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!
II. THE SHOPS
We’ll get straight to the lightsabers because let’s face it — the rest of the shops are for kids or hardcore collectors. Yes, I am a grown man who is seriously entertaining the idea of purchasing a lightsaber, and if you’re laughing at me you aren’t being honest with yourself. Check these things out!
The lightsabers sold at Savi’s aren’t the typical flashlight-handle-with-retracting-plastic lightsabers of our childhood, these are far more similar to their movie counterparts — and considerably more expensive, with the hilt rumored to be priced at $109 and the blade at $49.99.
Guests will have to sign up for a build session where they’ll go through an interactive journey to craft their lightsabers, which are incredibly customizable with hilt designs and materials from different eras of Star Wars history. Yes, you WILL be able to pick the color from red, blue, green or purple — the only lightsaber colors seen in the films. It’s a literal dream come true.
Mubo’s Droid Depot
We have to give it up for Disney, they’re really pulling all the stops at Galaxy’s Edge. At Mubo’s you’ll be able to purchase your own customizable remote controlled droid. Models include either an R2 unit or the BB unit — a price for the droids hasn’t been set yet, but we can assume it’s going to be expensive, considering it’s a literal robot.
Bina’s Creature Stall
Bina’s Creature Stall basically sells a Star Wars version of a dumbed down Furby. Choose between a baby tauntaun, a rathtar, a worrt frog, a pufferpig, and the ever-divisive porg. They all squak, or squirm around, or make noises. We’re sure walking into Bina’s is going to be an absolute nightmare.
The only Toydarian in the Star Wars movies was Watto. You know, Anakin’s OWNER. Very cool Disney. Anyway, the Toydarian Toyshop sells cartoony stuffed dolls of all your favorite Star Wars characters.
III. THE FOOD & DRINKS
The infamous blue milk — first seen being poured by Luke in a Star Wars: A New Hope — will be sold from a cart in Galaxy’s Edge. It’s apparently some sort of berry or melon flavored rice milk, it sounds disgusting frankly. But hey, blue milk, and green too apparently!
Aside from the Blue Bantha — a twist on the aforementioned blue milk — Oga’s will serve a Bloody Rancor, a Fuzzy Tauntaun, and a Bespin Fizz. No, those aren’t cute non-alcoholic twists on real cocktails. Disneyland is legit selling Bloody Marys, fuzzy navels, and rum-based cosmos at Galaxy’s Edge. I will, without a doubt, be getting drunk with my droid.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
Docking Bay 7 is the one sit-down restaurant in Galaxy’s Edge and has a menu that consists of a shrimp noodle salad, wraps, fried chicken, bbq pork ribs, and even a veggie steak. All the dishes have been given the Star Wars treatment, with appropriate lore to position them within the Star Wars universe.
Ronto Roasters is a food stand that serves chalupas with barbecue pork, grilled sausage, and coleslaw, all cooked by a droid atop a podracer engine. At least that’s what you’re supposed to imagine is happening, the real food is being safely cooked in the back by a professional.
We’re not saying that robots can’t cook — they can — we’re just saying Disney isn’t taking that leap yet.
Kat Saka’s Kettle
Disneyland has delicious kettle corn all over the park. If you had to describe Disneyland by smell alone, it would be a mix of turkey legs, churros, soft pretzels, and kettle corn. Now you can buy your kettle corn Star Wars-themed — and therefore better — at Kat Saka’s. Choose between sweet, salty, or spicy popcorn.
IV. THE SIGNIFICANCE
One of the most interesting aspects of Galaxy’s Edge is that everything about the park, from the food, to the decor, to the characters, are all now a canon part of the Star Wars universe. Galaxy’s Edge takes place at the Black Spire Outpost, a way station for travelers located on the planet Batuu. While events on Batuu are scarce in Star Wars media as of now, that will change as stories and events start to become centered around the new planet.
Disney has even attempted to make your visit part of a larger story through the Play Disney Parks app. Guests will be able to interact with artifacts scattered all around the Black Spire Outpost, solving puzzles and eavesdropping on Resistance or First Order broadcasts, giving you something to do while you wait in line. The Play Disney Parks app will even act as a translator for the signs — written in the Star Wars language Aurebesh — and the alien chatter around the park.
The Imagineers at Disney have really done a lot to make the world of Galaxy’s Edge immersive. All your actions, from your performance on the Smugglers Run (which people at work will roast you about) to the information you collect will dictate if you belong on the light or dark side. It’s going to be a fun, expensive, immersive experience. May the force be with you… and your wallet.