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Disney unveils 'immersive' Star Wars hotel and new 'neighborhoods' for Epcot

Mike Cherico

"Star Wars"  fans should be prepared to check their lightsabers when they board they board the Galactic Starcruiser — the Halcyon -- which will be taking flight at the Walt Disney World Resort. It is just one of the many new and updated attractions slated for the Florida resort announced over the weekend at Disney’s annual D23 fan convention in Anaheim, California.

D23 delighted "Star Wars" enthusiasts with the announcement of an entirely new experience for diehard fans of the movie franchise. An immersive resort designed to be far more than a "hotel." According to  USA Today, visitors will feel like they are on a journey in a galaxy far, far away. Once aboard the Galactic Starcruiser, guests will live inside a launch pod for two nights during a stay that will include a range of "Star Wars" creatures during an other-worldly mission to battle the evil resistance. Aspiring Jedi warriors and Rebel princesses will have to wait to use the force for this outer space encounter because no opening date, nor any further details, have been announced.

It was also announced at D23, that Epcot Center, which debuted in 1982, will be divided into four neighborhoods -- World Showcase, World Nature, World Discovery and World Celebration -- in a long-overdue facelift.

In the World Showcase neighborhood, Epcot’s Great Britain pavilion will be seeing a new Mary Poppins attraction which was announced by the co-star of the cherished 1964 film, Dick Van Dyke, who appeared at the convention in front of a room full of cheering Disney fans.

Also new to the World Showcase, will be Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, opening in 2020 in The France Pavilion. Based on the popular character from the 2007 animated film, riders of this new attraction will be shrunk to rodent size for a ride through a French restaurant.

The World Celebration neighborhood will also wow fans with an updated Spaceship Earth which will enjoy new and updated scenes and a three-level pavilion with a park on top.

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The World Nature area will be highlighted by a walking attraction where water comes to life, dancing and playing for guests.

World Discovery will host a "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride, Cosmic Rewind, which will spin to the action, a first of its kind for Disneyland guests. Also at Discovery, Space 220 will immerse diners 220 miles above Earth for a dining experience out of this world which is slated for an opening winter 2019.

Not all the news was about new attractions for the Orlando locations. Also announced were plans for an Avengers Campus at Disney's California Adventure Park. The new area will feature a Spider-Man ride where comic book fans will be hurling spiderwebs at spider bots according to USA Today. There is also be a new jet ride that will transport riders to Wakanda, home of the "Black Panther," where Disney fans will engage in a battle to save the Earth.

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