BLACK SPIRE 101: The Things You Should Know Heading Into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
You’ve taken your first step into a larger world… or rather, we’re about to! The highly-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge finally opens on May 31st at the Disneyland Park and August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These new lands are massive and promise two new attractions, themed cuisine, incredible merchandise, details and Easter eggs galore, and the opportunity for guests to live their own Star Wars adventure. With all the hype surrounding that galaxy far, far away finally coming to our own planet, I’ve compiled some information you need to know and perhaps some stuff you don’t know about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
What and Where Exactly is Galaxy’s Edge?
Many names and places are associated with Galaxy’s Edge, which itself exists at two different Disney Parks on opposite coasts. To keep it simple, here’s what you need to know. The Disneyland Park in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida are both getting identical (or close to it) Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed lands.
The story is, guests are visiting Black Spire Outpost, which is on the planet of Batuu on the edge of the Outer Rim Territories. Black Spire was briefly mentioned by L3-37 to Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story, (with other references to characters in the land, like Dok-Ondar, making their way into the film as a means of planetary product placement,) and while it is canon (it also appeared in the novel Thrawn: Alliances), very little else is known about it.
According to Imagineers, the planet was once a bustling trading port; but thanks to hyperspace and its remote location, it’s become a place for those who prefer to keep a low profile. Hence the name Galaxy’s Edge.
For guests, the land will exist in two parts: the village outpost occupied by the First Order, and a forest base where the Resistance has recently and secretly taken up residence for an upcoming mission.
There Will Be Limited Access to the Land
Despite the hype for the land’s grand opening, Disney says guests will need more than just park admission to set foot in Galaxy’s Edge on opening day. Reservations are required to visit Galaxy’s Edge from May 31 through June 23! Disneyland Resort Hotel guests will have guaranteed access to these reservations. Then, after June 23, Disney will offer a virtual boarding pass system with the ability to register for a time slot to visit the land.
We don’t know yet if reservations will be required to visit Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when it opens in August. However, Disney is already warning guests that access to the land and its experiences is limited. So if you’re planning to visit either Disneyland or Walt Disney World for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, be aware that not everyone will be able to enter the land or experience all it has to offer.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Won’t Be Open Yet
While the original Star Wars trilogy is the most iconic, Galaxy’s Edge is set in the time of the new films. Disney promises Easter eggs and references for all of the Star Wars films, but Galaxy’s Edge is set in the time of the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance as opposed to the Rebellion and the Empire. Original trilogy fans, like myself, should expect Kylo Ren and Rey as opposed to Darth Vader and Luke.
Be Prepared for Your Ride Vehicle
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run promises guests the chance to pilot the iconic Millennium Falcon. Well, not everyone gets to pilot the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. We now know guests will ride in a six-person cockpit, which is something large families or groups need to be aware of. Depending on where guests sit, they will have a job ranging from gunner, to engineer to pilot. While this sounds similar to the setup at Epcot’s Mission: Space, how each guest performs their task aboard Smugglers Run will impact the ride experience. If you’re curious to learn more, check out our full first-impressions review of the attraction.
The planet of Batuu will have echoes of Pandora – The World of Avatar from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The unique alien cuisine teased for Galaxy’s Edge resembles the efforts made at Pandora. Also, guests will be able to purchase Kowakian Monkey Lizards (think of Salacious Crumb from Jabba’s Palace) to sit on their shoulders a-la Pandora Banshee.
Star Wars merchandise is pretty much everywhere at the Disney Parks. Also, collectors and younglings have been able to buy lightsabers, costumes, and droids at their local toy store or supermarket for years. The question is what kind of merchandise could Galaxy’s Edge possibly produce that we haven’t already seen? Well, Disney is taking the build-your-own lightsabers and interactive droids to a whole new level!
At Disneyland, guests will be able to enter Galaxy’s Edge from Critter Country, Fantasyland, and Frontierland while Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios will only have two entrances. Regardless of which coast guests are visiting, all entry points into the land were strategically designed. According to Imagineers, the entrances will narrow a guest’s view before expanding it upon entry for a truly cinematic reveal! That being said, not all of them will be used as entrances until crowds die down… whenever that might be.
What did Galaxy’s Edge Replace in the Parks?
For those who haven’t been to the parks in awhile, Galaxy’s Edge replaced former attractions and spaces at both parks to allow for 14 acres of that galaxy far, far away. At Disneyland, Galaxy’s Edge replaced Big Thunder Ranch, as well as space previously off-limits to guests. The Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America were even reconfigured for this new addition!
At Disney World, Galaxy’s Edge replaced the Streets of America, the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, portions of the Backlot Studio Tour, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure.
Are you planning on visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this year? What are you most excited about? What did you not know before?