New Star Wars Lands to Blast Off at Disneyland and Disney World

Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge Coming to California and Florida

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Disney Parks' Creative Force Awakens

Star Wars Land coming to Disney Parks
Disney/Lucasfilm. Used with permission.

Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge is scheduled to open at Disneyland in summer 2019 and at Disney's Hollywood Studios in late fall 2019. The latter date likely means some time around the holidays. Each of the essentially similar lands will span 14 acres, which is enormous for theme parks. As to the level of detail and immersion, Disney is promising to build "jaw-dropping new worlds." Just look at the lush rendering at the top of the page to get a sense of what's coming.

Rather than re-create an existing world from the Star Wars canon, the lands will represent an entirely new world. According to Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, guests will enter a "gateway planet on the outer rim." The way station, which Chapek also referred to as a "remote frontier town," will include established characters as well as new ones.

There will be two major attractions, both of which sound like they will be media-based rides. One will invite rookie pilots to fly a mission aboard the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo's "bucket of bolts" from the original trilogy. With talk about "customized adventures," it appears that this could be some sort of an interactive ride with many variables.

The other announced attraction will place visitors in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The story will focus on the 2015 film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Check Out the Rockwork

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at Disney theme parks
Disney/Lucasfilm. Used with permission.

In addition to the blockbuster rides, expect the Star Wars lands to be encompassing and rich environments that will be feasts for the senses. Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive and the Imagineer tapped to lead the Star Wars projects, hints at what's to come.

"Who ever wondered what Bantha fodder smelled like?" he teased. (The foul-smelling food is used as a pejorative term in the Star Wars universe.) Trowbridge also indicated that guests might be able to taste blue milk, a yummy treat. I don't know whether either of the items will be available for actual consumption, but there will be a Cantina restaurant with themed dishes.

That kind of multi-sensory focus and attention to detail is indicative of the extreme level of themeing that the major park operators are now incorporating into their lands. Disney may have pioneered the concept of the theme park, but arch-rival Universal took themeing to new levels with the impeccable Wizarding World of Harry Potter at its Orlando and Hollywood theme parks. 

Disney responded with its over-the-top, single-intellectual-property project, Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. The new Star Wars lands will continue the high-stakes brinkmanship. Disney CEO Bob Iger says that the intergalactic outpost will be filled with humanoids, aliens, and droids and that the shops and eateries will be "run by local inhabitants. Nothing will be out of character."

Based on the renderings, the 14-acre lands will include vast amounts of rockwork and other architectural flourishes. That's the Millennium Falcon in the foreground. The iconic starship will be featured in one of the lands' two major attractions.

Disney has not revealed any costs. But the ambitious, elaborate-looking and -sounding Star Wars project will surely cost in the hundreds of millions dollars. That's for each land. That's a lot of Galactic Credits. 

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Stay Overnight in the Star Wars Universe

Star Wars Hotel Disney World

At Disney World only, the theme park giant is planning to build a Star Wars hotel. It promises to be a large-scale, highly immersive storytelling experience. It will be located adjacent to Galaxy’s Edge at the Hollywood Studios park, possibly even inside the park. Disney has not announced an opening date, but it would not debut along with the park attraction in 2019. It's likely that it would open in 2021 to coincide with Disney World’s 50th anniversary.

There are not a lot of details known about the hotel, but Disney is calling it a “multiday adventure.” The hotel will be themed as a starship with portals windows showing the galaxy streaking past. Guests will be issued Jedi robes and other attire to wear for the experience, and they will become active participants in an elaborate story. They will probably carry out missions, which may extend over to the Galaxy’s Edge outpost in the park.

The hotel will probably charge an all-inclusive fee that, like a cruise ship, would cover meals, live entertainment, and other amenities. The rates will likely be quite high.

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