CLOSE
D23 Expo 2015
D23 Expo 2015

Disneyland Closing Attractions to Make Way for “Star Wars Land”

D23 Expo 2015
D23 Expo 2015

As impressive as the billion-dollar box office success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is, it’s just the beginning of the Walt Disney Company’s plan to expand and extend the Star Wars brand. Next up on the company’s to do list? Dedicating 14 acres of its California theme park to “Star Wars Land.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, construction on the Star Wars-themed attraction—the largest expansion of its kind in the theme park’s history—will begin this month, and mean a few beloved rides and attractions will close (some permanently, others for at least a year). On January 11, the park will cease operations on several major attractions, including Big Thunder Ranch—home to a barbecue restaurant, petting zoo, and the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, all of which will close permanently. (A California family with close ties to Disneyland has adopted the animals from the petting zoo.)

Other Frontierland attractions, including Fantasmic, the Disneyland Railroad, the Mark Twain Riverboat, and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, will close temporarily during construction. The new “Star Wars Land” will replace a portion of the park's Frontierland.

Star Wars’ infiltration of Disneyland has already begun, with the Jedi Training Academy for kids and the “Season of the Force” celebration, which kicked off this past November. In addition, Tomorrowland’s Innovations building has been converted into a Star Wars Launch Bay, while other Tomorrowland attractions like Star Tours and Space Mountain (now called Hyperspace Mountain) have been renovated to feature special effects and imagery from The Force Awakens. There’s even The Galactic Grill, which offers Cheese-3PO Burgers and Jawa Turkey Sand-Wiches served on Bantha Blue Milk Bread. 

“We are excited to begin the work that will lay the foundation for the future Star Wars-themed land at Disneyland," a Disney spokesperson said. "With our continuing Diamond Celebration entertainment and the new Season of the Force offerings, there is so much for guests to do during this time."

At the moment, there is no firm completion date for “Star Wars Land,” but educated guessers believe it will open sometime in 2017—just in time for Star Wars: Episode VIII to break all sorts of new box office records.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
arrow
holidays
40 Years Later: Watch The Johnny Cash Christmas Show
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Over the course of his career, Johnny Cash made a series of Christmas TV specials and recorded a string of Christmas records. In this 1977 TV performance, Cash is in great form. He brings special guests Roy Clark, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman" starts around 23:50), Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers. Tune in for Christmas as we celebrated it 40 years ago—with gigantic shirt collars, wavy hair, and bow ties. So many bow ties.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
arrow
Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios