Walking through long paths from either Frontier Land or Critter Country, you step into a Long Time Ago in Galaxy Far, Far Away with a certain suddenness that is almost shocking. The same way that Disneyland takes you out of Anaheim, putting you into a pocket-universe where reality doesn’t quite matter as much anymore, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge takes you out of Disneyland, planting your feet firmly on the soil of Batuu, a tourist planet in the Star Wars universe. Set sometime between Episode VIII and Episode IX, this new sub-reality is definitely worth the visit.
Walking around the meandering pathways of this Mos Eisley-esque cityscape, your eyes are constantly drawn upwards. What is perhaps most shocking about Disneyland Resort’s newest land is its scale. The rock formations tower over you, and the buildings do, too. Set to open to the general public (Disneyland visitors without reservations) on June 24, 2019, this 14-acre expansion of the park is the biggest single expansion in history, even bigger than the impressive 12-acre Cars Land next door at Disney’s California Adventures. There is a lot to see, and everywhere you look, you cannot escape the size and craftsmanship involved in this highly ambitious project. So here’s what you should know before you go:
The centerpiece of the landscape is a full-size Millennium Falcon, so familiar from our childhood, it’s like running into a celebrity. It looks like you can just climb right inside it, but it is blocked off from access. This huge ship welcomes you into the first ride offering in the park, Smuggler’s Run. In this ride—which will be compared to Star Tours, but is very different—is a simulator that lets you fly the Falcon on a mission to steal energy resources at the direction of Clone Wars character, Hondo Ohnaka.
Six people take control of the cockpit, each assuming controls of one of three operations: the first two are pilots, the second two are gunners, and the third pair serves as mechanics. The pilots split control of the ship in a somewhat awkward way, one taking the pitch while the other goes left or right. The gunners shoot everything that shoots back, and the mechanics work on repairs to the ship. There’s a learning curve, no doubt, but no matter how beat-up you get, the ride goes through the same fun stages, but with varying levels of success. On our first run, we were pilots, and while we weren’t overly impressive, we were much more successful than the pilots of our second time through the ride. The motion and visuals are arresting and it’s easy to feel like you’re really commanding the ship of your dreams.
Not open, but slated to open later this year, is Rise of the Resistance, a ride that is so surrounded with impressive rumors that it’s hard to imagine. Reportedly, the trackless ride will be over 20 minutes long and feature over 300 animatronics. This will be the biggest, most complicated ride in Disney’s history. If it’s anything like the rest of the land, it will be a wonder.
Besides the Falcon, you can find an X-Wing, and A-Wing, Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer, and much more. One of the most surprising areas is called The Marketplace, where a collection of shops are huddled around a narrow alleyway, selling toys, Jedi robes, props, and other collectibles. Looking up, the buildings tower three stories above you, and it is strung with hanging lanterns that add such an aura of realism that again, you want to pinch yourself. You can also find yourself in the Black Spire Outpost’s main watering hole, Oga’s cantina, sipping on some exotic beverages such as the spicy Bloody Rancor, the foamy Fuzzy Tauntaun or the fruity Carbon Freeze.
Some of the shops contain merchandise that you can hardly believe. You can construct your own astromech droid for about $100 that you can control. Even more popular, you can build your own high-quality lightsaber for $200 that is worthy of hanging on the wall. Both of these items might be too rich for some people’s blood, but just standing in the stores is a thrill.
If there are downsides to the new land, first, it’s that while you find impressive heights and distances, you never get that full vista view that Cars Land offers of the desert. Another problem for many fans will be time – there’s not enough of it. Make sure to plan out your trip to Batuu carefully. Getting to ride in the Falcon is easy, make sure to get reservations to the other activities like building a lightsaber or visiting the cantina early as they fill up fast. These are all shortcomings that can be lived with.
It is safe to say that if you are a fan of Star Wars, you will not only be impressed by Galaxy’s Edge, you will be brought to tears. This is no exaggeration. The attention to detail, the way it completely surrounds and immerses you, is something that simply has to be experienced to be believed. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens May 31, 2019, and requires reservations in advance until June 24, 2019, when it will be opened up to all citizens of Disneyland. It will be open to Disney’s Hollywood Studios visitors on August 29, 2019. If you don’t have a reservation and are waiting until it’s fully open, plan on crowds and wait times. At least it’s worth it.