Your Guide to the New Land
As one would expect, Disneyland celebrated the dedication of its new “land” Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a spectacular way – by inviting George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams to the party. In a ceremony set to the soaring John Williams score composed especially for the land, global media and invited guests were the very first to see the “fastest hunk of junk” in the galaxy roar to life.
Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger unveiled the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park, which will open to the general public tomorrow. (The Florida version at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open on August 29, 2019.)
“With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is redefining the theme park experience and setting a new bar for experiential storytelling,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “From each authentic detail to the land’s jaw-dropping scale, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge exceeds every expectation.”
Guests will be transported to the remote planet of Batuu, full of unique sights, sounds, smells and tastes. You can become part of the story and sample galactic food and beverages, explore an intriguing collection of merchant shops and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
The only downside to this good news is that the demand to see this new section of the park is great, so reservations are required to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park between May 31 and June 23. Fortunately, after June 23, reservations will no longer be required. However, they are subject to capacity, so if you can wait a few weeks, you might be better off. Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels during those dates will receive a designated reservation.
Where to Start
So, you’ve arrived at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which is larger than 14 acres of stuff to look at. Where do you begin? If you are one of the lucky ones who get in first, you’re best bet would be to make a run…er…walk quickly to the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Known as the “fastest hunk of junk” in the galaxy, you’ll get strapped into the Falcon cockpit and take the controls as pilots, gunners or flight engineers on a mission to deliver smuggled goods while avoiding any unnecessary entanglements. Right. Like that’s going to happen in the happiest place on earth. Okay, you know you’d would be disappointed if that didn’t happen!
The Millennium Falcon docked in the Black Spire Outpost Spaceport measures more than 100 feet long. This is the first time a full-size, 100% complete Millennium Falcon has ever been built. Guests enter the Millennium Falcon through the same starboard airlock used by Han Solo and Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Inside you’ll find the chess-type game, Dejarik in the main hold and lounge. (The game is available for purchase in the Toydarian Toymaker marketplace stall.)
If you remember during Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Chewbacca 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 loaned the Falcon to Hondo Ohnaka, a smuggler. When guests meet Hondo, he will tell them that he has more cargo than he can handle and needs extra flight crews to make some runs for him – especially crews that won’t ask too many questions about the cargo or how Hondo acquired it!
When guests accept Hondo’s offer, they enter the Falcon via an access hatch on the ship’s starboard airlock, the same starboard airlock used by Han Solo and Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Inside you’ll find the chess-type game, Dejarik in the main hold and lounge. Sit down and play a game or check out the other equipment in the room.
Each “misson” will be filled by groups of six. Each person is assigned one of three critical roles to complete their mission, and guests know it’s their turn to act when buttons light up in the cockpit. Pilots work together to steer the ship, Gunners use blasters and missiles to defend the Falcon and its precious cargo (switching to manual targeting creates an even greater challenge!) and Flight Engineers keep the Falcon from falling apart on its mission by managing the ship’s systems, repairing any damage the ship encounters and take control of the “special modifications” Hondo installed for these unusual missions.
If your mission doesn’t go quite as well as planned, the ship’s hallways will show damage when you leave the attraction.
Black Spire Outpost Marketplace
The Black Spire Outpost is home to a bustling marketplace, full of vendors showcasing wares from across the galaxy. Guests can pick up authentic Batuuan attire with a stop at Black Spire Outfitters, start a collection of rare artifacts at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, or peek into the cages in the Creature Stall. The marketplace’s twisting pathway is just waiting to be explored, with something new to see seemingly around every turn. (Tip: The Dejarik game you played earlier is available for purchase in the Toydarian Toymaker marketplace stall.)
Admit it, ever since Luke Skywalker sat down for a family meal in Star Wars: A New Hope, you’ve had this burning question: What does Blue Milk taste like? Now you can find out. The Milk Stand in the Black Spire Outpost marketplace offers both Blue and Green Milk, delicious frozen blends with dashes of fruity accents.
Whether it’s the large podracing engine hanging overhead, the former smelter droid turning a spit of meats or just the savory smells wafting by, Ronto Roasters is sure to grab guests’ attention. This marketplace stall offers mouth-watering Ronto Wraps and sweet-or-spicy Nuna Turkey Jerky, as well as a selection of specialty beverages.
Constructing a lightsaber is a rite of passage in the life of a Jedi, as this elegant weapon from a more civilized age is attuned to its wielder through the Force. Guests in Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers feel the presence of the Force as they craft their own lightsabers, customizing them with various hilts, décor and the all-important kyber crystals.
Droids can be some of the most loyal companions in the entire Star Wars galaxy, and now guests have the chance to build and customize their own astromech friends at the Droid Depot. Patrons pick pieces and parts off a conveyor belt to construct one of two core models (R-series or BB-series), which can then interact with elements throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The heartbeat of Black Spire Outpost, Oga’s Cantina is a place where even the blaster-bolt scorches on the walls tell a story. Guests can gather to share their own tales from around the galaxy as they enjoy exotic beverages served in unique vessels and listen to spirited musical entertainment from DJ R-3X, the former droid pilot from the Star Tours attraction in Tomorrowland. (Fun Fact: R-3X is voiced by Paul “Pee-Wee” Reubens.) Whether sidling up to the cantina’s counter or sliding into one of the establishment’s back booths, this is the best place to catch up on local gossip, make a new friend or form a new alliance. You’ll find plenty of concoctions with and without alcohol with such names like Black Spire Brew, Blue Bantha, Jedi Mind Trick, The Outer Rim and Fuzzy Tauntaun.
Food from the Dark Side
This new “land” in Disneyland does its best to giving guests the most authentic experience possible including changing everyday food into something, well, special. Here you’ll find such treats like smoked Kaadu ribs, Fried Endorian Tip-yip, Batuu-bon, Mustafarian Lava Rolls, Moof Juice, Yobshrimp Noodle Salad, Felucian Garden Spread, Ithorian Garden Loaf, etc. From the simple “light” treats those found on the “dark side,” you’ll find them all. And yes, they do have cookies.
Lots of Characters to be Found
Guests should keep their eyes open as they explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, because they may encounter heroes of the Resistance or agents of the First Order. Supreme Leader Kylo Ren lands at Black Spire Outpost and gathers Stormtroopers to help him hunt for Resistance fighter Rey. Guests may also encounter Millennium Falcon co-pilot Chewbacca or Resistance spy Vi Moradi.
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.