ANAHEIM, California: An immersive Star Wars hotel, a new Ratatouille attraction and the first ever Mickey Mouse ride are just some of the high-profile features coming soon to Walt Disney Co's theme parks, it was revealed on Saturday (Jul 15).
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will house the hotel where guests can live out a multi-day adventure within the intergalactic universe of the Star Wars film franchise, parks and resorts Chairman Bob Chapek told attendees gathered at Disney's annual D23 fan convention in Southern California.
“It’s unlike anything that exists today," said Chapek, cited in the Disney Parks blog. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire.
"Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100 per cent immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”
Two new Star Wars themed lands coming to Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida, will be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, he said.
A model concept of the expansive new lands was unveiled on Thursday, showing pavilions set in rough, rocky terrain and uneven buildings that will house attractions. The lands will include a Millennium Falcon ride.
Disney plans to open a Star Wars land first in its California park and then in Florida in 2019. At 14 acres each, they will be the largest-ever single-themed land expansions, Disney said.
Theme parks, Disney's second-largest division, posted US$1.9 billion in operating income for the six months ended Apr 1, according to its latest earnings report.
Disney has been investing in new attractions at its US theme parks as it faces competition from Comcast Corp's Universal Studios.
In May, Disney opened a land based on the movie Avatar at the Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, and a ride based on Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" at California Adventure in Anaheim.
Ahead of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021, Chapek announced new upgrades to Disney's futuristic Epcot park in Florida that will include a new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction and a Ratatouille ride, based on the popular one at Disneyland Paris. A new theme restaurant will offer views of outer space.
Florida's Walt Disney World will introduce the first-ever ride starring company mascot, Mickey Mouse. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railroad will allow guests to enter an animated adventure with the characters.
A high-speed Tron ride is coming to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, the world's most popular theme park with about 20.4 million visitors in 2016, according to the Themed Entertainment Association.
Chapek also said a new Pixar Pier attraction would replace Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure, a new home for Pixar's animated characters.