In the summer of 2015, when the Walt Disney Co. unveiled plans to build monumental "Star Wars" lands at its California and Florida theme parks, a wave of euphoria washed over the planet. Bob Iger, Disney's chief executive, made the announcement at a fan convention, revealing that one ride would allow people to pilot the Millennium Falcon. Two men sitting near me started to weep with joy.

I felt emotional too. For a different reason.

The "Star Wars" extensions, each 14 acres in size, sounded thrilling. They would cost a combined US$2 billion (plus) to build and resemble trading ports

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