Big news for fans of the iconic Star Wars franchise: Disney CEO Bob Iger just announced that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—the long-awaited Disney theme park expansion—will open at Disneyland Resort on May 31, 2019. A similar Star Wars land will open three months later at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World on August 29, 2019.
Instead of just watching it on the silver screen, fans of Star Wars will get to experience everything the faraway galaxy has to offer—in real life. While Disney is predictably hush-hush on one of the most secretive developments in decades, we do know a few things about the alleged $1 billion additions.
In anticipation of this momentous occasion, we’ve rounded up seven things that you absolutely need to know.
Where will Star Wars Land be?
Disney is currently finishing construction of Star Wars Land at both of its theme parks in the United States. This means that the new addition will be at both its Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.
What will it look like?
Although Disney has only released limited information about the plans for Star Wars Land, we do know a few things. First, at each location visitors will be transported to a brand-new planet—basically a planet that we’ve never seen in the movies before.
The Disney Parks Blog described the new planet as “a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space—where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.” The new parks will be set in the Outer Rim, which is where all of the best Star Wars humanoids and aliens hang out.
Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge told Disney fan expo D23 that the new land will “engage all the senses. What does that street feel like? What does that animal smell like? What does blue milk taste like?" And a behind-the-scenes tour given to Travel + Leisure journalists proved that the planet lives up to the quality level of the films.
What kinds of attractions will it have?
One of the signature attractions will be a ride that “lets you take controls of the Millennium Falcon,” the spaceship commanded by Han Solo and Chewbacca. Called Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Disney says that guests will steer the vessel through space in groups of six, fire laser cannons, and pilot the “fastest ship in the galaxy.”
Another experience puts visitors in the frightening hands of the First Order, the military dictatorship first introduced in the Force Awakens. In this adventure—no news on exactly what type of ride it will be—visitors will “find themselves in the middle of a tense battle between stormtroopers and Resistance fighters.”
And finally, it’s a sure bet that we’re likely to meet an eclectic and entertaining cast of new characters. Forget the Disney princesses, Star Wars Land will be full of droids, aliens, and amazing audio-animatronics.
How big will it be?
Disney is no stranger to revamping its parks, but the new Star Wars Land will be the largest-ever, single-themed land expansion at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Both the Florida and California outposts will be about 14 acres and they’ve made good use of the expansion; there are winding pathways, unexpected turns, and each spot is packed with different experiences.
What about the food and shopping?
There will be plenty of food options, including a unique meat sandwich at the Ronto’s Roasters kiosk, fast-service meals at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, snacks at Kat Saka’s Kettle, and Blue Milk stand and libations with atypical bar bites at Oga’s Cantina—the first public location to sell alcohol inside Disneyland.
And instead of one souvenir shop, guests can expect around six different themed locations to buy things. Imagine buying things like lightsabbers, apparel, and toys—all from the Star Wars galaxy.
What’s the status of construction?
The LA Times reported that construction of the new Star Wars Land at Disneyland began in April 2016. The park has closed several attractions at Frontierland in order to make way for the new attractions.
In Florida, construction also began in 2016 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the park had to close down the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.”
Aerial photos show that construction is pretty much finished, and it’s likely that at this point Disney is just putting the finishing touches on for the grand opening.
When will it open?
Disney CEO Bob Iger just announced that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disneyland Resort on May 31, 2019. A similar Star Wars land will open three months later at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World on Aug. 29, 2019.