Star Wars fans may have to wait years before experiencing the full grandeur of Disney’s planned park expansions, but they received a tantalizing sneak peak of the attractions this week as ground was officially broken on the project in Anaheim.
Last year, Disney announced that it would be undertaking the largest expansion in the history of its parks in order to construct Star Wars Lands at both the company’s East and West coast locations. This past Thursday marked the official groundbreaking for the West coast iteration, and Disney celebrated by releasing a unique, 360-degree image of the project.
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As the Los Angeles Times notes, the future site of Star Wars Land is, at this moment, little more than a barren plot of dirt and weeds, as workers toil to remove behind-the-scenes buildings. With the help of digital magic, however, Disney was able to interject more than a little of the Star Wars saga into the image, animating the 360-degree view with stormtroopers, TIE fighters, X-wings, and even Imperial Walkers. Not content to let the fun be limited to vehicles and soldiers, R2-D2 and BB-8 also appear in the image, with the smaller spherical droid looking over the site plans.
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Few details have been revealed about the project, yet its scope is impressive, and historic for Disney’s parks. The Anaheim expansion will eventually cover 14 acres, causing the park to close no fewer than 10 other attractions and eateries, some for good. No other expansion or renovation in the history of Disney’s parks has ever approached the scale of Star Wars Land.
When Disney first revealed their intention to construct the Star Wars-themed attractions at last year’s D23 conference, as the Inquisitr reported at the time, several concept drawings were released, as well as a few details about what the finished products would eventually look like. Disney noted at the time that both Star Wars Lands are intended to be fully immersive experiences, allowing visitors to interact with a wide variety of in-universe characters.
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The areas will be constructed around two featured attractions, one of which will allow guests to take control of the Millennium Falcon for an undisclosed, “secret” mission. One of the original pieces of concept art released during the announcement of Star Wars Land prominently featured the iconic spaceship, suggesting that it may serve as one of the focal points of the overall expansion. The second attraction, while unknown at this time, will reportedly feature a battle between the forces of the Resistance and the First Order.
According to the official Disney blog, both Star Wars Lands will take the form of an as-yet-unseen planet located within the film universe. They assert that this nameless world will be “inhabited” by humanoid aliens as well as droids and other denizens of the galaxy dreamed up by George Lucas.
“Star Wars-themed lands will be the largest ever single-themed land expansions at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.”
When first announcing the Star Wars Lands, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that they would include not only costumed characters, but also the “fantastic roaming beasts that Star Wars is known for.” A cantina and trading post will also be included in the expansions, as the Daily Mail notes, along with character meet-and-greets that will allow visitors to interact with their favorite heroes and villains from the Star Wars universe.
[Photo by Disney via Getty Images]