Also, new attractions for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Ratatouille' — and a galactic hotel
The Star Wars-themed lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World have a new name: Galaxy’s Edge.
And this expansion into the galaxy far, far away will come with some additional rides, attractions, and (in Florida) even a Star Wars hotel, where guests will get a costume to wear and can interact with aliens and fellow Jedi and Sith in an immersive story.
The news came at the D23 Expo, where Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney parks and resorts, pulled back the curtain of specific parts of the project, which is slated to open in 2019.
At the D23 Expo two years ago, fans learned that one ride would involve piloting the Millennium Falcon in a dogfight with the forces of the First Order. Now, we have concept art showing what it will look like inside the cockpit.
Chapek also revealed that another ride will also take guests into battle — this time from the den of the Dark Side inside a Star Destroyer’s hangar bay. Check out the concept art below.
The Star Wars hotel in Orlando is part of a new experiment called Disney 360 in which guests take part in large-scale role-play, with rooms that look like bunks in a starship, command centers, and bars and restaurants (see below) with droid servers who can pour you a tall glass of blue milk (just like Aunt Beru used to make).
At Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, another immersive world focused on the Marvel Universe will be created to accompany the new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT! ride. Although light on details, Spider-Man and the Avengers were promised as regular fixtures in the comic book neighborhood.
Among the denizens who will inhabit these new attractions: Chewbacca, First Order stormtroopers and officers, and droids BB-8 and R2-D2.
Rex, the pilot from the now-classic Star Tours ride that opened in 1987, will also have a presence, playing music at the cantina as a DJ.
A miniature of Galaxy’s Edge was unveiled at the start of the fan gathering on Thursday night, but as part of the parks presentation, Disney released a close-up video touring through the model.
In other parks news, Future World in EPCOT will replace its comically outdated Universe of Energy ride, which features a 45-minute video starring Ellen Degeneres that was recorded in 1996. In its place will be a different Guardians of the Galaxy experience, which pays homage to Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, who boasts of having visited the park in the ’80s when he was still an Earth-child.
In addition, Pixar’s Ratatouille will expand EPCOT’s France Pavilion with an attraction similar to the one that opened at Disney’s Paris park in 2014, with visitors shrinking to the side of gourmand rat Remy and scurrying through the delicious dangers of Gusteau’s restaurant.