Star Wars' existence in Disney theme parks actually pre-dates the company's purchase of Lucasfilm, but everybody knew it was only a matter of time once the purchase happened before Star Wars' presence saw a massive increase in Anaheim and Orlando. That is set to happen later this year when Walt Disney World in Florida, and also Disneyland in California, see a major upgrade in the form of a new land called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
While we won't get to really see or truly experience Star Wars Galaxy's Edge until the land opens later this year, there's still a lot that has been revealed about the new area and what it will contain. Here's everything that we know about the newest part of the Disney parks.
When Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Will Open
Originally, Walt Disney World had been given a window of Late Fall 2019 for the opening of Star Wars; Galaxy's Edge with Disneyland set to open in the summer of the same year. This meant a lot of people were surprised when the actual opening dates were revealed as Disneyland was announced to see the land open May 31 with Walt Disney World following on August 29.
There's a catch however. With the earlier date it was announced that only one of the E-ticket attractions, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run would be open to the public. The other attraction, Rise of the Resistance will come later as part of a second phase opening. No date was given for when that will happen beyond both parks seeing phase two come sometime in 2019. It seems likely each park will see the second attraction close to the original opening date.
How To Get Into Galaxy's Edge
With the popularity that Disneyland and Walt Disney World already have, combined with the popularity of Star Wars, it's clear that Galaxy's Edge is going to be a popular place when it opens. However, Disney is doing what it can to alleviate crowds.
For the first three weeks of Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland, May 31 to June 22, a separate reservation will be necessary to access the new land. On May 2 reservations were made available to the general public, but they were all taken in less than two hours. Now, the only way to get in during that opening period is by booking a stay at a Disneyland resort hotel. A hotel reservation will get you access to a four hour long reservation at Galaxy's Edge during one day of your hotel stay.
Once the reservation period has ended a "virtual queueing system" will be utilized to prevent a standby liner from forming.
There has been no reservation system announced for Disney's Hollywood Studios.
How Galaxy's Edge Will Be Different
One of the ways that Star Wars Galaxy's Edge will be a unique land for a Disney park is that it is being designed to feel, in its entirety, like it exists as a planet in the Star Wars Universe. The idea is that this isn't simply a space in a theme park that looks like Star Wars, but an actual part of Star Wars canon, just like any movie. The name of that planet is Batuu. It can be found on the outer edge of the galaxy, thus the name of the land, but is also a location of importance to both the Resistance and The First Order. We've never seen Batuu before, as it's a brand new creation by Disney. However, the Star Wars multimedia machine has already begun to sprinkle the location throughout other forms of Star Wars media as a way to prepare us for the planet.
Of course, even Disney's largest single land expansion ever isn't going to feel like it's actually a whole planet, so the focus will actually be a single settlement on that planet
Black Spire Outpost
While Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will exist on its own planet, the focus of the land will be on a specific place on that planet. Named for the petrified trees that have transformed into the planet's unique geology, Black Spire Outpost will be the hub of activity where guests will find the attractions, the restaurants, and the merchandise available for sale. The Black Spires actually received a reference in Solo: A Star Wars Story, showing that this new area will be intimately tied to the larger Star Wars universe.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
There will be two E-ticket attractions as part of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The most exciting is probably the one that will put you in the pilot seat of the Millennium Falcon. Within the story of the ride, Pirate Hondo Ohnaka, known to Star Wars fans from his appearances in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Rebels animated series, has made a deal with Chewbacca. He will help fund a refurbishment on the Falcon if Chewie will let him use it to run some less than legal goods through the galaxy. As a guest, you're actually a freelance smuggler, looking to make some cash by signing up to work for Hondo.
Groups of six riders will be given one of three crew positions, pilot, gunner, or engineer. When it comes time to actually do your flying, It isn't just a ride. Guests will have to actively use the controls in the Millennium Falcon cockpit in order to successfully execute the mission. If gunners don't fire fast enough, the Falcon will take damage. If that happens, engineers may have to extinguish fires.
While it apparently won't be possible to completely fail the mission, different outcomes are possible. You'll even be able to see the damage that you've done. With numerous possibilities for the ride, the re-rideability of the attraction looks to be quite high, even if you weren't simply looking to fly the Falcon again and again, although who wouldn't want to do that?
Rise Of The Resistance
The other major attraction at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge is an attraction that will put you in the middle of a battle between The Resistance and the First Order. Rise of the Resistance will see guests become members of the Resistance and go on a mission on their behalf before being captured by a First Order Star Destroyer. Then guests get into trackless ride vehicles for an escape that promises to be one of the biggest and most exciting rides of any theme park ever.
Rise of the Resistance is the marquee attraction of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. It's biggest selling point may be that the attraction is simply massive. Based on the description the experience will have multiple segments that will see guests both walking and riding between them. A resistance flight deck with full-sized X-Wings will be in one area. While full size First Order AT-ATs will be in another.
In addition to the awesome set pieces, guests will also feel like they're part of the Star Wars universe because several characters from the current trilogy will also be part of Rise of the Resistance. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver have all recorded scenes that will be part of it all.
One of the highlights of any Disney vacation is all the great food the park has on offer and we can be sure that Star Wars Galaxy's Edge will not be an exception. It has been confirmed that blue milk will be on offer, as well as countless other delicacies of the galaxy far, far away. Black Spire Station will also have a cantina available. There will also be a table service restaurant as well as a separate quick serve-type establishment. This is likely going to be a tough reservation to get, as many will surely want to eat in the galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will also bring what may be the single biggest change to Disneyland in its entire history as it will be the first place alcohol has ever been available to the general public. Star Wars themed cocktails as well as a selection of wine and beer made exclusively for Galaxy's Edge will be available at Oga's Cantina. You can bet finding a seat will be tough there, in fact, the word is the layout has been designed mostly for standing room for simply that reason, so that more people will be able to fit in the space. If nothing else, you'll be able to listen to some solid music as RX-24, or R3X, the original Star Tours pilot, has found a new job as a DJ.
Docking Bay 7 will be the table service restaurant at Black Spire Station. Recognizable by the transport ship on the roof, Docking Bay 7 is the home of Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs, who honed his craft at the castle of one Maz Kanata before taking his show on the road and finding himself on Batuu.
Ronto Roasters will be the quick service food location, providing roasted meat that's been cooked on what used to be a pod racing engine. Considering that the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ restaurant used to be on the location of Galaxy's Edge, it's a nice way to pay homage to the popular spot that we no longer have.
There are a couple of other places to grab a bite or something to drink. Kat Saka's Kettle will offer a variety of flavored popcorn. There will also be a Milk Stand allowing you to try the popular blue or green milk from the Star Wars universe. These beverages will actually be fruit flavored smoothie's when you find them on Batuu.
Nobody knows how to sell stuff quite like Disney and no place is the company better at it than inside the theme parks. However, merchandise is where one of the more interesting aspects of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge comes in. Rather than being full of t-shirts and ball caps with the Star Wars logo like you might expect, none of that will actually be available inside the new land. Instead, the shops will be part of the lands theming, containing only the sorts of items you might expect to find in an alien marketplace. There will certainly be plenty of clothes and toys, but only items designed to look like they came from Batuu.
The highlight of the cool stuff on display is likely the shop that will let you buld your own lightsaber. This is going to be serious business as you'll need to schedule a time for your lightsaber build. There will be many different options to choose from that will let you build a blade in your own special way. Expect to pay something around $100 just for the hilt, and $50 more if you actually want to be able to attach a blade. But it sounds like the final product will look like something you see in the movies, so that will likely make things worth it.
A droid building shop will be available, allowing you to build your own remote controlled R2 or BB unit, and who doesn't want of those.
There will be a toy shop, run by a Toydarian, because why not. It will house plush dolls that look like your favorite Star Wars characters, because they've become famous throughout the galaxy,
There will also be clothing shops so that you can dress like a member of either the Resistance or the First Order. There will actually be different shops depending on which side you want to join, because, again, the storytelling is even built into the shopping.
While we know a little about the big things that Star Wars Galaxy's Edge has planned, what Disney Parks are better than anybody at is the small stuff, the little details that help flesh out the world so it feels real. Quite a few of those little details are hinted at in the form of patents that Disney has filed for in recent months. We've seen one that could create the look of blaster fire, and another that could create holograms in an attraction. Based on descriptions, it sounds like both of these will be used as part of the Rise of the Resistance ride.
However, what may be even more interesting is the way Disney is going to use your smartphone to create an even more immersive Star Wars experience. Via the existing Play Disney Parks app, a whole host of new experiences will be available to guests.
One game will let you use your phone to "hack" surveillance boxes set up around Black Spire Station by the First Order. Once hacked, you can either deactivate them, to help the Resistance or reactivate them to help the First Order.
You'll also be able to use the app to translate Aurebesh writing found throughout Batuu, a lot of things won't be in English, since nobody on Batuu speaks the language.
You'll also be able to use the app to pick up and complete odd jobs. These can also be handled in different ways and the decisions you make will help dictate whether you end up joining the First Order or the Resistance.
In addition, the events of some of the attractions will also carry over into other aspects of the land. If you bring the Millennium Falcon back in less than ideal condition from Smuggler's Run, then a bartender might make reference to that when you visit the cantina.
One thing that won't be opening in the late fall of 2019 at Walt Disney World, but is on its way, is a special Star Wars-themed hotel that will be attached to Galaxy's Edge. More than simply being a place to keep your stuff while you're in the park, the hotel is set to be an attraction unto itself, where guests check in for a set number of days for an all-inclusive, completely immersive, Star Wars experience. You'll be able to dress the part and interact with other guests and staff as if you were on board a starship flying through the galaxy, far, far away. It sounds like nothing anybody has ever experienced and we can't wait to check in.
Needless to say, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is promising a lot. With Disney's history, there's a good chance it will be successful in pretty much everything it wants to do. The only real question is, just how insane will the crowds be when it opens and how much of a problem will those crowds be in trying to enjoy the immersive Star Wars world. We'll find out later this year.