Blast Off for a Star Wars Galaxy

A galaxy far, far away is drawing closer as Disneyland will open its long-awaited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge just after Memorial Day.
The 14-acre land, Disney’s largest-ever themed expansion, promises visitors an immersive experience as they step into the Star Wars universe in the Black Spire Outpost, a trading post on the remote planet of Batuu. The attraction is also scheduled to open later this summer at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, which also has a Star Wars-themed hotel in the works.
The centerpieces of the new land are two rides – “The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run,” which puts visitors behind the controls of the fastest ship in the galaxy in a secret mission with varying storylines, and “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance,” which Disney calls its biggest and “most epic” attraction to date. Riders will join the Resistance to battle the First Order – and come face to face with Kylo Ren.
Throughout the land, visitors will have a chance to mingle with roaming characters, enjoy delicacies including blue milk and visit Oga’s Cantina, where alcoholic drinks will be served – a first for Disneyland – all while listening to original music by Star Wars composer John Williams.
Disneyland announced that it will debut the attraction earlier than expected by opening it in phases. Phase 1 will open May 31 at the Disneyland Resort (and Aug. 29 in Florida) and include the Millennium Falcon ride, plus access to “amazing galactic” food, beverages and shops. “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” will open later this year, with a date to be announced, in Phase 2.
In an attempt to deal with projected unprecedented crowds, Disneyland will require those planning to visit the new land between May 31 and June 23 to make a free reservation, subject to availability, in addition  to purchasing a park ticket. Guests staying at one of Disneyland’s three resort hotels will receive a designated reservation (one per guest) during their stay, but the attraction will not be available during Disneyland’s Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning. (Details differ at the Orlando park.) FASTPASS will not be offered initially. Disneyland has also noted that access to the land “will be subject to capacity restraints and other restrictions,” and that Disney hotel reservations and theme park tickets will not guarantee entry.

In anticipation of the expected crowds, Disneyland had already announced some physical changes, from roomier walkways to reconfigured lines, along with a new parking structure, to deal with anticipated increased attendance. In January, Disney also began refurbishing the Sleeping Beauty Castle, with a new roof and other upgrades. Walls and fences were expected to obscure castle views and access for several months.

Also new for 2019 is a 90th birthday celebration for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, including a dance party and laser and projection show along Main Street, Rivers of America and “It’s a Small World,” plus the return of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, with a new beginning.
In California Adventure – which opened a rebranded Pixar Pier last June with “California Screamin’” rechristened the “Incredicoaster” – the former “King Triton’s Carousel” will become a Toy Story-themed “Jessie’s Critter Carousel,” and the former “Flik’s Flyers” balloon ride from A Bug’s Land will get new life as the “Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind.” A Bug’s Land closed in the fall to make way for a new Marvel superhero-themed area, slated to open in 2020.
For more details on the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, visit the Disney Parks Blog  Reservation information will be announced at a later date. Tickets and additional information can be found at disneyland.disney.go.com.

 

Over at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, another stunning immersive movie experience, continues to be a big draw. Last summer brought two new interactive wand spells to Hogsmeade Village and the addition of butterbeer ice cream to a wide array of themed treats.
A projection show that lights up Hogwarts Castle is scheduled to return this summer, along with the opening of the “Jurassic World Ride” ride, a reimagined and reengineered replacement of the original “Jurassic Park – The Ride.” Universal calls it a “next-generation thrill ride” that includes state-of-the-art technology, new dinosaurs and enhanced storytelling and sets. For more updates, visit UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.

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