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    Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

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Star Wars has been associated with Disneyland ever since Star Tours opened in 1987, but once the Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 for the Death Star–size sum of $4 billion, fans of George Lucas’s sci-fi saga seriously began salivating for a Disney theme park land dedicated to that galaxy far, far away. Disneyland broke ground in early 2016 on its most ambitious and expansive expansion ever, dedicating 14 acres of backstage areas to a new land called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened to the public in summer 2019.

The new Star Wars land is carefully concealed from the rest of the park by a mountainous berm built along the north edge of Frontierland’s rerouted Rivers of America. Guests access the area either via two rocky tunnels branching off from Frontierland’s Big Thunder Trail (one of which may be restricted to exit only) or along a forested path winding north from Critter Country. There, they find themselves at the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, an exotic Outer Rim spaceport on the fringe of the Galactic Empire frontier that was once a hub of commerce, before being bypassed by the hyperspace highways and becoming a haven for outcasts. (Sounds suspiciously like the backstory of Cars Land’s Radiator Springs to us.)

This location—which hasn’t yet been seen on the big screen but is referenced in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Star Tours attraction, and various tie-in novels—incorporates design elements similar to iconic Star Wars locales such as Naboo, Yavin 4, Mos Eisley, and Maz Kanata’s hideaway, without re-creating any single familiar setting. Massive attraction buildings reaching as high as 150 feet are camouflaged by towering petrified trees, lush landscaping, and alien architecture, creating a bustling bazaar teeming with extraterrestrial life.

The Imagineers, who collaborated closely with Lucasfilm’s story group on integrating the land’s backstory into official Star Wars lore, claim they created this new locale so that guests could feel like the heroes of their own journey, rather than simply retracing Anakin and Luke’s footsteps, and also so that old fans and newcomers alike would be on equal footing. The righteous Resistance, still reeling from their close shave on Crait in Episode VIII, have established a temporary hideout on this remote planet, but the fascist First Order’s 709th Stormtrooper battalion (aka the Red Fury) has recently arrived to root out the rebel scum. Chronologically speaking, Galaxy’s Edge is set during the most recent Star Wars sequel trilogy in the gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, so you won’t see Darth Vader or Obi-Wan Kenobi, but you might bump into Kylo Ren or Chewbacca.

Depending in which path you take into Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll experience a different cinematic reveal of the land. The Frontierland entrance, which is used by most guests, opens straight onto the center of the bustling Black Spire Outpost, which is built around a mysterious onyx monolith embedded in the town square. The path from Critter Country, which is where early arrivals enter, leads to ancient ruins concealing the Resistance’s secret encampment, which doubles as the entrance of Rise of the Resistance, one of the land’s two rides. The tunnel closest to Fantasyland, which is typically restricted to exitonly and VIPs if the land reaches capacity, leads to the iconic Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, the expansion’s other attraction.

No matter which route you travel to Batuu, you’ll be completely isolated from the rest of Disneyland, and utterly immersed in the authentic detail lavished on every inch of the land. It’s essentially the exact same formula that Universal used to great acclaim in building their Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter, but bulked up to a level never before seen. In addition to visiting Morocco and Istanbul for inspiration, Disney’s designers did a deep dive into the Star Wars archives, going so far as to model the original R2-D2’s treads for droid tracks imprinted in the cement. Disney’s dedication to maintaining the Star Wars theme extends from the audible (John Williams composed new music heard as you enter and exit the land, and Frank Oz recorded new dialogue as Yoda) to the ineffable (appropriate scents are piped into the air) to the downright prosaic: restrooms are called “refreshers,” and you may detect a Dianoga swimming in the drinking fountain.

Outside of the area’s two headliner rides, Batuu boasts a Marrakech-esque marketplace of shops selling unique in-universe merchandise, some of which are practically attractions in themselves. Note how none of the packaging being sold bears the standard Star Wars or Disney parks logos, in order to maintain the illusion that all the souvenirs for sale were actually crafted by and for the Black Spire villagers themselves.

At Savi's Workshop, 14 guests at a time are led by “Gatherers” through the ritual-like process of building their own lightsabers, from picking a colorful kyber crystal, to selecting customizable handles from a range of eras and alignments. Lightsabers come with a price tag of $200, including a carrying sling. It’s ludicrously expensive and time-consuming, but the experience at Savi’s Workshop is pure Disney magic, and holding our lightsaber as it turned on for the first time was an emotional moment. It’s fun picking out the components and building the lightsaber you’ve always wanted, and the custom hilts with removable light-up blades don’t feel like cheap theme park toys; they feel solid in the hand, thanks to high-quality metal parts with great paint jobs. Sound emits from the bottom of each lightsaber, so every time you wave it around or clash against another one you’ll hear the satisfying noises as heard in the Star Wars films. Reservations are required (see below), and you must arrive 20–60 minutes prior to your appointment, or you forfeit your turn.

You can proudly pair your lightsaber with a screen-accurate Jedi tunic ensemble from Black Spire Outfitters, but only wear it outside the park (costumes are still forbidden for guests 14 and older).

Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is overseen by a surly hammerheaded Ithorian who’s the local godfather of black market goods; if you want to buy a historical character’s lightsaber or Sith holocron, you may need to barter with the animatronic bi-mouthed bigwig, who haggles with guests through his human helpers. Sharp-eyed fans will spot Easter eggs from practically every Star Wars film and television show, including a 12-foot-tall taxidermy Wampa from The Empire Strikes Back.

Two shops allow guests to take an interactive pal back to their home planet. At Mubo’s Droid Depot, you can pick robot parts off of conveyor belts to build your own pint-size R-series or BB-series droid for $100 (and up), which will then communicate with its fullscale counterparts around the land. We didn’t expect much going in to the Droid Depot building experience, but it ended up being a lot of fun to sift through the parts, really making the droid your own. You’re then taken to a station where you can assemble the droid with actual tools. The experience wraps up with a delightful little moment where you activate the droid and it begins beeping and booping. The droids themselves are sturdy and made of good-quality components, and each includes a remote control. Preassembled droids, such as a chatty C-3PO, a DJ Rex bluetooth speaker, and even a $25,000 lifesize R2-D2, are also available.

Bina’s Creature Stall allows guests to adopt a plush Porg puppet, an adorably disgusting writhing baby Rathtar, or a shoulder-sitting Kowakian monkey-lizard like Salacious Crumb. All the animals react to your touch with sound and movement, and the stall is stuffed with additional animatronic aliens that unfortunately can’t be taken home.

For kids young and old, Zabaka the Toydarian Toymaker has plush dolls of legendary characters that look handcrafted from upcycled scraps of fabric, alien musical instruments, and other unconventional playthings. For more typical T-shirts, hats, pins, and the like, you can either report to First Order Cargo, a spaceport hangar selling Dark Side propaganda, or sign up at the makeshift Resistance Supply stall and show your support for the freedom fighters. Finally, Jewels of Bith has pins, patches, and trinkets from across the Outer Rim.

When you get hungry, you’ll find that just as much attention has gone into the food and drink of Galaxy’s Edge as everything else; even the Coca-Cola sodas come in unique spherical bottles emblazoned in Aurebesh, the Star Wars alphabet. There is no sit-down table service inside the land, but you can rustle up galactic food-truck grub from Docking Bay 7 or grab a sausage that’s been grilled under a podracer engine at Ronto Roasters. More importantly, Oga's Cantina introduced publicly available alcohol to Disneyland Park, pouring exclusive drinks from Spice Runner cider to Jet Juice shooters. See Part Four pages 172–175 and 187 for more dining details.

Important Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Information:

  • Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland opened to the public on May 31, 2019.
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run opened with the land on May 31. The other ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is scheduled to open at an unknown time in 2019.
  • FASTPASS and MaxPass will not be available for any attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
  • Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will not be open during Extra Magic Hours or Magic Mornings.

Getting Into Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Advance reservations will no longer be needed, but day-of reservations (which Disney calls "boarding passes" and "virtual queue") are available on days with especially high crowds. So far, Galaxy's Edge has only used the boarding pass system on one day since it opened. Other than that it's been open for all guests.

To enter the virtual queue/obtain a boarding pass, open the official Disneyland app on your phone and look for the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge status and access page on the app's main screen. Touch "Join Boarding Group" in the app and then you will be given a time and a designated entrance. You can also include other members of your party in this step (but keep in mind, park tickets of your entire party must be linked in the app in order to obtain a boarding passes). After obtaining your boarding pass you can explore the rest of Disneyland until it's your time to enter Galaxy's Edge. When your time arrives, you'll have 2 hours to enter Galaxy's Edge before your boarding pass becomes void. Once you're in the land there is no limit to how much time you can spend in it.

If you do not have access to a cell phone, you can use your park ticket to obtain a boarding group at FASTPASS kiosks at select attractions. Currently those attractions are: Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Matterhorn Bobsleds.

Reservations for Oga's Cantina and Savi's Workshop

Reservations for Oga's Cantina and Savi's Workshop become available 60 days in advance, and can be made in the official Disneyland app, or Disneyland's website. These two locations are extremely popular and usually fill all of their reservation slots weeks ahead of time. For Savi's Workshop, a pre-payment of $199.99 is required. One lightsaber can be built per a experience, and only 3 people (1 builder and 2 guests) may enter. Oga's Cantina requires a $10 deposit in order to secure a reservation. Deposits for both of these experiences are non-refundable, so if you miss your reservation, your money is gone.

Guest Costumes in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

The normal Disneyland costume restrictions will be in place, which means that adults will not be allowed in costumes. Children under 14 are allowed to dress up, but masks or long robes are not allowed. Weapons are not allowed, including blasters.

Shopping in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

In the heart of the Black Spire Outpost sits a Marrakech-esque marketplace selling unique in-universe merchandise, some of which are practically attractions in of themselves. Most of the packaging being sold bears the standard Star Wars or Disney Parks logos, in order to maintain the illusion that all the souvenirs for sale were actually crafted by and for the Black Spire villagers themselves.

Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities

Dok-Ondar is a surly, hammerheaded Ithorian who’s the local godfather of black market goods; if you want to buy a historical character’s lightsaber or Sith holocron, you may need to barter with the animatronic bi-mouthed bigwig, who haggles with guests through his human helpers. Sharp-eyed fans will spot easter eggs from practically every Star Wars film and television show, including a 12-foot-tall taxidermied Wampa from The Empire Strikes Back.

Mubo’s Droid Depot

Here you can pick robot parts off of conveyor belts to build your own pint-sized R-series (like R2-D2) or BB-series droid (think BB-8), which will then communicate with its full-scale counterparts around the land. Pre-assembled droids, like a chatty C-3PO and an R-3X (“Rex”) bluetooth speaker, are also available. Greet the gregarious robots outside, one of whom is enjoying a relaxing oil bath.

Bina’s Creature Stall

Guests come to this stall to adopt a plush Porg puppet, a disgustingly adorable writhing baby Rathtar, or a shoulder-sitting Kowakian monkey-lizard, which is what the honorable Salacious B. Crumb is. All the animals react to your touch with sound and movement, and the stall is stuffed with additional animatronic aliens that unfortunately can’t be taken home.

Toydarian Toymaker

For kids young and old, the Toydarian Toymaker has plush dolls of legendary characters that look handcrafted from up-cycled scraps of fabric, metal AT-ATs assembled from spare parts, and other unconventional playthings. All toys are handmade by Zabaka the Toydarian, a flying creature much like Watto from The Phantom Menace.

Clothing and Accessories

For more typical T-shirts, hats, pins, and the like, you can either report to First Order Cargo, a spaceport hangar selling First Order-related clothing and gear as well as other Dark Side propaganda, or sign up at the makeshift Resistance Supply stall and show your support for the freedom fighters. Finally, Jewels of Bith has accessories and trinkets from across the Outer Rim.

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