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'Star Wars' sections of 2 Disney parks will break ground in 2016

Walt Disney Co. will break ground on "Star Wars"-themed lands at Disneyland and one of its Florida theme parks in 2016, Chief Operating Officer Thomas Staggs said Thursday.

The 14-acre “Star Wars” areas represent the largest expansions in the Burbank-based company’s history for a single-themed area at its parks. The Florida iteration will be built at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is part of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

The projects were announced at Disney’s D23 fan expo at the Anaheim Convention Center in August. A Disney spokesperson said then that construction would begin by the end of 2017. (As part of a tax deal Disney negotiated earlier this year with the city of Anaheim, the company is required to begin construction on at least $1 billion in new attractions at Disneyland Resort by then.)

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Staggs, who was speaking at the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch 2015 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills, did not say when the “Star Wars” lands would open.

Speaking at D23, Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger said the “Star Wars”-themed areas will include a re-creation of the Millennium Falcon, the iconic spacecraft from the film series. Iger said guests would be able to take the controls of the ship for a “customized secret mission.”

Disney, which bought “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion in 2012, will soon release the first new film in the franchise in more than a decade.

The picture, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” comes out Dec. 18 and stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac, among others.

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Disneyland designers face pressure to ensure Star Wars Land doesn't flop

'Star Wars' toys reveal universe of new 'Force Awakens' characters

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

4:53 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information.

This article was first published at 12:06 p.m.

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