Jon Snoddy, Disney EVP of Imagineering — the House of Mouse’s artist-scientist genius division — dropped some big hints about just how cool the rides at Disneyland’s forthcoming “Star Wars” area will be on stage at a CES 2016 panel.
Thanks to the involvement of Industrial Lights and Magic, the legendary special effects firm that Disney acquired in its big 2013 purchase of “Star Wars” studio Lucasfilm, Snoddy says that one of the rides will be “unprecedented, in a way.”
While Snoddy didn’t share any details on which ride, exactly, this was in reference to, the description lines up with the previous announcement of an attraction that takes riders through a battle between the evil First Order and the heroic Resistance, inspired by the record-smashing movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Snoddy hinted that one of the rides that Disney Imagineering is working on with ILM is a “boat ride,” with boats moving alongside a track, kind of like Disney park crowdpleaser “Pirates of the Carribean.”
Where ILM comes in, Snoddy says, is in helping Disney mix super-high-resolution projections with real-life physical sets and characters to create an immersive mix.
Thanks to Disney Imagineering’s robotics and ride know-how, they will know where the boats will be at any moment, down to the milimeter, meaning they can predict with almost guaranteed accuracy where a rider’s attention will be.
Indeed, Snoddy says that having ILM’s expertise on tap has made a huge difference in the already-complicated business of building a new Disney park attraction, let alone one that’s this immersive.
“When you build a theme park attraction, you’re building a building, you’re building a massive device,” Snoddy says.
In order to make way for its new “Star Wars”-themed land, Disneyland will close several attractions later in Jaunary 2016, including Big Thunder Ranch, Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. Eatery Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue will also close.