The most anticipated theme park attraction since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter apparated at Universal Studios, Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge finally opened to the public on May 31. Yahoo Entertainment got a special sneak peek at the expansive world, tooling around the Millennium Falcon, chugging blue milk smoothies and dodging Stormtroopers. So. Many. Stormtroopers.
The thoroughly immersive 14-acre land transports visitors to the planet Batuu and its Black Spire Outpost. The village takes its name from a central petrified tree trunk darker than all the others — and every resident, merchant and soldier is in character, encouraging visitors to role-play as they explore the alleyways, shops and restaurants.
Watch: Why you can drink blue milk but can’t eat porg at Galaxy’s Edge:
To create the experience, Disney’s Imagineers teamed with Lucasfilm poring over concept art by the legendary Ralph McQuarrie, who helped define the original trilogy’s design, and having unfettered access to George Lucas’s private archives, using 3-D scanners to capture props. Much of the material used to construct the outpost dates back to the 1970s and early 1980s to match the “lived-in” universe that Lucas created.
While casual fans will take pleasure in spotting well-known characters like Chewbacca, R2-D2, Rey, Kylo Ren and those pesky First Order Stormtroopers constantly demanding to see credentials, hardcore Force aficionados will delight in Galaxy’s Edge’s deep-cut Easter eggs, callbacks and Star Wars references spanning all the films, TV series and other spinoffs. Here’s our inside guide to the best.
Under a watchful eye
Visitors stopping to hydrate at a certain Black Spire Outpost fountain better be wary of the nearby tanks — there’s a dianoga lurking in the plumbing. This version of the single-eyed creature, notorious for almost drowning Luke Skywalker in the trash compactor in Star Wars: A New Hope, is nicknamed Tiny and can be found in the Marketplace.
The dianoga is one of several Star Wars fauna on display throughout the park. Observant visitors to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities should be able to pick out several cinematic critters around the emporium, including both stuffed wampa and womp rat, the mounted head of a tauntaun and a juvenile sarlacc called “Toothy” in a tank. Remember the “beastly” bat-like mynocks that attacked the Millennium Falcon in Empire Strikes Back? You can spot a pickled one in a tank in Oga’s Cantina. And the creature stalls in the Marketplace house all sorts of exotics, including the furry long-eared Loth-cat featured in Star Wars Rebels.
The droids you’re looking for
From GNK and R2 units to protocol and viper droids, your head will spin from all the bits and pieces of your favorite droids scattered throughout the park. Of special note: On the second floor of Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, there’s the husk of an assassin droid bearing a striking resemblance to IG-88, while a display in the Droid Depot contains the 2-1B medical droid from Empire Strikes Back as well as the remains of an Imperial security droid reminiscent of Rogue One’s K-2SO.
Also in the Depot, be sure to look up at the ceiling conveyor belt to spot the head and body parts of C-3PO.
The smelter droid turning the spits in Ronto Roasters is modeled on the 8D unit from Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi.
Perhaps the most meta callback in Galaxy’s Edge is DJ R-3X, who is as a former pilot of a crashed ship from Disneyland’s classic first Star Wars-themed ride, Star Tours, now spinning tunes in Oga’s Cantina.
Finally, the droid tracks imprinted in the concrete throughout Galaxy’s Edge were created from “foot” molds of one of the actual R2-D2 models used in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Perhaps the best set piece in Galaxy’s Edge is the intricately recreated full-sized Millennium Falcon. Before fans can fly the ship in the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride, they get to go “inside” the Corellian freighter, including a photo op at the Dejarik holochess table. Sharp-eyed visitors will spot the training remote orb Luke used to hone his lightsaber skills in A New Hope as well as some porg nests left over from The Last Jedi.
While Chewbacca makes a cameo, the main character featured on the ride is the space pirate Hondo Ohnaka, a fan favorite from the animated Clone Wars and Rebels series.
Other life-sized ships parked on Batuu include an X-wing fighter and A-wing fighter, landspeeders based on both Luke and Rey’s models, and a pod-racer engine (which has been modified to cook the meats in Ronto Roasters). There’s also a brand-new vehicle on display, the TIE Echelon, a First Order shuttle that was based on a concept originally created for the films but was never used.
Unfortunately, the park’s ginormous AT-AT walker remains under wraps. It is part of the Rise of the Resistance attraction that won’t be online until later this year.
Know the lingo
The Batuu natives might greet you by saying “bright sun” or “rising moons,” depending on the time of day. These roughly translate to “good day” and “good evening” and you can respond by repeating the phrase in a friendly manner. To say goodbye, utter “’Til the Spire.”
If your allegiance runs to the Resistance, here’s something else you’ll need to know: When a fellow rebel intones, “Ignite the spark,” the proper reply is “light the fire.” And if you whisper, “Let the Wookiee win” to the right Resistance leaders, you might be rewarded with a token of your loyalty.
Star Wars maestro John Williams composed a five-minute symphonic suite to serve as the soundtrack for Galaxy’s Edge.
Raiders of the lost park
Without question the best Easter egg in Galaxy’s Edge comes from the Milky Way. Tucked away on the second floor of the Den of Antiquities, to the left of the wampa and visible only from one corner of the store, is a relic from George Lucas’s other iconic franchise: the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Of course, the two franchises share a universe. Fans of that first Indiana Jones installment might remember that Indy passes by a pair of instantly familiar hieroglyphics while recovering the Ark.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open at Disneyland; the Disney World outpost will open Aug. 29.
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