"Sensational." That's all I managed to think and even say aloud as I watched the huge Millennium Falcon full-size Disneyland's latest attraction, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which I I visited a small media group last week for a top secret (they even took our phones) preview. It was only the beginning of the tour.
When the attraction opens this summer (date still unknown), at best, fans will have the impression of being transported in Star Wars – the outpost of Black Spire on the planet Batuu to be exact. At worst, they will feel that the film has just taken place on the set of a Star Wars movie. Attention to detail, such as imperfections in buildings to give them the impression of being there for centuries, is laborious. There are mixed areas for both the First Order and the Resistance, as well as locations for ordinary nerves and pirates.
The 14-acre theme park at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, will be different from any previously experienced attraction. With two ultra-modern merry-go-rounds (Star Wars: The Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: The Smugglers' Run), a plethora of shops and restaurants (all in the Star Wars theme to not feel part of it) ). a Disney stop), breathtaking shows and life-size droids, the country meets the ambitious project that Disney CEO Bob Iger had predicted when he announced the park at the D23 exhibition in August 2015. Here what I saw.
Outpost Black Spire on the planet Batuu (Earth)
I was not aware of the size of the park before letting us in. The creators of Galaxy & # 39; s Edge have traveled the world, including Istanbul and Morocco, to find inspiration in their creations. The outpost seems inhabited and the intentional imperfections give the region the feeling of being present for hundreds of years. There will be three entries in Galaxy & # 39; s Edge, located north of Frontierland, where previously was Big Thunder Ranch, which also required the reconfiguration of the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America. Smells and music will be broadcast in the country (including original themes created especially for the country by Star wars composer John Williams), but as it was still under construction, journalists have not experienced it. However, we have heard a bit about Williams' new score. Park officials have explained how it would be integrated with the land. For the most part, the buildings of the Black Spire Outpost buildings, as well as the huge remains of its century-old trees, have been completed. In some stores, there was something else. Several were still under construction, but major pieces, such as the bar in the Oga Cantina, were in place. The ships have been completed and located across the land. There was a large X-wing, a TIE fighter and, of course, the Falcon. There were also a number of terrestrial speeders, which will be motionless – just for the look.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will feature two state-of-the-art rides, Star Wars: The Resistance Uprising and Millennium Falcon: The Smugglers Race. We visited both rides, but they were still under construction, so we could not do more. The first was Rise of the Resistance, the longest trip ever organized by Disney. The officials would not give the exact length. Basically, guests will be captured and taken aboard a Star Destroyer. The most striking part of this ride, from what we were shown, was its enormity: it's really huge, like the actual size of a hanger on a Star Destroyer in a movie . For the ladder, the window or bay entrance for ships was 100 feet high. There was also a complete TIE fighter in the bay. In another bay, which has not been shown to us, there are two AT-ATs of normal size. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) are among the featured characters. The ride itself is partially completed on foot, but mainly in a trackless vehicle that will take guests around the Star Destroyer as they try to escape. We did not do that, but saw a demonstration of the vehicle being used.
Millennium Falcon: The smugglers' race was probably the most complete destination of the park we've seen. There is a hawk of normal size in the park, you will see, but not touch. The queue to board will show the guests higher and higher over this Falcon until they think they are on board. The doors open and, boom, you are on the Millennium Falcon. For you really, it was a moment of pinch. The guests, in group, are free to explore the main compartment of the Falcon until their turn in the cockpit. And when those the doors open, the jaws will fall. Mine did it. The cockpit is precise in every detail. There are six seats (for two pilots, two gunners and two flight engineers) and all buttons and levers work. All. We did not experience the ride, but simply explored the ship, but the plot is to help the leader of space pirates, Hondo Ohnaka (one of the most advanced animatronics in the park ), which is presented in Star Wars: The clone war series.
Food and drink
There will be several places to eat and drink in Galaxy's Edge. We visited three: the Cantina d'Oga; Docking Bay 7 Food and freight; and Ronto roasters. All were still under construction, but enough was made to get an idea of the layout and the space. Oga's – probably the most popular place, because it's a Star Wars cantina – may seem like a difficult choice if guests flock (no pun intended). The other sites are much more spacious. The locations are unique in that they are all in the Star Wars theme, just like the menus, which we had the opportunity to taste before we go to Galaxy's Edge. Oga's has the distinction of being the first liquor sales site in Disneyland (10 different drinks, including a Fuzzy Tauntaun, a Dagobah Slug Slinger, a Bloody Rancor and a Bespin Fizz). This is a big problem because previously, only the Disney California Adventure Park offered adult drinks. But these drinks in the canteen must be finished inside the place, and not wandering. For mixed drinks for adults, we sampled the Fuzzy Tauntaun, yellow in color, with a fun foam at the top that never deflated. The chiefs would not share this secret. It was fruity and not too strong. That reminded me of a Fuzzy belly button. We also sampled the beer, called the Bad Motivator IPA. It was delicious and, for an IPA, not too hoppy. I would like to try again. (Side note: Unfortunately, there will be no live band in Oga, but some music thanks to DJ R-3X, also known as Rex, the former pilot droid Starspeeder 3000's Original Star Tours to Disneyland, settled in the area at the moment, but we are going to see it doing its work in another place before the visit.) My favorite dish we tried from an assortment of interesting dishes – and honestly all the tasty dishes – were the smoked Kaadu spare ribs sold at Docking Bay 7 Food and cargo. They were adorable but had a fantastic bite with a neat look in the way they were cut, which is vertical in the center. My favorite drink was Sour Sarlacc, sold at Ronto Roasters, which was acidic but refreshing and not too sweet. We also enjoyed a raspberry cake and chocolate mousse, also sold at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo.
The market and the shops
Galaxy & # 39; s Edge offers a number of outlets, including the Savi Workshop, the Droid Depot Workshop, the Dok-Ondar Antiques Den and Toydarian Toy Manufacturer. We visited some of these stores, but, again, they were under construction. However, before the visit, we were shown a number of toys and items that will be sold at these various stops throughout the country. The most striking aspect for me was the way they did not stand out as Disney toys, but rather like the ones that we could find on a Star Wars planet, which is exactly what the park seeks to do. Savi's workshop, which allows a limited number of builders at once (14) to make their own unique lightsaber, ie choose their own kyber crystal (the magic stones that make the sword work ), interests me a lot. . And they are not cheap plastic toys, lightsabers. There are heavy tasks, which is why only a sufficient number of people can experience at one time. Officials estimated that it would take at least 20 minutes for one person to complete his lightsaber. And no, they did not say how much it would cost. But it is safe to assume that it will not be cheap. Droid Depot also seems to be a fun and unique experience with quests wishing to create their own droid (small-scale R series or BB series), which we saw a little before the tour. Guests will choose parts and pieces on a treadmill to build one of two main models and customize with different pieces and colors. Once completed, the droid will be able to interact with the elements of the earth as guests wander. Just be careful not to get trampled.
The application and the casting
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will be the first area of the Disney Park designed to fully integrate with the Play Disney Parks mobile app, launched last year. As the area was still under construction – and our phones had been taken before the visit – we did not have the opportunity to try the application. But it's worth discussing. By and large, the app will allow customers to find secrets and Easter eggs scattered all over the territory, such as translating a galactic language, learning treasures hidden in crates and containers, and participation in smaller secondary missions. The application will also allow guests to interact with the droids that roam, as well as ships and displays, even fountains. Disney cast members (park staff) will also make up a large part of the territory. They will all have newly designed costumes, which we previewed and were really cool, and have a character story to better interact with guests around the world. One of the most interesting parts of the costumes is that the staff will be able to choose one from a wide range. They will be allowed to mix and match some looks to give their own style.
Although construction is still ongoing and we do not have access to a number of sites, the size and scale of Galaxy's Edge was impressive. I sometimes felt like a big boy and as if I were on a movie set at others' homes.