Disney looks to be cranking up 'Star Wars' attractions

It's dropping pretty obvious hints that it'll be adding more theme park entertainment tied to the movies.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 12, 2013 12:20PM
Movie still of Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode IV (© Lucasfilm Ltd./Courtesy Everett Collection)Walt Disney (DIS) is betting that "the force" is going to lure fans of "Star Wars" to its theme parks.

According to Bloomberg News, the entertainment and media company has been dropping hints that more "Star Wars" attractions are in the works. CEO Bob Iger told investors on the company's recent earnings conference call that "we’ve got some pretty exciting things" coming to California's Disneyland. He wasn't more specific, though as Bloomberg noted, Disney telegraphed its intentions pretty clearly during the recent D23 Expo for Disney fans.

"Disney placed crates with 'Star Wars' references in an area of the D23 Expo highlighting new attractions," the news services says. "One was labeled 'lightsaber assortment.' Another sported a cutout of R2-D2, giving the appearance the robot character had escaped from the box."

Disney is being cagey about its plans, and Disney fan sites have divergent views about where the "Star Wars" attractions may be coming. The company already has a "Star Wars" thrill ride called "Star Tours" at Disneyland and Disney World. A June Themeparkinsider.com story reported that Disney was planning a "Star Wars Land" at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Another Disney fan site, MiceChat.com, recently spoke of a "Star Wars" cantina coming to Florida.

The stakes for Disney, which gets about 19% of its operating profit from theme parks, are high. The Mouse House acquired Lucasfilsm, the producer of the "Star Wars" films for $4 billion in 2012 and plans to release a new "Star Wars" film in 2015. That should boost Disney's film studios business, which has been hurt this year after flop of "The Lone Ranger," a big-budget Western starring Johnny Depp.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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