What You Need to Know About Disney’s New Star Wars Land Opening in 2019

Update July 14, 2017

During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled a first look at the epic, richly detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. This stunning exhibition, on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ “A Galaxy of Stories” pavilion at D23 Expo, is yet another example of the breathtaking new worlds, immersive storytelling and transformational guest experiences that set Disney apart.

“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

Chapek plans to share exciting new details about the project during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Hall D23 Presentation on Saturday. The model will remain on display at the pavilion throughout the weekend to give visitors an up-close look at what’s to come on this never-before seen planet. In addition, the pavilion will display models, artwork and media that provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that guests will encounter when they visit this new planet.

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO

STAR WARS-THEMED LAND MODEL AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

At D23 Expo 2015, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced the Star Wars project to the delight of thousands of fans in attendance. The jaw-dropping new lands will open with two anchor attractions – one that gives guests the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and one that puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Representing the largest single-themed land expansion at 14 acres each, the Star Wars-themed lands will open in 2019.

A GALAXY OF STORIES' AT D23 EXPO

A GALAXY OF STORIES’ AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

A GALAXY OF STORIES' AT D23 EXPO

A GALAXY OF STORIES’ AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

A GALAXY OF STORIES' AT D23 EXPO

A GALAXY OF STORIES’ AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

A GALAXY OF STORIES' AT D23 EXPO

A GALAXY OF STORIES’ AT D23 EXPO (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

Original post from May 18, 2017 follows below

Walt Disney Imagineering is working hard to bring the “Star Wars” galaxy story to life in their Disney theme parks. “Star Wars Land is scheduled to open in 2019 at both Anaheim, California’s Disneyland and Orlando, Florida’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At 14-plus acres, the additions are promised to be the largest expansions ever for a Disney Park. Recently, Star Wars fans received a few additional details about the themed lands during the Star Wars Celebration held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando in April. Here are the latest emerging details on the elaborate experiences and attractions in development.

Star Wars Land

Image courtesy Disney Parks

Lucasfilm Will Be Heavily Involved

“Star Wars” fans were repeatedly assured that the “hands that created the ‘Star Wars’ films” are collaborating with Walt Disney Imagineering on this new concept. During the panel discussion, Lucasfilm Ltd.’s Doug Chiang (the production designer of “Rogue One” and concept artist for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and creative executive Pablo Hildalgo appeared alongside Walt Disney Imagineers to discuss the “Star Wars” Land development. For the project, Imagineering and Lucasfilm went back to Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept artwork for “Star Wars,” calling the artwork “the DNA of ‘Star Wars.'” According to Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive and studio leader at Walt Disney Imagineering, “We are the fans, we’re doing this for the fans, and… we are looking through the lens of fandom.”

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Star Wars Land Will Be Set in a Never-Before-Seen ” Star Wars” Location

The park’s “Star Wars”-themed lands will not be set in a familiar setting, but rather an out- of- the-way trading outpost that was vibrant in the sub-lightspeed days, but is largely passed over now. The outpost will be based on a new planet that has been around for thousands of years, and a variety or recognizable figures from the “Star Wars” universe have passed through (think: traders, smugglers, Jedi, Imperials and Droids). It may be off the beaten path, but it’s on the “Star Wars” path. The creators wanted to take visitors to a new location where they didn’t know the outcome, so guests can not only watch their favorite characters and entertainment series, but also feel immersed in the universe to be a part of the action.

Star Wars Land

Image courtesy Disney Parks

Expect Both Familiar and New Characters

The Disney Imagineers promise fans that they’ll find both recognizable “Star Wars” characters inhabiting the trading outpost, along with new characters. The location has its own population as well as an underworld subculture not wanting to be found. Guests can expect to find members of the resistance, the First Order, droids and more.

Star Wars Land

Image courtesy Disney Parks

A New Attraction Will Be The Millennium Falcon

A signature attraction within the “Star Wars”-inspired lands will be the Millennium falcon. Participating friends and family members will become pilot and crew for this iconic “Star Wars” ship. Every member of the party receives an assignment, learns how to fly and is thrust into the middle of the First Order and resistance. At some point on the adventure, lightsabers will also come into play. Throughout the visit, guests choose their own path, and those choices have consequences within the “Star Wars” world. Consider the experience like stepping into a life-size, immersive “Star Wars” role-playing game.

Star Wars Land

Image courtesy Disney Parks

Anticipate a New Scene for the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue Attraction

Tom Fitzgerald, creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, confirmed a new scene for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland inspired by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Guests will travel to the mineral planet of Crait, where they will be thrown into the middle of a battle between the resistance and First Order. While technically not a part of the new “Star Wars” land opening in 2019, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue will be a part of the “Star Wars”-inspired attractions at Disney, and the new scene from Episode VIII will debut, along with the new film.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

You Can Embrace ‘Star Wars’ Experiences Now

For those who can’t wait until the “Star Wars”-themed lands and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue opens, more and more “Star Wars” experiences continue to be added to the Disney parks. In Star Wars Launch Bay, guests can meet Chewbacca, Kylo Ren and an interactive BB-8. And at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can check out the “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” stage show with character appearances from the saga including Rey. In addition, you can catch Captain Phasma leading a march of First Order Stormtroopers throughout the day, or the Jedi Training Academy, which continues to teach younglings the ways of the force.

Star Wars Galactic Nights

Star Wars Galactic Nights, photo by Dave Parfitt

A version of this article originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report and Yahoo!. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.