Last stop on our tour of Disneyland is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Based in the Star Wars universe but set on a planet that was never seen in the movies and only briefly referenced in the 2018 film Solo, Galaxy’s Edge takes place in the Black Spire Outpost on the remote planet of Batuu, a trade planet that first appeared in the 2018 novel Thrawn: Alliances written by Timothy Zahn.
A Star Wars-themed land had been in development at Disneyland’s Hollywood Studios in Florida since the early 2010s, but after Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, Disney CEO Bob Iger postponed all creative development until after the release of the sequel trilogy.
Supervised by Imagineering executive Scott Trowbridge, a land based on Star Wars was first announced publicly in 2015, the same year that The Force Awakens was released in theaters. Construction in Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios began in 2016 and in 2017 at the D23 expo it was announced that the new land would be called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”
It opened in 2019 to huge popularity, even briefly leaving the rest of Disneyland very empty. The ambience of the area is further amplified by an original score by John Williams which is implemented throughout Galaxy’s Edge in various musical interpretations, the goal of the Imagineers being to make visitors feel like they actually stepped into the world of Star Wars.
There is a wide selection of restaurants and shops in this area.
For eating, visitors can buy snacks and drinks (including alcohol) at Oga’s Cantina, have a meal at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo which is a restaurant that doubles as a hangar bay, try some grilled sausage and roasted pork wraps at Ronto Roasters, get some popcorn at Kat Saka’s Kettle and see what green milk and blue milk taste like at the Milk Stand.
And for shopping, you can make your own custom lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop, make a custom droid at Mubo’s Droid Depot, check out some old Jedi and Sith artifacts at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, visit Bina’s Creature Stall which sells plush critters, visit the Toydarian Toymaker which is a toy workshop, get outfitted in proper Batuu apparel at Black Spire Outfitters and even buy clothes to let people know which side of the war you are on at First Order Cargo and Resistance Supply.
But the main draw at Galaxy’s Edge are its two attractions: Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Located in the center of the Black Spire Outpost and the first attraction to open in Galaxy’s Edge, Smugglers Run is a motion simulator that pits six passengers into the Millennium Falcon and sends them on a mission to steal some cargo from First Order TIE Fighters.
After entering the command center and receiving instructions from Hondo Ohnaka (voiced by Jim Cummings, you may remember him from the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and his astromech droid R5-P8, each passenger is given a boarding pass with a description of their role on the mission and is assigned a color. The six passengers will consist of two pilots, two gunners and two engineers and you will be given one of these roles randomly. While waiting for your color to be called you are free to explore the Millennium Falcon but once you hear your color it is time for you to get to your assigned duty in the cockpit. The success of the mission is determined by how well all six of you do in your roles so everyone must be on top of their game.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which first opened at Disneyland in 2020, is one of the most complex and advanced attractions at any Disney park so it’s fitting that it will be the last attraction I profile in my series of tours.
Set between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, Rise of the Resistance is a combination dark ride, walkthrough, motion simulator and drop tower attraction that puts guests in the middle of an altercation between the Resistance and the First Order.
Located in the ancient ruins on the outskirts of the Black Spire Outpost, Galaxy’s Edge visitors are led to a Resistance control center where you meet with BB-8 and are briefed by your allies in the Resistance via hologram and are instructed to rendezvous with General Leia Organa. However things get complicated when a First Order Star Destroyer appears and pulls you into its hangar bay where you meet Kylo Ren and your Resistance allies must help you escape.
This attraction contains 65 audio-animatronics and the largest amount of code of any Disney ride controlling all the features at once. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson and Kipsang Rotich all reprise their roles as Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, General Hux and the voice of Nien Nunb in this attraction and Industrial Light & Magic created the CGI sequences.
It is so technically complex that it actually broke down a few times in its first month of operation, but when everything is working properly, it is an incredible experience and it has received widespread acclaim earning a reputation as one of Disneyland’s most fun attractions, even contributing to a ten percent increase in park sales after it opened earlier this year.
For the ultimate Star Wars experience that lets you know what it feels like to fight in a war against the forces of evil, Galaxy’s Edge is your best bet. Just make sure you drink that green milk after making that jump to light speed.
That’s the end of our tour. I have taken you all across Disneyland, showed you all nine of its areas and have given you a taste of what their attractions are like. If you’ve never been to Disneyland before, I hope giving you a glimpse of what it’s like was a fun experience. I am not going this year like I planned, but after writing these blogs, I am anticipating the day I get to visit even more. See you at the park!