Disneyland is leaping into hyperspace to a galaxy far, far away with its new attraction Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Spanning 14 acres and opening May 31 in the Anaheim park (and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida on August 29), the new land is not only the park’s hottest new attraction but a wildly immersive experience that’s an extension of the iconic Star Wars franchise. It will definitely make your eyes widen, jaw drop and fill you with the power of the Force.
Development of Galaxy’s Edge started in 2014, and it finally will be open to the public this month. It features the anchor attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (which we will talk about later), as well as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which will open later this year. A group of Disney and Lucasfilm took the stage today to talk about what went into creating this new world, which puts Disney parks on a whole new level — and it’s all in the storytelling which makes it a crazy-fun Star Wars experience. It’s as if you’re in one of the movies. (Have a 360-degree look of Smugglers Run below.)
Bob Iger Tours Disneyland's 'Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge' With J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg
Guests can wander the marketplace of Black Spire Outpost in the newly introduced Batuu, which is located on the galaxy’s Outer Rim (duh!). While wandering you can eat authentic food and drink a creative array of beverages — including that Blue Milk that we saw in A New Hope (there’s also Green Milk). You can unwind at a very authentic cantina, shop for pets and make your own lightsaber and droid. Galaxy’s Edge comes even more alive with the Play Disney Parks mobile app, where you can interact with the environment around you, earn points, hack robots and even claim yourself as part of the Dark side, a Rebel, Scoundrel. It’s a whole other level of interaction and storytelling embedded in the land. But let’s face it — the centerpiece everyone will be flocking to is Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Smugglers Run is sure to garner long wait times once Galaxy’s Edge is open — but it is nothing like you have ever seen before when it comes to a Disney ride. Guests will be able to enter the cockpit of the iconic Han Solo ship (the first time a full-size, 100% complete Millennium Falcon ever built) and go on a mission with Hondo Ohnaka. The story of Smuggler’s Run takes place after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Chewbacca has brought the Falcon to Black Spire Outpost for repairs at this spaceport on the edge of the galaxy. In exchange for some much-needed replacement parts, Chewie is loaning the Falcon to Hondo Ohnaka, a smuggler who is now making good use of the ship which, everyone knows, famously made ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
Loyal fans may know Hondo from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. He is Weequay pirate always looking for the next big score with his “legitimate business” Ohnaka Transport Solutions. When guests meet Hondo, he tells them he has more cargo than he can handle and needs extra flight crews to make some runs for him. When entering the ship guests will immediately recognize the Falcon’s quirks and items from the films are all over — including the famous Dejarik (chess) table. You’ll be able to poke around before your “crew” gets called on board to enter the cockpit. Six at a time, guests will able to be a pilot, gunner or engineer and all have responsibilities during the ride — which is essentially the best, large-scale immersive video game you will ever ride. Each experience will be new depending on your role and if you crash the Millennium Falcon or not.
Smuggler’s Run may be the centerpiece of the new land, but with Rise of the Resistance opening later this year, there is an opportunity for this land to grow with the TV and film franchises stemming from the Star Wars universe.
Carrie Beck VP Animation & Live Action Series Development, Lucasfilm, told Deadline that creating this city and planet in Disneyland has the potential to help tell new stories in future Star Wars film and TV franchises. The locations and environment in the land “provide a lot of opportunity for either working with storytellers and filmmakers who want to utilize Batuu to tell the story they want to tell.”
“We have the ability to create ideas that might emerge out of those stories and bring them back in — that’s one of the elements that is most exciting,” added Beck. “It’s really about finding the right moments of opportunity and not trying to force fit. It’s all about the authentic journey.”
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens May 31. The bad news is reservations along with park admission are required to enter the new land and drink the Blue Milk — and reservations are no longer available. The good news is that reservations no longer will be required after June 23, so that is when everyone will get to witness all the glory of Batuu and Smuggler’s Run.
The execs onstage today were Scott Trowbridge, Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering; Brad Schoeneberg, Director of Merchandise Strategy and Park Experience; Asa Kalama, Executive Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering; Carrie Beck, VP Animation & Live Action Series Development at Lucasfilm; Michele Gendreau, Director of Food & Beverage at Disneyland Resort; and Doug Chiang of Lucasfilm.
May the Force be with all of us.
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