Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is sure to be an out-of-this-world attraction no matter what Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort do at this point, with hype about the attraction at fever pitch. The opening has dwarfed news of approximately a dozen new attractions opening at Disney domestically in the next 12 months.
The latest Star Wars rides saga is that Galaxy's Edge is debuting sooner than expected. At Anaheim, Calif.'s Disneyland, it will open May 31st; but only one attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run will be debuting. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be opening later at both parks, but a date has not yet been announced. Disney is being coy with the time frame, saying only “later in 2019.”
But that's not the only news soaring through the Disney galaxy. Guests visiting Disneyland between May 31st and June 23rd will have to schedule a reservation to visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Exactly how to do so has yet to be explained; but one thing is for certain: guests visiting one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels during those dates get reservation priority.
At Disneyworld, Galaxy's Edge construction is also ahead of schedule, with an opening now scheduled for August 29th. Again, a caveat for Orlando visitors: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance won't be debuting on opening day at Disney's Hollywood Studios either; as at Disneyland, only the Millenium Falcon will be ready for blast-off.
At the Florida location, Disney says that the attraction will be open for “Extra Magic Hours” for resort guests; and at Hollywood Studios, visitors will not be required to make reservations to head into the galaxy.
While some visitors may view the opening of only one major ride early in the summer as a bit of a let-down, Disney may be doing this in part to make lines a bit less intense, as some attendees will certainly opt to wait until Rise of the Resistance is complete to visit.
That said, the wait to get into the ride may still require a little battling the “empire” to get in. When Galaxy's Edge first opens, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run will be stand-by only. This means that Disneyland guests using Disney MaxPass or planning to use FastPass+ reservations at Disney's Hollywood Studios will not be able to use these services, at least not initially, to take this ride.
And though reservations won't be required at Disney's Hollywood Studios as they are at Disneyland, it appears that visitors will experience a queue of some kind, one that should be similar to the initial guest experience of the attraction Pandora: The World of Avatar, also located in Orlando. There, the attraction features a boarding area that meanders through a waiting area that was almost an attraction itself. Guests scramble over a bridge and into mountains, and then a cave, where paintings depicted the early days of Na'vi flight and banshees, telling their story. From the cave, guests entered an abandoned and repurposed military facilitiy, a research lab replete with working experiments, and then to “Linking Chambers” where a video introduces guests to a backstory on Pandora and its history. There, guests were linked to their own avatar, shown a video on loading instructions for the actual ride, given 3D glasses, and finally seated on the ride.
It would certainly not be out of the question to see such an extensive pre-ride experience unfold for Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run.
The ride's height requirement has also been released: it's 38 inches, meaning many younger visitors can experience it. When it opens later in the year, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will aim a bit higher, at 40”. But that is still well-shy of the 48” inch requirement for many thrill rides.
What guests may find far more onerous than lines, reservations, or a delayed-opening for one of the two major attractions, is the price of a visit. Walt Disney World in Florida has increased prices again prior to the opening of Galaxy's Edge. Of course, prices have been rising for years, but with the new Star Wars experience expected to be a huge draw at both parks, the current increase is even more visible.
The latest increases are following on the heels of Disney's announcement that there would be a new date-based ticket pricing system, with prices based on how popular the day is expected to be. Prices will rise to as much as $149 for a peak admission, single day ticket.
“Our flexible date-based ticket pricing reflects the demand we see for our parks and provides guests multiple options to meet their vacation needs,” Disney spokes-staff explains. They add that “As we invest in our parks and expand our offerings, we will continue to look for ways to manage high demand and spread attendance while preserving and enhancing the guest experience.” In short, the busiest times of the year, such as Easter, Memorial Day, and the Christmas holidays, will cost the most per visit. The lowest cost tickets will be for a period from late August to September. Not unexpectedly, park-hopper tickets costs have also increased, as have ten-day tickets at Walt Disney World.
What else is news aside from cost, lines, and attraction opening dates? A new build-your-own lightsaber experience in Savi's Workshop - Handbuilt Lightsabers shop. While every shop and restaurant in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will have a fully developed backstory and a proprietor who comes from the Star Wars universe, Savi's will certainly be exceptional, with his up-charge lightsaber construction.
According to Disney Imagineering creative producer Brian Loo, guests will go on a guided tour with the Gatherers, scavengers who are dedicated to the Force, with building their own lightsabers just part of the journey. Builders check in with Savi, and are led into the Chamber of the Guardians for a 20-minute building workshop. Only 14 builders will be able to have this experience at a time, plus family members. The lightsabers will be personalized with metal hilts and light-up blades decorated with Kyber crystals to choose the blade color; the crystals come in purple, blue, green, or red. The lightsabers will make audible sounds and power up/down noises as do lightsabers in the Star Wars film series.
Participants will choose from four different styles: the Jedi-styled Peace & Justice; the Sith-styled Dark Side Power & Control; Elemental nature, which uses “natural” elements such as Brylark trees; and Protection & Defense ,which will utilize inscriptions and motifs that are mysterious in nature.
The inclusive experience will end with a visit by an “old friend” according to Imagineering staff. It is analogous to the Wand Choosing immersive experience at Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, continuing to blur the lines between merchandising and attraction.There will also be pre-built, so-called “legacy” lightsabers available for purchase elsewhere within Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, making the Force accessible.