Disneyland Friday welcomed some of the first visitors to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which company officials called the largest and most technologically sophisticated attraction at the Anaheim theme park.
“Star Wars” saga icons George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams were among those celebrating the historic occasion, which has been years in the making for the 14-acre site.
Park officials said the newest attraction cost more than $1 billion to create, and they’re expecting a big return on that investment: Over the next four decades, the region could see $14 billion in revenue from visitors who come to Disneyland and spend money in the area.
Anaheim officials said they are looking forward to the economic impact the new attraction may have on the city.
“The future is bright for Anaheim; with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and many more development projects in the works, we anticipate Anaheim tourism to positively contribute to the economic vitality of the region for a long time to come,” said Jay Burress, president and CEO of Visit Anaheim.
The action takes place on the fictional futuristic planet Batuu, a 14-acre outpost for the “resistance” in its never-ending battle against the First Order. While on Batuu, “Star Wars” fanatics get a chance to go on a smuggler’s run on the Millennium Falcon and refresh themselves with blue or green milk or sweet-and-spicy popcorn.
As for souvenirs, there’s a chance for guests to build their own droid and light sabers or pick up some gear in the battle against the dark side at Black Spire Outfitters. There’s more coming, too. By year’s end, Disneyland plans to open Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which will allow fans to immerse themselves in the battle.
On Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, guests will go on a cargo run that features multiple storylines depending on how they pilot Han Solo’s beloved “bucket of bolts.”
Asa Kalama, who designed the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction, said the ride starts with Hondo Ohnaka, a character from the animated TV series, being loaned the ship by Chewbacca. From there, guests work as a team to pick up cargo needed by the resistance.
Doug Chiang, who designed the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu, told reporters this week that the team went “location scouting” in Istanbul and Marrakesh for inspiration because many of the original designs for the first film in 1977 echo that type of architecture. He also pointed to several classic paintings of Istanbul market scenes that provided some inspiration.
They were also inspired by the topography in Arizona, Chiang said.
For refreshments, snacks will be served at Kat Saka’s Kettle, drinks at Oga’s Cantina, which features tunes by DJ R-3X, a droid also known as Rex, and grub at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Barbecue is served up at Ronto Roasters, and the blue and green milk will be available at the Milk Stand.
Visitors will also get a chance to download an app that will “transform” their smart phones into a “Star Wars Data Pad.” With it, guests can “hack” a droid or “overhear” conversations between stormtroopers and translate alien languages.
Composer John Williams, who scored the first “Star Wars” film, has written new pieces for the attraction.
Reservations are required for visitors Friday through June 23. General reservations are no longer available, but guests staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel can get a shot at seeing the park. After June 23, admission will depend on capacity.
A similar attraction will open Aug. 29 at the company’s theme park in Orlando.
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