'Star Wars' Theme Park Coming to Disney World in 2018

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'Star Wars' fans have been able to journey to their favorite galaxy far, far away since 1987 thanks to the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland and Disney World. However, recent renovations to the iconic attraction and Disney's acquisition of the 'Star Wars' license have led to fans buzzing about when they'll get around to dedicating an entire section of one of their parks to George Lucas' iconic sci-fi universe. Now we have an answer: a 'Star Wars' land will open in Disney World's Hollywood Studios park in 2018.

As theme park fans will tell you, Orlando, Florida's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) is already home to a Star Tours attraction, so it makes perfect sense to build around their existing ride rather than relocate it elsewhere. The initial scoop came from Theme Park Insider, who speculate that the proposed expansion will take over the once-popular 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' Movie Set Adventure and 'The Muppets 3D.' Additional details on the project were added by TheForce.net, who say that the 'Star Wars' land will include

...a Cantina-themed restaurant in the new Hollywood Studios Star Wars area… new levels added to Star Tours and some more interactive attractions, possibly an additional ride…most of the expansion will be environments and character meet-and-greet areas.

For Disney, it's a big step in their ongoing battle with big theme park rival, Universal Studios. Only a few miles away, Universal, and its sister park, Islands of Adventure, have been stealing the Florida vacation spotlight with rides based on 'The Simpsons,' 'Transformers,' 'Jurassic Park' and, of course, 'Harry Potter.' The idea of a 'Star Wars' Land feels like a direct reply to Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which more than lives up to its reputation as a stunning and groundbreaking theme park experience. It really is amazing...but 'Star Wars' is the one franchise with a universe detailed enough, and a fanbase passionate enough, to rival it.

Although Theme Park Insider says that Disney is planning to have the park ready in five years, they note that they could push the schedule to have construction complete by 2017, which would align with 'Star Wars: Episode 8' and the franchise's 40th anniversary. That's a move that wouldn't surprise us at all.

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