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Thread: Disney World Tips and Tricks

  1. #921
    Barron’s recently spent an afternoon touring Galaxy’s Edge—a first for the press this late in construction—with executives from construction, operations, and “imagineering,” or creative design, along with a Star Wars expert in a holiday R2-D2 sweater. Here are some scattered notes from that visit, including previously unreported details, some of which might be subject to change. For more on how such park expansions fit into a broader transformation of corporate parent Walt Disney, see our cover story, “Working More Magic at Disney.”

    Background and First Impressions

    Visitors will enter Galaxy’s Edge through one of three entrances near the park’s Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Critter Country themed areas, with the expansion turning what are now dead ends into a circuitous route. Short, enclosed passageways between lands are designed to compress and then expand the view of visitors, like a movie fading out and then back in, to ensure that the first sight of Galaxy’s Edge is a carefully framed, cinematic view.

    A rendering of the Star Wars-themed lands coming to Disney’s theme parks. Courtesy of Disney Parks
    The land brings to life Black Spire Outpost on planet Batuu, near the outer limits of the Star Wars universe. It is mentioned in passing in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story, and featured more prominently in a 2018 novel from the Star Wars canon, Thrawn: Alliances, but it won’t be familiar to casual fans. This is by design, giving visitors a way into the storytelling regardless of their experience with the films.

  2. #922
    Forty-somethings who grew up on the original films will recognize the Millennium Falcon starship and feel as though they remember Oga’s Cantina—even though the shady drinkery they’re thinking of from the 1977 film was on the desert planet of Tatooine. Kids who couldn’t tell Chewbacca from Boba Fett, meanwhile, will find a deep-space haven for traders and rogues with much to explore, including an open-air market and two immersive “attractions,” as Disney calls its rides.

    For inspiration for Black Spire, Disney’s imagineers visited Morocco and Istanbul, and focused on small details. Local guides who wanted to show off iconic sites would find the Disney team instead taking pictures of, say, a door coming off its hinges, we are told. Building exteriors in Galaxy’s Edge are designed to look weathered from the first day of completion; visitors who have seen Harambe Market in the Africa section of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, near Orlando, Fla., will find a similar attention to detail here, such as the way faint rust streaks flow down from the corners of metal grates.

    Galaxy’s Edge will open in Disneyland this summer, perhaps by early June. A twin land will open in Disney World later this year. At the Disneyland site, major structures are in place. Walkways and interiors are unfinished, although key set pieces are installed at the attractions. Each land will be 14 acres, compared with 12 acres for Radiator Springs Racers in Disneyland’s sister park, California Adventure.

    At the Disneyland site, there are about 600 workers now, down from a peak of 1,000 to 1,100. During our visit, one team was preparing to weld joints and seams to cover screw heads on the Millennium Falcon, which was recently assembled from the contents of 93 crates. Another was lifting an ornamental radar dish to a control tower. Another was attending to the ceiling in Oga’s.

  3. #923
    Access to the construction site is strictly controlled; some key executives say their family members haven’t been able to visit. Laborers are told background stories of the areas they build to help instill pride in the work. Visitors will see distant, petrified tree forms that were designed using trees in Southern California for inspiration. For real trees, a team of horticulturalists has taken pains to choose and obtain—and protect—particular species. One sign for the crew on a potted tree awaiting transplanting read, “The cost to replace this tree is $9,000. Please respect all trees and keep this area clean.”

    Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

    In this attraction, Hondo Ohnaka, a pirate, has cut a deal with Chewbacca for the use of the Millennium Falcon, and the visitor is the pilot. The attraction entrance will be subtly marked, so as not to disrupt the look of the land. The ship interior will be familiar to even casual fans of the films, down to the 3-D chess board where Chewie lost his temper during a match with R2-D2.

    Visitors will fly the ship in groups of six, and see the real-time results of their actions, such as knocking over a spire during takeoff. The flight will be different each visit. After a ride, the visitor might, say, stop at Oga’s for a drink and be told something like, “The boss isn’t happy about how you brought the ship back.” This is part of an interactive, story-building experience throughout the land that visitors can opt in to or out of.

    Rise of the Resistance

    Visitors waiting in line for this attraction will wind through highly themed interiors that evoke rundown rooms the Resistance has repurposed as a base for operations against the First Order. Groups of guests might be “captured” at one point and ordered along by the enemy, before making their escape aboard a trackless troop transport. They will see scenes including a stormtrooper formation and one featuring Kylo Ren, perhaps resembling the interrogation scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The transport will evade familiar war machines, like the four-legged AT-AT Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back. Up close, these towering metal beasts do not disappoint.

    Oga’s Cantina

    The first public restaurant in Disneyland to serve alcohol, Oga’s is relatively small for aesthetic reasons, and is likely to be popular. To maximize capacity and keep visits from becoming all-afternoon affairs, most guests will stand. There will be a handful of booths with seating around the outer edge of the restaurant; no decision has been made yet on whether or how these can be reserved. An intricate tangle of tubes and vessels behind the bar might make some drinks appear to flow from the ceiling. We heard a mention of a Fuzzy Tauntaun, named for the furry snow lizards ridden in Empire Strikes Back, although it’s unclear if that’s a hypothetical drink or a planned one, and the menu is still being decided.

  4. #924
    Visitors will be able to order blue milk at Galaxy’s Edge, recalling the secretion of a bantha—a large, hairy animal with spiral horns—drank by Luke Skywalker in the first film (which, due to the later addition of prequels, is now known as Episode IV: A New Hope). This will be a nondairy drink. It’s unclear whether it will be sold in Oga’s or in the outdoor marketplace, or both. It’s possible it will be sold by or near a bantha farmer, suggesting the marketplace.

    Other Retail

    Shops will be supplied from a common stockroom, and restaurants from a common kitchen, to increase efficiency. One shop will feature droids that visitors can customize through an interactive experience. A droid that is made to be, say, afraid of stormtroopers might signal its fear when one comes close. Droids owned by members of the same group might recognize each other when they meet. Prices have not been set. The shop might also sell a full-size R2-D2 for well-heeled fans, perhaps costing thousands.

    There will be another shop presided over by Dok-Ondar, a collector who is briefly mentioned in Solo. This character, likely animatronic, will be set apart in a booth from the rest of the staff, not unlike the dispatcher Louie De Palma in the old ABC sitcom Taxi. Cast members might interact with Dok-Ondar, asking him what he’s willing to let certain items go for. Elsewhere, there will be an outdoor market resembling a bazaar. A pod-racing engine, perhaps at the market, will be used to roast meat.

    For Galaxy’s Edge, imagineers have worked with filmmakers, chefs, and merchandise executives to take adherence to storytelling to new levels for a Disney park attraction. One possibility is that Star Wars merchandise in shops will come in unique packaging that downplays the logos. Another is that merchandise based on familiar characters will take on new looks. The imagineers visited the archives at Lucasfilm for early concept art. As a hypothetical example, an artisan figure of a familiar character might look slightly off, with the back story being that residents of Batuu have never seen that character, so they don’t know exactly what the figure should look like.

  5. #925
    Moonz pastes actual content? :O

  6. #926
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    Thanks for posting that. It sounds very cool. No idea how Disney is going to do crowd control. A friend posted a picture of Hollywood Studios of the line for Slinky Dog winding all the way to the Animation Courtyard entrance. And Toy Story Land is essentially just a small exit from Galaxy’s Edge. I guess the plan for the Studios is to have so much popular stuff to spread people out.

  7. #927
    Hollywood Studios is going to be a mess until things die down that way.

  8. #928
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    Yeah. It’s going to take two days to do Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story, and Mickey and Minnie’s Railway and still see the rest of the park. It’s extremely ambitious to open up five major new rides in about a 16 month span. But it was necessary.

  9. #929
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    Epcot is turning Wonders of Life into a Play Pavilion. Epcot is changing the entrance as well. Seems like they're going to be adding a lot more green space to the middle of Future World unless those trees behind Spaceship Earth are filler. That would be a weird choice.
    https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/bl...ransformation/





  10. #930
    Steve Lepore WhatUTalkinBout Willis's Avatar
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    FYI the Swan and Dolphin are Marriott some how or another (I think they used to be Starwood managed) and can benefit from all of that plus being "Disney" in terms of locale and transportation and all that jazz. So if you travel a ton for work and stay at Marriott, that's nice for the family trip down for free on points.

  11. #931
    Quote Originally Posted by WhatUTalkinBout Willis View Post
    FYI the Swan and Dolphin are Marriott some how or another (I think they used to be Starwood managed) and can benefit from all of that plus being "Disney" in terms of locale and transportation and all that jazz. So if you travel a ton for work and stay at Marriott, that's nice for the family trip down for free on points.
    They have a 99 year lease or something, which was signed when Disney wasn't building a ton of resorts, IIRC. You get bus transport to the parks, but cannot get the Magical Express to and from the airport.

    I stayed at Dolphin in '17 and loved it.

  12. #932
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDeac View Post
    Epcot is turning Wonders of Life into a Play Pavilion. Epcot is changing the entrance as well. Seems like they're going to be adding a lot more green space to the middle of Future World unless those trees behind Spaceship Earth are filler. That would be a weird choice.
    https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/bl...ransformation/




    Anybody ever been to Epcot to drink around the world? I did it once for a buddies 21st birthday, from what I remember it was a good time.

  13. #933
    Quote Originally Posted by WhatUTalkinBout Willis View Post
    FYI the Swan and Dolphin are Marriott some how or another (I think they used to be Starwood managed) and can benefit from all of that plus being "Disney" in terms of locale and transportation and all that jazz. So if you travel a ton for work and stay at Marriott, that's nice for the family trip down for free on points.
    Marriott bought out Sheraton/Starwood.

  14. #934
    Quote Originally Posted by WFcatamount22 View Post
    Anybody ever been to Epcot to drink around the world? I did it once for a buddies 21st birthday, from what I remember it was a good time.
    Met some people who were all wearing "Drunk by Norway" shirts once.

    I go during Food and Wine, so I just hit every stand, plus whatever Unibroue has at Canada.

  15. #935
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    "Drunk by Norway" is very possible after two margaritas and a tequila flight from La Cava.

  16. #936
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDeac View Post
    "Drunk by Norway" is very possible after two margaritas and a tequila flight from La Cava.
    The rules were 1 drink per pavilion. They were mocking one of the women in their group who was frequently, DBN.

  17. #937
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    That’s smart. One margarita is still a rough way to start. They don’t skimp.

  18. #938
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    Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to open May 31 at Disneyland and August 29 at Hollywood Studios. It's ahead of schedule, but the twist is it's opening in phases. The Millenium Falcon ride is opening in the first phase then Rise of the Resistance opens later this year.

    https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/bl...ywood-studios/

  19. #939
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDeac View Post
    Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to open May 31 at Disneyland and August 29 at Hollywood Studios. It's ahead of schedule, but the twist is it's opening in phases. The Millenium Falcon ride is opening in the first phase then Rise of the Resistance opens later this year.

    https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/bl...ywood-studios/
    Disney had a group of 20 journalist tour Galaxy's Edge at DisneyLand recently. I have heard one of those journalist (from Travel + Leisure) give a pair of in-depth interviews in the last week. She said she is a lukewarm Star Wars fan. However, she came out of the preview tour very excited about this land. While they didn't actually get to do the rides, they saw elements of both and she said they are going to be fantastic. Rise of the Resistance has one scene (they saw about 30 percent of this ride) that is in a building larger than Pirates of the Caribbean's entire building.

    They have made great strides in the last couple of months to be opening Orlando by the end of August, as they were once so far behind the indications were it would be December 31 when it opened. To now be four months ahead of that schedule means they have been putting in some OT getting it built. Hopefully spring rains don't mess with that date.

  20. #940
    Quote Originally Posted by WFcatamount22 View Post
    Anybody ever been to Epcot to drink around the world? I did it once for a buddies 21st birthday, from what I remember it was a good time.
    It sure as fuck better be fun because I got roped into going to Orlando for my fiancées friend’s birthday next week and from what I understand of the agenda drink around the world appears to be the highlight.

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