Smuggler’s Run is the Best Ride in the World: Technical innovations in storytelling that are now the definitions of pop culture

This has been a year of “never thought I’d see its,” to say the least, which culminated for me while watching the Disney parade on Christmas morning from the parks. Specifically, when I saw Portugal the Man perform “Feel it Still” in front of the life size Millennium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars has always been popular, but there has always been a kind of social tension, it wasn’t something that people felt comfortable talking about in public. If you wore a Star Wars shirt to school like I used to all the time, kids would gang up on you for it with massive amounts of unjustified peer pressure. But after a long evolution, particularly with shows like Big Bang Theory making geekdom fun, and “popular” the Disney ownership of Star Wars is showing signs of mind-bending culture changes that were evident that Christmas morning. No longer were kids forced to keep their thoughts to themselves, Disney had made it so that Star Wars was just as popular if not more so in knowing which quarterbacks were coming out of the draft this year from which colleges. It was a shift in sentiment that I never thought would be possible, yet there it was. As I watched I couldn’t help but think that many of the same people who are those invisible Trump supporters loving the optimism of an optimistic tomorrow were the same people that spent thousands of dollars at Disney every year and would put on the mouse ears for a visit on Christmas morning to the parks to participate in their parade.

Thinking of that Millennium Falcon, after a recent trip to Disney World where I was able to ride that ride 8 times, and ride the new Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage at the new Pandora land at Animal Kingdom I have proclaimed that I thought Smuggler’s Run, which is essentially a flight simulator for the Millennium Falcon was a better ride for a number of reasons. As Rise of the Resistance has opened in December at Disney World and was a feature of the parade in promoting the ride to a hungry Christmas morning audience, a lot of people don’t know just what a miracle these rides are. Especially in regard to the Millennium Falcon’s Smuggler’s Run. I included a video on this article that goes into the details of just how impressive the engineering is on Smuggler’s Run. And even thought Rise of the Resistance has a lot more technical tricks to help make the magic happen, I think the engineering of Smuggler’s Run is so impressive that it’s in a category all by itself even if most of those miracles happen where nobody will ever see them.

Being a huge fan of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars I know a lot about the ship and how it should be laid out, so while I was riding it I was looking for flaws, which can be seen from my Instagram posts included here. As it is, the many mechanism that make the ride possible are completely hidden from even the most rigorous fan. There were little things that I could point out, such as parts of the cockpit altered to accommodate mass riders, and some of the internal pathways to the cockpit that were stretched to fit the needs of 1800 riders per hour. What is most clever is that the ride creates the illusion of walking into the Millennium Falcon’s interior and boarding the cockpit as a single experience when in reality there are seven cockpits on four giant rotary tables that are timed out to perfection for all the loading and unloading that goes on. Each ride vehicle gets its own wrap around screen and sits on a flight simulation platform that would have made NASA jealous a few decades ago. The technology and timing involved in this ride is incredible and all of it is done to ensure that the riders can not see the strings behind the scenes and can instead believe in the experience as a real one.

My perspective is coming from an older person who grew up on these movies. When I was a kid, my family couldn’t afford to get me the Kenner Millennium Falcon to play with so made my own out of a box. So, it is astonishing to me to read these modern critics of these rides and of the new Star Wars movies knowing how much better things are now than then. Having the ability to even visit a Millennium Falcon in real life let alone fly in it is bizarre and a huge step for science fiction and the art of modern storytelling. That Smuggler’s Run is a reality let alone other options like Rise of the Resistance in the same area is an astonishing achievement in any field of endeavor. But especially in storytelling where a ride goes to so much trouble to create an alternate reality in physical space is a jaw dropping enterprise. But then again, to host a concert by a pop culture group on a Christmas morning broadcast mainstream to the world is something I never would have thought would be possible. Knowing that, the prospects for other surprises in the future are very exciting.

But for my money, and well beyond sentiment, the Millennium Falcon ride Smuggler’s Run is the top ride in the world right now, and it will take years to match it by anybody. Also on Christmas Day my wife and I went to see Rise of Skywalker again and I couldn’t help but notice how full the movie theater was from very normal people wanting to see that movie after the day’s festivities had ended. The Millennium Falcon is one of the feature characters of that movie and it is fun, even though its just a machine. The well-known starship was so well featured in the film knowing that it was a kind of advertisement for the ride in Galaxy’s Edge. People watching the movie with their big drinks and overflowing popcorn could travel to Disney World and actually fly the thing—over and over again—and that is a new thing in the art of storytelling that we haven’t yet dealt with as a species, not only the ability to create a story to hold some abstract concept, but to physically participate in the intellectual inclusion of it into our collective subconscious—and with such swagger that Disney could feature it on a popular television broadcast with a modern rock group as part of the package.

I point it out because all things lead to other things and I can’t help but notice that we are expanding our intellect as human beings because of these kinds of technical innovations. The conflict that we hear about on the news is that the rigid orders of the past have not yet caught up to that notion. But the fans of the Disney experience, and through mythology like Star Wars, a new kind of vacationer is being created. Not a passive cocktail drink by the pools of some exotic destination, but the Disney participant that is looking for an above the line experience and is willing to pay a lot of money to get it. And for those people, Smuggler’s Run gives them a seamless experience of a reality that was only available to the imagination. Now it’s real, leaving it to be pondered what the next generation of entertainment will be. At this point, we can only wonder, because the evidence is quite jaw-dropping in its perspectives.

Rich Hoffman

How to Improve Oga’s Cantina at Galaxy’s Edge: Where creativity and a vastly expanding mythology can improve life dramatically

Obviously, my recent trip to Disney World had a positive impact on me, and I thought it would. It had been decades since I was really able to take a trip like that and just enjoy it without a whole lot of tag along projects. I could write a lot about all the positive experiences I had the week I was in Orlando at Disney World visiting all the parks and Disney Springs in general. But specifically I observed in the context of creativity some jaw dropping elements put forth by the new Star Wars land they call Galaxy’s Edge and I had a kind of moment after it all soaked in where I was in the Oga’s Cantina, a kind of recreation of the popular spaceport bar that was seen in the very first Star Wars movie way back in 1977, and I was awe struck. It was 2019, I was 51 years old and remember seeing that place for the first time in the movie and buying the album of the soundtrack and listening to the music over and over again on a record player. That popular cantina song was the gateway for my generation to science fiction and adventure, and here was the real thing, and they were selling drinks to an adult audience with barely standing room only around the bar. I included a few video clips of my point of view from the cantina that night here for reference, but it was really quite ostentatious that I could leave where I was having a couple of drinks with my wife and go outside to see the Millennium Falcon sitting there in a setting that belonged in a movie of the most fantastic type. It was quite an achievement to build, let alone experience and I couldn’t help but feel that something very important was happening to our human species.

Imagination had stepped over a kind of intellectual barrier and a new reality had been created born from a new kind of thinking driven by myth. Before visiting the cantina that night I had purchased from the marketplace just around the corner a much-desired deck of Sabacc cards which I had been waiting for really all of my life. After hundreds of books that I had read on that popular intergalactic poker game, finally Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge had invented a real game with real cards that could only be bought at that location and I was having quite a time with them. It was all a bit overwhelming and I had a lot of thoughts about what should come next to such an experience. Since a new reality has been born there at Galaxy’s Edge, and from the looks of the crowd, that cantina wasn’t big enough, nor would it be in the future I am offering my thoughts to help the story advance based on my observations. Granted, I never thought such a place would have ever been possible. But since it is, we should talk about improvements.

I’m not much of a drinker, so going to the cantina at Galaxy’s Edge was more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m not into the drinking songs and other things that go on in bars. But I do think the cantina should be more of a social destination, a place to meet people, get away from the heat of the day, and to freshen up. Since that cantina has the reservations booked for the whole day before you can even enter the park, its not a relaxing place to go. It’s certainly cool, but not relaxing. If I were program managing Galaxy’s Edge, I would offer some free advice to them–they need to build several more cantinas around the complex. The one they have isn’t enough. They need at least two more, and both of those need to be larger. They can be in the designs of other locations in the movies, but it is very obvious that Star Wars fans going to Galaxy’s Edge want to hang out and talk to other fans without a time limit, so more cantina space is required.

Also, the cantina management need to give happy hour prices to fans who cosplay, so that there are more people in the cantina who look like people from all over the Star Wars galaxy. Many people would willingly dress up in creature costumes if they could get significant costs knocked off their drinks and that would solve the environment problem of having the place full of non-Star Wars looking tourists. I would be surprised to learn that this wasn’t already happening, but I must suggest it because it’s the most logical thing to consider. That was really the only thing missing is the atmosphere full of strange creatures. Everything else looked great.

Additionally, as I had my drinks watching the crowds feeling like the best thing to do would be to have a good Sabacc game at the bar or in one of the booths. The booths around the outside parameter were full of families so such a game wouldn’t be possible. The cantina staff wanted quick turnover inside to make room for the lines of people outside, so playing Sabacc in the cantina just wasn’t an option and it should be. In fact, Disney I think has done such a good job marketing their new Sabacc game, that I think in a year or so there will be so many people playing it that they should host Sabacc tournaments at Galaxy’s Edge the way that poker tournaments are held in Vegas. I would go, I love the game. In a lot of ways I think it is much better than poker or black jack and it is otherworldly enough to allow participants to embroil themselves into the Star Wars mythology. Fantasy Flight Games has had great success with their X-Wing games and other Star Wars games. This Sabacc game would be the perfect meeting game in Galaxy’s Edge for years to come and would really enhance the cantina feel that you should experience when you enter those types of places. That would make the cantina more of a function than just a novelty act.

Going even further, I would think a cantina like Oga’s, except much, much, larger should be build at Disney Springs and it is there that yearly Sabacc championships should be played from players all over the country. The stakes could be simple, a week vacation package for four to the parks and hotels, that way it wouldn’t be gambling where money is exchanged, but still the prize would be in the tens of thousands and worth practicing all year to have a chance to win. And the tournaments could be broadcast on Disney+ the way poker games are broadcast on cable networks currently. I’ve been playing the game since I picked it up that day and it would be very good for television, and for cantina events.

All things come from imagination, even the games of our past like poker. When film and literature create in the imaginations of people the kind of demand I saw at Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, we are on the frontier of some new kind of thinking, and that is very exciting. I can see future engineers for space stations on Mars and beyond playing Sabacc to pass the time on those long space voyages that they started learning to play at Galaxy’s Edge in one of these cantinas. Its more appropriate for the future than the games of the past, and that is something that is astonishing to see, how intellect is inspiring creations not born of rigid societies, but of creativity and vastly expanding mythology.

Rich Hoffman

The Best Couple of Days of My Life: Galaxy’s Edge was a true masterpiece and marvel of achievement toward creativity

Anybody who knows me, knows that the way to my heart is through creativity, anything that shows an effort at outside the box creativity is the way to win me over to any effort. This applies to food, buildings, works of art, even relationships. I judge just about everything on the creative level of input from the participants, and if they don’t show an effort at creativity, I quickly disregard whatever it is as useless. I’m largely a Star Wars fan because the film franchise, the toys, the merchandise in general have always been very creative, and its fun to visit anything Star Wars as to offer from a creative standpoint. I always find that the reality of Star Wars is better than the reality of our present society because in Star Wars they are asking creatively how things could be instead of crying about how things are. If I had to sum up my love of Star Wars in one sentence, that would be it. So with all that context I visited finally Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios and I have to say with great enthusiasm that it was a dream come true. I have to thank the Disney Imagineers and Bob Iger’s vision to turn them loose on this $1 billion dedication to creativity and everything that Star Wars could be, so that I could walk around and see, touch, taste and experience a Star Wars reality that I really thought would never be possible, even with my considerable talents at creativity being what they are.

I found my visits this past week to Galaxy’s Edge mind bending, and simply jaw dropping. I’ve traveled around the world and experienced many cultures. Nothing comes close to what I experienced at Galaxy’s Edge. Even though it is all a fictional reality, I found it quite clear that the Imagineers of Disney had not just recreated a Star Wars experience for fans of the films and books, but had created a better reality for which the stories of Star Wars had always been endeavoring to create in the minds of their fans. Only now it was real, you could see it, touch it, and taste it. The perfect symphonic elements of good storytelling I don’t think have ever been done this well anywhere in the world, ever.

I remember when The Lion King was all the rage on Broadway and how the use of the puppet props to recreate the story of the animated movie The Lion King touched people in what many thought was a sophisticated way. It was considered high art by even the most hardened social critics. Walking into this Galaxy’s Edge land dedicated to Star Wars with all the great sounds and music by John Williams genius work was not just watching a concert where the actors and musicians were on stage performing for you, but that you were now part of the story and the action was happening to you. It was an entirely new way to present a high art concept using a popular film franchise as the launching point. Everywhere I looked was an obvious, “this is how it could be” message by Disney Imagineers. The ever important asking of the question, “what if?”

To start by asking a question, “what if the values of cowboy cinema and Saturday morning serials could be met to the needs of the next generation of space traveler” was the question George Lucas asked years ago before using Joseph Campbell’s studies on mythology to launch the Star Wars film franchise. Then to see it evolve into a full three dimensional reality with the promise of more, and more for me was the most ambitious attempt ever conducted at such an audacious task, the realization of a fantasy into a known reality even on such a level as Star Wars is known for. This was the highest form of storytelling that I have ever seen in any format by any level of content. It was sophisticated, honest, and hopeful in inspiring people to ask those next level questions about our own reality. If you can have Star Wars in Disney World, then why not everywhere, and on any planet? As I walked around Galaxy’s Edge I thought of Elon Musk and what designs his engineers at Space X might be inspired to upon visiting this place and how the Mars expeditions of the future might take shape directly inspired by these constructs. In all my years of reading about mythology, comparative religion and science fiction in general, nobody had ever come close to doing anything remotely close to what Disney had done at Galaxy’s Edge. When they said this was the most ambitious project they had ever attempted, they weren’t kidding.

I couldn’t get enough of that place. It was the most comfortable I can remember ever feeling anywhere at any point in my life. When I was a kid I had a very creative place in my parents basement that was dedicated to Star Wars. I built lots of models and landscapes dedicated to the old Kenner toys and I enjoyed that until about age 13 when my parents were concerned that I’d rather spend time there than in dating and socializing. They took it down while I was at school one day and let me know that they were going to fix up the basement and were going to move me down there so I could have my own room through my teenage years. I never really got over that experience, I was so angry about it that I carried it around for years. Not that I could blame them, they thought they were doing the right thing. But for my kind of mind, it was the worst thing they could have done. I just wanted to have a creative space for my mind and when they took that away, there wasn’t a replacement so I internalized everything because there was no other choice.

And even when you grow up, it doesn’t get any easier. People want pieces of you every hour of every day, and if you are a good person, you do all you can to help them out with their problems. For me, the more people who come into your life the harder it is to find time to think, which is what I like doing the most. So as ridiculous as it sounds, I have been craving that creative space for myself all these years since then to now, but life just doesn’t give it to you. You either get it as a kid or never again because kids don’t yet have the responsibility of life. So they get free time to think about things, and when life came to interrupt my creative solitude, I did the best I could with it, but nothing life offered was ever as satisfying as that creative space I had in my parent’s basement when I was 9 to 13 years old. Walking through Galaxy’s Edge it was obvious that my sentiments were not alone to me, but that many of the people who had built the place, under the power of Disney’s financial abilities, had similar experiences as me, and this was a love letter from them to the efforts of creativity. It was a place I had been thinking of building since I was a little kid and seeing it and being there was very special.

I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to visit the place. It was and will likely remain one of the best couple of days of my life.

Rich Hoffman

The Hope of Comics

Even though it’s not why I do it, because in the beginning I considered this blog to be a fun extension of my life and my many interests, it has become something bigger and much more literate. And with that come judgments from people who just aren’t very intellectual presently, or perhaps never will be which I consider worthless. The difference between me writing these many articles for myself, which I have for many, many years and sharing them in the form of a blog is that in the back of my mind I hope to help people realize that there is more to life than what they are presently living. I think by any measure I am a very well-balanced person and an excellent thinker. True, I could be another Alex Jones, I certainly have interests in that direction, but I could also be a sports star, or any number of things. But what I am is a lot of things and I like it that way. And I share those things with my audience purely for the sake of their own uses, certainly not mine. What I do for myself is know that I am trying to help people live better and more authentically, and when the refusal of that offer is openly rejected I do get mad about it. I don’t force people to do anything and they certainly shouldn’t expect such a thing from me. The things I do object to in life however is anything that leads to below the line thinking and when I see such a thing I do get pretty vocal about a need to rebel against it erupts. But sometimes even for me the disappointments about how people choose to live and paint themselves into a corner gets to be too much and on those moments I give myself a breath by going to my local comic book store.

As I’ve said before, I like every sport there is. The reason I didn’t enter professional sports as a young person was that while I liked the objectives of winning, I didn’t like the compliance of building a team. I always related more to the coaches than the players and the elements of leadership so sports took up too much time and there were too many social stigmas about what success or failure meant and I had other things I wanted to spend time on. But I’m certainly not one who is an either or person, either the life of a jock or the life of the geek who hangs out in comic book stores avoiding life while others chase balls around and get headlines in the newspapers because of it. Those divisions were always absurd to me and still are. I enjoy reading all types of things, including comic books. They are usually full of ambition and the artwork is usually very energetic.

So it was with that zeal that my oldest daughter, my youngest grandson and my wife went to two comic book stores on Saturday which was a combination of Star Wars day and free comic book day. What I really wanted was the new comic about the new Star Wars land at their theme parks called Galaxy’s Edge. I’ve always been a Han Solo guy so I am quite excited that the plot of the new land was featuring him and that it was highlighted in the new comic, and I wanted to get it. I can’t recall the last time a theme park decided to tie modern mythology in this way and I found it very interesting. So for the history of it I wanted to collect it for reflection 50 or 60 years from now in the future. I was also curious how Disney would attempt to tie all these media platforms together into a big unified story.

Much to my surprise they were sold out of the Galaxy’s Edge comic that I wanted at the first comic store, but otherwise it was a very bustling place. I didn’t see any kids there, but a lot of adults and they were all talking quite vibrantly about various comics, the recent Game of Thrones episode, the Avengers climax with Endgame and the upcoming Cincinnati Comic Con which my other daughter is planning to attend as an exhibitor. I couldn’t help but wonder if Socrates ever thought for a second that any culture on earth would have so much mythology produced and that people would gather in a comic book store to talk about them with such passion. I am encouraged by such places, they often restore my thoughts that people are worth saving when I read comics and see the bold desires there that are unfurled by obscure artists revealing their hopes and dreams through fantastic characters that are translated onto colorful pages full of art. There was more art produced just in that one comic book store than the entire Renaissance period of Europe, which I think is every bit as good.

We ultimately had to go to a comic book store in Mason to get my Galaxy’s Edge comic. I picked up far more than I had planned to and I enjoyed reading them later while I watched the Reds game on television and for me, all was right with the world. But more than anything I enjoyed the people. There were a lot more people participating in the free comic book day events than I would have thought which led to a lot of contemplation for me. My daughter and I discussed it over lunch. Her generation has grown up in a lot of hapless situations. The political system has let them down, their educations were a joke, their parental structure often broken. It was in their last hopes for participating in mankind that they go to the comic book store looking for heroes to believe in. Some people would say they were escaping from reality, but what I saw was that it was for their own good. Their love of comics was a survival mechanism to the disappointments of life and I saw in all those people a desire to not just accept a “bla” existence, but to at least learn through the mythology of fantasy characters that there was more to the human experience than just accepting defeat then eventually death.

To say I’m excited about Disney’s new Galaxy’s Edge would be a severe understatement. I read the comic pretty much in the car on the way home because I couldn’t wait to see how everything would be tied together and I was happy with the ambition of it all. I personally needed the break in thought myself. For me it’s never about going backwards. When I get disappointed in the ambitions of the human species, I too look for reasons to feel good about it all again and comic book stores do it for me. They are filled with hope not just in the artists who produce the content, but in the participants. In all their geekdom, they are essentially out for the same thing that the baseball player is, or the golf enthusiast, or Fantasy Football player, everyone wants a win. And if there are things that comics are typically selling, its victories of the human soul overcoming adversity. And unfortunately for most, such concepts are a fantasy. But at least they haven’t lost sight of the need for such a thing.

Rich Hoffman

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Disney’s Fantasy Island: Where imagination intersects with reality to create mythology

I have been just a little enamored by all the news coming out of D23 in Anaheim, California over the weekend of 7/14–7/16.  I know many of my readers come here looking for political commentary, or uplifting insight into some complicated matter, but for anyone who knows me; the key to living that I find most valuable is mythology.  I credit the great Joseph Campbell as being the only teacher I ever really found valuable as I spent much of my youth digesting his vast work in the realm of mythology.  And in the modern sense, Star Wars is the greatest realization of modern myth that there is.  To the extent that Star Wars can expand the imagination of the human race is something I find infinitely valuable and is important if we look out beyond the limits of our present political entanglements. Even in the realm of education, Star Wars is changing the game and now under Disney’s guidance the results to me are mind bending—as was revealed by the entertainment company at their D23 Expo.

When I was a kid there was a popular television show called Fantasy Island that came on Saturday nights and I enjoyed it immensely. The premise was that whatever fantasy a visitor might have they could visit Fantasy Island and live it out only to learn some life lesson by the end of their trip that was important to their return to the regular world.  Well, Disney with all their resources are using the mythology of Star Wars to create their own version of a real “Fantasy Island” at Hollywood Studios with an exhibit they are calling now “Galaxy’s Edge” which is a fully immersive Star Wars land designed to take the theme park experience to the next level.  I wrote about that the other day, click here to review.  But in addition to that they are opening a Star Wars resort which is a completely immersive “fantasy island type of experience where you actually will be a part of a Star Wars story which I think is phenomenal on many levels as these videos will reveal.

Many years ago as I was one of the core members of The Joseph Campbell Foundation invited to Washington D.C. by Campbell’s wife Jean and a few other people who were very close to George Lucas who at that time was a board of director member—to review a very special Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  It was a big event and we had the VIP experience of getting there first before it was opened to the public.  So I took my kids because I knew it would be important in their lives.  And they never forgot it—and neither did I.  It was an experience that bonded us all very tightly—and that is what a good mythology can do.  You should never get lost in some fantasy and avoid living life, but I often say that Star Wars to me is like a vacation that I take in my mind.  I’m always thinking about very intense things and get myself into very stressful acts—and Star Wars in the form of some video game, book, or movie puts ideas onto a place where I can see them differently and usually solve problems by changing the perspective a bit.  For instance I’m currently very excited for the release of Battlefront II.  When it comes out I’ll probably spend a month playing it very diligently because it helps me manage very complex real life situations through the problem solving that you get while playing acting in battlefield strategies and war-time scenarios set in a Star Wars context.  I thought that these Battlefront games from Electronic Arts were the ultimate first person Star Wars experience.  Until this year’s D23—a Star Wars resort with a new land within Hollywood Studios called Galaxy’s Edge.  Compared to when I took my kids to the Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1997 as a proud member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation from the perspective of a “mythology insider,” what Disney is doing is incredible, and I’m a big fan of it.

But that wasn’t all.  Over the past year I mentioned that I bought a Playstation VR device essentially so I could play the Battlefront Star Wars VR mission that came out on it over the previous Christmas.  It was to me a jaw-dropping experience and it has been a feature attraction to anybody who has come to my home over the last 6 months. The ability to fly an X-Wing Fighter into combat in and around a Star Destroyer was incredibly well done and if that was the extent of it I would be forever impressed.  But now a company called Lenovo has teamed up with Disney to create what is called an “augmented reality” experience meaning that you can see reality as you normally would only with a special headset new things can be introduced to it.  In this case you can embark on Jedi light saber training and play the Holo Chess that was so popular in the Star Wars films with this “augmented reality.”  That brings the experience of Star Wars and its mythology even more to the private world of the home environment.   Mythology is driving technology in ways that are then coming back to the personal experience of living the power of myth.   I will certainly be getting the new “augmented reality” headset by Lenovo as soon as it hits Best Buy likely this fall.

http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/jedichallenges/?irgwc=1&clickid=3rq2DwQpgXfOxH8WRAzR8SUQUkhS2J0hMXAvQk0&PID=27795&acid=ww:affiliate:bv0as6

But this home technology only hints at what a company like Disney can do at these theme parks now to provide that truly Fantasy Island experience for their guests.  Star Wars is a powerful mythology.  On the surface it’s for kids, but the themes it contains are very primal and communicate with people in ways that nothing else currently does.   For adults Las Vegas has created some of that Fantasy Island mystic, but it doesn’t contain enough mythology to be a truly beneficial experience.  You get the sights and sounds of some fantasy thought, but not the problem solving that comes with experiencing an “augmented reality.”  I typically read a lot which works for me, but most people don’t take time for that kind of experience and the mind does get fatigued if it is not fed a steady dose of imagination.  A mind filled with imaginative elements whether from a fantasy situation or just from stimuli works better than a mind weighed down with the weights of reality.  Mythology helps people think bigger about things and that is a truly beneficial service.   But the ability to move directly into a mythic circumstance is truly revolutionary.  It is a real Fantasy Island type of experience and I think it will have vast importance over the coming decade culturally.

I knew when Universal Studios opened up that Harry Potter experience in their Florida parks that we were moving into a new kind of mythic experience.  And I knew that Disney would have an answer.  But I didn’t think it would be possible to be this cool.  What is happening is far exceeding my expectations and the possibilities are obvious.  I remember all too well how powerful Star Wars was to me and my family when these new options were not available.  What they will do to the mind of the up and coming to me is truly mind-blowing with benefits.  And I’m very excited to see more.  I was looking forward for quite a number of months to see what this year’s D23 would reveal.  What they showed was far more than I anticipated which is hard to do.  That leaves an astounding thought, what will be next?

Rich Hoffman

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