Disney reveals immersive Star Wars hotel as part of 'living adventure' resort

Disney has announced a slew of new additions for its parks worldwide, including a Star Wars hotel, Marvel and Pixar attractions, and the very first ride for the company's iconic figurehead, Mickey Mouse.

Star Wars

Star Wars was a focal point of the presentation, with the newly-named lands “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” to open at Disneyland California and Disney World in Orlando in 2019.

Following the unveiling of a scale model of the new attractions on Thursday (20 July), parks and resorts chair Bob Chapek told attendees at the fan convention in Anaheim, that there were plans to develop a Star Wars-inspired hotel and resort at Walt Disney World.

Part of Disney’s new “360 vacation” concept – where immersive experiences allow guests to be part of their favourite stories – the holiday experience will be a living adventure, with visitors staying at the resort existing as part of the Star Wars universe.

“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” said Chapek, speaking at D23. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story. You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100 per cent immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, culminating in a unique journey for every person who visits.”


There were a couple of big announcements for Disney’s Pixar brand, the first being the debut of Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, which has now been given an opening date of summer 2018.

Featuring two new themed attractions, the immersive larger than life world shrinks down visitors to the size of a toy, with a family coaster based on Slinky Dog “testing slinky and his coils to the limit”. Designed as a toy play set Andy gets from Pizza Planet in the original Toy Story movie, Alien Swirling Saucers sees Aliens flying around in toy saucers trying to capture rider’s rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw”.

Also in 2018, Disney California Adventure will welcome its own immersive attraction, with the park’s Paradise Pier rebranded as Pixar Pier.

A revamping of the area with a brand new look, the waterfront attraction will feature IPs including The Incredibles, Inside Out and Toy Story, with characters from Pixar films populating the area and debuting during Pixar Fest – a celebration of the brand which will include a Pixar-themed fireworks display as well as the return of the Pixar Play Parade, which is moving across from California Adventure to Disneyland.


Disney has a couple of plans in the pipeline for its Marvel IPs, with Guardians of the Galaxy soon to be joined by Spiderman and The Avengers at California Adventure.

The operator’s new Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride – Mission: BREAKOUT! – will see the superheroes team up “like never before”, with details of the new experience to be revealed at a later date.

Meanwhile at Disneyland Paris, Disney’s Hotel New York is getting a Marvel-themed makeover, dubbed “The Art of Marvel”.

“We’re going to create a hotel at Disneyland Paris that would make Tony Stark proud,” said Chapek. “Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will transport our guests to the action-packed, inspiring world of superheroes including Iron Man, The Avengers, and Spider Man among others.”


As Disney attempts to diversify its offering at Epcot to draw increased visitor numbers, the operator announced plans to bring Guardians of the Galaxy to the park in the form of a new attraction, while also bringing Pixar’s Ratatouille to the park, with a ride based on the existing version at Disneyland parks.

Disney is also developing a restaurant at the end of the universe for Epcot, which will simulate dining in outer-space for a starlit experience.

Operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, which also runs several other Disney restaurants at its parks and attraction in Florida, the new restaurant will be built next to Epcot’s Mission: SPACE and Test Track attractions.

“We know our guests love dining at Epcot – and the restaurants really are out of this world,” said Walt Disney Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, speaking at D23. “Now we’re about to create one that takes that literally.”

Mickey Mouse

Disney’s iconic mascot is finally to get his first ever ride, when Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway comes to Hollywood Studios, replacing the existing Great Movie Ride, which will close on 13 August.

Featuring a “singable attraction theme song”, the experience will be “2.5D” according to Disney, with a no glasses required approach to the 3D attraction, “turning the flat world of a colourful cartoon short into a dimensional display of amazingness.”

Based on Mickey Shorts seen on the Disney Channel, the ride will feature “surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that happen before your very eyes.”

And finally

Tron is making its way to a Disney park in the US, with plans announced for a rollercoaster ride to come to Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Already at Disney’s Shanghai park, the Tron coaster will open next to the iconic Space Mountain, with the ride seeing riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. The nearby Speedway will remain, but its is likely to get an update from its existing indy car-style look to something more in fitting with its surroundings.

Also at Magic Kingdom, Disney is introducing a new entertainment venue on Main Street, U.S.A., with a theatre based on the 1920s Willis Wood theater in Kansas City – the city Walk Disney lived in for a period of time.

“Across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we’ve been upping the game in entertainment with shows like Frozen Live at the Hyperion,” said Chapek. “This new theater at Walt Disney World continues that streak by bringing a new venue for world-class entertainment to the world’s biggest park.”

Disney’s fleet of cruise liners is also expanding, with three new ships being built to nearly double its existing fleet. With two ships under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021 and 2023, an additional ship will also be built at the same shipyard and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Panel

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