All aboard the 2019 Hype Train for Disney's Star Wars lands

December 30, 2018, 4:32 PM · We complete today our look at 10 anticipated new attractions in 2019 with the most anticipated of them all — Disney's new Star Wars lands.

The openings of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland next summer at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios next fall represent the biggest investments that Disney has made in a single themed land. At 14 acres each and reportedly well north of a billion dollars in cost, these Star Wars lands will either confirm Disney as the undisputed creative and financial leader in the theme park industry if they hit with fans... or unleash an unrivaled wave of social media criticism from the public if they don't.

(And yes, it also is possible that Disney could get both the widely acclaimed success and the social media criticism after Star Wars opens because... hey, it's Disney, right?)

Disney is taking an unprecedented creative risk with Galaxy's Edge, theming its lands based on one of the world's most well-known entertainment franchises not on any established location within the Star Wars canon, but on a new site on a new planet in the galaxy far, far away. Set in the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu, Galaxy's Edge won't feature popular characters such as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, or Darth Vader, either. Instead, Disney is casting its guests as the protagonists in Galaxy's Edge.

Imagineers have designed the attractions, restaurants, and shops of Galaxy's Edge as interactive experiences, where what you do in one location might affect the way you are received in others. How this will happen has yet to be revealed, but it apparently will require visitors to be logged into the new Play Disney Parks app. While theme parks have used their apps to manage tickets and reservations, this will be the first time that a major park has required the use of one of its apps to experience a fundamental component of a new attraction. How will the public respond to that?

Here is what we do know about Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. It will feature two attractions:

The land also will feature Oga's Cantina, which will be the first public bar to serve alcohol at Disneyland in California. There also will be an as-yet unnamed table service restaurant, and John Williams is composing original music for the land. Here is Disney's latest teaser for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

No word yet on a specific opening date on either coast. We will be taking a deep dive into the planned attractions, restaurants, retail, and interactions in Disney's new Star Wars lands in the weeks leading up to the public openings. So please stay connected with us here at Theme Park Insider in 2019 for all the latest on the most anticipated new theme park attraction of the year.

Replies (16)

December 30, 2018 at 5:15 PM

The only thing anyone needs to know ... Scott Trowbridge ... Game over!

December 30, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Batuu, Oga. Does Disney have a 5 year old naming these places?

"this will be the first time that a major park has required the use of one of its apps to experience a fundamental component of a new attraction"

Amazingly, Disney has found yet another way to complicate your vacation.

December 30, 2018 at 6:07 PM

I'm glad Disney is going with a totally new land for Star Wars. This proves that it's the build quality, and attention to detail that really impress guests. We want to come to a theme park to get away from it all, and this is no doubt going to achieve that. It'll FEEL like Star Wars, and I think adding Luke or Leia or Lando or any other L-name is unnecessary. It might even be cheesy. So this is very exciting, and I've little doubt that it'll be worth many trips to experience.

December 30, 2018 at 6:11 PM

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of having to have something that's required to get the full experience.

December 31, 2018 at 3:10 AM

Looking forward to visiting Black Spire Outpost in early 2021. (I'm hoping the lines will be manageable by then)

December 31, 2018 at 8:21 AM

What is Disney doing with their first Star Wars attraction, the jukebox simulator ride Star Tours? I noticed they are building a bit of a thing there so will it be a disconnected part of the GE land or will it be it's own thing for some strange reason?

And lets applaud Disney for sinking a ton of money in a themed land for people to be pulling their phone out to see how they are doing in the land. What a waist...

December 31, 2018 at 8:37 AM

I'm getting hyped for the land because it's vague enough I can make it the Star Wars I want it to be. I can choose to believe older books are still canon. I can smell the foods and taste the drinks from the Universe. I can finally be "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away".

Just like my wife was floored at the combination of everything in the WWoHP, I'm hopeful I will get a similar feeling here.


December 31, 2018 at 8:45 AM

I still contend that Galaxy's Edge will be the ultimate test of Disney's ability to manage crowds. The way they handle the flood of guests to the parks will determine the success of the lands. I want to believe that Disney has a plan to control the hoards of people descending on Anaheim and Orlando next year, but the complete failure of FP+ and the way PtWoA has been handled gives me pause that trying to experience Galaxy's Edge will be anything short of chaotic. Don't get me wrong, PtWoA is an amazing land, and FoP is quite possibly the most incredible theme park attraction ever developed. However, trying to enjoy the land and experiencing the rides without any unnecessary stress is next to impossible. I expect Galaxy's Edge to be a full order of magnitude worse than what Avatar brought to DAK, and I have ZERO faith that FP+ will provide any sort of relief or assistance in helping even the most experience WDW guests to enjoy the new land. I have hope that DL will be a little better, which is why we're considering our first voyage to Galaxy's Edge to be to California's version, but even there, I expect Disney's crowd management skills to be pushed to the max.

After seeing 8-hour lines wrapped around IOA in 2010, Disney has to be putting together some type of plan to help guests get in and to navigate what will easily be the most popular theme park destinations on the planet. The question is what are those plans, and when will they be announced to guests. Will Galaxy's Edge require a hard ticket entry (either via FP/MaxPass or purchased ticket)? Will your time in the land be limited? Will there be any chance to ride both attractions in a single visit? Will you be able to move around and actually enjoy Galaxy's Edge, or will it be so stuffed full of people that it will be like Hogsmeade circa July 2010 or like PtWoA during most of the summer of 2017? Will Disney leverage resort privileges for exclusive GE access? These are all really important questions, and if Disney is going to give resort guests preferred or exclusive access to GE, that's something that should be known now as guests are planning their 2019 trips. The overall access to GE may not be critical now, but will be soon as guests start planning out their days so they know how much time will be needed to experience GE (as of now, we would plan 3 full days at Disneyland with one of those days exclusively set aside for GE). For as much as Disney has released about these lands already, there are a lot of important details and questions that are unanswered. The ease with which guests can get in and experience GE will dictate the success of these lands. Galaxy's Edge could be the greatest theme park development of all time, but if guests can't get in to enjoy it, or are constantly put off by the obscene crowds, it's success will be tempered.

December 31, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Hey OT ... I have been working out ... So when you wrote "What a waist" I'm flattered that you noticed I have been getting trim. Thanks!

December 31, 2018 at 11:04 AM

What an incredibly petty move to make fun of someone's english. Especially someone who does not speak it natively. Just because they don't like what you like.

December 31, 2018 at 11:25 AM

I think "English" should be capitalized, right?


December 31, 2018 at 12:05 PM

Russell ... not sure if resort guests will get a preview of GE, but I know for Pandora DVC members had their chance to go early. Also a colleague at work, his wife works for Disney, and she’s already put in for a lottery to get preview tickets for GE. I know, because she doesn’t want to go, so it’s me and her Hubble who’s names are in ... :). I never win anything so my chances are slim, but I’m keeping everything crossed.

I’ll keep you posted if passholders get a chance to go early as I’ve relented to pressure from my friend and her family to get a pass. It’ll only be the silver, so I’m sure platinum and gold will get the first choices .... if passholders get the offer .. ??

December 31, 2018 at 12:26 PM

I think a lot of craziness of Pandora has been the fault of limited capacity. As usual with Joe Rohde Attractions, FOP opened with a significant design flaw so they have to close off sections before the vehicles overheat. Also River Journey gives an intimate ride but trades off the capacity of Pirates or Small World.

The Galaxy’s Edge ride vehicles seem pretty basic but I think the computing systems that will run Falconl’s interactive features and Resistence’s rumored augmented reality goggles will be a big test. If the program in one vehicle crashes how much of the attraction will go down?

December 31, 2018 at 1:30 PM

@ Mr. McMahon: I noticed on your TPI profile you report that you " ... know the most about Universal Studios (FL)than any other (park)." Which makes me wonder about your insight on the design flaw at FOP DAK. The issue related to overheating was reported when the ride first opened. Do you have any affirmed reports that the problem persists to this day? Pretty much every E-ticket attraction opens with technical hiccups. Are you certain that FOP's problem still exists?

Speaking for myself I believe that the lines at FOP are so long because it's the only decent attraction at DAK ... But then that's just one troll's opinion.


December 31, 2018 at 6:42 PM

From what I understand limiting the capacity on FOP is their fix for now since the vehicles were from a third party vendor. My guess is that it’s a similar situation to the Yeti where they’d have to shut it down for a long time and basically rebuild some of the attraction.

Which is why I’m optimistic about GE since the attractions seem to have proven ride systems and Joe Rohde isn’t involved.

December 31, 2018 at 9:35 PM

"I still contend that Galaxy's Edge will be the ultimate test of Disney's ability to manage crowds."

That's what I'm thinking too. Pandora and Cars Land were opened in parks that were previously under capacity with large pathways waiting to handle a general increase in park attendance. DL is often already at capacity and Main Street and Adventureland are already frighteningly difficult to navigate post fireworks/Fantasmic.

I'm envisioning a corral and wait system like the one they used for the early days of WoC. That was one of the things that started to sour the Disney magic for me. I'm excited to see Star Wars land in person, but if it requires 8 hours of asphalt standing to get there I'm not sure I'll bother.

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