A galaxy far, far away is closer than you might think.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will let visitors climb into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, build their own droid from spare parts and belly up to a spaceport cantina for an alien cocktail when the new themed land opens at Disneyland in June.
The massive 14-acre, $1 billion project marks the largest expansion in Disneyland history and represents Disney’s most ambitious attempt ever to immerse guests in an all-enveloping e
Visitors to Galaxy’s Edge will step into the remote village of Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu, which sits on the outer rim of the Star Wars galaxy. The headliner attractions include the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Creating the Most Immersive Land Ever.
The goal for Lucasfilm and Imagineering was to create a 360-degree walk-through embodiment of the Star Wars universe for visitors that was film
“We had to think of things in a much different way,” said Carrie Beck, Lucasfilm’s vice president for animation and live-action series development. “Not only what roles were [visitors] looking to go play in the theme park itself, but how would those stories play out for them. And how were all of the stories that were being told throughout the land helping them feel like they had a real conflict, real discovery and real surprise amongst their day and their experience.”
The hard part was to create an environment that appealed to hardcore “Star Wars” fans as well as those who had never seen the films.
“When we open Galaxy’s Edge, I think grown men are going to cry,” said Margaret Kerrison, Imagineering’s managing story editor for the Star Wars project. “I think people are going to fall to their knees and start kissing the ground. It sounds like a total exaggeration, but I feel like it’s going to happen. There’s just so much anticipation and excitement for this.”
“If in three seconds I don’t know it’s Star Wars, it doesn’t belong in the land,” said Wendy Anderson, an executive creative director for Disney Parks live entertainment.
Despite that, little details are everywhere. For example, on the pathways Disney
Near the restrooms, dingy looky water fountains hide a surprise: at a push of a button, a dianoga — the creature that lorded over the Death Star’s garbage compactor in “A New Hope” — appears in the pipes.
The Residents of Black Spire Outpost.
An audio-animatronic DJ Rex will play tunes because the former Star Tours pilot will be making a career change and spinning songs for guests in Oga’s Cantina.
A dreadlocked space pirate with six tusk-like protrusions from his chin serves as the host of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run flight simulator, this of course is none other than, Hondo Ohnaka, a character from “Solo: a Star Wars Story”
Dok-Ondar, the Audio-Animatronic owner of a black market antique shop in the land, will haggle with guests over the prices of various items. “He has two moods,” Imagineering show programmer Amy Goodwin Goodwin said. “He can be happy or frustrated.”
Will There be a Gift Shop?
Disney is working hard so that guests won’t realize they’re in a theme park gift shop until they pull out their credit card. A lot of the merchandise will have a handmade look, because in the Star Wars universe it was crafted by residents of Black Spire Outpost.
Many of the stalls along the outdoor marketplace consist of tiny storefronts that will be jam-packed with props, resembling an ancient Mediterranean or Middle Eastern market. Every shop on the planet has an
Fear not, Star Wars purists, “The merchandise inside the shops won’t be in boxes that are cardboard that say, ‘Disney’ on them,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney’s Parks, Resorts, and Consumer Experiences.
In the marketplace creature stall, toys come to life when you squeeze, stroke or poke them, for example, a R
Mass-produced Chewbacca, Yoda
Best of all guests, going 14 at a time will get to build and personalize their own lightsaber in a special 20-minute experience. Prices for this experience have not yet been released.
Other toys have a more Earth-like look, but still can only be found at Galaxy’s Edge. Interactive, next level toys will allow kids to rip the head off of a C-3PO and elicit a cry of terror from the humanoid robot. Put his head on backward and he’ll say: “What’s going on? Turn around. I can’t see.” A remote-controlled robotic Rex — you know, the DJ from a few
Disney’s merchandise team worked closely with Lucasfilm’s archives division to turn movie props into authentic-looking collectibles and clothing. Hardcore fans will be able to purchase tunics, scarves, and belts based on pieces from the “Star Wars” movies.
What About Food? I’m Hungry! And Thirsty!
“What does it taste like? What does it smell like? What does it look like?” wondered Brian Piasecki, Disney World culinary director for concept development. “We had the opportunity to really bring all of those touch points to every single guest that’s going to visit Galaxy’s Edge.”
No visit to Galaxy’s Edge would be complete without a tall glass of blue milk. Although Disney is still working this one
“It’s not actually milk,” said Scott Trowbridge, the Imagineering creative executive overseeing the Galaxy’s Edge project. “If you’re walking around Florida in the middle of August, the last thing you want is a heated glass of milk. It’s refreshing, delicious and great.”
What Does the Future Hold?
While there’s much to be done before the opening day of Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, Imagineers are already planting seeds for future expansion of the bi-coastal themed lands.
“We are being open to wherever Star Wars goes over the next decade,” Trowbridge said. “I would never put a limitation on what we might be able to do in the world of Star Wars.”