I’ll believe it when I see it, but I am much more optimistic about this happening now that Disney owns the franchise.
This looks pretty cool. I think there’s other things that I’d rather spend $150 on, but this does look pretty cool.
I am fine with Tatiana Maslany playing *all the roles*.
This weekend was Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. There was tons of Disney theme park related news at the event, but here is what has got me the most excited:
## Star Wars Land at The Studios
The rumors are now a reality: [Star Wars land is coming to The Studios](http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/star-wars-themed-lands-coming-to-walt-disney-world-and-disneyland-resorts/). In what is being described as 14-acre, immersive experience, The Studios is getting a whole section dedicated to one of my favorite film franchises. I expected the land to have great theming, retail, and dining, but I didn’t expect these kinds of attractions:
> These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.
I get to fly a Millennium Falcon? Are you kidding me? That sounds amazing. With the level of detail expected in this area, it will come as no surprise that Jim Hill has recently said Joe Parinella, who was one of the keys to bringing Harry Potter to Universal Orlando, is the one leading this effort.
Relatedly, and in order to satisfy Star Wars fans while Star Wars land is being constructed, Disney also [announced the Star Wars Launch Bay](http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/star-wars-enhancements-new-experiences-coming-soon-to-walt-disney-world-and-disneyland-resorts/) for later this year. The Launch Bar will feature “special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars character.” It also sounds like Star Wars Weekends will be upgraded to the new *Season of the Force* promotion in “early 2016”, and will include new fireworks show set to Star Wars music.
If you want to hear more about Star Wars land, here a (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbOgVOIBPD0)
## Toy Story Land at The Studios
Though I heard rumors that there might be something Pixar-related coming to The Studios, I did not anticipate it would be [an area completely focused on Toy Story](http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/toy-story-land-to-come-to-life-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/). That said, I am pretty pleased with what it appears that we are getting. Yes, the green aliens attraction is only a spinner, but the Slinky Dog coaster looks pretty cool. Also, anything that increases capacity at *Toy Story Midway Mania* is a welcome addition.
Much like Star Wars land, what really impresses me here is how much detail is being paid to the theming. For example, the story being the coaster is that Andy used a roller coaster set in his back yard, but decided to use Slinky Dog instead of a regular coaster car to go around the track. I love it.
Also, Jim Hill has already said that Toy Story land is just the beginning for Pixar at The Studios. He is still hearing rumors about some kind of Cars Land being added, as well as one other Pixar section (which currently hasn’t been decided.)
If you want more details about Toy Story Land check out this(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3JA2NUN0Dg).
### Jungle Cruise Restaurant at Magic Kingdom
The rumors about this were pretty spot on: [Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen] is coming to the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant is described as follows:
> At the Jungle Skipper Canteen, guests will be able to experience “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” in one of several unique dining rooms – including a crew mess hall and a once-hidden secret meeting room of the famed Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The restaurant will also be staffed by Jungle Cruise Skippers.
I would assume that means we get the campy humor that the *Jungle Cruise* is known for, but the announcement is kind of light on details. For example, will this be a table service only restaurant? Or will it be similar to *Be Our Guest*, with quick service lunch (and breakfast?) and table service dinner? Personally, I’m kind of hoping they follow the *Be Our Guest* model.
## Pandora – The World of Avatar
Disney announced the official name of *Avatarland*: [Pandora – The World of Avatar](http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/pandora-the-world-of-avatar-will-be-new-land-at-disneys-animal-kingdom/). Until I have time to create an auto-replace (and to keep from confusing things with the jewelry brand of the same name), however, I’m going to just stick with *Avatarland* .
The [model of *Avatarland*](http://www.insidethemagic.net/2015/08/d23-expo-2015-avatar-land-previewed-by-imagineers-with-giant-pandora-model-alpha-centauri-expeditions-story/) was spectacular. The idea of floating mountains, the special animatronic animals and Na’vi, and the change over from day to night make this place seem like it could be really special. Of course, the new land also includes a couple of new attractions: *AVATAR: Flight of Passage* that will “allow guests to experience what it’s like to fly with a banshee”, and a currently unnamed (??) boat ride.
Here’s a (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWivSgWdP0M) if you want to see more of the model and its exhibit.
### Night Time Activities at the Animal Kingdom
In addition to *Avatarland*, Disney also provided [more details on two new nighttime editions to Animal Kingdom](http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/new-details-released-on-rivers-of-light-sunset-kilimanjaro-safaris-at-disneys-animal-kingdom/). *Rivers of Light* “will combine live performers with floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery”, while *Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris* will be “a new nighttime adventure that will allow guests to travel through the African savanna amid the orange glow of the setting sun.” As someone who has enjoyed Animal Kingdom the first day I visited it, I cannot wait to have additional nighttime entertainment to keep me in the park longer. I am especially interested in seeing how they extend “the orange glow of the setting sun” into the night.
### Soarin’ Around the World Coming to Epcot Next Year
The original rumors were that Disney’s new *Soarin’ Around the World* film would be exclusive to Shanghai for five years. Thankfully, those rumors turned out to be false and [Epcot will see the new Soarin’ film and a digital projection upgrade](http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/soarin-around-the-world-coming-to-walt-disney-world-and-disneyland-resorts/ “Soarin’ Around the World”) “beginning next year.” I am, of course, excited to see this upgrade to *Soarin’*, but I am also excited to see this pattern of Disney updating or enhancing attractions at multiple parks at the same time. I understand the logic behind having certain parks be “the place you go to see Attraction X”, but I feel like this new approach of updating things everywhere is going to cause more overall excitement to Disney fans.
> When Kevin Doyle’s wife Eileen passed away in November of 2012 from pancreatic cancer, he knew exactly how he planned to honor the self-proclaimed geek to this dork: he would walk the approximate 645-mile journey from the “Star Wars” museum Rancho Obi-Wan all the way to San Diego Comic-Con… in full Stormtrooper armor.
It’s getting a little dusty over here.
It’s tough to find anything wrong with this decision.
> On Saturday Afternoon, August 15, Disney Parks and Resorts wil host a presentation of what’s coming to Disney’s theme parks, hosted by new Parks Chairman Bob Chapek. The last D23 Expo did not have a Parks and Resorts presentatio, so fans can expect some new excitement this year.
Time for the rumor mill to really pick up.
> Guests attending Star Wars Weekends will be able to find shelter and sustenance in the Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience. Reports have been made that this location was once a known hangout of Rebel pilots, aliens and smugglers; with the immersive environment and stellar bites—I understand why!
This looks like a total *splurge* type of thing, but I bet Elyssa and I would do it. I mean, they have “Lightsaber Bites” (which are corn dogs). How could we say no?
I feel like this has been rumored since the idea of “spin-off” movies was first announced a couple of years ago.
Did Josh Trank leave a Star Wars movie, or [get fired as the Red Sox manager](http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7091109/report-terry-francona-pain-meds-use-alarmed-boston-red-sox)?
Interesting. If the franchise is going to put out this many movies, I’m sure this isn’t the last time this will happen.
This was SOOOOO GOOOD.
Marvel Unlimited is such a good way to catch up on older comics, and they seem to keep making it better.
I am so pumped that Rucka is so heavily involved with the various Star Wars Ep. 7 prequel stuff.
You can now get [the Star Wars movie bundle](https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie-collection/star-wars-digital-movie-collection/id982709307?at=10l5TL&ct=) on iTunes.
They are offering a lot of cool perks, but $399 *before* tax is pretty steep (even with a 15% Annual Pass discount.)
Really bummed that I won’t be down there to be turned into an Imperial Pilot.
I have already pre-ordered it [at Amazon](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034551162X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=034551162X&linkCode=as2&tag=johkiv-20&linkId=XWSDZCDRYXHMTPV7)[^f5836].
[^f5836]: Affiliate link.
A Star Wars book written by Greg Rucka? Please. Take my money.
Tickets are $250 **per person.** Woah.