Disney World: 'Nothing to announce' about 'Star Wars Land'

By Allison Walker, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Monday, June 17, 2013, 3:26 PM EDT

If you just walked back from the water cooler, you may have heard buzz about a new, Star Wars-themed expansion at Walt Disney World. The chatter in Internet-land about the so-called "Star Wars Land" is loud.

I asked Disney World spokesman Bryan Malenius to confirm the rumored addition to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here's what he told me:

"For more than 25 years, our partnership with LucasFilm has helped bring the imaginative universe of Star Wars to life at our parks and resorts across the globe," Malenius said. "We remain excited to explore new ways to bring these stories to life and have nothing to announce at this time."

Late last year, Disney bought the rights to LucasFilm and the Star Wars franchise for $4.05 billion, announcing plans for three new films, Episodes 7–9, would be released starting in 2015.

Since then, Disney has announced a new animated series called Star Wars Rebel. It will reportedly premier as a one-hour special on the Disney Channel in the fall of 2014, then continue as a show on Disney XD.

I checked in with our partners at Orlando Attractions Magazine. Here's what Editor/Publisher Matt Roseboom told us:

"Everything else is just rumor. Since Disney announced they were purchasing LucasFilm, there's been a lot of speculation that they'd be expanding Star Wars attractions in the parks. But the rumors have gotten stronger in the last few months.

We've heard the rumor that a 'Star Wars Land' would be added at Disney's Hollywood Studios, connected to the current Star Tours attraction. But Disney hasn't announced anything. The parade and Disney Channel Rocks show were both cancelled at Hollywood Studios earlier this year. We thought one possible reason for the closure is that the parade warehouse is backstage, not far from Star Tours, and maybe it would need to be torn down to make room for a 'Star Wars Land.'"

Roseboom added that when Disney purchased LucasFilm, Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said "…We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses, including Parks and Resorts, in games and in our television business. These initiatives were also considered in our valuation."

Roseboom said Disney's D23 Expo in California, coming up in August, "would be a great announcement to make at that time."

If you spent any time at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the last month, you couldn't help but notice a strong Star Wars presence. About a week ago, Disney wrapped its popular Star Wars Weekends event, which began May 17.

Also this year, Walt Disney World's "Limited Time Magic" proclaimed May 4 as "Star Wars Day" -- on a date that Star Wars fans worldwide turn into a celebratory pun, "May the Fourth be with You." The celebration featured special Star Wars entertainment, characters, commemorative merchandise, a Star Wars dance party and a Star Wars-themed fireworks show to cap off the day.

Nearly two years ago, the 3-D simulator attraction "Star Tours: The Adventures Continue" reopened at Disney's Hollywood Studios. George Lucas and Disney President and CEO Bog Iger wielded light sabers to help kick off 2011's Star Wars Weekends.

Our own Scott Fais noted that Disney had first announced the "Star Tours" ride would be reimagined at the first D23 Expo in 2009.

Malenius also said, "We have nothing to announce at this time," regarding a rumored Cars Land at Walt Disney World that would resemble the 12-acre expansion inspired by the Disney-Pixar film "Cars" that opened last year at Disney's California Adventure.

Just this past weekend, "Cars" and "Cars 2" characters appeared at Car Masters Weekend in Downtown Disney.