New look at Orlando’s Star Wars Land (and some Star Tours news)

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The Disney Parks blog has shared a new image of the Star Wars area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. You can get a high-res version of the image at their blog.

The filename contains the term ‘Delos,’ which jumped out at me – too much Westworld? – but a quick Google search shows it’s a codename that’s been in use for a while regarding the early part of the project, with ‘Atlantis’ being used for the next phase.

Also part of the announcement is news that they’re working on an Episode VIII addition to Star Tours. (Given how much filming was done in Ireland, Ahch-To might be a good bet, but it’s probably far too early for solid guessing.) There’s no mention of Rogue One – and if they were adding something for 2016, we’d probably have heard by now. Given that Star Tours has a rather loose relation to timeline or canon, I wonder if they’re waiting to see how the film is received? Or perhaps until after the events of Rogue One are less spoilery?

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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Star Wars Weekends is one with the Force; Jakku is coming to Star Tours

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Well, it’s finally official: Star Wars Weekends are no more. The event first appeared in 1997, continued in 2000 and 2001 and has been held annually over several weekends in May and June since 2003 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But with the park soon to undergo expansion – and a whole Star Wars area – the retirement is completely understandable.

Speaking of new stuff, Star Tours is getting a new addition: Jakku. If you go on the ride during “the opening months,” you’re guaranteed to get it; After that, it goes in the randomizer. There’s also a “reimagined Jedi Training experience” that will feature both Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister from Rebels. All this, plus the Launch Bay with The Force Awakens exhibits, will debut on December 1.

Disneyland’s Seasons of the Force begins November 16

launchbayThe Disney Parks blog has announced the starting date for Seasons of the Force at Disneyland: November 16. Star Tours will get a new scene inspired by The Force Awakens (probably Jakku) and the Star Wars Launch Bay will open. This will also see the limited-time reskinning of Space Mountain as Hyperspace Mountain and a new version of Jedi Training that will incorporate Rebels characters.

There will also be “an opportunity to revisit favorite scenes from classic Star Wars films,” which sounds like there’ll be no special The Force Awakens preview at at Tomorrowland Theater.

Details for the version at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando are forthcoming, but I expect most of this (except Hyperspace Mountain) will be doubled there.

Today in The Force Awakens: Mark Hamill talks beard, reveals BB-8 is a real prop

TFA trading card: BB-8→ #BEARDWATCH LIVES. Well, sort of. Mark Hamill talks about his Episode VII beard at Yahoo: “…face foliage is almost a part of the costume. And it does bring a gravitas, perhaps unearned, but nevertheless, it makes a statement that they wanted to make, and I’m more than happy to oblige them.” He also reveals that BB-8 is an actual prop, not CGI.

And I wasn’t able to get to this yesterday before the big news dropped, but Hamill also talked to IGN about the trailer, with lots of praise for the new kids.

→ It will surprise absolutely no one that today brings a report that Star Tours is going to get a new mission related to the new films. My only real question: When will it be added? Because wouldn’t that be a nice perk for Celebration Anaheim?

→ In less sure thing rumors, we’ve got another report of where (and why) Luke Skywalker is during the film, and why. Plus some speculation on Sith shrines.

→ Here you go, math nerds: How fast is BB-8?