Back at D23 Expo, Disney very excitedly announced that both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be getting an event called ‘Season of the Force.’ Each coast would be slightly different (Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland vs. Fireworks at DHS), but generally the same idea – keep guests happy and excited about the Star Wars brand while the parks built their Star Wars expansions.
In common between the parks would be a meet and greet and exhibit hall called “Star Wars: Launch Bay,” a movie recapping the previous 6 Star Wars films called “Path of the Jedi,” an upgrade to Star Tours: The Adventures Continues, and a new Jedi Training theme based on “Star Wars Rebels.”
As far as I know all those elements are still coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and most of them have already opened at Disneyland (Jedi Training upgrades were slightly delayed). For some reason, the DHS versions have just taken longer to finish the upgrades (you can see the new Star Tours segment already). December 1st has been given as the date for “Star Wars: Launch Bay” to open, with the rest of the “Star Wars Experiences” coming on later (Fireworks debut later in December). All subject to change, of course.
In another interesting twist, most references to “Season of the Force” coming to DHS have been scrubbed from the Disney Parks Blog and websites. The Orlando resort is currently referring to them as “Star Wars Experiences,” which isn’t exactly a marketable name. It’s a good bet they’re working on something else.
With the cancellation of Star Wars Weekends and the different nature of visitors to Walt Disney World, it’s possible Disney decided that the attractions would be more permanent than at Disneyland, where some of the experiences will close on May 26th.
I’m trying to stay optimistic. Ideally, I’d like to see DHS bring back some elements of Star Wars Weekends (particularly the celebrity panels and previews, and possibly the special dining offerings (the Star Wars themed buffet and dinner were very popular)). By the time most guests will get to see the new attractions, they’ll already have seen Episode VII. That means, celebrity panels and behind the scenes panels would be a perfect opportunity bring more guest into the park while it begins to lose capacity with closures related to the two major construction projects. With Star Wars Rebels and the first non-Saga Star Wars film coming out in 2016, there’s also a lot to look forward to.
So maybe Star Wars Weekends is over, but now we get Star Wars all year long with more opportunities to promote the new films and expansions coming to the parks. They just need to come up with a good name, right? Any ideas?
What do you think Disney has planned for Disney’s Hollywood Studios? We’ll probably find out December 4th as they’re inviting media to preview the DHS changes.