The Walt Disney Co. COO Tom Staggs revealed the park could begin construction on the future Star Wars expansions as early as next year.
If true, that reveals a lot of new information on the status of the project and where the Disney minds putting it together are in the design process. Here are 5 things we can take away from Disney’s timeline for the new Star Wars attraction:
Disney has been the butt of jokes due to the length it takes to build certain attractions — think Avatar at Animal Kingdom. But for Disney to already be looking to build the new expansions within a year of announcing them, it’s a sign the company does not want to waste a second when customers could be spending in its parks.
4Rides already done
Disney Imagineers take lots of time to figure out what’s the best story to tell for an attraction and how to do it with today’s technology. The timeline proves the team behind the project already has those experiences planned out — a lot faster than many expected. Now it’s only a matter of finding out what they expect to build.
3Original films will play bigger roles
Disney has created new buzz for Star Wars since planning to release new films, starting with the new Force Awakens sequel this year. However, since the new films are still being produced and those stories being developed, it’s safe to say what Disney has in mind for the theme park additions is based on the first six installments, as they have had the most time to sink into fans’ minds. This doesn’t mean the expansion will lack anything new, but expect the classics to drive the experiences.
2Open within five years
There’s no opening date set yet for the expansions, but typical projects of similar scope have taken between two to five years to build. That put the Star Wars expansions possibly opening by 2020. That will also give the new films time to garner their own fan base.
1Orlando tourism boom coming sooner
The Star Wars expansion is expected to be huge for the region, but there was no idea on how soon that may be. Now it’s safe to say with Disney still working on the Avatar expansion and Star Wars, Universal Orlando working on new attractions like King Kong and Fast & Furious and SeaWorld building the new Mako coaster that Orlando is set to hit a massive boom in visitation in the next five years. It’s also entirely possible the region tops 70 million visitors in that time span based on recent growth spurts after major theme park openings.