Monday, January 7, 2013

Why the Rumor of a WDW Star Wars "Boutique" Park Might be True

Last Saturday the Disney Gossip web site  has posted an article revealing that a  Star Wars "Boutique" Park might open at WDW, adding that "a few Imagineers have already been assigned to Florida to work on the project" and that "it would rely heavily on Next-Gen technology to make guests feel really immersed in the world... the first step is to start customizing that tech for Star Wars themed plot elements". So far so good, but could this rumor be true or not?

To have the answer we may have to connect it with another rumor, this one related to Disneyland Paris Discoveryland. You may remember my previous article HERE in which i told you that DLP Imagineers were working on a Star Wars land concept for Discoveryland. For DLP the plan is not only to bring Star Tours 2 but also to transform what is now Captain EO theatre in a Star Wars Academy, the Star Traders shop as well, and the Pizza Planet restaurant would become Star Wars famous Mos Eisley "Cantina" that everyone remember from the first Star Wars movie, now Episode 4 ( see the Cantina model picture below if you don't remind the Cantina, which i doubt ). I can't tell you here why my infos about the DLP project are sure enough to be almost coming "from the horses's mouth", but believe me, it's not a rumor. Since i've posted my article last April DLPI might have changed the project a bit considering the recent acquisition of Lucas Film by Disney, but so far that's how it was envisioned nine months ago.

Now, what kind of experiences this WDW Star Wars boutique park would offer to WDW guests? According to Disney Gossip: "The backstory would be that guests have been selected for Jedi-Training. You would build and learn to use a light saber, pilot a fighter, learn jedi-tricks, and explore the 'dark forest' where you use your skills to confront the dark side. There would be a graduation ceremony and then a chance to explore the Jedi Academy (think of an elaborate role playing area with individual and group games where you can compete and score points). Food options would include a reproduction of the Cantina (complete with band) and Jedi Academy cafeteria". 

I don't think i have to explain you the similarities that exist between the DLP and WDW Star Wars land/park concepts, do I? it's pretty clear that in both cases guests would go through a Jedi initiation thanks to the Jedi Academy, and in both cases we find the Mos Eisley Cantina include in the concepts. Now, except is Disney Gossip has invented the whole story - and i don't think he did - or if it's fans rumors created/based on to the DLP concept, i think these similarities might indicate that the WDW Star Wars boutique park concept might be true. Because chances are that Bob Iger asked Imagineering to work on a Star Wars park concept as soon as the deal with Lucasfilm was done, and he probably added as he did for his Avatar rides request "and sooner will be better than later". It's may be at that point that WDI Imagineers reminded the DLP "Star Wars land" concept and how they might be able to adapt it for WDW. Considering that a big part of the concept research has been done for DLP it will probably save some precious time for them to adapt it, even if they have to add more elements for WDW as they will have more land available at WDW to build the Star Wars boutique park than DLP will have for its Star Wars land. 

My only concern is that i have the feeling that the "menu" might be a little bit light -specially without E-Ticket rides - for a Star Wars park, even for a "boutique park" concept. I can understand that they don't have the room to build a larger Star Wars land at the Disney Hollywood Studios, but it might be hard to convince WDW guests to pay $200 for a 4 or 6 hours visit - the price it is rumored to cost - and even with "photopass-esque' options and personalized merchandise available as add-ons". If there is nothing more in the program than what Disney Gossip is saying then may be the title of "Star Wars Experience" would be more correct than "Star Wars Park", don't you think so?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on D&M Facebook page HERE.


Anonymous said...

Terrible Idea! If Disney is going to use Star Wars as the theme of a new park - then make it a Real park - stop cost cutting. Disney World doesn't need a boutique park that caters to the upper 1-2% with 6 hours of Next-Gen Video games. I hope this story was strictly fiction.

Tom said...

The dlp idea still sounds great. But what is a "boutique" park? Something like Discovery Cove or more like Disney Quest?

Alain Littaye said...

Something like Discovery Cove, Tom.

Robert /Cologne said...

Boutique Park...Bad idea
Walt Disney wanted a park for the whole family ,this would be only for the whole family with money!!!!!

Also it needs to be again "for the whole family" and not just for young boys.

The idea of a Star Wars theme is amazing ,just get it right .

Luke J said...

i love he idea of adding star wars to paris although it will be a shame to alter discovery land too much.
as for WDW, starwars eeds a full land with quality attractions, disney should be for the full family and not just an experience for the rich who can pay for this boutique offering. one of the worst disney ideas i have heard in a long while

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

Unlike all the previous comments I really like the idea of a Star Wars boutique park.

I think that it would be awesome to have a different kind of park, in which you might experience being a part of the universe of your favorite movie/franchise, by having a full immersive, personalized and interactive experience.

It's also nice to have a more exclusive, personalized park in which you don't have to stand in lines the whole day, so you can fully immersive yourself in another universe and just enjoy the experience.

There will still be the other 4 parks, plus two water parks for the classic Disney experience for the whole family, so why not something different?

Regarding Walt, how do you know that he wouldn't have done something similar if he had the technology, the structure, and a Resort with four parks? He was an innovator, a pioneer who embraced and created new ideas all the time.

About the price, I believe that most people that have the money to go to WDW, can save a bit more, if they are SW fans and go to that boutique park. I don't think that USD 200 will make that much of a difference in most budgets for a trip to WDW. Just save on something else if you think that the boutique park will be worth it.

Besides, WDW already has a lot of premium, costly experiences available for those willing to spend more money at the Resort...