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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why A Larger Star Wars Presence Is Better Suited For WDW

While Disney blogs and forums went absolutely ga-ga (mostly) over Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, the theme park enthusiasts on both coasts salivated over the opportunities enhancing the Star Wars presence in their respective parks. Sorry Disneyland friends, while I am a west coast guy through and through, even I have to admit that a larger Star Wars presence is better suited towards Walt Disney World In Florida rather than the Disneyland Resort.

Reason #1 is that WDW already has a larger Star Wars presence and that takes place in the spring of each year over several weekends with an event known Star Wars Weekends. The event has a huge following and has the attendance numbers to show for it. And this isn't a bunch of annual passholders like Disneyland has who treat the park as a local playground and often going on the cheap. The Star Wars Weekend attendees come from great distances, stay in Disney hotels, and spend a great deal of money on what is essentially a hobby. 

Reason #2 is that Disney World just has more space to work with and when you are talking about another universe, lots of space comes in handy. It has been known that something more needs to be done with Disney Hollywood Studios which really comes down to about 4 or 5 featured attractions. Star Tours is one of them and sister rides from the Star Wars universe could be just the ticket to take DHS to the next level like Disney did with Disney California Adventure and Cars Land. Of course, Star Wars is such a huge and popular franchise that a WDW 5th theme park could be a possibility making those 5 day WDW vacations now 7 days.

Reason #3 is Disney got Harry Pottered in Florida. Something big has to be done to throw a monkey wrench into Potter's popularity at Universal Studios. Avatar Land you say? That is the great unknown. On the other hand, Star Wars is known. Darth Vader would whoop Harry Potter with one arm tied behind his back. Disney can't bring in The Avengers into WDW to battle Potter due to licensing agreements in place. But they can certainly bring in Lord Vader's Empire.

I'm no accountant but it certainly seems like there would be a bigger return on Disney's Lucasfilm investment if it was allowed to expand through Walt Disney World but here's the rub as pointed out by MiceAge's Kevin Yee. There is far more money to be made making Star Wars movies then putting Star Wars attractions in theme parks. And there is more money to made bigger than both of them through the sale of Star Wars toys and merchandise. Theme parks come up third on the pecking order behind consumer products and movie box office success.

So where does that leave us out here on the west coast? There is no room to do Star Wars justice in the existing California Disney Parks unless they were willing to remove something as big as Tomorrowland or Paradise Pier completely and start from scratch. Not likely since Iron Man is already promised to Tomorrowland and Disney is perfectly happy with the Paradise Pier section of DCA as it is now. Star Wars only hope in Anaheim is the fulfillment of the long talked about 3rd Gate (theme park) which could comfortably provide room for both Marvel and Star Wars characters and attractions. Sounds expensive. Remember, theme parks aren't even close to Disney's biggest money making enterprises (ESPN is where the big money is made).

Rumors and speculation are just that. By next year at this time, a lot of questions will have been answered.

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome information! My husband kids and I go to WDW each year during the Star Wars Weekends. We love to make it a tradition, we go stay in the Disney Hotels then spend the whole weekend doing Star Wars activities! Then of course we visit the other parks during our stay. But the main reason we are there is for the star wars part. Great post, thanks so much for sharing!