The Definitive Star Wars Land Timeline
Everything we know, from summer news to tentative opening date.
If you’re a Star Wars obsessive, you know how to be patient. Holding on this long for a brilliant new movie wasn’t easy, but enduring the lengthy wait to hear more information about Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios forthcoming Star Wars park expansions is bound to be more difficult.
While it’s thrilling that guests will soon be able to mingle with otherworldly vendors at an immersive marketplace and pilot the Millennium Falcon themselves, plenty of us are desperate to get even more information, but details are minimal. The last update we got from Disneyland was that it’s all still dirt, which isn’t promising for fans who can’t stop thinking about living their Han Solo daydreams out in the parks.
We don’t know what that light side-versus-dark side ride will be, what the cantina will serve, or even what it will all be named— fans have been buzzing since Harrison Ford called it “the Star Wars Experience”—but thankfully, we do know what’s coming down the pipeline and when to perk up for announcements that’ll be made.
There are currently plenty of Star Wars experiences in both Florida and California—Darth Vader has even been replaced with Kylo Ren at both parks’ Star Wars Launch Bay, making your Instagrams much more intense—but we’re more excited for what’s coming down the road.
Here’s your seasonal play-by-play of opening dates, rumors, and what news may come out when. There might not be a confirmed opening date for Star Wars Land, but as a wise Jedi Master once said, do or do not, there is no try.
Though a magnificent Star Wars-themed fireworks show is well underway, it’s actually just a warm-up for Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ massive new undertaking. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular will be the first of its kind for Walt Disney World as a whole, bringing columns of fire, eye-popping visuals, and larger-than-life lightsabers to life at the park when it debuts later this summer.
Late Summer 2016
Rumors have been swirling since Disneyland shuttered its Super Hero HQ experience in early April and moved Marvel characters to Disney California Adventure. Though it’s not confirmed, it’s highly likely that this space will soon become a preview center for the Star Wars expansion coming to the park. The location couldn’t be more convenient—it’s the second level of the building Star Wars Launch Bay is currently in—and would certainly whet fan appetites while they’re already somewhat immersed.
Following the successful run of Club Villain, a ticketed nighttime dining experience featuring beloved yet feared Disney characters like Maleficent and the Evil Queen, word on the street is that a similar Star Wars experience may be coming to Hollywood Studios this fall. With its featured entertainment, themed food and drink, and extensive character meet-and-greets, it’s easy to imagine Club Villain as a makeshift cantina holding off die-hard fans until the real one is built. The odds on this one being true could go either way—bloggers seem to be confusing renderings of the actual Star Wars land supper club with this rumored one—but if it’s real, it could be an immediate hit.
When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in December, guests can expect to feel the movie’s presence throughout both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios. The roll-out of A Force Awakens brought everything from new settings on Star Tours to themed First Order burgers, and while this film is technically a spinoff taking place in the past, it’s safe to say there will at least be some significant in-park promotions around its release. Anything from new popcorn buckets to refreshed meet-and-greet opportunities in both California and Florida are possible, as is a repeat of Hollywood Studio’s ticketed A Force Awakens premiere event. Guests were among the first to experience the movie, and after the screening was an after-hours trip aboard Star Tours and a late-night party at the park.
In April, the Star Wars Celebration exhibition lands in Orlando. The official annual event is huge for Star Wars fans, as it’s officially sanctioned by LucasFilm and should bring big-name speakers and Star Wars celebrities to the area for the event. Announcements are clearly not guaranteed, but to have so many people in the same town as the first-ever Star Wars theme park makes you wonder a bit if anything special could come out of it.
The timeline ends where it began: with the D23 Expo. This massive fan event brings the majority of Disney Parks & Resorts’ big-deal announcements and is only held every two years, making it that much more significant. Though D23 2015 brought in an unprecedented amount of news and expansions, this iteration could actually be an even bigger deal. The convention, which is typically held in August, was moved up to July just days before San Diego ComicCon’s rumored dates, thus giving Disney fans the scoop on all things Star Wars and Marvel. This is where Star Wars Land was initially announced in 2015, so don’t be shocked if the official opening day—and many, many more details—is presented here, if not sooner.