After years of hype and anticipation, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is ready for its debut on the West Coast.
Following previews for Disney cast members and members of the media, Disney has released new photos and videos all around Disneyland’s version of the 14-acre expansion, which is scheduled to open May 31.
In comments released by Disney, CEO and chairman Bob Iger said Galaxy’s Edge both captures the spirit of Walt Disney’s original park and the company’s future direction on theme park design.
“When you walk into Disneyland, you see that little plaque that says ‘Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.’ That’s what this is,” Iger said. “This is entering a different world, immersing yourself fully. When you immerse yourself in a different world at this level of detail and quality and scale, you truly feel you’ve gone somewhere else and escaped. And I think there’s real value to that in terms of the experience. What we’re going to do, more and more, is create those immersive experiences.”
The land is opening with only one of its two attractions, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, operational. But the Mouse is hyping other experiences available in the land, from building a lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop to character interactions with the likes of Kylo Ren and Rey to games accessible in the Play Disney Parks app.
The Disney employees in Galaxy’s Edge will enhance that immersive feeling, Disney said, as they’ve been “encouraged to develop their own identities and personas within the stories of their roles,” including having a hand in customizing their own uniforms.
“They are putting extra dimension on this, which is really embellishing all the great things Imagineering has built,” said Bob Chapek, Disney’s chairman of parks, experiences, and products.
Judging from cast member previews, the longest lines may be for Oga’s Cantina. The first location in Disneyland Park to serve alcohol outside of the ultra-exclusive Club 33, Oga’s will be serving Star Wars-themed libations like the Bloody Rancor, Jedi Mind Trick and Bespin Fizz.
The early reviews for the land itself are largely favorable. Slash Film called it “incredible,” saying “there does not exist another theme parks in the world with such immersive theming and detail.” CNET’s review said it felt “otherworldly.”
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, however, has drawn some light criticism. IGN called the ride “slightly underwhelming,” praising the detail in the queue but suggesting guests’ enjoyment may be adversely affected depending on what role they’re assigned in the Falcon cockpit. Polygon said it plays like “the world’s most impressive arcade game,” but later adds that “this isn’t a ride that will change the world.
Others gave it nothing but praise. The Orange County Register’s Brady MacDonald called the ride “mind-blowing” in his review.
Disneyland is controlling crowds for Galaxy’s Edge by requiring reservations to get into the land from May 31 through June 23, with guests limited to a four-hour time slot.
No such reservation looks likely for the Disney World version. Starting August 29 and running through November 2, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open at 6 a.m. to accommodate Galaxy’s Edge crowds. Those extra hours will be open to all guests for just the first three days Galaxy’s Edge is open. From September 1 onwards, the early opening will only be available for guests at Disney resorts.