Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Concept art released in August 2015
|Area||14 acres (5.7 ha)|
|Replaced||Big Thunder Ranch|
|Disney's Hollywood Studios|
|Opened||Late Fall 2019|
|Replaced||Streets of America|
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is an upcoming Star Wars-themed area being developed in Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, as well as in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. It will encompass 14 acres at each park.
The lands were announced on August 15, 2015 and construction at both parks began on April 14, 2016. The lands are scheduled to open at both locations in 2019, with the Disneyland version opening in the summer, followed by the Disney's Hollywood Studios version in the late fall. Walt Disney Imagineering executive Scott Trowbridge is supervising the development of the new land at both parks.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was first publicly announced by The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at the D23 Expo on August 15, 2015, though it did not have an official name at the time. According to Iger, it will be "occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids … the attractions, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology." Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, stated that the land "will introduce you to a Star Wars planet you've never seen before — a gateway planet located on the outer rim, full of places and characters familiar and not so familiar."
In an interview for the winter 2015 issue of the official Disney fan club publication Disney twenty-three, Trowbridge stated: "[O]ur intent is to make it feel as if you just walked into one of the movies... Bringing Star Wars to life in the physical world gives us the opportunity to play with a whole bunch of things we've never done before... to really engage all of the senses. What does that street feel like? What does that animal smell like? What does blue milk taste like?"
Iger announced in March 2016 that construction on both versions of the land would begin in April 2016. Construction began at both locations on April 14, 2016. In February 2017, Iger stated that the lands are scheduled to open in 2019 at both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios. In July 2017 at the D23 Expo, Chapek revealed that the themed lands would be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Chapek also announced that the Disneyland version will open first.
In November 2017, Trowbridge announced that the planet portrayed by the land is called Batuu, which appears in the 2018 novel Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances. In May 2018, Trowbridge revealed that the name of the planet's village is Black Spire Outpost, an organization briefly mentioned in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story. It was also announced that the Disneyland version of the land would open in summer 2019, followed by the Disney's Hollywood Studios version in late fall 2019. The names of the two new attractions at each location were announced in November 2018 during the D23 Destination D event held at Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney Imagineering designed the project in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, with Imagineer Scott Trowbridge supervising the project, Asa Kalama and Chris Beatty serving as executive creative directors, and Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo and designer Doug Chiang of Industrial Light & Magic involved as consultants. Together, the team decided to set the lands on a new planet, located within the Outer Rim of the Unknown Regions. Described as a "remote frontier outpost", the planet Batuu has not previously appeared in other media, although it has existed within canon "for thousands and thousands of years." The team chose to create a newly designed world instead of using an existing planet from the films such as Tatooine or Hoth, because those locations evoked a pre-existing familiarity with guests, with Trowbridge explaining, "We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations, but this time you could be in that story that required us to go to a new place."
This used to be a vibrant trading port back in the old sub-lightspeed days, but now with advent of hyperspace, its prominence has kind of fallen and faded a little bit which has made it a great spot for those who didn't want to be on that kind of mainstream path. The smugglers, the bounty hunters, the rogue adventurers looking to crew up, the people who don't want to be found — basically all the interesting people.— Supervising Imagineer Scott Trowbridge describing the featured planet
The development team drew inspiration from real-world locations, including as Istanbul and Morocco, and traveled there to study the architecture, culture, and weather. The team also cited Ralph McQuarrie's concept art for the original Star Wars trilogy as a basis for the aesthetic look of the land. The timeline is set during the events of the sequel trilogy, and will depict the rising presence of both the First Order and Resistance. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will have two new attractions: one will allow riders to control the Millennium Falcon, which will feature a "customized secret mission", and the other will place guests into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Concept art depicts a full-size Millennium Falcon situated among alien buildings built into tall cliffs.
In addition, the area will feature Oga’s Cantina, which will be the first location in Disneyland Park to sell alcoholic drinks to the public. Riders' performances on the Millennium Falcon will influence how they are treated at the cantina, adding to the immersive experience. According to the Disney Parks Blog, "perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos’s list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina." The cantina's music will be provided by RX-24, a droid that was first seen in Star Tours, and is now the cantina's DJ.
The Black Spire Outpost marketplace will contain a toy stall run by a Toydarian, an alien species that was seen on Tatooine in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. There will also be a creature stall. Longtime Star Wars composer John Williams returned to compose the music for Galaxy's Edge and its attractions. The music was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios.
At Disneyland Park, Galaxy's Edge is being built to the north of Frontierland, where Big Thunder Ranch and backstage areas were located. As a result of the expansion, Disney purchased nearby properties to relocate the office and warehouse space that was on the land.
On January 11, 2016, several attractions in Frontierland and Critter Country were closed. Big Thunder Ranch closed permanently, including the multifunction event space, barbecue restaurant and petting zoo. Other attractions closed temporarily, including the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America. Tom Sawyer Island reopened on June 16, 2017, and Fantasmic! reopened on July 17, 2017. The Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes reopened on July 29.
The construction of Galaxy's Edge resulted in a reconfigured route for the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America. A first look at how these changes would impact the park were revealed in January 2016, when concept art was released depicting the northern bank of the river after construction was completed.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
At Disney's Hollywood Studios, Galaxy's Edge is replacing the majority of the park's Streets of America, including the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure which closed on April 2, 2016, as well as the surrounding backlot facades, restaurants, and shops. Together with the previously closed Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction, Galaxy's Edge will be part of a major expansion of the park that includes Toy Story Land. The remaining operating portions of Streets of America (containing Muppet*Vision 3D) were refurbished as Grand Avenue and Grand Park, a Los Angeles-themed street. The land will be accompanied by the Star Wars Hotel.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed land at Universal Parks & Resorts in Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, and Universal Studios Hollywood
- Pandora – The World of Avatar, a themed land at Disney's Animal Kingdom
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