Disneyland’s largest expansion since its founding is set to open May 31.
The most anticipated theme park opening of 2019 is found in a far, far corner of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. It’s where Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge aka Star Wars Land will open this summer. This is the first time Star Wars fans will be able to fully immerse themselves in the universe created by famed director George Lucas and seen in the 10-and-counting films (not to mention the myriad of books, comics, TV shows, and video games).
Florida’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also have its own Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening later this fall. It’s rumored to have a few tweaks but, overall, will be nearly identical to Disneyland’s. Although most of the details are being kept securely under wraps by the Disney team, here’s what to expect per reports, a few guesses from insiders, and how to get the most out of a visit to the perennially popular theme park.
Adventures are slated to begin May 31, 2019, at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and on August 29, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
Pardon Our Stardust
The Disneyland Railroad was re-routed for the first time since its inception to accommodate Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, located on the northwest corner of the theme park. Overall, the project was five years in the making. Other alterations include: the shortening of the Rivers of America attraction, the elimination of the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo and an employee parking lot, and a revamp of Tom Sawyer’s Island.
There’s also been the new addition of an arched rock entrance through Critter Country to the new land, although it’s completely closed off now. When it opens to the public the arches will dramatically frame the view. Until the May 31st unveiling, the most encompassing views of the new sci-fi land can be glimpsed from the top level of the Disneyland Resort’s Mickey & Friends parking structure.
Welcome to Black Spire Outpost on Planet Batuu
The new land is set on the planet Batuu, a remote spaceport at the frontier of, you guessed it, the galaxy’s edge or wild space. Black Spire Outpost (which hasn’t been featured in any of the films—yet) is where the galaxy’s rogues go to avoid the repressive First Order and make their mark on the black market. At Disneyland, the 14-acre themed land is spread out underneath soaring sandstone colored rock spires; the largest is 130 feet tall and now visible from Frontierland. There is 200,000 square feet of hand-carved rockwork throughout, which will be populated with iconic characters as well as a few new ones, like Dok-Ondar, an Ithorian collector of rare antiquities featured in an upcoming Marvel Star Wars comic series.
Pilot the Fastest Piece of Junk in the Galaxy in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
A life-size model of Han Solo’s legendary Millennium Falcon won’t be the only spacecraft docking at Galaxy’s Edge. Look for X-wing and TIE fighter ships too. The interactive Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction puts groups of six riders in the cockpit and at the controls, as the reputed fastest ship in the galaxy makes the jump to lightspeed and other adventures. Disney fans speculate the ride utilizes a simulator akin to the technology behind Star Tours at Tomorrowland.
Keep in mind: Even though guests are dying to come outfitted as Jedi and resistance fighters, remember that guests over 14 are not allowed to wear costumes at the theme parks among five other rules to remember.
Rise of the Resistance
A mix of live action and animatronics await those in line for this complex ride. There will be an epic conflict between good and evil as ride goers join the Resistance and stand up against the First Order. Kylo Ren makes an appearance as do AT-AT walkers. Composer John Williams has written a musical theme for the land, which will play throughout.Star Wars Rise of the Resistance will open later this year after the May 31st Galaxy’s Edge opening.
INSIDER TIPDownload the Disneyland Resort app before arriving to access FASTPASS for timed visits to attractions via the Disney MaxPass (requires an additional $15 fee per ticket). During Galaxy’s Edge initial opening (up to June 23), a no-cost reservation will be required to access the land (and park admission, of course) and those staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels will have priority. Note that for the most popular rides, the park runs out of FASTPASS timed entries, so arrive early to book.
Check Your Droids at the Door
For moviegoers who grew up with the original Star Wars, the characters’ visit to the cantina, amongst a wretched hive of scum and villainy per Obi-Wan Kenobi, was the first step into a highly imaginative universe of creatures. Oga’s Cantina will bring that key scene to life, and in a first for Disneyland’s public restaurants, offer boozy themed cocktails. Until the cantina and its specialty cocktails are revealed, there are other places to imbibe before and after a Disneyland Park visit.
Get Ready to Spend Some Credits at the Trading Post
Black Spire Outpost is a trading post inhabited by questionable types—Han Solo was a smuggler after all. Shopping will be interactive with traders, like the previously mentioned Dok-Ondar, interfacing with customers. Build your own light saber, opt for a pair of those glittery Droid-style Mickey Mouse ears, or customize a droid at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge shops. Disney’s Imagineers and merchandisers are pulling out all the stops to create themed packaging, collectibles, and new takes on characters.
Dine on the Galaxy’s Finest, Instagram-Ready Delicacies
In recent years, Disney has upped its food game: delightful and delicious Jack Skellington cake pops come once a year and there’s no end to Instagram pics of the creamy Dole Whips found at Adventureland. The Star Wars-themed lands will have their own visually enthralling signature items, starting with blue-tinged “Bantha” milk—a memorable fixture of Luke Skywalker’s breakfast table. Whichever menu items make the final cut, food orders and payment can be completed through the Disneyland app—another time saver for park visitors.
INSIDER TIPDon’t fall for ticket scams offering too-good-to-be-true ticket prices. Buy tickets from legitimate sources. Save time and buy them in advance through the Disneyland mobile app, online, or at a convenient hotel ticket desk. The Hilton Anaheim has a ticket desk in the lobby, as do the Disneyland Resort hotels.
Will Star Wars Fans Embrace the Galaxy’s Edge?
There’s no doubt that Galaxy’s Edge has blockbuster potential: there’s been some revamping at Disneyland in preparation for the increased attendance and possible gridlock. Some pathways have been widened and there will be three entrances/exits to the new land. Blackout days are in effect in June for Disneyland annual passholders. And some Star Wars theming is already in place at Tomorrowland where visitors can ride Hyper Space mountain and kiddos can take part in Jedi Training (at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios).
How to Be Happy at the Happiest Place on Earth
Visitors who buy three-day tickets earn “Magic Morning” early admission, as do those who stay at the resort’s hotels. Early admission varies between Disneyland and California Adventure most days, so keep that in mind. There are 2,400 hotel rooms at Disneyland, and the newly remodeled Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has its own security entrance to Downtown Disney and the two Anaheim theme parks. An additional 6,500-space parking garage will open in 2019 at the Disneyland Resort—the expectation is it will be very useful once the new Star Wars land opens. And for those seeking a truly immersive and no doubt pricey experience, Disney is building a Star Wars-themed hotel close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. An opening date has not been announced, however like everything else relating to Star Wars, it should be out of this world.