by Jack Young & Cassie Gaudes
Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened their gates early on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 29, for eager fans that began lining up around 3 a.m. for the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. According to Disney officials, thousands of fans were permitted entry at 4:45 a.m. despite scheduling the new park to open at 6 a.m.
Galaxy’s Edge exists within the planet of Batuu, a planet on the outer rim mostly used by smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers as a last stop before entering unknown space. The Black Spire Outpost, where the village of Galaxy is located, became a secretive location where those could go to avoid attention.
Now the Black Spire Outpost at Disney is used to outfit new Jedis and Resistance fighters alike. Here, customers can get styled head to toe in tailored robes for fashion or battling, that will guarantee newcomers to blend in on this isolated planet.
“I have travelled to Batuu in the past,” said Tommy Zilinski, a Disney parks employee. “The villagers are incredibly friendly to visitors from Earth. Food on the planet is very good. I recommend the Shaak Roast from Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo.”
As Galaxy’s Edge has never been revealed in the film series, Disney-goers got an exclusive view of what the village looks like. The park drew huge crowds with long waiting lines, peaking at about a five hour wait for the, scaled to actual size, Millennium Falcon in the middle of the day. Riders had the option to operate the guns, pilot the fastest spaceship in the galaxy or work as an engineer on the Falcon.
Just a few hours after the park’s opening, one Lake City couple posed for pictures in front of the Millennium Falcon. As Megan Bender turned to view the Falcon, her boyfriend, Robert Trevelyan, bent down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage.
She said yes.
“I wanted to make it something that’s going to be just memorable,” said Trevelyan, in an interview with Disney. “That’s it, opening day Galaxy’s Edge. The Millennium Falcon’s important to us and this is going to be a day we’re never going to forget.”
In addition to the Falcon, Disney plans to complete another ride in Batuu, Rise of the Resistance, reportedly more sophisticated. The expected completion date is Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. By 2020, Disney plans to finish a Star Wars hotel, where guests feel as if they’re floating on a cruise through outer space.
Outside of Savi’s Workshop, aspiring Jedis can reserve a time to create lightsabers either on Disney’s mobile app or website. While the price is $199.99 plus tax, it includes a show and an authentic lightsaber to take home,
Receive all the materials needed for each new Jedi to create their lightsaber. When everyone has finished, guests will lift their sabers up together and feel the force within.
Customers can also visit the Droid Depot where, for $99.99 Galaxy guests can assemble their own BB-series or R-series space sidekick. Droids can come with various additions or personality settings. Each droid set also includes a remote to communicate and interact with their partner.
“Everyone’s big favorite is the falcon ride where you get to fly the Millennium Falcon,” said Joel Quintana, UT Alumnus. “I loved the food, it was exotic yet delicious.”
Galaxy has two restaurants where diners can order from an intergalactic array of options including eggs, sausage, lava rolls, ribs, fish, salads, Batuu bites and a few other cosmic desserts.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo strives to satisfy every Galaxy-goer’s hunger providing meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They cater to numerous dietary requirements with menus friendly towards customers with allergies of nuts, fish, soy, milk, eggs, gluten and other specifications.
Oga’s Cantina, the village’s only bar, serves breakfast in the morning then moves to a beverage-only menu serving wine, beer and extraterrestrial cocktails.
This bustling cantina is the perfect place to swap stories about adventures throughout the galaxy, and patrons never know who they’re going to meet. Remember: Luke met Han in a cantina on Tatooine.
Elsewhere on Galaxy, customers can enjoy Kat Saka’s Kettle popcorn snack or try Luke Skywalker’s infamous blue milk.
“On Batuu, guests can encounter Kylo Ren and the roving stormtroopers of the First Order,” said Zilinski. “Guests can also see Rey, Chewbacca and Ven from the Clone Wars.”
Also a first at Disney parks, Galaxy will offer the “virtual queue system” where customers will sign up in boarding groups to enter the new park. If the status is “open” visitors won’t need to use the queue but once the park reaches a certain capacity, visitors will need to join a boarding group either through Disney’s app or from a Guest Experience Kiosk.
Disney Parks Mobile App is fully integrated with Galaxy’s Edge so guests can turn the app into a Star Wars: Datapad. From there, they can earn galactic points for things they do within Batuu. The app will let guests interact with specific droids, scan things and collect items, translate Star Wars languages and pick up on character’s conversations.
The billion dollar, 14-acre project began construction in April 2016, four years after Disney bought Lucasfilm and the rights to the Star Wars franchise for four billion dollars in 2012. In Disneyland, Galaxy’s Edge was also created, at the same size and scale, although opened their park in late May.
“Rey, Chewbacca, and some random rebel were the only ones I saw. Stormtroopers are the most common,” said Quintana. “My favorite character is Kit Fisto.”
Jack Young can be reached at email@example.com
Cassie Gaudes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org