Tag Archives: theme parks

LEGOLAND California announces new The Force Awakens models for 2017


LEGOLAND California announced a major addition to their LEGO Star Wars Miniland to open in March 2017. While the Carlsbad theme park currently has Star Wars miniland dioramas representing key scenes from the first six films, as well as a jumbo-sized Death Star model, they are planning a whole set of scenes to build The Force Awakens into their fantastic Miniland style.

Joined at the press conference by a lifesize LEGO R2-D2, LEGOLAND California Resort’s General Manager Peter Ronchetti detailed the plans for The Force Awakens Miniland Model Display at the theme park:

“Right now, at our secret Model Shop in Carlsbad, Master Model Designer Nik Ehm of our Merlin’s Magic Making team is working on creating six scenes that represent the first 30 minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” said Ronchetti. “There are two primary focal points – the more traditional character-driven scenes on the planet of Jakku, and an enormous LEGO model of the Star Destroyer Finalizer. At 16-feet long, it will be the longest LEGO Star Wars Miniland model ever created!”


According to the press release, the scenes, which will be in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland and feature lights, sound effects and animation that bring the scenes to life, will include:

  • Kylo Ren’s capture of Poe on Jakku
  • Rey’s rescue of BB-8
  • Poe and Finn’s escape from the Finalizer
  • The wreck of Finn and Poe’s TIE Fighter
  • Rey, Finn and BB-8’s escape from Niima Outpost
  • The escape from the Starship Graveyard

The park announced that this new model display will open to the public for their annual LEGO Star Wars Days on March 4-5, 2017, perfect for spring break.

“At LEGOLAND California Resort, we pride ourselves in innovation, creativity and memorable experiences for our millions of guests we see each year and 2017 continues that tradition,” said Ronchetti. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens set records as the top-grossing film nationally of all time and we’re excited to bring it to life here in our popular LEGO Star Wars Miniland!” said Ronchetti.

Other upcoming additions to the LEGO-themed resort in 2017 include an expansion for the LEGOLAND Water Park, called Surfer’s Bay, and the addition of NINJAGO themed rooms and suites to the main hotel, replacing the castle themed rooms, with the plan to open a new separate LEGO Castle themed hotel in 2018, in front of Sea Life Aquarium.


The new The Force Awakens model will be replacing the model currently in the center of LEGO Star Wars Miniland: a large diorama depicting the Battle of Christophsis from 2008’s The Clone Wars animated film. This diorama, which features Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi and Captain Rex leading clone forces against an army of battle droids and larger weaponry amid the crystalline buildings of Christophsis, is one of the original seven dioramas from when LEGO Star Wars Miniland opened in 2011. I hate to see older exhibits taken down, but a sixteen-foot Star Destroyer towering over the guests will certainly bring a wow factor as a centerpiece to the whole Miniland experience that just isn’t there presently. I’d love to see a built-out Niima Outpost, complete with Unkar Plutt’s shop, and the spaceport, and will be interesting to see how they incorporate a different scale for the spaceship chase dioramas.

While I am certainly looking forward to seeing The Force Awakens brought to LEGO Star Wars miniland, I still feel that there is so much more they could do – after all, there’s Rebels and the LEGO The Freemaker Adventures also to build on, and by the time this opens in 2017, Rogue One will have been released. But I also know that there’s not a lot of real estate in the LEGO Star Wars Miniland area without doing some major surface regrading as the area is terraced on the side of a hill. Hopefully they are planning ahead to where will they put the eventual Episode VIII & IX displays!

Check out the official announcement video for a sneak peek at some of the early renderings of how the new models will appear in Miniland (For just the Star Wars portion of the announcement, watch from 0:19 to 0:49):

Video: Star Wars Story Talk: ABC-3PO, LEGO Star Wars Days, The Freemaker Adventures


The hunt for a new name for my video series is over! Since we mostly focus on the latest in new Star Wars storytelling in TV, films, books, comics, and events, Unboxing Star Wars is now Star Wars Story Talk! Yowie the skunk, Baby Jawa, and I review the latest book for the kid set: Star Wars: ABC-3PO, by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy, with illustrations by Katie Cook. We also flash back to LEGO Star Wars Days held earlier this month at LEGOLAND California and discuss the new LEGO Star Wars TV series, The Freemaker Adventures. For more details on the LEGOLAND event, check out my article on starwars.com: LEGO Star Wars Days. Plus random fun with a Jawa buddy, and then some Baby Jawa fun time!

Quick reviews
Star Wars: ABC-3PO – Two thumbs up! Love the Katie Cook illustrations and fun rhymes by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy. Great for fans whether kids or parents! (For ages 3-5)
→ LEGOLAND California: LEGO Star Wars Days 2016 – A lot of fun! In a year without any new permanent Star Wars additions to Miniland, the park still knows how to make a great Star Wars event with plenty of unique activities including photo ops with costumers from the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, and Mandalorian Mercs; the really awesome Fan Gallery, showcasing amazing Star Wars-themed builds from LEGO fans; family build, trivia and costume contests; and a bunch of scavenger hunts. Plus sneak preview screenings of the first episode of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.
→ LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. Thumbs up! If you’re a fan of the previous LEGO Star Wars series, this new show on Disney XD will delight! Maybe a little more kid-focused than some of the previous series, it still contains the great mix of Star Wars stories with LEGO humor, and introduces a new set of heroes!

Get more info on Wear Star Wars Every Day or make a donation at GoFundMe or sign up to make a per-day pledge.

Note: Disney-Lucasfilm Press provided a copy of Star Wars: ABC-3PO for review.

Disney is testing droid characters for their parks

Well, file this under ‘delightful:’ Disney is testing interactive droid characters to roam their parks. Youtuber DAPs Magic (via io9) spotted ‘Jake’ at Disneyland’s Launch Bay, even interacting with exhibits.

Threepio, Artoo and BB-8 are givens for the parks, but the idea of new-to-us droids randomly roaming Star Wars Land? Bring it.

Push the Talking Trash Can (who has been known to sing the Imperial March) has long been a feature at Tomorrowland in several of the Disney parks.

Disneyland 60 special gives us more concept art of upcoming Star Wars Lands


The preview of the so-called Star Wars Lands during ABC’s Disneyland 60 special last night was a tad underwhelming, but it did produce a few more pieces of concept art and some scattered details. (A cantina and an upscale dinner club!) There’s a pretty low-res video of the presentation(via) and a better look at some of the art thanks to The Hollywood Reporter.

UPDATE: A yet-better look at the official Disney Parks blog.

Still no timeframe, but most Disneyland/Disney World experts seem to expect the openings are at least 4 years away.

Han Solo standalone still on for May 2018 release: Episode VIII has begun filming

han-anhDisney’s earnings call yesterday, CEO Bob Iger said that the release date for 2018’s Han Solo standalone will remain in May – at least for the moment – despite Episode VIII’s pushback to December.

He revealed that filming has begun on VIII, and that The Force Awakens tie-ins have earned the company more than $3 billion globally. Hopefully this means we’ll get a dedicated announcement and updated cast list very soon…

Filming on the next Star Wars film, December’s Rogue One, is “virtually completed.” He also confirmed that Disney will break ground on the new Star Wars attractions at Disneyland and Disney World later this year. (A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of one of the attractions showed up in a commercial for the Disneyland 60 TV special.)

Video: Unboxing Star Wars: Before the Awakening, Star Wars Half Marathon & Rebels

Unboxing Star Wars 2-3-16 title card

Unboxing Star Wars is back, with a lot of catch up on. Baby Jawa, Yowie, and I briefly cover The Force Awakens and my Wear Star Wars Every Day fundraising campaign for Collateral Repair Project, before diving deeper into the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend, Greg Rucka’s Before the Awakening, and the first two episodes of Star Wars Rebels for 2016: ‘A Princess on Lothal’ and ‘The Protector of Concord Dawn.’

Check out the Star Wars Rebels episode guide for ‘A Princess on Lothal’ and ‘The Protector of Concord Dawn’ over at StarWars.com. Get more info on Wear Star Wars Every Day or make a donation at GoFundMe.

Harrison Ford to reveal Disney’s Star Wars land plans


Harrison Ford will share some of Disney’s plans for the upcoming Star Wars attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in a TV special next month, Entertainment Weekly reveals.

Airing February 21 on ABC, the The Wonderful World of Disney special will celebrate Disneyland’s 60-year legacy.

Visiting Season of the Force at Disneyland for the holidays

Season of the Force

When most folks think of Star Wars at Disneyland Resort in California, they think of the Star Tours ride, and maybe also the Star Trader shop and the Jedi Training show for children. But now, Star Wars has fully invaded Tomorrowland during the Season of the Force event. I got a chance to bring the whole Jawa family to Disneyland to experience Season of the Force as well as some of the other holiday festivities at the Park.

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