With the new year comes new experiences at the Disneyland Resort and before we know it, Disneyland will be inviting guests to explore a galaxy far, far away. The highly anticipated “Star Wars Land,” officially named Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is set to open in Summer 2019.
With this opening fast approaching, more and more previews, construction photos, and speculative rumors have been flying around. Here’s a roundup of what we currently know about the soon-to-be newest land at the Disneyland Resort.
Construction Progress and Opening
Beyond “Summer 2019,” there is currently no exact opening date for Galaxy’s Edge beyond, most likely to allow for any schedule changes or unforeseen delays in construction. Still, construction is well underway to create an immersive new land. Occupying the former location of Big Thunder Ranch and a backstage area, the 14 acres of land that make up Galaxy’s Edge will be the first new land expansion in Disneyland since Mickey’s Toontown opened in 1993.
Want to catch a sneak peak for yourself? You can catch a glimpse from the top level of the Mickey and Friends parking structure or from the outdoor seating of Hungry Bear in Critter Country. Or, for a more cohesive view, aerial photos and videos from December 2018 give an insight into the state of Galaxy’s Edge.
In 2017, Disney shared a detailed fly-over video of the Galaxy’s Edge model. Check it out!
The video gives a preview of the level of immersiveness guests can expect. The architecture and rocky outcropping work together to create a completely contained experience, hiding Galaxy’s Edge from the rest of the park. In addition, Galaxy’s Edge will feature full-scale versions of various familiar “Star Wars” spacecraft like the Millennium Falcon, a First Order TIE Fighter, and an X-Wing. Some droids can also be spotted lined up against a wall.
Legendary composer John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra have provided Galaxy’s Edge with all new music, including “Theme From Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” heard in this video.
This theme definitely sounds like it fits right in with the Star Wars universe! Some additional construction shots from November 2018 are also featured in the video.
Disney has already provided us with backstory on where Galaxy’s Edge fits in the world of Star Wars. The village is called Black Spire Outpost, located on the planet Batuu. Batuu is “a remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes.” Details about Black Spire Outpost were revealed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during a panel at Star Wars: Galactic Nights in May 2018:
"The largest settlement on the planet Batuu, Black Spire Outpost is an infamous stop for traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space. Off the beaten path, this outpost has become a haven for the galaxy’s most colorful — and notorious — characters. Widely known for the petrified remains of its once towering ancient trees, the spires now stand guard across the river valleys and plains and have long captured the imagination of travelers to this planet. To the first settlers, these petrified spires became more than just landmarks; they became the heart of the outpost itself."
The land has been touted to be completely interactive with an opt-in story experience where even guests’ success on attractions will affect interactions with walk-around characters. Further details on what this will entail have yet to be released. Guests will also be able to experience “optional interactive integration with the Play Disney Parks app.”
On Christmas Day 2018, Disney gave us the gift of new details about Galaxy’s Edge’s two new attractions: Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
First, let’s look at Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Based on the above video as well as information from Destination D, the attraction seems to be a motion simulation ride that puts guests in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and taking one of three roles in flying the ship: pilot, engineer, or gunner. A bonus featurette on the Target exclusive Blu-Ray of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” reveals that guests’ success in fulfilling their role affects the outcome of their mission. The featurette also tells that the missions are given out by Hondo Ohnaka, a character seen in the animated TV shows “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels.”
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance uses a trackless ride system, like Tokyo Disneyland’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The attraction appears to be a dark ride (a slow moving attraction that takes guests through show scenes) based on the glimpse of the ride vehicle we catch in the Christmas Day video. The attraction “puts guests in the middle of an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order” and begins in a Resistance base until guests are captured by the First Order. Interestingly, Disney has also stated that all the footage from the teaser, scenes of which are also seen in the Christmas Day video, was actually shot within the attraction. Based on the teaser, the ride will possibly combine physical effects and screen/projection effects.
Dining, Shopping, and Characters
Much has already been said about Oga’s Cantina, which will the first location to serve alcohol inside Disneyland, but not much else has been revealed about food options within Galaxy’s Edge. One confirmation is that guests will be able to enjoy blue milk somewhere in the land, just like Aunt Beru gave to Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. The milk itself will be non-dairy.
Speaking of Tatooine, one shop in Galaxy’s Edge will be run by a Toydarian, as seen on Tatooine in “The Phantom Menace.” Imagineers were inspired by marketplaces in Istanbul and Marrakech, which can be clearly seen in this concept art.
Galaxy’s Edge market concept art | © Disney/Lucasfilm
In one of the shops, guests will be able to create their own droids that interact with the world around them including other droids and walk around characters in Galaxy’s Edge.
Disneyland wouldn’t be Disneyland without meet and greets with your favorite characters! Some of the “Star Wars” characters confirmed to be meeting in Galaxy’s Edge are Chewbacca, BB-8, and members of the First Order. Other “Star Wars” characters who have made appearances in Disney Parks include Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Jawas, Kylo Ren, and Rey. It’s possible they might visit Galaxy’s Edge as well. Disney Park fans will be pleased to know that Rex, the original pilot of the “Star Tours” attraction, will be inside Oga’s Cantina as the DJ.
Rumors and Speculation
Of course, there are plenty of details flying around the internet that are unconfirmed by Disney.
In a recent interview with Barron’s, Bob Iger mentioned that the expansion would be opening in June, but no specific date has been given yet. However, as seen in the annual passholder blockout calendar for 2019, Deluxe level passes are blocked out every day over the summer in Disneyland beginning June 21 and ending August 19. This hints to a possible expected launch for Galaxy’s Edge the weekend of June 21. Deluxe passholders can still visit Disney California Adventure every day in June and July.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is still somewhat of a mystery, but there are several unconfirmed rumors about the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction. An October 2018 /Film article gives many details that could be considered spoilers, so read the full article at your own risk. One interesting detail that is that supposedly the missions will be randomized, much like the current version of Star Tours, with three options available.
Lastly, in the same /Film article linked above, there is mention of a commercial filmed in Fall 2018 promoting the ability to gain early access to Galaxy’s Edge before the official opening date. Whether this early access will manifest in the form of paid preview tickets like the Pixar Pier Premiere hard ticket event last summer or a lottery opportunity is unknown. Now that the opening of Galaxy’s Edge is only five months away, presumably we’ll be seeing commercials with more details fairly soon.
There you have it! Summer 2019 will be here before we know it. What are you most looking forward to experiencing? Which characters are you hoping to meet? How long do you think the Smuggler’s Run line will be? Leave a comment down below!