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New world immerses guests into popular movie franchise

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

The Millenium Falcon invites visitors to come aboard and launch the ship into hyperspace in a ride named Smuggler’s Run.

Beyond the desert-like, rocky plains of Frontierland and the magical showcase of Fantasmic in New Orleans Square, Disneyland beckons visitors to a new world of further exploration.

The recent unveiling of Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge left fans across the galaxy scrambling to set foot in the highly anticipated themed land. This latest addition to the Disneyland Park opened in Anaheim, CA, May 31.

Since the opening of the Disneyland Park, July 17, 1955, it continues to grow and fulfill Walt Disney’s legacy of fantasy and creativity. As Galaxy’s Edge emerges as the latest addition to the park, Toon Town steps down to the second most recent inclusion, Jan. 24, 1993.

The idea behind Galaxy’s Edge stems from an unexpected Star Wars story: the visitors’ own experience. Exposing fresh designs as well as components from popular past films, Disneyland engineers and artisans, known as imagineers, sought to offer guests a new perspective on the franchise.

Set in the far off region of Batuu, traders and travelers roam the 14-acre grounds, encountering galactic characters along the way. Black Spire Outpost serves as a main stop for tourists in the land, a marketplace which provides dining as well as themed clothing and trinket shops.

Journalist for the Star Wars franchise Kristin Baver explains how creative minds grabbed inspiration from Star Wars movie sets like Rogue One. The builders also toured ancient marketplaces in countries like Morocco, Istanbul and Turkey to understand how these areas wear down and grow over the years. Projects like these provided geographical innovation vital to the process of comprehending and creating a new Star Wars universe.

The architecture and design exhibit an atmosphere where unearthly elements combine with the familiar world to give off a peculiar reality to viewers. Details are showcased through exotic food and drinks offered in the park.

In the following podcast, Jewel Chandler interviews Michael Gaskin about his impressions of Galaxy’s Edge.

Galaxy’s Edge attendant Michael Gaskin shared his impressions of the blue and green milk, a well known beverage in Star Wars films which increased in popularity after the opening of the park.

“I tried both the blue and green milk,” Gaskin said. “I prefer blue over the green and it was very refreshing. Both are a little pricey as you pay $8 for a small cup, but for Disneyland prices, it is understandable.”

The land seems to fulfill most every Star Wars fan’s dream, providing a chance to create a realistic lightsaber fitting the personality of the builder. The park also distributes customizable droids which interact in certain areas of the park.

While this unique province on the outskirts of the Disneyland park forms an altogether otherworldly experience, it is not complete without one attraction that keeps guests on their toes.

The land’s crown jewel is the Millenium Falcon. Renowned not only for a remarkable resemblance to the icon seen in theaters, the attraction invites visitors to come aboard and launch the ship into hyperspace in a ride named Smuggler’s Run.

As soon as tourists step foot on the spacecraft, they are given interactive duties contributing to the ride’s altogether enthrallment. Whether a pilot, gunner or engineer, each guest is sure to carry out responsibilities essential to the ship’s managing system.

In the following tweet, Star Wars announces the appearance of Galaxy’s Edge in various television network shows.

Parkgoer Nancy* enjoyed the simulated responsibilities and controls included in the new ride. She appreciated the details around every corner of the park.

“I love the fact that everyone in the ride had a job,” Nancy said. “I was a pilot and I think I crashed, but it was really cool. Everyone had some role in being interactive with the ride. I also love the fact that every inch of the land is covered with some sort of nod to the Star Wars era.”

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

When building the marketplace, the builders toured ancient marketplaces in countries like Morocco and Turkey to understand how these areas wear down and grow over the years.

While numerous visitors share positive reviews of Galaxy’s Edge, many fans call Disney’s new ideas into question. After preparing for floods of people to stream into the land, Disney associates are left wondering why the park fell short of that expectation. Controversial views circulate the web as speculators identify possible reasons for this unexpected outcome.

Gizmodo author Germain Lussie describes Galaxy’s Edge as feeling close to half empty due to a sectioned off area dedicated to the Rise of the Resistance ride, coming Jan. 17. The land’s current slow pace and short wait lines may be a result of this.

Whether tourists are waiting to stop by Galaxy’s Edge until this new ride is unveiled, there is no denying that it leaves a gaping hole in the park. Popsugar writer Megan duBois characterizes the ride as one of Disney’s most ambitious and technologically advanced attractions created by Walt Disney imagineers. With this in mind, it is no wonder guests are prompted to save their cash in order to get the full Star Wars experience.

Hannah Van Noy, ‘21, visited Galaxy’s Edge for the first time, Aug. 31. She shares her thoughts on the Rise of the Resistance ride as well as her impressions of the park.

“I think the Rise of the Resistance will top the Millenium Falcon, which felt like an uncomfortable Star Tours,” Van Noy said. “Rise of the Resistance will be slow and dark, similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, a theme that Disney does best.”

Van Noy encountered an unexpected twist to the Star Wars series in regards to the land. While she enjoyed traveling to the world of Batuu, she hoped to find more familiar Star Wars attributes regarding the ride, Smuggler’s Run.

“I would love to visit Disneyland again once the new ride opens up,” Van Noy continued. “Though the park itself had an overall Disneyland feel to it, there are no contributing factors pushing me to revisit the land as it is.”

As Galaxy’s Edge remains incomplete, anticipation rises for things yet to come. Overall, the land kickstarts a new vision for Disney Parks. Embracing cutting-edge technology, the new land and all its immersive features presents an interactive experience for guests of all ages.

Have you visited Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland yet? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

*Last name withheld.

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Jewel Chandler can be reached via email and Twitter.

The slideshow below includes images from Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge during summer 2019.

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