ANAHEIM, Calif. – Star Wars fans around the world will be able to take their first step into a larger world by visiting the planet of Batuu through Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge coming May 31st and August 29th for Disney World.
“Visitors can expect new creatures, smells and plenty of high-tech effects that will bring the fantasy universe to life,” said Bridget Carey of CNET.
For those who can’t absolutely wait to see it for themselves, Brady Macdonald of The Orange County Register was able to take an exclusive press tour of Galaxy’s Edge back in February when construction was still finishing. During the tour, Macdonald was certain to answer this burning question we’ve all had: Does it feel like Star Wars?
Disneyland’s Vice President, Kris Theiler, guided them throughout the 14-acre world.
As Macdonald entered Galaxy’s Edge, to his surprise, he saw a near 100-foot exact replica of the Millennium Falcon staring at him in the face. Not only did this nearly make his heart skip a beat, but he was dumbfounded by the realism of it.
“Obviously this is the Falcon, and this is the Smugglers Run attraction,” Theiler said. “The cast are doing ride testing right now.”
The Millennium Falcon is really what sets the tone of this world far, far away. On opening day, only the Smuggler’s Run ride will be available and at Disneyland, guests have been asked to get reservations beforehand so crowds can be managed more easily.
As the tour journeyed onward, deeper and deeper into Batuu, Macdonald was able to watch while cast members were being trained to know how to help guests build their own lightsabers.
The process of building lightsabers to finalizing the final details of the park’s overall appeal and experience, Theiler said, “We’re really in the punch list mode, just finalizing all of the details. We have WDI crews in here still doing the final finishes.”
As Theiler continued with the tour, Macdonald came across the Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo quick-service restaurant where guests will be able to eat some of the galaxy’s most fine alien delicacies.
“I’m excited about the menu,” Theiler said. “Our chefs did a great job trying to think of traditional comfort foods in a Galaxy’s Edge way. You’ll see something unique and different with every single dish.”
So far, Macdonald was shocked to see how much there was to take in:
Galaxy’s Edge is about exploration and discovery. It’s like an onion. You have to peel back the layers. The more you look, the more you find. And like peeling an onion, it’s not always easy.
Supposedly, many of the signs are not in English as some may think. Disney wanted Galaxy’s Edge to literally be a world not found on our planet. According to Macdonald, it sounds like it might be helpful to study Aurebesh and Huttese if you get a chance before you visit. If you don’t want to take that route, just download the Disneyland mobile app where you’ll be able to translate languages right in the palm of your hand.
If you’re just looking for a place to buy some rare antiquities, look no further to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. As you walk inside, you will find an animatronic hammerhead alien who is not always willing to barter with his guests.
“He’s been creating a collection for years and years and years,” Theiler said. “You can come in and get lots of different and unique offerings from the galaxy.”
As the tour continued, cast members throughout Batuu were in costume and getting ready to welcome guests to a world far, far away. Macdonald passed by a familiar food shop called Ronto Roasters where he saw a droid turning the “space meat”. At this shop, guests can buy food prepared by your one-of-a-kind droid chef, 8D-J8. Some of the food sold here will include turkey jerky and sausage wraps. The open design of the restaurant is comparable to marketplaces in Morocco and other locations.
“There’s villagers that are living up above,” Theiler said. “This is going to be a busy marketplace down below.”
Moving forward, you will find a small quaint popcorn stand called “Kat Saka’s Kettle” where popcorn will have a savory and spicy take on this popular snack.
For small kids, the Toydarian Toymaker will be the perfect place as they can purchase plush dolls of some of Star Wars’ most famous characters. Not too far off is the Creature Stall where kiddies can find the perfect Star Wars pet of their dreams- and yes, that includes even those adorable Puffer Pigs.
The marketplace transitions into a secret rebel base located in a wooded area where the Resistance hides from the First Order. Occasionally, you’ll hear X-wings fly overhead. The enormous mound of trees hides the Rise of the Resistance ride nearby.
While delving deeper into Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll notice a military outpost where they sell thermal detonator Coca-Cola products.
As you travel deeper into the forest, a rebel gun turret sits at the entrance of the Rise of the Resistance ride including an X-wing and A-wing. As part of this ride, you will be imprisoned within a Star Destroyer and it will be up to you figure the way to escape.
“We’re going to activate this space with entertainment and characters,” Theiler said.
While going deeper in Galaxy’s Edge, Macdonald observed that you literally will not be able to see the outside world. It’s almost as if Galaxy’s Edge is its own “hermetically sealed space bubble.”
While heading back to Black Spire Village, a collection of astromechs will enhance the experience and bring back to memory of the original trilogy. Land speeders will be visible as well.
“It’s a location for all the space vehicles that are coming in and need work on them,” Theiler said.
After a long-deserved break, a restroom comes into view with a drinking fountain that will have the presence of an animatronic dianoga beast. This beast is a one-eyed garbage squid seen in The Force Awakens.
After passing the drinking fountain, you will suddenly see a full-sized TIE Echelon starfighter near the Galaxy’s Edge entrance from Fantasyland. First Order stormtroopers will be patrolling this sector of the Black Spire village and you will see the Red Fury flags of the First Order’s 709 Legion waving from the buildings.
“This is really a big First Order statement right here,” Theiler said. “We’ve got a First Order shop over there. They are really trying to sign up recruits and make sure they know they’re going to bring order to the land and help everybody live a more disciplined life.”
The last stop on Macdonald’s tour of Galaxy’s Edge brought him to Oga’s Cantina where only the lowliest lives and most-wretched hive of scum and villainy await you. Adult drinks will be served here.
“It’s highly themed and very immersive,” Theiler said. “There’s a lot of neat little touches by our Imagineering team.”
Finally, off in the distance the Millennium Falcon highlighted the total experience of Galaxy’s Edge.
“The long shots in the land are really beautiful,” Theiler said. Not only does the land appear to be a beautiful sight to behold, but the experience itself is what truly will leave Star Wars fans transformed.
But this question remains, does it feel like Star Wars? A cast member at Galaxy’s Edge and Reddit user u/fantasticox sums it up quite eloquently:
From the music, to the animatronics (like a Lothcat in the create pen, or droids in acid baths strewn about) to the Falcon to the parked X and A-wing that greeted me at the entrance, it feels like a religious experience sometimes, because they really made it all real.
If it’s real, I’m all in.
What do you find most interesting so far of the overall experience of Galaxy’s Edge?