Everything You Need to Know About Star Wars: Galaxy Edge
Galactic changes are going on at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, as well as in Disney Land in California. Years ago, when Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida was called MGM, there was a single Star Wars ride called Star Tours. This ride still exists in Hollywood Studios, but now there are various storylines you can experience at random. Back in the ‘90s there was only one storyline for the, then, new technology simulator ride. You wait in a line that curves around, slinking along until you get inside. Once you reach the indoor part of the line, you are immediately immersed, or so you thought, in Star Wars artifacts and animatronics, welcoming you into the star wars world, or so it was…
A Whole New World
What used to be revolutionary is now antiquated. The parks are getting a BIG overhaul, creating Worlds that Mr. Disney himself would be in awe of. With excavation under-way, this simulator ride is becoming part of Hollywood Studio’s new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, expanding a guest’s experience from one ride, to a whole world. The goal is for guests to feel like they are stepping into the world of Star Wars, beyond the movies and into a completely new form of “virtual reality.” Beloved since the 1970s, Star Wars has just as many, if not more fans than Harry Potter. Disney’s consumer strategy is to take a page out of Universal’s Harry Potter world, only do it Disney style—bigger and better. Disney has great plans for the future, and immersive worlds are a key part of the strategy.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Animal Kingdom has already come out with a “world” inside of the World—Pandora: The World of Avatar. Pandora is an immersive world, but the characters from the movie are not the main focus of this “park within a park.” Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge plans to include favorite movie characters. Disney wants their guests to feel like they have stepped into a completely different world, one where they can meet and interact and have narrative with their favorite characters, and of course—droids. Pandora and Galaxy’s Edge are breaking the mold of the Disney of the future, but Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is highly anticipated for its 2019 ribbon-cutting in both Florida and California.
Some Things We Already Know About the New Star Wars Worlds
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is designed to resemble a remote planetary outpost. Chewbacca is going to be part of the story before guests get on the new Millennium Falcon attraction. On this ride, teams of visitors control the Falcon—you may be rewarded with tokens, or hunted by a bounty hunter somewhere else in the park depending on your performance on the ride. Hunted by a bounty hunter! Now that’s cool…
There is another big ride where you are in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. It was leaked that on the interior of the ride the visitors are set inside a Star Destroyer. Guests will ride in a vehicle where they will “face-off” two of the large AT-AT walkers, which first appeared in Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, episode V in 1980.
The Star Wars Worlds are to be so immersed that everyone from shop keeper, to food liaison will be in full character. Each cast member a visitor comes in contact with in the Star Wars Worlds must act as if they do not know anything outside of their fictional universe. Harry Potter is immersed, but there are “non-magic” employees that also help out in their world. Disney goes more than an extra mile by having all of its employees in character.
A New Level of Family Fun
Disney is hopeful it can expand using these new inspired ideas for a new level of family fun. Are these new immersive worlds the theme parks of the future? Just how immersive do you think they can get? I am expecting to walk into the Edge of The Galaxy and get goosebumps. Disney is in the line of creating magical experiences. As I’ve gone to Disney over the years I have seen many updates, but I never could have imagined something of this magnitude. I am beyond excited to enter and be a part of this new Star Wars world, and just as excited to see what Disney does next!
Special thanks to Emily Shannon for writing this article! Emily Shannon lives fifteen minutes from the happiest place on earth. She grew up going to the parks and has loved Disney all her life.