The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago opened up a new Star Wars miniland this weekend, and it is all The Phantom Menace. Located in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is exhibiting three interactive dioramas showing off scenes from the first prequel film:
The Naboo hangar, with launching starfighter and duel scene
The Mos Espa podrace arena, with controllable Anakin and Sebulba podracers
The Naboo plains battlefield, where Gungans and battle droids face off
The new set of Star Wars dioramas, a first for a U.S. LEGOLAND Discovery Center, is made with over 500,000 LEGO bricks and 2,000 mini figures. Additionally, the Chicago skyline diorama will also celebrate the opening by including Star Wars minifigures and other references in its display. The new miniland opened to the public this past weekend with a series of grand opening weekend festivities. One blogger reports their ‘preview night’ experience with lots of photos.
Unlike the miniland dioramas at LEGOLAND California (which previously announced some minor updates for this summer) which assemble characters in a blocky 4-6 inch height scale, these dioramas are at the scale of the regular LEGO mini-figures, so you’ll see your favorite LEGO figures from The Phantom Menace in the exhibit (including a hugely populated podrace arena grandstand).
This is the first Star Wars miniland at any of the indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in North America. The Manchester UK Discovery Center was the first to receive the Episode I miniland, though only from February through June, and there are some hints that the Chicago installation may be temporary as well.
Rumor time! While we’ve heard before that Disney was interested in doing Star Wars movies not in the main storyline (looking at you, Zack Snyder’s Seven Samurai-inspired film), but here’s a new rumor to add to the wall: Ain’t It Cool News reports that the first standalone film is going to focus on Yoda.
The first Stand Alone film is going to center upon YODA. At this stage specifics are sparse, but Kathleen Kennedy is putting together a STAR WARS slate… I’m wildly curious for more details on the YODA film – would this be a young or old YODA tale?
As always, it’s a rumor, until we have official confirmation.
Also mentioned in the same post: Star Wars theme land in Disney’s California Adventure.
In its announcement of the opening of the LEGOLAND hotel and the rest of its 2013 plans, the Carlsbad theme park slipped in a tidbit for fans of its Star Wars miniland. In the press release reposted by Endor Express, the resort’s general manager Peter Ronchetti talks about the hotel, the upcoming Legends of Chima attractions (tied into a new toyline and cartoon), and this:
“And LEGO Star Wars fans rejoice!” continued Ronchetti, “we’ll be gaining another exciting addition in June with more details to come but it will definitely enhance our guest experience.“
The Star Wars miniland at LEGOLAND California opened in 2011 with 7 dioramas, focusing on the saga films and The Clone Wars. At the launch of the 2012 summer season, the theme park added some minor improvements to the dioramas and a lineup of Star Wars character mini-figure statues. My guess at this time is that the 2013 addition will be along the same lines as the 2012 improvements: nothing huge, but enough to make a deal about to draw in local fans, and also host more Star Wars themed weekends.
Disney and More theorizes that Disneyland Paris may be getting far more than a Star Tours upgrade: There may be an entire section of Discoveryland devoted to Star Wars. It won’t be like the image above – a previously published concept by Tim Delaney that imagines a reskinned Space Mountain – but may involve a Jedi Academy like the U.S. parks have and a Mos Eisley Cantina-inspired restaurant. (via)
Hoping to bring in more visitors, Legoland California has made some minor updates to their Star Wars miniland area, as well as hosting a series of Star Wars Days over the past few weekends to hype up the fun over the Spring Break period. Costumed members of the 501st and Rebel Legion were on hand to help add to the festivities in the Carlsbad theme park.
While Star Wars miniland only opened a year ago with seven dioramas (one for each of the main saga movies, and one for The Clone Wars,) in the theme park industry, you’ve got to keep things fresh (or at least advertise as such) to attract visitors. So this year, the Lego builders have created several additions to the miniland area:
Let’s face it – for some of us (or maybe just me) – the appeal of Star Wars Weekends and Star Tours II is rather limited. However, this is one thing I look forward to every year from Disney World, and that is the Hyperspace Hoopla Dance-Off. Here’s the latest: Enjoy!