Chad and Leslye will be giving away tickets to join them at Star Wars:Galaxy's Edge everyday this week at 7 AM with Generational Jeopardy and 8:25 AM.
Here's a look at what's in store for us published in today's Orlando Sentinel:
The birth of Walt Disney World’s billion-dollar baby is finally near. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuts early Thursday morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. With this land comes a new Millennium Falcon ride, gallons of blue milk, the ability to build droids and, Disney hopes, bunches and bunches of Chewbacca lovers.
That big hairy wookiee from the “Star Wars” film series will be a familiar face. But there is a lot to learn about Galaxy’s Edge, which is set on the far-flung planet of Batuu and operates in a way that can be foreign to Disney World visitors.
Here’s all you need to know before you go.
Guests get a view of the Milennium Falcon with afternoon thunderstorms rolling in as Disney's Hollywood Studios prepares for the grand opening of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge attraction. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
For the first three days of Galaxy’s Edge, the theme park will open at 6 a.m. Goodness, sunrise is 7:02 a.m. on opening day. (Closing time for those days is listed as 10 p.m.)
Remember that Disney’s Hollywood Studios has only one entrance these days, and you get to it from Osceola Parkway.
As always, there will be bag inspections going into the park, and, undoubtedly, Disney World employees pointing the way to the land … or to the end of the queue that leads to the land. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was built on the southeast corner of the park, back where attractions such as the Streets of America, Backlot Studio Tour and Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show once operated. Entrance is via the Grand Avenue gateway, adjacent to the MuppetVision 3D attraction.
No reservations are needed to walk into the land, unlike the opening weeks at Disneyland, where a nearly identical version of Galaxy’s Edge opened in May. A first-come, first-served system is expected in Florida.
Guests interact with Chewbacca as Disney's Hollywood Studios prepares for the grand opening of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
What you’ll see
Upon entering Galaxy’s Edge, the scenery changes dramatically. The Batuu landscape, developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, is rough, rustic and rusty. The planet — particularly this community called Black Spire Outpost — is inhabited by smugglers and assorted ne’er-do-wells, and makeshift wiring and construction abound. The land is also sprinkled with spaceships, retired droids and photo ops.
On the far end of the land is the re-creation of the Millennium Falcon, parked in a plaza where visitors can get fairly close to it and almost under it. It’s flanked by the entrance to the ride called Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. That attraction simulates the flight of the ship, with Hollywood Studios guests piloting a mission. It’s a bit bumpy ride, especially if pilots aren’t careful.
The remainder of the 14-acre land includes an open-air market, stores, restaurants and the space that will eventually be home to Rise of the Resistance, a ride that Disney has slapped the “technologically advanced” label on. It is scheduled to open at Hollywood Studios on Dec. 5, and in Anaheim in mid-January.
What you won’t see: Neighboring attractions, including the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster at Toy Story Land. Those rocky walls are tall and steep in Galaxy’s Edge, and they help Disney mark off the “immersive” box. Check.
Reservations are required to participate in the droid-building or the lightsaber-assembly experiences.
To repeat: You don’t need a reservation, clearance papers or double-secret password to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. But there are a trio of activities there that do require time-specific reservations.
To participate in the droid-building or the lightsaber-assembly experiences, where you buy what you build, reservations are needed. You’ll be looking at a base price of $99 at Droid Depot or $199 at Savi’s Workshop for a colorful (simulated) weapon. Of course, you can upgrade/spend more if desired.
Finally, Oga’s Cantina, which serves alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, has a reservations system and, during previews, its own set of rules. Time spent in Oga’s was limited to 45 minutes, and there was a two-drink maximum. There are few booths. About 90 percent of a capacity crowd stands during their cantina experience, cast members say.
A popular non-liquid part of Oga’s is an animatronic named DJ R3X, who has a history with Hollywood Studios. The droid character was featured in the original version of the park’s Star Tours attraction.
The drinks are tailored to the theme, of course. On the menu are Jedi Mind Trick, T-16 Skyhopper and Jet Juice.
What to wear
Your No. 1 wardrobe essential? Sunscreen.Batuu isn’t blessed with loads of shade, and in Florida it will be easy to believe the storyline about the planet having three suns. To be fair, several Galaxy’s Edge experience are indoors, including the bulk of the queue for Smugglers Run, the droid and lightsaber builds and restaurants. Disney has installed umbrellas in various locations.
Now, let’s talk about cosplay. Galaxy’s Edge is not meant to be a full-blown Comic-Con dress-up experience. In fact, Walt Disney World rules prohibit anyone 14 years or older from wearing costumes in its parks. So you might see little Leias running around, but no grown-up Darth Vaders should darken the door.
Batuuan vendors have a selection of native garb for sale — think light tunics and such — for visitors who want to blend in more.
A young Jedi gets his picture taken with stormtroopers as Disney's Hollywood Studios prepares for the grand opening of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge attraction. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
“Star Wars” fans wanting face time with characters may get their wish at Galaxy’s Edge. It is more likely this will occur by happenstance, not by queuing up as if meeting Mickey Mouse. Chewbacca, Kylo Ren and Rey and others wander the walkways of Batuu. Stormtroopers patrol and ask questions. Disney workers also have official Batuu backstories and may play along too.
There are a handful of eating options in Black Spire Outpost. A sit-down restaurant called Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo is set in an old (but working, the story goes) hangar bay. Exotic-sounding entrées include yobshrimp noodle salad, smoked kaadu ribs and friend Endorian tip-yip (translation: chicken).
At Ronto Roasters, a counter-service eatery, look for a ronto wrap (pork and sausage) alongside nuna turkey jerky (spicy or sweet). There’s a nonalcoholic drink called Tattoine Sunset.
In the market, Kat Saka’s Kettle sells specialty popcorn. And the walk-up Milk Stand pours out blue milk and green milk, a non-dairy, fruity, slushy drink (there are alcohol enhancements available).
Some of the merchandising kiosks in Batuu cater to the First Order and to the Resistance. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)
Aside from the lightsaber- and droid-building experiences, there are less structured shopping opportunities, especially in the open-air market stalls. Visitors may purchase products at Toydarian Toymaker, Creature Stall and Black Spire Outfitters. While you will find Batuu-based goods here, you’re unlikely to see anything emblazoned with a corporate logo — or apparel that reads “My grandfather went to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” — here.
There will be additional Star Wars-y merchandise in Hollywood Studios beyond the Batuu walls.
The land also has merchandise stores that cater to the First Order and to the Resistance.
Disney guests in Orlando can traverse the corridors of a Star Destroyer on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance when the technologically advanced ride opens on Dec. 5. (Disney Parks/TNS)
Inside Galaxy’s Edge, ride enthusiasts await Rise of the Resistance, thought to be an action-packed ride, later this year. An under-construction hotel experience called Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will follow. Its timeframe has not been announced.
Elsewhere at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are plans underway for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a dark ride inside the Chinese Theater structure. And the theme park will be one of the stops for the Disney Skyliner, the gondola transportation system set to debut in late September.