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How Disney's Star Wars Deal Could Impact Central Florida Theme Parks


Oct 31, 2012 | WMFE - The Walt Disney Company's purchase of the Star Wars franchise has an impact on future movies, merchandise, and maybe, Orlando's theme parks.

[Image: Star Wars logo from Lucasfilm Ltd]

There’s already one ride based on Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, called Star Tours. But the $4 billion purchase of Star Wars’ studio, Lucasfilm Ltd, opens up nearly endless possibilities, says Dr. Duncan Dickson, professor of theme park management at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality.

So far, Disney has only announced plans to make more movies, starting with a film slated for release in 2015, then another one every few years. But the iconic characters and locales from the six existing films could make for very popular attractions, says Dickson.

“Think of the café scene in Star Wars [Episode] IV, the first movie – creating a café like that,” Dickson proposes. “Or an attraction where you get to do a lightsaber battle with a hologram of Darth Vader, or something like that.”

Dickson says with the company’s other science fiction-based properties, like Tron, Avatar, and Marvel, adding Star Wars could allow Disney to build a whole new sci-fi theme park that could give Universal Orlando’s “Islands of Adventure” park a run for its money and create a host of new tourism industry jobs. But at this point, that's conjecture, notes Dickson.

Disney is buying Lucasfilm Ltd from owner and Star Wars series creator George Lucas. The deal also includes rights to the “Indiana Jones” franchise, among other assets. Other Disney holdings include Pixar, ESPN and ABC.

 

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