Everything We Currently Know About Star Wars Land
The Walt Disney Company recently invited a select group of reporters to tour Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Since the project is still under construction, these journalists were unable to ride either of the attractions or experience every single thing coming to Disney’s most important themed land ever. They did get to see many of the shops, taste some of the exclusive menu items, and walk the grounds of both E-ticket attractions. Then, they relayed the information to the rest of us. Here’s everything we just learned about Star Wars Land.
The Play Is the Thing
The Play Disney Parks app has proven divisive thus far. Even the Imagineers involved with the project will admit that it’s seemed a bit incomplete thus far. Only a handful of attractions are currently connected to the app, and some of the games are lackluster. Plus, they create odd environmental hazards like that time I walked straight into a load-bearing column because I was oblivious to the outside world.
Part of the problem with the app is that the rides are generally decades older than it. The developers were playing catch-up in creating games that matched the themes of the longstanding attractions. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be different. It’s been designed from the ground up with the expectation of a connecting smartphone gaming experience.
When you explore the world of Batuu, you’ll unlock special activities via the Play Disney Parks app. You can hack droids that roam the area, or you can translate some of the alien languages that you’ll encounter along the way.
You can even listen to alien broadcasts via the app, some of which contain important intel that could lead to special missions. You’ll also unearth Easter eggs and storyline quests as you explore the grounds. This philosophy leads directly to the next integral part of Star Wars Land…
Batuu Is a Battleground
One of the recurring themes of the 11 Star Wars films to date is that members of the government are constantly trying to discover Rebels or members of The Resistance. Imagineers have deftly themed the entire world of Batuu based on this game of espionage. The theming is ubiquitous when you enter Star Wars Land.
When you walk through Batuu for the first time, you’ll notice that it’s subdivided into three sections. On one side is the forest area. Members of The Resistance live here as an evasive tactic. They use the foliage to hide their existence and rogue ops.
A military installation of a kind is on the opposite end of Star Wars Land. Here, the First Order is stocking a base as they search for intel about The Resistance. Historically, the government had avoided this section of the galaxy, but they recently learned about the presence of essential Resistance personnel here. So, they’re building infrastructure and keeping their ears to the ground about where to look on Batuu.
The middle section of the themed land is the bazaar and marketplace area known as Black Spire Outpost. This village is intentionally located on the outskirts of civilization to take advantage of the absence of governmental presence. Suffice to say that the recent arrival of The First Order is unwelcome here, as it’s a place where space pirates barter for illegal goods and jobs.
You can already see what Disney has achieved with this design. They have the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other. The middle ground is where both parties need to go to achieve their goals. The First Order wants to, you know, bring order to the place. The Resistance wants to accumulate everything it needs to overthrow the government.
The gamified aspect of Star Wars Land comes into play with the design. You must venture into parts of the planet where The Resistance isn’t welcome. You’ll notice surveillance boxes in some areas. You must employ the Play Disney Parks app to hack them. Or not.
Some park guests will choose to join The First Order rather than The Resistance. These people (of dubious moral character) can secure the surveillance boxes with the app instead. Interactive elements are everywhere at Star Wars Land. Your choices and actions will have consequences, building your reputation within the Black Spire Outpost.
One of the strongest examples of this novel approach to theme park entertainment happens on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. A group of players works together to pilot the ship. It’s not just a ride; you’re being graded on your performance, and failure is possible. After you exit the ride, some cast members and Audio-Animatronics (AA) will know how you did and even bring it up in conversation with you.
Even the Food Is Immersive
Many of the restaurants and food items were just revealed on the Parks Blog. Many of the journalists have chimed in with their thoughts, as they had the opportunity to sample some of these odd flavors, including the adult beverages. Outside of Club 33, Disneyland has never allowed alcohol in the parks, but they’ve altered that rule for Star Wars Land. The out-of-this-world concoctions are no longer a mystery thanks to these reporters.
Before we focus on any specific dish or drink, let’s talk about what’s important. When you’re at Black Spire Outpost, you’re going to eat the local food. Pandora – The World of Avatar takes this approach to an extent, but you can still buy a Coke there. Disney officials are allegedly still debating whether the same will be true in Star Wars Land. They may ask guests to follow the maxim of, “When in Rome…”
The menu supports this belief. One of the restaurants is called Ronto Roaters. One thing’s for sure here. Whatever you’re eating isn’t your mom’s pot roast. While Disney is forced to use Earth ingredients in the actual recipe, they don’t want you thinking that the animal is one that you’d find on Earth, either. One description suggests that the BBQ ribs here are extremely sweet so you will recognize the flavors to a degree. Disney’s team of chefs has crafted a menu that will transport you to a land far away, though.
One of the most famous drinks from the Star Wars franchise is Blue Milk aka Tatooine Milk aka Bantha Milk. Someone at Disney had the honor (?) of deciding what a Banthan’s mammary gland excretions would taste like. Personally, I would have called in sick that month, but someone did it.
You can see how they did when you stop at the Milk Stand, which serves Blue Milk and Green Milk. My sincerest hope is that they’ll serve Coke here as well because…gross. For Star Wars fans, it’s a dream come true, however, much like chugging Butterbeer at Universal Studios.
Another specialty at Star Wars Land is Outpost Mix. The title suggests a kind of otherworldly trail mix. Reporters indicate that it’s a salty popcorn concoction with an odd texture. Apparently, everyone is a fan, and Disney has high hopes that it will become the go-to snack on Batuu.
Perhaps the best demonstration of specific food theming at Black Spire Outpost is Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs. Yes, Disney has given the owner/operator of Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo a backstory. He was one the star chef at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana. Who is Maz Kanata and where is Takodana? I have no idea. A Star Wars wiki suggests that the planet was the meeting place between Rey, Finn, and Han Solo and that the castle is where Rey retrieved Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber. I’ll take their word for that.
Anyway, Tuggs apparently left Takodana and headed to the outskirts of civilization for some reason. Now, he’s the unquestioned top chef on Batuu. He runs something that Disney describes as an “intergalactic food truck.” One of the dishes here is Ithorian Garden Loaf, something akin to meatloaf, only with plants instead. Personally, I’ll stick to the not-pig roasted meat, but it sounds like a fantastic vegetarian option.
The stores at Galaxy’s Edge are what have created a frenzy among reporters. They marveled at the sheer volume of products that Disney plans to sell at Star Wars Land. One vendor, Savi’s Workshop, sells exclusive Lightsabers forged from the finest and rarest materials across the galaxy. He’s such a perfectionist that he will only allow 15-20 people into his shop at once.
The Droid Depot will delight anyone who bought a BB-8 robot back on Star Wars Day 2015. This store allows you to tinker with robotics, building your own droid that you can purchase and take home with you.
The upscale store at Star Wars Land is Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Disney describes him as, “…the Ithorian you seek for selling and buying rare and uniquely-valued items from across the galaxy and spanning all eras.” In other words, you’ll need to hit an ATM before you stop here. For more general goods, you should visit First Order Cargo.
Fans of The Resistance will have a place, too. Actually, they’ll have several locations in one area. Disney’s built a kind of shopping bazaar at Black Spire Outpost. The various market stalls sell specific products like toys, clothes, and jewelry. The Parks Blog indicates that you can even purchase critters at the Creature Stall. In other words, if you have dreamt of it, Disney will sell it at Star Wars Land.
About Those Characters…
I’ll add one final note about your favorite Star Wars characters. Many of them will make appearances at Star Wars Land. Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Poe Dameron are all confirmed as video presences during one of the rides. A few of them have more concrete presences, though.
BB-8, Nien Nunb, and Hondo Ohnaka have AAs built into the two rides. Hondo, in particular, has impressed a lot of journalists. Disney indicates that he’s the second-most advanced unit that they’ve ever built, trailing only the Shaman of Songs on Na’Vi River Journey. The current suspicion, albeit an unconfirmed one, is that Hondo will run many of the missions at Galaxy’s Edge.
Friends, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is finally coming into focus. We now have a firm idea about what’s in store for us when the themed land opens. And it sounds like Imagineers have done something truly spectacular here. You’re going to want to book a trip this year. Speak to one of the friendly agents at MickeyTravels to set up the most unforgettable vacation of your life!.