disneyland, the first Marvel attraction at a Disney park. Guests will begin the adventure at the new Stark Expo, where they will board an Iron Wing and take flight over Hong Kong and battle Hydra along with Iron Man.