By Zach Johnson
Adventures abound in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, coming this summer to Disneyland Resort and this fall to Walt Disney World Resort. Encompassing 14 acres in each park, the immersive lands build off decades of collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm Ltd. Droids and humans alike will be transported to the planet Batuu, located along the galaxy’s Outer Rim on the fringe of Wild Space. There, they will discover the Black Spire Outpost, an infamous port for explorers, smugglers, and traders who want to fly under the radar—literally and figuratively.
In their efforts to defeat the First Order, the Resistance has temporarily set up shop in an abandoned, ancient base encircled by forests, mountains, and rivers on the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost. Throughout the land in both parks, fans may see some familiar faces, including Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, BB-8, and Chewbacca—and even find themselves in a face-off with the First Order.
There are three carefully designed entrance points to Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, allowing guests to enter via Critter Country, Fantasyland, or Frontierland, and two entrance points at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Short enclosed passageways between lands are designed to compress and then expand the views of visitors, like a movie fading out and then back in, to ensure that the first sight of Galaxy’s Edge is a carefully framed, cinematic view.
As previously announced, Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams has created original musical themes especially for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land and its attractions; composers and songwriters from all over the world also contributed original songs for Oga’s Cantina.
Altogether, between 5,000 and 6,000 people have touched the projects on both coasts. “We wanted to build a place where guests could feel, ‘I could be meaningful here,’” says Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “[But] if you want to be passive, you can just watch, too.” Long before construction began, Trowbridge says Star Wars fans would almost all tell him the same thing: “Oh, my gosh! I want to fly on the Millennium Falcon.” Thanks to Trowbridge, the Imagineers, and Lucasfilm, that shared dream is about to become a reality.
SET YOUR HYPERSPACE COORDINATES
Two thrilling attractions await those bold enough to oppose the First Order. In Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests will climb into the cockpit of “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” to take control of the ship, acting in one of three roles: pilot, flight engineer, or gunner.
“Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a level of guest participation in a ride that we haven’t done,” says Robin Reardon, portfolio executive producer, Walt Disney Imagineering. “When you step into that cockpit as the only flight crew of the only Millennium Falcon for the day that’s going on that mission, that’s a pretty amazing leap in terms of storytelling from the very beginning. And the payoff and participatory nature of the experience are, so far, unparalleled.”
The second attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is one of the most advanced and immersive experiences ever undertaken by Walt Disney Imagineering. As new Resistance recruits, guests will join a climactic battle against the First Order, including a run-in with Kylo Ren. Their journey will take them inside a full-size starship and aboard a nearby Star Destroyer.
Disney Imagineers worked with Lucasfilm Ltd., as well as with directors and producers J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, to maximize the experience. “It’s more than just a ride,” says John Larena, executive creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering. “It’s a cinematic immersive experience.”
Calling it “one of the most complex things we have ever done,” Reardon promises Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is replete with “experiential, jaw-dropping, how-did-they-do-that? moments.”
Adds Larena, “We have had wonderful cooperation with Lucasfilm, coordinating shoots with [the actors’] shoots. Turns out, they’re fans, as well. We’re thrilled to get them on a ride, and they’re thrilled to be on a ride. Fitting this within the framework of the movies is very important.” And since the stars mostly film in front of façades on set, “To see it all around is amazing for them.”
FUEL UP WITH OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD FARE
If you’re like C-3PO, who thinks “space travel sounds rather perilous”—or if you simply want to unwind after a daring day of wandering through Black Spire Outpost—look no further than Oga’s Cantina, where even the blaster-bolt scorches on the walls tell a story. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, this watering hole invites guests to share their tales from around the galaxy as they enjoy exotic beverages served in unique vessels. Potations with alcohol include Bespin Fizz, Bloody Rancor, Dagobah Slug Slinger, Fuzzy Tauntaun, Jedi Mind Trick, Jet Juice, The Outer Rim, Spriran Caf, T-16 Skyhopper, and Yub Nub; non-alcoholic libations include Black Spire Brew, Blue Bantha, Carbon Freeze, Cliff Dweller, Hyperdrive Punch It!, Jabba Juice, Moogan Tea, and Tarine Tea; and provisions include a Cantina mix. Keep your spaceships parked, as all beverages in Oga’s Cantina will be the same on both coasts.
You’ll find Oga lurking in the shadows, and locals know better than to dare cross the proprietor. DJ R-3X—formerly known as Captain Rex, the Starspeeder 3000 pilot droid from Star Tours—now calls Oga’s Cantina his home, where he’s in charge of providing the musical entertainment.
Feeling hungrier than a Leviathan? Head over to Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, a multi-purpose transport shuttle docked atop a large hangar for traveling food shuttles. That’s where Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs has converted his modified Sienar-Chall Utilipede-Transport into a popular mobile kitchen and restaurant. His travels across the galaxy allow him to fill his pantry with exotic ingredients, and he’s proud to present Tuggs’ Grub, a “traveling diner for diners traveling,” inspired by dishes he created during his time working for Maz Kanata on Takodana.
Non-alcoholic beverages include the Phattro and Moof Juice, while entrées include the Braised Shaak Roast, featuring beef pot roast with cavatelli pasta, kale, and mushrooms; the Fried Endorian Tip-Yip, a decadent chicken dish with roasted vegetable mash and herb gravy; the Felucian Garden Spread, a plant-based kefta “meatball” dish with herb hummus and tomato-cucumber relish with pita bread; the Ithorian Garden Loaf, a plant-based “meatloaf” dish served with roasted vegetable mash, seasonal vegetables, and mushroom sauce; the Smoked Kaadu Ribs, featuring smoked country sticky pork ribs with blueberry corn muffin and cabbage slaw; the Oven-roasted Burra Fish, featuring Dijon-crusted sustainable fish with mixed greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds with a creamy green curry ranch dressing; the Oven-roasted Tip Yip, featuring roasted chicken with mixed greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds with a creamy green curry ranch dressing; and the Yobshrimp Noodle Salad, a marinated noodle salad with chilled shrimp. Dessert options include a raspberry crème puff with passion fruit mousse, and chocolate cake with white chocolate mouse and coffee custard. Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo has two children’s menu options: fried chicken with macaroni and cheese; and chilled shrimp with vegetables and rice noodle salad (with sweet orange dressing).
Meanwhile, Ronto Roasters’ large podracing engine will be firing up a barbecue pit for mouth-watering sandwiches. When customers line up to order, they will encounter a former smelter droid, carefully turning the spit of meats (and complaining about his job). Items include the Meiloorun Juice, the Turkey Jerky, and the Ronto Wrap filled with spiced grilled sausage and roasted pork. Guests will also be able to choose from a variety of exotic non-alcoholic drinks, like the Sour Sarlacc or Tatooine Sunset.
Elsewhere in the bustling market, the Milk Stand will offer two local favorites: blue milk, first seen in Star Wars: A New Hope, and green milk, introduced in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Four years ago, the team visited Lucasfilm to get ideas for the ingredients, according to Michele Gendreau, food & beverage director, Disneyland Resort; Brian Koziol, food & beverage concept development director, Walt Disney World Resort; and Brian Piasecki, culinary director, Concept Development, Walt Disney World Resort. Lucasfilm’s response: “You get to write the story.” After brainstorming what a bantha might consume in order to produce blue milk, for example, they landed on a plant-based dairy drink, allowing more guests to enjoy it.
Other vendors in the area will highlight local delicacies, like the colorful Outpost Mix—a popcorn snack combining savory, spicy, and sweet flavors—available to try at Kat Saka’s Kettle.
Check out all the food and drink options coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge:
GET YOUR GEAR—NO GALACTIC CREDITS REQUIRED
The Droid Depot is located in the market, inviting patrons to pick parts and pieces off a conveyor belt, then build and customize their astromech droids (R-series or BB-series); the droids are capable of interacting with elements in the land, responding to guests’ behaviors. Additional programming chips and accessories can be added to the droids to further customize their abilities. The Droid Depot will also offer guests pre-built droids, including a C-3PO who has quite a bit to say (especially if you “accidentally” take off his head and put it on backwards!) and a Rex who will happily play whatever music you have on your smartphone through an intergalactic Bluetooth connection. The shop also offers droid-inspired products and much more—and intergalactic tourists needn’t fret, as all merchandise will be labeled in dollars.
Meanwhile, at Savi’s Workshop, guests are given the opportunity to draw upon the Force as they build their own elegant lightsaber. At the heart of every saber is a kyber crystal, and during a guided tour, each guest will have four options to choose from: Peace Justice (modeled after Jedi from the Republic era); Power Control (a nod to the Sith); Elemental Nature (harnessing air, earth, fire, and water); and Defense (shrouded in mystery). Will you embrace the light side of the Force, like Luke Skywalker, or the dark side of the Force?
Inside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, visitors will find a selection of mysterious and rare items for sale representing different eras of the Star Wars galaxy, including ancient Jedi and Sith artifacts, holocrons, lightsabers, and more. As they explore the shop’s nooks and crannies, they will find Dok at his desk, checking his inventory, taking calls, and barking orders at his assistants.
Guests who venture to the Creature Stall will find some fascinating and unusual beasts from all across the galaxy, ranging from the friendly (porgs, tauntauns) to the not-so-friendly (rathtars, wampas). Nearby, you’ll find the Toydarian Toymaker stall, offering items crafted by its namesake alien, first seen buzzing around Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It peddles artisan-style plush characters, wood and tin toys, and instruments.
Resistance Supply is a “makeshift” resource location at the Resistance’s hidden command post, selling badges, hats, pins, and other accessories to help guests feel like part of the cause. On the flip side, First Order Cargo is a temporary storage dock located near the market. Easily identified by a never-before-seen First Order TIE echelon, it gives interstellar tourists a chance to pledge their loyalty to the First Order by purchasing caps, gear, model ships, pins, and more.
“This is the first place they touched down,” Brad Schoeneberg, director, Merchandise Strategy & New Park Experience Development, Walt Disney World Resort, says of First Order Cargo’s vendors. “They are trying to win the hearts and minds of locals with propaganda and merch.”
One thing you won’t find: “evergreen” Star Wars products. Everything was created specifically for Galaxy’s Edge. Or, as Brad puts it, “We’re giving today’s consumers an experience only we can deliver.” Items reflect the stories of yore, as they’ve been told throughout Black Spire Outpost. With a vast array of innovative goods, he adds, “[There are] many levels of discovery.”
Check out a range of products available exclusively at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge:
MAXIMIZE THE MOMENT ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE
Make the most of your first—or hundredth—visit to Batuu by downloading the Play Disney Parks mobile app. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the first land designed to integrate with the one-of-a-kind app, which debuted last summer and offers interactive adventures and experiences that bring surrounding environments to life at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.
The app will provide new opportunities for guests to engage with the land, like translating a galactic language, learning what’s hidden inside crates and containers, or accomplishing certain tasks by participating in missions. Guests also can use the app to interact with a variety of elements, like antenna arrays, door panels, drinking fountains, droids, media screens, and ships.
So please be seated. Keep your hands and arms inside the Millennium Falcon at all times. And prepare to venture light speed to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.