MickeyBlog News for 6/2/19 – Galaxy’s Edge & More
In an amusing twist, Disney didn’t have a lot of theme park news this week…outside of the ONE HUGE THING that has dominated headlines. So, we’ll talk about the other stuff first, and then we’ll talk about the hottest topic in the theme park industry today, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Here’s the latest edition of MickeyBlog News!
Dining at Gran Destino
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will dramatically upgrade in size this summer when the Gran Destino Hotel opens to the public. They’ll introduce two new restaurants and two new lounges.
We’d previously learned about the exciting new eateries. Three Bridges Bar & Grill will be a visually stunning place that sits just above the water on its own island. It’ll be the centerpiece of Lago Dorado. Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood will be the most exciting dining option at Coronado Springs, as it will sit at the top of Destino Hotel, providing views of three different Disney theme parks.
Now we know about the two bar and hangout areas at Gran Destino Tower. Dahlia Lounge is the companion location to Toledo, a place where people can nurture a beverage and enjoy the views when they’re not hungry enough for a full meal. Disney is especially proud of the wine list here, as they had master sommeliers select the offerings.
The hotel lobby will feature a lounge as well. Barcelona Lounge will be a place to grab a quick bite at breakfast, a pastry and coffee place. Various European coffees will be available through the day until the evening when it becomes more of a cocktail bar.
Small bites and charcuterie are integral to this evening experience, too. Disney’s plan for this lounge is for guests to feel content enough here that they may hang out at the hotel more, a decidedly European tourist behavior.
New Entertainment on the Disney Fantasy
Walt Disney Theatre is always one of the most popular places on Disney Cruises. The Broadway-style shows that they host here almost single-handedly justify the price of a cruise. They’re every bit as good as many touring companies, yet they’re included as part of the standard cost of a Disney Cruise. Disney’s stage presentations are a spectacular amenity, and they just got even better.
Starting this week, Disney will capitalize on the current popularity of Aladdin, Genie, Jasmine, and Jafar by presenting Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular. It’s a new and improved version of the Aladdin show that’s been running on Disney Cruises for many years now. This one features a modified story more in line with the 2019 movie, new pyrotechnics, costume changes, and puppet updates.
Hot on the heels of a new Aladdin experience comes a Frozen show! A couple of years ago, Frozen – A Musical Spectacular debuted on the Disney Wonder. On October 26th, it will come to the Disney Fantasy just in time for the release of Frozen II. Here is a video of the presentation to demonstrate its excellence.
Celebrity Chefs Announced for Food & Wine
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the most famous of Disney’s four annual exhibitions. It’s become a yearly tradition for many Disney fans, myself included. And this year’s event will feature an unprecedented number of celebrity chefs.
Disney has confirmed some of the new and returning talents this year. Fans of reality television are in for a treat. Top Chef favorite Fabio Viviani will make his first appearance this year, as will David Burtka, the popular cookbook author and husband of Neil Patrick Harris. Aarti Sequeira, the former champion of The Next Food Network Star and hostess of Aarti Party, will also host an event for the first time.
Top Chef and Food Network fans will be particularly excited about The Sunday Brunch with a Chef event this year. It’ll include presentations with Carla Hall, Richard Blais, and Graham Elliott from Top Chef. Robert Irvine and Jamie Deen of Food Network will also host these events. To Top Chef fans and viewers of Dinner/Restaurant Impossible, it’s a murderer’s row line-up.
How to Enter Star Wars Land on June 24th
Yes, Star Wars Land is finally open! Before we get to that discussion, let’s talk about the future. Currently, Disney is allowing about 2,000 guests into the themed land, while Disneyland receives an average of 65,000 guests daily. Yes, only a small percentage of guests are visiting Black Spire Outpost at the moment.
This leads to the question of how Disney will handle traffic flow when the thrilling new themed land is open to everyone. And park officials just revealed how it will work. Starting on June 24th, guests at Disneyland will sign up for a virtual queue. It’s similar to FastPasses in that you’ll be able to visit Star Wars Land at a specific time, presuming that you’re one of the lucky ones who get to enter.
Disney hasn’t announced full details of this process yet. Keep reading MickeyBlog to learn exact details in the coming weeks. June 24th is only three weeks away, my friends!
Okay, Let’s Talk Galaxy’s Edge!
When a new themed land opens at a Disney theme park, it’s a huuuuuge deal. And Galaxy’s Edge is the biggest one ever in terms of public awareness and actual acreage. A lot could have gone wrong here, which is why I’m pleased and a bit relieved that confirm that the opening of Black Spire Outpost is a massive triumph for Disney.
Park officials have spent the last 65 years finding ways to control crowds and line queues. All of their techniques were put to the test this weekend, and the results are staggeringly impressive. Guests had four hours each to spend in the land. Somehow, the line for the only attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run rarely exceeded 90 minutes. The Single Rider line was sometimes walk-on!
The new ride has received rave reviews for its immersion and excitement. It gives you access to the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. Here, you’ll try to prove that you’re worthy of the honor. You’ll either pilot, gun, or engineer your way through a challenging mission.
The length of the ride depends on your performance, and you’re scored at the end. Don’t worry, though. Even if you’re terrible, you’ll have a wonderful time, as Hondo Onaka narrates the action. His wit and honesty enrich the experience.
I’ve scoured the web looking for a single bad review of Smuggler’s Run just to see what critics say. There isn’t one. It’s universally beloved thus far, which is fantastic since Disney maintains that the upcoming Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the more spectacular ride.
Other highlights of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop. Both of these places had lines of 60 minutes or more at various points this weekend. You may wonder why guests would wait so long for a bar or a shop. The answer is theming.
At Oga’s Cantina, you can re-live the famous alien bar scene from Star Wars, and that’s the entirety of Walt Disney’s ultimate goal for Disneyland. He wanted guests to feel like they were part of a different world for a time. This bar is perhaps the culmination of 65 years of Imagineering.
Guests order shiny drinks that cost a fortune. Then, they mark out as R3X, the long-lost pilot of the original Star Tours, spins the latest hits. Yes, the droid apparently gave up his tour guide career and became a DJ. The audio-animatronic of him is a massive crowd-pleaser, and the drinks are well-received, too.
Savi’s Workshop is a more exclusive offering. For $200, you can build your lightsaber here using dozens of different pieces. Due to the potential combinations, no two lightsabers in the world will be alike unless that’s precisely what you choose. Polygon has chronicled the full experience. It sounds spectacular.
The food at Galaxy’s Edge is also a hit. The blue and green milks have been an ongoing debate among Star Wars fans, with the blue milk seemingly a bit better received thus far. The Rondo’s Roasters experience has delighted guests, the trail mix/popcorn at Kat Saka’s Kettle has become a favorite snack, and the most amusing sight gag at Black Spire Outpost is actually at a drinking fountain.
Realistically, the opening of Star Wars Land has gone better than Disney could have possibly anticipated. For more information about Galaxy’s Edge, you can watch some of MickeyBlog’s videos. We did livestreams from opening day and the media event. You can see a full list of our videos on Facebook. Subscribe to guarantee that you never miss one of our streams!