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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Hopes Fans Will Want To Play In Star Wars Galaxys Edge

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Mercury News
Robert Niles
May 21, 2019
June 05, 2019
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In just a few days, Disneyland will open its new portal to a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens to advance reservation holders and resort hotel guests on May 31, with a second opening for all Disneyland ticket holders on June 24.

Disneyland invited me to walk through the land a couple of weeks ago, just after Disney’s Imagineers turned the land over to the park’s operations team. Those Imagineers created a new world for the land, a planet called Batuu that is home to the Black Spire Outpost, a smugglers’ haven where fans will find the Millennium Falcon as well as restaurants, shops, abundant photo opportunities … and Disneyland’s first public bar.

My favorite sight? It surprised me. What is Luke Skywalker’s X-34 landspeeder doing parked just outside Black Spire Outpost’s central plaza? Is this where Luke’s ride ended up after he sold it on Tatooine to help pay for his ill-fated trip to Alderaan on the Millennium Falcon?

What really got me about seeing this Star Wars icon was that it appeared to be floating, just like in the original “Star Wars” movie. I’ve got a strong suspicion how Disney’s designers achieved this optical illusion, but I don’t really care how they did it. I just love that, for a moment, they made me feel like a 9-year-old boy again, marveling at a universe where someone’s beat-up junker could hover a foot above the ground.

Just before my tour of Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland let me watch one of its preview shows for cast members over at Disney California Adventure, where the resort revealed more details about the land to its employees. Before the presentation, one wall of the theater showed photos of the Kenner Star Wars toys that dominated my birthday and Christmas wish lists in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Every image revived a memory — from those cheesy little plastic sticks that you could pull from Darth Vader and Obi-Wan’s arms to pretend they were lightsabers to that glorious Millennium Falcon play set that I never could afford. But I did manage to save enough allowance and chore money to buy Luke’s landspeeder.

No, it didn’t really hover. It ran on thin, hidden wheels, mounted with springs to make the toy bounce a bit like it was floating as you pushed it along. But I loved that toy, as I loved every one of the 12 original action figures I dutifully collected, along with the many more figures, play sets and plastic blasters that came out over the next few years.

So when I saw that landspeeder in Galaxy’s Edge — full size and “really” hovering this time — it was play time in my mind all over again. On Batuu, I can play Star Wars again. I can join the Resistance or the First Order, or fall in with the smugglers trying to evade both. I can get a drink in the cantina, buy a droid and finally get the chance to fly that Millennium Falcon that never showed up under my family’s Christmas tree. Disney has spent more than a billion dollars designing and building Galaxy’s Edge with the new hope that thousands of other fans would be willing to spend a lot of money to feel the way that I did looking at that landspeeder. Will it work? We are about to find out.
Attractions Referenced

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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