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Disney's updating Star Tours for The Force Awakens, bringing Iron Man to theme parks

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

At the D23 Expo earlier today, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger announced a pair of massive Star Wars-themed attractions for the company's Disney theme parks in California and Florida. But the company has even more planned for Star Wars at Disneyland and Disney World, including a Star Wars: The Force Awakens-themed update for its classic Star Tours ride.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek announced "Star Tours - The Adventures Continues" at D23 today, which Disney calls "a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy."

Also coming to Disneyland and Disney World later this year is Star Wars Launch Bay, an "interactive experience" that includes exhibits and a behind-the-scenes peek at The Force Awakens. Disney's Jedi Training Academy, which is aimed at younger theme park visitors, will also be updated with characters from Disney XD's animated series Star Wars Rebels.

Disney Theme Parks D23

Disney will also update its famous Space Mountain roller coaster with a Star Wars theme, renaming it Hyperspace Mountain. That update sounds temporary, as Disney is including Hyperspace Mountain as part of its "Seasons of the Force" promotion.

Beyond Star Wars, Disney is bringing its Marvel properties to theme parks too. The first Marvel attraction at Disney's parks will be the Iron Man Experience. That attraction will open at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016 and will take "guests on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong. The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside fan-favorite Avenger, Iron Man."

Disney Theme Parks D23

Disney also detailed its upcoming partial transformation of Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, which will be based on James Cameron's Avatar. Here are the details on that theme park expansion:

Pandora - The World of Avatar - Disney's Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new Avatar-themed land - a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

Avatar Flight of Passage - This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

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