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Disneyland Article
Inside Star Wars Galaxys Edge A Firsthand Account

Big Thunder Ranch
ID:
TMS-4091
Source:
Hollywood Reporter
Author:
Ryan Parker
Dateline:
February 27, 2019
Posted:
March 10, 2019
Status:
Current
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"Wow." That's all I could manage to think and even say aloud as I stared up at the enormous, full-scale Millennium Falcon in Disneyland's newest attraction, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, as I visited with a small group of media last week for a top secret (they even took our phones) preview. That was just the start of the tour.

When the attraction opens this summer (date still unknown) fans, at best, will believe they have been transported into the world of Star Wars - Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu to be exact. At worst, they will feel as though the just walked on the set of a Star Wars film. The attention to detail, such as the imperfections in the buildings to make them look as though they have been there for centuries, is painstaking. There are areas mixed in for both the First Order and Resistance, along with locations for run-of-the-mill, scruffy-looking nerf herders and pirates.

The 14-acre, themed destination at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA. will be unlike any attraction experienced before. With two state-of-the-art rides (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run), a plethora of shops and restaurants (all in the theme of Star Wars so as not to feel like they are part of a Disney stop), jaw-dropping spectacles and full-scale droids milling about, the land delivers on the ambitious project Disney CEO Bob Iger foretold when he announced the park at the D23 Expo in August 2015. Here is what I saw.

Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu (the land)

I didn't realize how big the park was until we were let inside. Designers for the Galaxy's Edge traveled the world, including Istanbul and Morocco, to draw inspiration for their designs. The outpost looks lived in and the intentional imperfections make the area feel like it has been around for hundreds of years. There will be three entrances into Galaxy's Edge, which is located north of Frontierland, where Big Thunder Ranch used to be, that also required the reconfiguration of the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America. Scents and music will be piped into the land, including original themes created especially for the land by Star Wars composer John Williams. However, since it was still under construction, journalists did not get to experience any of that. Although, we did get to hear a bit of the new Williams score. Park officials were cagey about how it will be incorporated into the land. For the most part, the outside of the buildings of Black Spire Outpost, as well as the massive remains of its once-towering ancient trees, are complete. Inside some of the shops was another matter. Several were still under construction, but major pieces, such as the bar itself inside Oga's Cantina, were in place. Ships were completed and located through the land. There was a full-sized X-wing, TIE fighter and, of course, the Falcon. There were also a number of landspeeders, which will be immobile - just for looks.

The rides

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will feature two state-of-the-art rides, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. We toured both rides, but they were still under construction so there was only so much we could do. The first was Rise of the Resistance, which is the longest ride Disney has ever featured. Officials would not give the exact length. Basically, guests will be captured and taken aboard a Star Destroyer. The most striking part of this ride, from what we were shown, was the enormity - it's truly massive, like the actual size of a hanger on a Star Destroyer in the films. For scale, the window or entrance to the bay for ships was 100-feet in size. There was also one complete TIE fighter in the bay. In another bay, which we were not shown, there are two full-sized AT-Ats. Characters featured in the ride include Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). The ride itself is partially completed on foot, but mostly done in a trackless vehicle that will take guests around the Star Destroyer as they try to make their escape. We did not do this but saw a demo of the vehicle in use.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run was probably the most complete destination at the park we saw. There is a full-sized Falcon in the park that guests will be able to see, but not touch. The line to get on the ride will take guests higher and higher above that Falcon until they believe they are boarding it. The doors open, and boom, you are on the Millennium Falcon. For yours truly, it was a pinch-me moment. Guests, in groups, are free to explore the main compartment of the Falcon, until it is their turn in the cockpit. Then, when those doors open, jaws will drop. Mine did. The cockpit is exact, down to every last detail. There are six seats (for two pilots, two gunners and two flight engineers) and all the buttons and levers work. All of them. We did not get to experience the actual ride, just explore the ship, but the plot involves helping space pirate leader Hondo Ohnaka (one of the park's most advanced animatronics ever), who is featured in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.
 
Attractions Referenced

Big Thunder Ranch

Disneyland Railroad

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance

 
Restaurants Referenced

Oga's Cantina

 
Lands Referenced

Frontierland

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

 
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