New Star Wars Land Details Revealed
The Walt Disney Company has chosen to publish information about Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge at a controlled pace. Through the Disney Parks Blog and various public events, they’ve detailed several exciting aspects about their themed land. Let’s take a look at all of the new information.
What’s in a Name?
To visit Star Wars Land, guests will depart for the proverbial end of the galaxy. Specifically, people will arrive on the planet of Batuu, a place on the outskirts of society. That’s by design. Once a heavily populated and oft-visited trading outpost, it lost its premiere location on routes when hyperspace technology became the foremost means of travel.
Since the advent of hyperspace jumps, Batuu has fallen out of favor as a destination. Today, its primary appeal is its location in the Outer Rim Territories, the nearest inhabited planets to Wild Space. Despite its fall in fortune, one aspect of Batuu has maintained its appeal.
About the Black Spire…
This place is Black Spire Outpost. It has three primary selling points. One is its space port, a docking station for the pilots headed to and from Wild Space. Another is its legendary cantina, where merchants and folks not concerned with interstellar laws hang out far from under the thumb of the empire. While there, these – let’s face it – criminals barter their goods and services at the market here. It’s a kind of bazaar where anything is available, whether it’s tasteful or not.
Basically, Black Spire Outpost is the kind of place where Han Solo would feel perfectly at home. The movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story, even alludes to this fact. L3-37 jokes to Lando Calrissian that he couldn’t even travel to Black Spire Outpost without her. Behold Disney synergy at its finest! A brand-new movie hypes a yet-to-open themed land!
The structure of the themed land mirrors real world locales and some portions of the original Star Wars (aka A New Hope). The real world places are Istanbul and Morocco, countries where Imagineers traveled to gain ideas about how to construct and populate the world of Batuu. The bazaar elements of the market stem from this research. Meanwhile, the buildings jutting out from the alien mountains have a basis in concept art George Lucas commissioned for Star Wars.
The Guest Perspective
What do these details mean to you as a tourist? When you visit Star Wars Land, the gigantic alien structures will act as the wienies. These are the eye-grabbing visuals that guests can see from a distance, ones that naturally draw people toward those areas. Famous wienies include Space Mountain, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and Spaceship Earth. Star Wars Land would seem incomplete without one.
Once you’re inside the land, the wienie is more recognizable. It’s the Millennium Falcon! This vessel is also the (presumed) host for the Millennium Falcon ride. Here, you live out your longstanding dream of captaining the franchise’s most famous starship! It’s one of two E Ticket attractions that will anchor Star Wars Land. We’ll get to the other one in just a moment.
Once you’re done with looking at all the impressive buildings at Black Spire Outpost, you’ll want to explore some. The two primary locations are the cantina and the market. Yes, the cantina is akin to the one seen in the first movie trilogy. It’s an alien bar with many strange creatures…although, to them, you look weird, what with your human features and all.
This section will contain a nicer seating area, the dinner club section. Disney has posted images of a stage show featuring an alien singer. The servers are also aliens (from a different species), and the conceit here is that you sit in a dimly lit area while watching the performance. This seems like a complex idea that may fall by the wayside as release date approaches. If not, the dinner club will immediately become one of the hottest Advanced Dinner Reservations at Walt Disney World…possibly THE hottest.
The market is where your mind should substitute in the word “merchandise.” It’ll have special Star Wars items that aren’t available anywhere else on the planet. Think of Star Wars Launch Bay taken to its logical extreme. Again, the bazaar similarities mean that some of these goods will be available outside.
Perhaps the most impressive feat of the market and cantina is the theming. All cast members will remain in character throughout the day. Since the theme of this land is that it’s a real world setting, they’ll behave as if they’re residents and guests of Batuu. Everything you see will be a small piece of a much larger puzzle.
The Battle Ride
As for the other ride, new details have emerged about it. The setting for this attraction is a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Disney has displayed a model of the Fleet Transport that will double as the ride cart. They’ve also shown some footage from the ride. Stormtroopers will fire at your vessel as you navigate the surroundings.
Perhaps the oddest rumor is that guests will disembark from the ride cart for a time before boarding once again. I struggle to understand either the mechanics or practical applications of that idea, but it’s being recited as fact by several generally reliable sources.
The other concept that may tie in here plays a part in the next section, too. Star Wars Land is intended as the most immersive theme park experience ever created. Guests will pick a side between the First Order and the Resistance. Then, their interactions at Walt Disney World will impact the missions they receive during the visit.
The natural question raised by this immersion is how it impacts the rides. For example, when you ride the Fleet Transport attraction, does your status as a member of the First Order or Resistance impact the proceedings? The answer to this is a strong maybe right now. Expect more details in coming months.
The Greatest Hotel in the Galaxy
The most recent information leaked about Star Wars Land is predicated on its hotel. As long rumored, this resort WILL connect to the “south end” of Star Wars Land, “just east of World Drive.” The Parks Blog adds this enticing description:
“This location will allow the experience to be seamlessly connected to the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, enabling guests to fully immerse themselves in the story of Star Wars.”
While we already knew about the physical connection to the parks and the immersion, this post represents Disney’s first confirmation of specifics. The conceit of this resort is that it’s a starship. Yes, when you stay here, you’re on a voyage across the known universe. Every room here will have a “view” of outer space. You’ll see anything that Disney can imagine on these walls, as they’re giant projection screens. This hotel stay will be unlike any other that you or ANYONE has ever had before.
There’s a catch, though. Well, it’s more of an inconvenience. Star Wars Hotel won’t open at the same time as Star Wars Land. The Walt Disney World version of the themed land will debut in “late fall” of 2019. The hotel is targeting the following year for its debut, but 2021 is also a possibility.
Imagineers aren’t in a hurry to complete the resort. They understand that it’s functionally a second good reason to visit Walt Disney World. Next year, they’ll have the themed land driving attendance. That halo effect should last at least a year. When Star Wars Hotel debuts, it will create another surge in Star Wars mania at Walt Disney World. Disney’s wise to split up the openings of the themed land and its accompanying hotel. It’s just frustrating to Star Wars fans who want ALL THE THINGS and want them RIGHT NOW.
Even without Star Wars Hotel next year, late fall of 2019 is the greatest time to visit Walt Disney World since, well, 1971. You’ll want to speak with a MickeyTravels agent to schedule your trip. Hotel room availability at Walt Disney World will be at historic lows when Star Wars Land opens. Avoid later frustration by planning now.
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