Walt Disney once said that Disneyland would never be complete, meaning that he and his crew would be constantly finding ways to keep the park fresh and new. Currently, the park is going through growing pains and one of its biggest expansions ever with both land and technology within the new Star Wars Experience “land.”
What we already know about the park upgrade is that Disneyland is envisioning the space to be something like a Renaissance Faire … in a galaxy far, far away … where everything from shops to dining venues would be “hyper-themed” in response to the great reception that the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter attraction is receiving at Universal Studios.
Over the years, Disney has mastered how to improve the long queue lines by making them adventures of their own. Perhaps the best example of this is the Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, which has an incredibly long queue line but really sets up the tone of the ride that is awaiting passengers on the other side. In Star Wars land, even those details are said to be more like guided tours “through long plot-filled stories that take [guests] through multiple environments before they board their ride vehicles” says Mice Chat in a recent update on the Disneyland Park.
For the park’s new Stormtrooper Battle Escape ride, Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is creating a large scale “elevator” that will help make this attraction, which features multiple levels, possible. The ride will also feature over 150 animatronic Stormtroopers plus other Star Wars characters. But the thing that will make this ride stand out from all of the others is that riders won’t be seated during the whole experience.
“WDI wants you to rush to your wireless and trackless vehicle and board and then disembark and re-board the vehicles on different levels of the massive ride building several times during the course of a long experience, all while under attack by Stormtroopers.” While this sounds like a great idea, one has to wonder just how practical it will be in practice given today’s strict safety measures.
The report goes on to say that while the overall production of the Stormtrooper ride will be huge and expansive, the ride capacity will be much smaller, passing through about 1,500 riders per hour. That sounds like a lot, but it is actually about half the number of riders that go through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride each hour.
Some fans have expressed their fears that they will be stuck spending more time in lines than actual experiences, but Disney is countering that with making the waiting line an attraction all of its own. Just how Disney will be able to pull that will require a little more pixie dust than usual.
Another ride that is planned to make you rethink what it means to go on a Disney attraction is the Millennium Falcon ride. Mice Age says, “The experience would involve moving between multiple pre-show theaters setting up the plot and what tasks you must complete once you board the Falcon and launch into space. And if you fail at your assigned tasks, a happy ending is not a guarantee.” That hardly seems right for the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but it just might be what every Star Wars fan is looking for.
Disney isn’t saying when the great new land will be finished and ready for visitors, but some are speculating that the Star Wars area of the park will not be completed until 2019 at the earliest.