Star Wars Remodel Set for Tomorrowland at Disneyland

Disney is changing things quickly as it uses the Star Wars franchise that it purchased in 2012. There have been rumors circulating for some time that aspects of Disneyland would be changed or new land used for a Star Wars Land. Now it seems some of that has leaked out. This information comes from MiceChat.com, a site devoted to all things Disneyland.

“While no exact date has been set for the project to begin, the current plan will see the complete reskin and remodel of the main Tomorrowland buildings flanking the entry walkway off the Central Plaza. The theme for the opening act of Tomorrowland will be a futuristic looking “space port”, that frames the existing attractions nicely while setting up the environment for all the new Star Wars experiences planned for the back half of the land whenever they finally get approved.

If funding holds, The Astro Orbiter, perhaps the most unfortunately placed of all of Disneyland’s attractions, will be ripped out and go to Yesterland temporarily. A new version of this classic spinner is planned for Tomorrowland. But when it reappears as part of the Star Wars project it is supposed to be placed on the upper levels of the buildings on the back half of the land near Space Mountain. The old PeopleMover tracks over that section of the land will also be torn out in this first phase. Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and Star Tours will continue to operate throughout this construction project, as TDA’s planners have plotted out a series of moveable construction walls and temporary walkways through the aesthetic re-Imagineering of the building’s exteriors.

But the real substance of the Star Wars Land project, the new rides and shows, are all backfilled into phase two of this Tomorrowland project. And phase two is all still on temporary hold for Disneyland, and appear to be simply cancelled for Disney’s Hollywood Studios out at WDW. The optimists at Imagineering however are using this additional time stuck in limbo to their advantage. The Imagineers assigned to the Star Wars Tomorrowland project have now been debriefed on the characters and plotlines coming for Star Wars Episode VII that opens in theaters in about two years. The original plan for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland relied heavily on characters and plot points from the first three Star Wars films, with attractions like a Millenium Falcon walk-thru on the old PeopleMover platform, a wild Tatooine cantina replacing Tomorrowland Terrace, and a speeder bike ride through an Ewok village where Autopia currently sits. Those key attractions are all still part of phase two, but they are being layered or tweaked to include references from Episode VII that will be released in theaters at least 18 months before any of those attractions open.”

My family is a Disney family and we have season passes to go there as often as we can. I’m a huge Star Wars fan but I don’t know how I feel about tearing out Autopia. The PeopleMover hasn’t been used for anything for some time, so that would be okay to change, and I don’t mind the Tomorrowland Terrace going Cantina. But Autopia…? Isn’t that ride sacred to Disney fans? What’s next? The Nemo Submarine Ride, which has only been Nemo themed for less than a decade, going Gungun sub adventure? I’d be more than happy to see the Wheel of Progress ditch the Stark Industries presentation and put in something else, but what? And again I ask, “Autopia?” What else is planned? I have to go with Yoda on this: “Hard to tell. Always in motion is the Force.”

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and a contributor to TrekWeb. He’s taught 8th grade English for 19 years and is now at a high school, where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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