An inside look at Disneyland’s astonishing new addition: Star Wars, Galaxy’s Edge
Disneyland has been an American staple for 64 years and has excelled in capturing the feel and imagination of its many fantasies. Ever since Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise in 2012 for a whopping $4.05 billion dollars, the company has teased about their newest fantasy coming to fruition at their theme parks: an actual physical piece of the Star Wars universe that park guests can experience. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is Disneyland’s very own creation of a new Star Wars setting called “Black Spire Outpost” on the planet Batuu. The new addition will feature life-sized starships, captivating shopping bazaars and of course the opportunity to buy the enigmatic “blue milk” that Luke Skywalker drank from the original film.
I took an inside look at Galaxy’s Edge on May 21 during an exclusive cast member preview. To say that Galaxy’s Edge is immersive would be an understatement. I have seen many different and impressive tangible works of fiction, such as Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disney’s own numerous theme park attractions. However, none quite match up to the amount of detail and scale that Disney’s Imagineering team has managed to envelop you in.
I say this with confidence that the Black Spire Outpost is the most detailed and immersive fictional attraction I have ever seen. From the moment you approach the outpost from inside the park, there is an ominous stream of background music and sound effects that increase as you move closer to one of the entrances. Sounds that instantly inspire a sense of wonder and mystery surrounded us as we walked through the gates. Even though the outpost is a location that you won’t find in the movies, walking into this attraction feels instantly recognizable. It’s as if Mos Eisley, the famous location from the movies, was thrown into a blender with an old robotic junkyard and brought forth the new setting. You truly do feel like you have been transported to the Star Wars universe. Everything feels rustic, wondrous and lived-in, as it should.
I had to pause and take it all in because it is initially overwhelming. I’ll admit, the inner nerd in me was definitely going bananas. The outpost is meant to seem as if The First Order (the villains from the new movies) have taken over. First Order banners hang across structures and stormtroopers patrol the surrounding area, keeping you in order (get it) and commenting from afar. A huge First Order ship is stationed nearby, allowing guests to stare at it in awe. Of course, this wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the nostalgic “blue milk” drink from the first movie. In typical Disney fashion, the relatively small drink went for the outrageous price of $8 a pop, yet I had to try one regardless. Disney certainly nailed the look of the drink as I remembered it, and it turned out to be a semi-tropical flavored slushy. Who knew? It was nothing to run home about, but still noteworthy nonetheless.
The landmark of Black Spire Outpost is without a doubt the astonishing full-scale recreation of the beloved Millennium Falcon. My jaw fell to the floor at the sheer scale of it all, as everything is exactly how it looked in the films. The star attraction of the area is an actual ride that lets you pilot the famous starship in Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Simply put, the ride let me live a childhood fantasy. Each ride carries six people and they have the ability to be a pilot, a gunner or an engineer (two of each) and I can gladly say that I received the honor to co-pilot our team and drive everyone with me to their doom. I won’t spoil much here, but it was an absolute blast, the cockpit and even the controls you use feel as if they were ripped straight out of the movies. Another life goal complete.
The restaurants and shopping areas where another amazing sight to behold, serving and selling all manner of overpriced goofballery. The main restaurant, called Docking Bay 7: Food and Cargo and the side food vendor Ronto Roasters were filled to the brim with aging components, aliens and wacky menu items. Ronto Roasters stole the show, however, with a hilarious spectacle of a droid cranking up an old podracer engine as it cooks up some odd species of fried alien. The food I had was quite good, I selected the “Smoked Kaadu Ribs” which was basically pork ribs, with a side of cabbage-slaw and a blueberry corn muffin. The many interesting and strange places to shop also highlighted Disney’s lucrative business formula, selling everything you inner Jedi or Sith could imagine. There is a middle eastern inspired bazaar located near the restaurants that sold an assortment of toys, alien creature figures, and even wooden carved Jawas. The most whimsical shop, in my opinion, was Savi’s Workshop. There you can geek out and build your own lightsaber for the ludicrous amount of $200 (Disney thinks we all have money printers at home). The store is littered with Jedi and Sith gadgetry, robes, and even has a wall dedicated to a few gnarly looking creatures where their heads are all mounted. Savi’s Workshop is a whimsical, albeit expensive, place, but one that fascinates all who walk through its extraterrestrial walls.
California Adventure was the only one of the two parks that sold alcohol unless of course, you have access to the exclusive Club 33. Now Disneyland offers a full-fledged bar at Galaxy’s Edge with the quirky and long-awaited Oga’s Cantina. This was the only attraction we didn’t walk into, simply because we were short on time and the line was well over an hour. This type of idea is an expected move from Disney, as it is surely going to attract mature audiences and ease the legions of crowds at Drinkasaurus Rex it California Adventure. Unfortunately, the lines and wait times are the most difficult thing to get through at the cantina, and quite a few other journalists have reported the same thing. We were there on a preview day without too many people. How much worse will it be on a normal weekend? I can only imagine. However, whether you drink or not, it is worth checking out and seeing for yourself as long as the lines aren’t too horrendous.
Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an amazing and exciting addition to the Disneyland Resort. Even though it’s launch has now come, don’t let the “opening day” fool you. For if you visit the park between May 31st through June 23rd, you can only experience Galaxy’s Edge via reservations by staying at the Disneyland Resort hotel. After the reservation period, anyone with a ticket can see it for themselves, although you should absolutely prepare for insanely long lines. There is also another ride still under construction called Rise of the Resistance, which is supposed to be a gigantic ride featuring massive animatronics, but Disney hasn’t announced a launch day as of yet. Galaxy’s Edge is a nerd’s dream come true, as it offers a memorable and engaging Star Wars experience like no other. Even so, it offers something for everyone to see and enjoy, and with plans for the Star Wars franchise to continuously expand, it is painting a bright future for the House of Mouse.