“The attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology.”
During this summer’s D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek revealed a richly detailed scale model of the Star Wars-themed lands slated for Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California. The expansions will officially be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If all that wasn’t enough for fans to begin booking their next Disney getaway, Chapek also took the wraps off the long-rumored Star Wars-themed resort.
With enough fresh info to fill the Millennium Falcon‘s cargo hold, we made like Bothan spies and carefully collected all new and existing intel for your reference. For details on everything from the Galaxy’s Edge story, setting, and E-ticket attractions to a hotel stay that promises to put you in a galaxy far, far away like never before, please read on.
A sprawling new planet
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge may be based on science fiction’s most popular universe, but the expansion will actually unfold on an entirely new planet. While its name hasn’t been revealed, the fresh setting has been described as an outer-rim frontier town and trading port, a remote spot that’s occupied by people — and aliens — of all stripes, including those of the scum-and-villainy variety. Guests can plan on spending plenty of time on the planet, as the 14-acre area represents the parks’ largest single-themed land expansions.
The land will include a cantina, complete with Star Wars-themed food and beverages and extraterrestrial patrons.
Based on the model, concept art, and the details released so far, it seems fans can look forward to hanging out in spots similar to the Mos Eisley spaceport or Maz Kanata’s castle. The land will include a cantina, complete with Star Wars-inspired food and beverages, as well as new and familiar characters and extraterrestrial patrons. BB-8, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren are among the iconic characters guests will interact with. While droids will also roam the park, there’s no word on whether or not “their kind” will be served at the local watering hole. The one confirmed exception is Rex, the fan-favorite droid from Star Tours, who will serve as the cantina’s DJ.
As anyone who’s sipped a LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern in Fantasyland will attest, Disney definitely sweats the details when it comes to theme-ing. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will raise the bar, however, as fans will be treated to immersion-ratcheting experiences throughout the expansion. At 2015’s D23 expo, Disney CEO Bob Iger promised “the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology.” The storytelling will be based on the new trilogy of films, which began with 2015’s The Force Awakens and continues this December with The Last Jedi.
Iger also said the land would be occupied by many, varied inhabitants — including humanoids, alien,s and droids — suggesting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will include more than the typical princess and pirate character meet-and-greet interactions currently offered in Disney parks. The combination of a narrative threading through every aspect of the expansion area and streets bustling with all sorts of Star Wars characters hints at an experience that ups the immersion even beyond Disney’s already high standards.
Building an AT-AT army
In a video released earlier this year, Disney confirmed it was constructing at least two AT-AT walkers. The tease shows the mechanical beasts’ metal husks at a construction site before one of the finished products turns its head and unleashes laser fire on viewers.
A towering AT-AT has flanked the Star Tours attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, for years, occasionally squirting passers-by with water, but mostly serving as an awesome photo opp. We’re guessing these new additions might play a more active — and possibly nefarious role — in the new expansion.
Pilot the fastest ship in the galaxy
One of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s premier attractions will place parkgoers in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. Riders will embark on what’s being called a “secret mission” that will play out differently based on their actions and choices. Your performance could also follow you around the park, possibly earning you accolades for a successful flight or a bounty on your head for a less than stellar spin around the galaxy.
While deep-diving details on the experience are locked down tighter than Luke Skywalker’s location, the varied mission types and fans’ ability to actually pilot the ship sound similar to elements found in current Disney park attractions Star Tours and Mission: SPACE.
Based on the model and concept art, it also seems a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon will be permanently parked in Galaxy’s Edge, likely as part of the attraction. No word on whether or not we’ll be able to challenge Han Solo’s Kessel Run record, but any attraction that puts us in a seat once occupied by Chewbacca is worth lining up for.
Your Star Wars story
Another of the expansion’s signature attractions is being billed as “an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you right in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, where guests will feel like they are inside a hangar bay on a Star Destroyer.” While you’d have an easier time grooming a Wookiee than learning specifics on this promising E-ticket experience, we know it will tie into the larger themed narrative.
To that same point, park guests will be able to build a reputation in Galaxy’s Edge based on their experiences and decisions throughout their visit. We’re not exactly sure how all this will play out, but we suggest not ordering a blue milk at the cantina unless you want to be pegged a whiny moisture farmer.
Perhaps the biggest new intel is the confirmation of a Star Wars-themed resort. The ambitious project, being called the parks’ “most experiential concept ever,” was described as “dedicated entirely to the galaxy of Star Wars … a one-of-a-kind experience where a luxury resort meets a multiday adventure in a galaxy far, far away.” While details are scarce, the concept art suggests an unparalleled level of theme-ing and immersion, including uniforms for guests and window views of space.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge doesn’t open until sometime in 2019, but fans craving a more immediate Force fix can check out a number of other Star Wars experiences currently available. Walt Disney World and Disneyland both have a Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, and Star Wars: Path of the Jedi attractions. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away, March of the First Order, and Star Wars Guided Tours are only available at Walt Disney World.
Update: Added information on Disney’s planned Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion for its Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks, as well as concept art.