R2-D2 might’ve hung out a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, but Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is pretty darn close. Disney’s Star Wars-themed expansion is scheduled to open at Disneyland in 2019, with the East Coast version arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World later that year. To show how far along construction is in Disneyland, last week Disney Parks Blog released a drone fly through of the construction site. If you haven’t seen that yet, check it out here.
So yeah: it’s definitely being built. No denying that. This video gives a sense of the large scale this themed area will be operating on. Its craggy rock formations shoot up several stories into the sky, seemingly taller than the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure, which can be seen in the background at the 17 second mark. It looks like the show buildings for the area’s two attractions will be almost entirely enclosed within that rocky facade, a crucial factor in the immersion that themed environments like this aim for. The end of the video overlays an aerial shot with concept art that was released last year, and although it’s not a one for one match (theme park concept art almost never fully matches the final result), it’s easy to see how what exists today will eventually resemble those original sketches.
If you’re trying to figure out which Star Wars planet this is based on, you should probably stop. As was announced last year, Galaxy’s Edge will introduce guests to a brand new part of the Star Wars galaxy, a planet known as Batuu. An important outpost before light speed travel became the norm, Batuu sounds a bit like the fading old vacation towns that once thrived on roads like US 41 and Route 66 and saw a large drop in business after the interstate system was created. The two rides in the area include a Millennium Falcon flight simulator and a ride that will drop attendees into some kind of skirmish between the Resistance and the First Order from the current trilogy of Star Wars movies. You can also expect a cantina as a dining option, with some kind of immersive interplay that hinges on how you performed in the Millennium Falcon ride.
That immersion will be crucial to Galaxy’s Edge. After the artistic success of Pandora—The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom in Florida, Disney could be poised to hit the biggest home run in the history of theme parks if it can successfully capture the spirit of the most popular series of movies ever. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is pretty much guaranteed to be a financial success, but if it can make us feel like we’re actually in the world of Star Wars, it could also be one of the most amazing theme park experiences in the world. This video doesn’t show enough to indicate either way where Galaxy’s Edge will wind up, but it definitely doesn’t damper our excitement. We’ll find out in 2019.