Friday 24 November 2017

Disney to 'use the force' by banking on 'Star Wars' hotel

Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Christopher Palmeri

Walt Disney Co said it will build an immersive 'Star Wars' hotel at its resort in Orlando, Florida, as part of a flurry of investments announced at the weekend by the company's theme-park division.

Disney revealed the two 'Star Wars' themed lands it is building will be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, with the one at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, set to open first in 2019 with the Orlando one opening later that same year.

Disney parks and resorts division chairman Bob Chapek made the announcement on Saturday at the company's D23 Expo, a biennial event for fans held at the Anaheim Convention Centre, near the company's Disneyland and California Adventure parks.

Theme parks are Disney's second-largest division after television. The company has been investing heavily in the business on the premise that park attractions can't easily be copied by competitors or made obsolete by new technology.

"There's no virtual-reality experience in the world that's going to replicate what you get physically by walking down that Main Street," Mr Chapek said earlier this year in reference to one of Disneyland's signature features.

A ride based on the film 'Tron' that has been a hit at Disney's new Shanghai resort will be replicated at Orlando's Magic Kingdom park. The Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim will be revamped with a Pixar theme. That same park will get 'Spider-Man' and 'Avengers' attractions in a new Super Hero land.

Epcot, the Florida park that opened in 1982 as kind of a permanent world fair, is getting new attractions designed to turn it into more of a traditional amusement park. An attraction based on the Pixar film 'Ratatouille' will be built near the base of the Eiffel Tower and a new thrill ride tied to the Marvel franchise 'Guardians of the Galaxy' will be added.

Elsewhere at the D23 Expo, Disney gave fans a sneak peak of a new augmented reality game that features a lightsabre and a headset made by Lenovo Group. (© Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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