Visitors may pilot the Millennium Falcon, among other attractions; CEO defends ‘demand pricing’

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Construction will begin next month on “Star Wars” land, the biggest expansion of Disneyland in decades, Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger announced at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, saying the attraction “will be great.”

At the meeting Thursday in Chicago, Iger said groundbreaking for the 14-acre “Star Wars”-themed land will take place in April, adding that the area will feature two attractions, including a ride that lets visitors pilot the Millennium Falcon, the spaceship flown by Han Solo in the movies.

An identical “Star Wars” land is also set to be built in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Orlando, Fla. Iger gave no completion date for either expansion.

Disneyland closed several attractions in Frontierland on Jan. 10 to make way for the “Star Wars” expansion.

Responding to a question from a shareholder, Iger said the original plans for the expansion have been “tweaked.”

“I wouldn’t focus on what was in an earlier design plan because what we are building will be great,” he said.

Iger also addressed the company’s recent decision to adopt a new pricing policy that raises daily ticket prices at its theme parks on peak demand days and lowers the charge for low-demand days.

He said the pricing change is meant to “spread out our visitation” and reduce crowds during peak days, such as holidays. “We may end up providing a better guest experience,” Iger said of the price change, which took effect Sunday.