What to expect at Disney's new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme park

The Force has never been stronger, and a new stateside offering is taking family travel to starry new heights.

By Rhonda Carrier
Published 23 Feb 2020, 08:00 GMT
A young fan in a R2D2 costume stands outside a replica of the Millennium Falcon.
Photograph by Getty Images

Whatever the verdict on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the most recent instalment in the saga, fans can now escape to a galaxy not so far, far away at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — a state-of-the art recreation of the planet Batuu at both Walt Disney World Orlando and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in California. 

It’s hard not to be blown away by these parks, which each comprise two major rides aalong with various themed restaurants and shops. Just the sight of the life-size replica of the Millennium Falcon will elicit gasps from parents and kids alike, while STAR WARS: MILLENNIUM FALCON — SMUGGLER’S RUN only adds to the sense of wonder. In this interactive virtual-reality ride, visitors pilot the fabled YT-1300 Corellian light freighter through space. On entering the cockpit, each rider is assigned a role — pilot, engineer or gunner — and the ride lasts between six to 12 minutes, depending on your combined skills. 

Meanwhile, STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE is like nothing else. Billed as a ‘dark ride’, it’s basically four mini-rides and a piece of theatre combined, with holographic or video appearances by Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and other famous faces from the film along the way. It’s a full-blown, full-throttle adventure, where even the queue is part of the fun.

But it’s not just about the rides. Galactic Starcruiser, the Star Wars-themed hotel at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort is set to welcome galaxy-hopping guests from 2021. There will be droid staff, lightsaber training, duels, and even a spacecraft-like pod-shuttle to the parks.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is just as impressive when it comes to immersive detailing, too: bins are styled to look like droids, concrete is marked with R2-D2’s tracks, Stormtroopers patrol the park, signs are in the alien Aurebesh language, and food and drink is straight from the Star Wars universe — blue milk and Endorian tip-yip (chicken, mash and gravy) are some of the highlights. disneyworld.disney.go.com 

Published in the March 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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