From the top of the Mickey & Friends parking garage, a major portion of Disneyland looks like the landscape of Jakku. All vegetation has been removed, revealing the dirt covering the 14 acres planned for one of the biggest expansions in Disneyland history.
In a few years, that area will be filled with buildings, characters and other items as part of the “Star Wars” themed land. A similar project is underway at Disney’s Hollywood Studio at the Walt Disney World Resort.
At the announcement of the expansions, Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, called the work the next chapter in the long history between Disney Parks and “Star Wars.”
“We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever,” he said.
There will be two main attractions in the “Star Wars” area. Park visitors will be able to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon to pilot it through a customized secret mission. There is also an adventure that puts guests in the middle of a massive battle.
Work has just started, but “Star Wars” elements can be found throughout the park. The majority of those “Star Wars” additions can be found in Tomorrowland.
Star Tours, the flight simulator ride that features multiple video options that make the ride different each time, now includes a “The Force Awakens” inspired sequence. Riders get to follow the Millennium Falcon as it tries to outrun attackers.
The Tomorrowland Theater now features a history of the “Star Wars” franchise, while Space Mountain is now Hyperspace Mountain with a “Star Wars” inspired show that will run throughout the summer.
After housing several different attractions, the former Innoventions/Carousel of Progress building has become the “Star Wars” Launch Bay. The area is filled with “Star Wars” props and items, plus offers the opportunity to come face-to-face with Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren.
Even the dining experiences can have a “Star Wars” touch. The Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant has been changed to the Galactic Grill and now serves a Darth Tamale.
Keeping an eye on everything are Stormtroopers, who can be found in the theme park.
All of these changes go along with the 60th anniversary celebration that includes a revamped Electrical Parade and fireworks show. And, there will be a new “Frozen” stage show in California Adventure and a re-imagining of Soarin’ Over California, which will become Soarin’ Round the World.
Universal Studios Hollywood has partnered with 20 Los Angeles hotels to create a Preferred Hotel Program. The hotels range from Santa Monica to the San Fernando Valley.
The program, accessible through Universal Studios Hollywood’s desktop and mobile website, includes a listing and description of the hotels along with an option to book the room. The hotel package includes the room and tickets to the theme park that feature a one-hour early entry into the new “Wizarding World of Harry Potter.”
Many of the hotels offer extras such as complimentary shuttle service to Universal Studios Hollywood.