There is no doubt that one industry where America stands out worldwide is in the category of theme parks and this year, we will see a huge boost as new attractions open that will literally make people starry-eyed.
Starry-eyed as in Star Wars.
The Walt Disney Corp. is spending billions to open two new Star Wars themed parks.
Smartly, the new parks will be nearly identical. They are both called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. They both occupy about 14-acres of land.
But the attractions promise to pack in lots of power in those spaces.
The big features will be the rides called Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run and the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Visitors will also be able to check out the outer space town of Batuu, meet Chewbacca, drink blue milk in the Black Spire Outpost and train to be a Jedi.
The first Star Wars park will open at Disneyland in California this summer. The other will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in the fall.
As you can imagine, building these theme parks is not cheap.
And considering all the Star Wars nerds in the world, the return on investment will probably be substantial. Disney is going to bank some serious dough on their Earth-based galactic adventure.
But what most people don’t realize is the tremendous ancillary effects of these massive theme parks.
Think of all the spending on infrastructure that takes place. Everything from the purchase of steel for the buildings, electronics for the machines that run the rides and even extra items such as commercial picnic tables sold by companies such as The Park and Facilities Catalog.
Then think of the employment. Construction workers. Restaurant employees. Even Chewbacca needs a paycheck.
Then there is the tourist impact. In 2017, Orlando attracted 72,000,000 tourists. That is a huge number of booked hotel rooms, meals at restaurants and t-shirts purchased.
What’s also amazing is that it’s not just Disney that is making improvements in their theme parks or investing in new parks and attractions.
List of new theme park attractions for 2019
Here a handful of other major attractions planned to open this year.
- American Dream: This massive 3-million-square foot project will occupy a huge chunk of land next to the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. That land sat vacant for years with undeveloped projects. Not anymore. While the America Dream is considered a mall (it will be the third-largest in America), it’s the attractions that are generating the buzz.
There will be a Nickelodeon Universe- the largest indoor theme park in Western Hemisphere. (With two massive roller coasters). That’s not all. There will also be a water park, wave pool, indoor ski slope and ice-climbing wall.
- Legoland: Legoland in Florida will open a whole section based on their movies.
- Lionsgate: this entertainment company will open a motion simulation ride in Times Square in New York.
- Kind Heaven: this is music-themed theme park in Las Vegas that will make people feel as though they are traveling around the world. It’s inspired by rock star Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction.
- SeaWorld Orlando: The killer whales might be going away, but Sesame Street will be a new addition.
- Dollywood: this theme park in Tennessee will add a $37 million feature called Wildwood Grove with fun woodland characters.
- Universal Studios: will expand their Jurassic Park experience.
- Knott’s Berry Farm: this California theme park will reopen their popular BigFoot Rapids ride.
- Hersheypark: this candy-themed park will offer a newly revised Reese’s Cupfusion ride.
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas: this park in San Antonio, Texas will offer a new Pirates of the Deep-Sea interactive ride that battles pirates and seeks hidden treasures.
Rumor alert: there is speculation floating around the web that Universal Orlando may be in the process of building a massive new park at their Florida location based on the Super Mario game. Massive is the word.
As you can see, theme park companies are spending billions big time to construct these parks and they will spend billions to keep them in operation. That’s quite a bit of money that will circulate throughout the local and US economy, much of it coming from overseas.
Sure, it might be entertainment to most people. But’s it is also an incredible and positive boost to the American economy as well. One we should all pause to appreciate, even if we are standing in a long line waiting to hop on the next ride.