Star Wars Land at Disneyland California

  • 01 of 05

    Disney Announcements About Star Wars Land

    Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land
    ••• Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land. Disney Parks/LucasFilm

    In 2015, Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that a Star Wars-themed land would be added to Disneyland in California. The experience will include something never seen in the Star Wars films: a new planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

    The 14-acre land will be the largest-ever single-themed land expansion at the Disneyland Resort. In theory, it will be similar to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, where visitors are completely immersed in a fictional world. 

    That world may include themed dining experiences that make you feel like you're in an unruly cantina on a remote outpost, according to a MiceAge report in October 2016. Gift shops may look like a street fair and Cast Members may show up in detailed costumes that make the look like residents of a universe far, far away.

    Plans are also under way for a similar new land at Disney's Hollywood Studios in...MORE Florida. You can keep up with Disney's latest releases about the project at the Disney Parks Blog.

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  • 02 of 05

    Star Wars Land Construction, September 2017

    Star Wars Land Construction, September 2017
    ••• Star Wars Land Construction, September 2017. ©Betsy Malloy Photography

    This photo shows just how big Star Wars Land will be. See the Matterhorn and Splash Mountain behind it to get a sense of its size. From most parts of the park, all you'll see are construction fences. This view was taken from the top floor of the Mickey & Friends parking garage.

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  • 03 of 05

    Star Wars Land Rumors and Predictions

    Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land
    ••• Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land. Disney Parks

    These are a few of the things I've seen and heard about Star Wars Land at sources other than Disneyland. Only the ones that seem likely have been included.

    Opening Date

    So far, the opening date is uncertain. Some sources speculate that it may be in 2020, just before the final film of the current Star Wars Trilogy opens in movie theaters. If it follows previous patterns for openings at  Disneyland, that will likely happen in late May or early June, just in time for the summer rush.

    The official opening date may be announced in 2017 at D23 Expo (the biannual Disneyland fan event). Given that the initial announcement was made at D23 in 2015, that make sense. However, while they may give an update then, my experience with Disneyland is that they may not have a firm date that far in advance. I expect the announcement in 2019 instead.

    Star Wars at Disneyland In the Interim

    It is likely that Disney may add a preview attraction in the Tomorrowland Expo to give Guests an advance look (and stir...MORE up their excitement even more). Disney created a similar preview attraction at California Adventure before Cars Land opened, so that seems like a high probability action. The question is how soon they would do that, given that plans are still very fluid at the moment.

    When the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in December, it's highly likely that you'll see some new things related to it at Disneyland, similar to what happened when A Force Awakens opened. In fact, Bob Eiger announced at the D23 conference in November, 2016 added a new adventure to the Star Tours – the Adventures Continue attraction based on elements from Star Wars Episode VIII.

    You can get your Star Wars fix at the Tomorrowland Expo, in the Star Wars Launch Bay, where you can see props and other items from the films and meet a couple of the characters.

    Star Wars Land Details

    The Stormtrooper Battle may use the new Lightsaber technology that Disney recently patented.

    The queue for both rides is likely to be rich with detail and not just a long, winding line. Think Tower of Terror or Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios in Florida. 

    My Predictions

    I'll also add my own prediction that by the time it opens, Disney will have transitioned to the new FastPass MagicBand wristbands already in use in Florida.

    Based on what happened with Cars Land at California Adventure, I will also predict that no matter what happens with ride design and capacity, Star Wars Land will be packed to the max for at least a year after it opens. And the signature rides will have two-hour-plus waits for up to two years.

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  • 04 of 05

    Millennium Falcon Ride

    Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land
    ••• Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land. Disney Parks

    In his 2015 announcement, Bob Eiger mentioned two "E-Ticket" level rides.

    One will be a flight simulator where Guests step aboard The Millennium Falcon and actually pilot the fastest ship in the galaxy, steering the vessel through space, firing the laser cannons, in complete control of the experience.

    The Millenium Falcon story will also change depending on the outcomes of your actions.

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  • 05 of 05

    Stormtrooper Battle Ride

    Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land
    ••• Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land. Disney Parks

    The second E-Ticket experience will be a Stormtrooper Battle Escape. 

    Also, word has it that the experience will involve several pre-ride transfers and guests abandoning their ride vehicles mid-ride to escape from oncoming First Order Stormtroopers.

    According to MiceAge in October 2016, those creative desires are in conflict with operational reality for the new land. In an attempt to get into more direct competition with recent additions at Universal Studios, new attractions are pushing the envelope of interactive entertainment.

    Plans hint that guests would be guided through long, plot-filled stories before boarding their ride vehicles. That sounds like fun, but it comes at a price: low capacity. MiceAge reports an estimated capacity of no more than 1,500 riders an hour, which is about half of Pirates of the Caribbean. And if you've ever waited to ride Pirates on a hot summer day, that's not a happy prospect. In fact, I'm wondering if I should start standing in line now to get...MORE into those attractions within their first year of operation.