We’ve known since D23 in August that Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be featuring a new Star Wars-themed festival in the coming months, and now, in what some are calling a "leak," Disney has revealed the dates.
The Disney Parks Blog posted information
regarding the upcoming Season of the Force event at Disneyland Anaheim but gave few details on the sister event that will take place here in Orlando. Soon after the Parks Blog post, other official Disney related websites
posted similar things talking about the Disneyland event. Within the same time frame the Disney Annual Passholder
site posted information about the event, but unlike the others, this one was instead in regards to the Hollywood Studios event.
According the Disney Annual Passholder site, the DHS version of Season of the Force will be January 8, 2016 through March 20, 2016. The Disneyland version will open much sooner (Nov. 16) and has no announced end date.
Both are expected to feature similar events and attractions including updates to the Jedi Training Academy, "preview" of Star Wars film clips (an odd choice since the movie will already be in theaters
) and special merchandise. Sadly, DHS will not be receiving a Star Wars ride overlay like what Disneyland is getting with the temporary Hyperspace Mountain update.
The Star Wars Launch Bay will be opened by end of this year
in the former Animation Courtyard. That building is already undergoing updates
for the new memorabilia based exhibit. The Launch Bay area will include some meet-&-greets, a counter service dining option and a small retail area. This is important as the former tent area used for the Darth Mall (yes that was the actual name Disney had for it) retail center that was setup during the Star Wars Weekends is now an active construction site
for the new black box theatre
. Also, coming by the end of 2015, will be the updates to Star Tours – The Adventures Continue which will feature worlds and characters from the upcoming movie.
All of these attractions are expected to be strongly promoted during the Season of the Force event.
The Season of the Force will include many of the same aspects that the popular Star Wars Weekends includes. Disney has yet to confirm the end of Star Wars Weekends and seem to avoiding the topic altogether. Just look at this blog post from August
announcing the Season of the Force where at least 15 different times the question was asked if Star Wars Weekends was being retired, while the author interacts with other questions this one kept being ignored. The same odd behavior happens with the more recent blog post
where the same author answers readers’ questions but again ignores any questions related to Star Wars Weekends.
The two events seem to share similar plans for special fireworks, meet-&-greets, unique food and original collectables. Some have theorized
that Disney is waiting for Season of the Force to see how the crowd numbers are with the hope that they alone will prop up DHS’s attendance next year. If the single Star Wars event isn’t enough, the better known Star Wars Weekends later in the season will hopefully do the trick. The Season of the Force is much earlier in the year (as based on these Passholder site dates) than Star Wars Weekends has been, so in theory at least the two events could both take place though it would unprecedented to have such similar events both taking place.
As of right now all Disney has confirmed is the new event will be coming to Hollywood Studios. The Passholder site dates have yet to be announced elsewhere within the company’s official channels and Disney remains mum on the future of the previously occurring Star Wars events in the parks.