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Walt Disney Co. will build two new “Star Wars”-themed attractions at its original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, and its Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, in one of the largest expansions in the company’s history.
The projects will include a replica of the famous cantina patronized by outer-space creatures from the 1977 “Star Wars” film, as well as a ride based on the fictional spacecraft Millennium Falcon, Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger announced Saturday at Disney’s D23 Expo fan convention in Anaheim.
Iger has made a multibillion-dollar expansion of the parks a cornerstone of his tenure. Next spring, he’ll open the $5.5 billion Disney Shanghai Resort. He’s upgraded the company’s Florida parks and turned around California Adventure with a $1.1 billion expansion in 2012.
Attendance at the world’s 25 largest theme parks climbed 4.1 percent last year to 223 million visitors, aided by new attractions such as Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, according to the Themed Entertainment Association trade group.
At D23, a biennial fanfest that ends on Sunday, Disney was showing off models of its new Shanghai resort as well as an “Avatar”-themed land scheduled to open at its Animal Kingdom park in Orlando in 2017.
Fans have been anticipating a major new “Star Wars” attraction at a Disney park since the company acquired the film franchise’s owner, Lucasfilm, for $4 billion in 2012.
The Anaheim City Council voted last month to grant Disney a 30-year exemption from any future entertainment tax in exchange for the company’s promise to invest $1 billion in its two parks there.
This article was written by Christopher Palmeri from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.