11:33am PT by Jordan Zakarin
Disney and Lucasfilm, Already Big Dollar Partners
To geeks, film nerds and those employed in Hollywood, Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm qualified as very big business news. But to kids of a certain age, it was just business as usual.
Sure, the $4.05 billion takeover will result in three new Star Wars films and seemingly infinite marketing and product opportunities -- think clothing, action figures, collectibles, theme park attractions. Or, even more of them, anyway; Disney has long been making use of The Force.
Head to most Disney theme parks around the world, and you'll find Star Tours, a recently re-done ride that blasts parkgoers to various spots throughout the galaxy, guided by C-3PO and other characters new and old. If you're at Disneyland, you can hop off that ride and head over to the Jedi Training Academy live action show, made especially for little kids (hopefully it doesn't re-enact scenes from Episode III).
The toy and apparel that has been made from colliding the two universes is even more impressive. Disney parks have full-blown stores dedicated to both classic Star Wars gear and toys, and mashup products. You can get a plush Jedi Mickey, Goofy-as-Vader action figures (as well as Pluto-as-R2D2 and Mashter Yoda) and Disney's own line of collectibles, called Vinylmations.
Those prroducts get most play, one can assume, during Disney World's "Star Wars: The Weekend," which acts as a giant fan convention for Star Wars fans. Storm Troopers stream through the streets, keeping order in the Happiest Place on Earth, and this is only the beginning: for $1 million a year -- in perpetuity -- characters from the universe will roam Disney parks.