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Friday 17 January 2020
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21 Nov 2019
IAAPA 2019: Disney legends reveal the secrets behind Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was in the spotlight this year, as BRC's Bob Rogers hosted the ever-popular Legends Panel at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Opened earlier this year, the 14-acre attraction, open at both Disneyland in California and at Hollywood Studios in Florida, is a totally immersive Star Wars experience, with final development costs on the grand projects thought to exceed US$1bn (€898m, £793m) each.

A host of Disney legends and creatives were on this year's Legends panel, each sharing their knowledge and stories learned from bringing the new addition to Disney's parks.

Scott Trowbridge, who is portfolio creative executive for Disney Imagineering, also acting as the company's creative lead for its Star Wars projects, was the first member of the panel.

"We very quickly decided that the right thing for us to do in the park was not to retell someone else's story," he said. "We wanted to create a new expansive Star Wars universe that had lots of stories to tell with all-new locations and all-new characters through all these different mediums.

"This is the evolution of the themed experience. There are so many great ways to get immersed in stories today. One of the unique things we as an industry have is we can take you there, right into those stories."

The second member of the four-person panel was Anisha Deshmane. Her approach to Galaxy's Edge saw the creation of "unique customised experiences" that would feel unique to each visitor.

"It's a new way of telling a story that hasn't been done like this before," she said. "This is an experience you have an active role in.

"We want each of our guests to feel like they have a place in this world. They can make a difference. Everyone now carrying little computers around with them in their pockets helped us enhance that."

Deshmane helped to develop the Star Wars: Datapad - an extension of the Play Disney Parks app that allowed interactivity with the land, helping to enhance the Star Wars story.

"It was something all of the creative teams were thinking about," she said. "It touches on every single aspect of how the land functions. It's its own attraction and it breaks that boundary of 'wait in a queue, go on a ride, come out the other side, buy a souvenir'. It's something that begins to be its own experience and can be something you spend multiple hours doing."

Margaret Kerrison, managing story editor for Disney Imagineering, was the third member of the Disney panel to speak. Her role during the creation of Galaxy's Edge included the incorporation of much of the detail from the Star Wars cinematic universe in order to create an authentic product that die-hard fans would appreciate.

"Whether it be a movie, a novel, a game or a theme park, we're building one single universe," she explained. "All of these stories speak to one another. Carrying the torch of storytelling in Star Wars, we take that responsibility very seriously. We worked very closely with Lucasfilm on Galaxy's Edge to make sure that is truly part of the Star Wars saga."

Chris Beatty was the final member of the panel. One of the creative directors in charge of development at Galaxy's Edge, according to Beatty, the design process didn't leave a stone unturned, with "no thread to unravel" the immersive experience.

"Having a meal or going shopping should be just as impactful and have just as much story and depth as anything else," he said. "To us, these things are just as important. You can't look at them as secondary experiences - there's just as much development and consideration for these elements as there is for a traditional ride.

"From day one we said that the land itself is the third attraction. We have Smuggler's Run, Rise of the Resistance and the Black Spire Outpost itself. That means merchandise, food and beverages are the connecting tissues between all these spaces - all of that is the experience."

Check back with Attractions Management for all the latest news coming out of IAAPA 2019.


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15 Jan 2020
Australian Open under threat due to smoke from bushfires
Worries have been raised over the health of players at the Australian Open, after two matches were forced to be abandoned due to the presence of heavy smoke.
14 Jan 2020
CES news: CTA predicts US consumer tech sales to reach record level of US$422bn
The increasing popularity of streaming services and wireless earbuds – along with the introduction of 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices – are set to drive revenues in the US consumer tech industry to a record $422bn during 2020.
13 Jan 2020
HOTel&SPA Forum announce 2020 event with new award
The Forum HOTel&SPA has announced details of its 2020 conference, which will be held on 4 June 2020.
08 Jan 2020
CES news: 'age-tech' among the emerging markets on show
'Age-tech' has been identified as one of the emerging markets which could shape future innovations in the wellness and fitness technology sector.
03 Jan 2020
Tokyo 2020 main stadium inaugurated during its first official sports event
The new National Stadium in Tokyo, built for the 2020 Olympic Games, has been officially inaugurated.
01 Jan 2020
Helping children deal with cyberbullying: COMO Shambhala speaker series for parents
The Como Shambhala Urban Escape spa at the Metropolitan London hotel, UK, has launched a mental wellbeing Speaker Series in association with mental health support specialists Head Talks. The programme will kick off in January 2020.
28 Dec 2019
Tokyo 2020 could utilise ‘groundbreaking’ gene testing to catch doping cheats
A pioneering gene testing method could be ready to use for the first time at an Olympic Games next year.
27 Dec 2019
Five sports secure elite funding ahead of Tokyo 2020
Five sports have secured additional funding towards their high-performance programmes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
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