24 May 2012

On the Desire for a Star Wars Theme Park

The original land speeder at the Discovery Science Center
      With tomorrow being the 35th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie, I strongly believe it would be great for there to be an entire theme park dedicated to Star Wars.
      Having visited the Star Wars exhibit at the Discovery Science Center last month before their four-month-long time there was up, I realized there is a great desire (I want to say "need", but that's an over-statement) for a Star Wars theme park.  The exhibit, "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination", featured costumes, models and more from the movies, as well as little videos that described the making of the movies (I really enjoyed the sound designer discussing how he came up with significant sounds), which were all great (there was also some scientific aspect of the exhibit, meant to connect people (especially kids) to science and make it seem interesting (but I skipped those parts)).  What struck me was that there was a constant queue to enter and this was simply a science center.  Granted, one could have paid extra to ride the "Millenium Falcon Experience", but I skipped that, as well.
Jedi Training Academy at Disneyland
     A further realization for me on the great desire for a Star Wars theme park is that every time we go to Disneyland, there is not only such a ridiculous queue for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (which we've never ridden since it opened (well, there was that once, but that was a sneak preview) because of the wait), but also all of the marketing they do to get people to go to Disneyland just for that ride.  They also have a nearby area at Disneyland with "Jedi Training Academy", where kids can get "trained" in waving around a plastic lightsaber by an actor playing a Jedi knight and then storm troopers and Sith come out on stage, etc., which always draws a crowd. 
On a speeder bike at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2007
And add to this list another Southern California theme park with a Star Wars element: Legoland.  Also, when I visited Disney's Hollywood Studios, where they also have Star Tours, they had a very nice surrounding area that was reminiscent of Episode 6.  I think they could definitely do all of this on a massive scale, resulting in a theme park of its own. 
     Just as people are entertained by the movies, television shows, video games, etc., an entire theme park (and not just one ride in a theme park) seems to be the next level of Star Wars entertainment that would garner a lot of fan interest (and if the value of providing that entertainment to its fans was not enough, those in charge of running the Star Wars empire would be able to be motivated by all the dough they would be able to reap).
Star Wars theme park as envisioned by Tom Hodges
     Fortunately, I am not the first, nor am I the only person, to realize that this idea makes sense.  There are a couple of websites dedicated to ideating this theme park, such as Star Wars Resort and Star Wars Theme Park.  If you are a fellow believer in this cause, you can also 'like' "Please Create a Star Wars Theme Park".  If you are a visual learner, you can check out this drawing of what such a theme park might look like.  As for location, although I am biased, I think it should be in Southern California (where people can go to other theme parks as part of their touristic experience (or just their experience of living in SoCal)), Florida (such as near Disney World), or even somewhere else (a leading contender could be in NorCal near the trees that look like they're on Endor)....
     One of the great things about Star Wars is how much material upon which to draw there is for creating rides, museum-like elements, games, and more for a Star Wars theme park - and that's just in the movies.  It could be expanded to included the television shows about the Clone Wars, or even the video games, or even possibly the books (I think we can omit "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor" and "Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure", as well as "Star Wars: Droids" and "Star Wars: Ewoks").  There would be so much fan interest of all ages that would be willing to visit this theme park and spend money to go (and purchase merchandise, etc.) that it would be a worthy investment in creating.  However, this theme park might have to wait, as George Lucas might not be too particularly fond of it....

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