Disney eyes Star Wars theme parks

Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters mingle with fans at a US baseball game.
Darth Vader and other Star Wars characters mingle with fans at a US baseball game.AFP

ANAHEIM, United States (AFP) - R2-D2 will be rolling into Mickey Mouse's neighbourhood as the amusement park giant opens parks with a Star Wars theme adjacent to existing venues in Florida and California.

Disney chief executive Bob Iger said Saturday that after Disney's US$4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm three years ago, "we wanted to bring Star Wars to every corner of our company... Not only on screens but in real life."

The attractions will have a battle experience, as well as giving visitors a chance to drive "one of the most recognisable ships in the galaxy," the Millennium Falcon, on a secret mission.

"We'll transport guests to a whole new planet," Iger said at the D23 EXPO 2015 jammed with fans and reporters.

"You'll have a chance to run into all the droids and fantastic beasts."

The Star Wars parks will be in Orlando, next to Disney Hollywood Studios, and in Anaheim, next to Disneyland.

The 5.6ha sites will have their own staff and restaurants will be staffed by wild creatures from the space saga.

The three-day D23 expo at the convention center in Anaheim - home to the original Disneyland Park - has drawn Disney fans and media representatives from around the globe.

Shanghai Disneyland Park is due to open next year.