In a shareholders meeting on Thursday, Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger finally revealed the long-anticipated opening date of the new Star Wars-themed section at Disney Parks. The new land, dubbed “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” will open on May 31st at Disneyland in Anaheim and August 29th at Florida’s Disney World. Meaning New Orleans Square is no longer my favorite part of Disneyland — I’ll take lightsabers and the Millennium Falcon over pirates and haunted mansions any day of the goddamn week.
As you might suspect, Disneyland is counting on some huge crowds surrounding the opening, which is why guests will temporarily be required to make a reservation — at no additional cost — to visit the attraction from its opening day until June 23rd. As of now, there aren’t any details on how and when you can make the reservations, though we imagine Disney will be releasing that information soon, as we’re approaching the opening date at — ahem — light speed. Here’s a hack if you want to ensure you snag a spot: any park visitor who is staying at Disneyland’s hotels will automatically receive one reservation for each checked-in guest, so if you book a stay and buy park tickets, you’re guaranteed to see it.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the park will open in two stages with the first phase consisting of the “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run” ride and most of the shops and restaurants, and a later phase featuring the Rise of the Resistance ride and the rest of the Galaxy’s Edge amenities which should be ready later this year.
From the looks of things, Galaxy’s Edge is going to be massive. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about Disney’s latest addition, from the rides to the shops, and how it all affects the larger Star Wars canon.
I. THE RIDES
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
A life-sized replica of the Millennium Falcon is the centerpiece of the new Star Wars land and houses one of Galaxy’s Edge’s rides. While in line you’ll be greeted by your host, Hondo Ohnaka — an alien from The Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon series — as you prepare to run contraband through the galaxy.
After Hondo’s assessment of each group of guests, they’ll then be led into the Falcon’s iconic “chess room” where they’ll be allowed to free roam around the ship and take pictures until their assigned flight group and number are called, at which point each group of six will take their position as either pilots, gunners, or flight engineers.
The actual ride itself is completely interactive — pilots will have to avoid oncoming obstacles, gunners will fight off TIE Fighters, and engineers will be putting out fires and redirecting power based on the damage the ship takes. It sounds like a straight-up blast with lots of replay value.
Rise of the Resistance
“Rise of the Resistance,” which won’t be available for the first few months, follows the haunted mansion model, that is to say, it’s more of an experience than it is a ride. Rise of the Resistance won’t be counting on Star Wars nostalgia, instead, it’ll cater to fans of the current trilogy, and has enlisted Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, and Adam Driver to reprise their roles.
At the ride’s start, BB-8 will lead guests through the Resistance command center for a mission led by Poe Dameron. At take off, you’ll watch as your ship is intercepted by the First Order and you’re brought into a hangar filled with Stormtroopers and TIE fighters which leads to an interrogation room. Here, guests will board a trackless cart that will take them through the hangar on an escape route where they’ll be met by Kylo Ren — still no indication of how Ridley and Boyega’s characters will play into it all.
As of now, a runtime for the Rise of the Resistance experience hasn’t been released, but from the sounds of it, it’s long!