We’ve been hyping Galaxy’s Edge, the long and heavily-anticipated expansion area based on “Star Wars” for two Disney theme parks, for months on end now. We discussed its attractions and even mentioned its various merchandise shops. But one piece of information has eluded us all: when are they finally opening?
So far we’ve only gotten timeframes for this year; the Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge (north of Frontierland) was opening in the summer, while the Disney World version (addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios) was in the fall. But even Disney must have realized that keeping the dates vague was upsetting fans. Hence, they broke their silence Thursday.
Time to clear out our ears, people: Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge will open on May 31, while the Disney World Galaxy’s Edge is on August 29. The latter date is important and very hype-worthy. Forget fall; they’re both opening this summer!
If you’re making plans to go to Anaheim this May to get the “Star Wars” experience, take note. From the 31st of May to the 23rd of June, access to Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland is by reservation. It’s free but will depend on availability of space, which is understandable. Another thing: the “Rise of the Resistance” attraction won’t be ready yet on opening day, so you’ll have to consider the merit of coming later in the year, when it is.
To help visitors out, if they happen to be booked at any of Disneyland’s three hotels during the reservation-only period, they automatically get one Galaxy’s Edge reservation per individual guest. As of the first statement, no reservation-only period has been announced for Disney World’s own.
Covering an area of 14 acres, Galaxy’s Edge will depict a remote planet of the Star Wars galaxy, particularly the smuggler’s town of Blackrock Spire, a conflict spot between the Resistance and the First Order. The experience is full immersion; no franchise branding anywhere, and all cast members in character.
Last year we had a feature regarding how staffers at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom are upset at certain guests who come to scatter the ashes of their departed relatives in the grounds. It’s due to hygienic issues and other factors that this persistent practice by imprudent visitors is criminalized within the Disney World complex.
Still, cremated remains aren’t the only things that Disney staff is cracking down on in theme parks. Mashable has recently published a list of stuff that can’t be brought into a Disney theme park. Yes, cremains are included in the list; now here’s the rest:
Portable folding chairs – because they take up space; theme park staff will at least allow mobility aids like wheelchairs (naturally) and walker frames
Drones – for safety considerations as they could land or fall on somebody; this category also includes remote-controlled flying toys like model planes and helicopters
Wheeled conveyances – no roller skates/blades, trolley suitcases and bicycles; even toy wagons aren’t allowed
Pogo sticks – since motion on one can be somewhat unpredictable and could result in pedestrian collisions; leave the bouncing to Tigger inside a Disney theme park
Wrapped items – Disney theme parks are not the place to present a gift-wrapped item to your special person; you can’t bring them inside because security needs to be able to see inside all packages
Selfie sticks – best to remove a potential item you could poke someone else with when inside a Disney theme park; if you must do a selfie it can only be with your own hand
While Disney World and the various Disneyland resorts in Anaheim, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai are promoted as the places where dreams come true, for the safety and security of all guests you can’t just carry anything past their gates. Rules must be followed.
It’s probably been repeated lots of times now where Disney theme park-goers are concerned. This year the long-awaited “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” themed area will open in Disneyland during the summer and in Disney World in the fall. This new expansion promises a unique experience and setting immersion for its future guests like never before.
For one thing Galaxy’s Edge, which “takes place” on a smuggler’s port in a backwater planet, will simulate the “Star Wars” in-universe lifestyle closely. To take an example, their merchandising stands will be so “authentic” that their products won’t come in packages with a Disney logo, but rather sold as is, like they’re on barter in a space opera marketplace.
It also means there are no Galaxy’s Edge collectibles like shirts for sale; at all.
Some new info on Galaxy’s Edge has enabled us to make this list of all these known toy and collectible stores to be found there:
Toydarian Toymaker – run by Zabecca the Toydarian (same species as Watto the junker from Tatooine); sells character dolls and action figures
Creature Stall – features stuffed dolls of the various alien creatures seen in all the films and TV shows set in the Galaxy far, far away
Droid Depot – sells droid models that can be self-assembled from components shown on conveyor belt; can be made interactive with electronic chips
Savi’s Workshop – a possible Jedi survivor that provides services for customers to construct their own custom lightsabers; how the energy blades are generated remains a mystery theme-park-wise
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities – specializes in “antique”-looking goods as well as holocrons featuring holo-messages from Jedi and Sith, both ancient and recent
Black Spire Outfitters – the “Star Wars” costume shop; has all guests need to look like a Jedi, Sith, or whatever else they want
First Order 709th Legion “Red Fury” – the local First Order garrison for Black Spire Outpost in Batu; sells stationery and gear that marks their owners as loyal to the First Order
Resistance Supply – the local Resistance cell; provides the same stuff as the First Order, but from Resistance sources and strictly for Resistance supporters only
Prices for all these merchandise have yet to be revealed.
When you grow into an expansive multi-theme park resort complex like Walt Disney World in Florida, it becomes all too impossible to see everything offered in a single day. Which is why for guests who have the means to go more than one day in WDW, the question becomes where they will stay in the evenings in between park excursions.
Of course, as with all Disney theme resorts around the planet there are lots of accommodation options for guests with varying levels of travel budget. CNN has made a recent ranking of all hotels in Disney World as they currently stand. Here we have their list, divided into three levels: luxury, middle-budget and small-budget, ranked Top Seven, Five and Three:
Come October 2021, Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida will turn half a century old. Naturally, the resort complex is going to prepare for a big milestone celebration two years from now. These preparations include large-scale renovations of its component theme parks, adding new attractions or sprucing up some locations.
EPCOT, which opened in 1982, is among the WDW with some ambitious makeover plans in store for welcoming the Golden Year in 2019. This Thursday they announced two more features they plan to implement on EPCOT, joining many other changes to the theme park that at the very least would be starting work this year.
Adding the two mentioned above, here’s a list of renovations EPCOT has been busying with:
“Play Pavilion” – temporary name of a new area replacing “Wonders of Life” in Future World’s Festival Center; described as a “innovative, interactive city bursting with games and hands-on activities,” apparently a one-off revamp of DisneyQuest
Renovated Entrance – “sweeping green spaces and a newly reimagined fountain” to be placed in the vicinity of Spaceship Earth, providing an improved photos background
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – trackless dark ride to be installed in the France pavilion, along with a
“Beauty and the Beast” singalong attraction – not far away from Remy’s, which will alternately rotate with the Impressions de France showcase
New Nighttime Spectacular – though still unnamed, this all-night audiovisual show will replace Illuminations: Reflections of Earth alongside the…
“EPCOT Forever” – nighttime fireworks show
New Table-Service Restaurants – to be located at the Japan pavilion and near the Mission: Space attraction
New Films – updates to the current movie libraries of the China and Canada pavilions
Never let it be said that Disney isn’t up to speed with the adoption and wide use of renewable energy sources. They’ve already dabbled in using solar to supplement the power supply for Walt Disney World in Florida. Back in 2016 they opened a solar farm with the collector panels arranged in a delightful hidden Mickey pattern across 22 acres. That was a start; now they’re playing with real power.
By that we mean that Disney World has announced that their new and bigger solar facility is now up and running. With solar-panel coverage about of 270 acres, the new farm generates ten times the amount of energy that the 2016 Mickey Mouse setup does.
Put it this way: the new Disney World solar power facility can, at full efficiency, supply enough electricity to run any two theme parks in the area all by itself.
This grand opening is but another big step undertaken by The Walt Disney Company in cutting down their corporate emissions level. The goal is to achieve only half the recorded emissions level of Disney in 2012, by the next year. The House of Mouse hasn’t said how close they are to meeting that mark, but they’re certainly going about it a better, greener way than they are legally entitled to.
Florida, in order to get Walt Disney to build Disney World in the Orlando area, had passed a state law 52 years ago (in 1957) that gives the company the privilege to open whatever power-generating facilities they need to keep the resort running. That includes the right to build a nuclear reactor, if deemed necessary.
Needless to say, the House of Mouse has no interest in ever going down that path. With their two solar farms, the direction is set on how Disney World will create power for its resort.
When a “Star Wars” film comes out, aside from exotic planetary locations, sweet space vehicles and pitched battles and action sequences that are to be expected, another element of the franchise to watch out for is the latest alien creatures. From humanoids to little winged or four-legged critters, seeing non-human entities in “Star Wars” best sells what it’s like in a galaxy far, far away.
Even in the polarizing Sequel Trilogy entry “Episode VIII – The Last Jedi,” unsettled franchise fans may have had a decent enough reception for Porgs, the constantly-screeching flightless birds from Luke Skywalker’s hideaway planet of Acht-to.
These annoying yet adorable things are the focus of a new virtual-reality experience to be made available on the Magic Leap One VR headset. Developed by the ILMxLAB branch of Lucasfilm, this VR experience applies the “virtual pet-raising” genre onto the “Star Wars” universe, with a Porg as the pet.
Titled “Project Porg,” the experience puts the VR player in the role of impromptu caretaker, having been entrusted by Chewbacca with a Porg and a care device, along with a C-3PO message serving as instruction guide. Good care for the Porg will allow it to grow and eventually hatch offspring.
According to ILMxLAB chief executive Vicki Dobbs Beck, the virtual actions required to care for the Porg has similarities to procedures in caring for any household pet. In addition, the “Project Porg” experience is connected online, allowing players to “take” their Porg to public locations with Magic Leap access. One possible venue might be the “Star Wars” area Galaxy’s Edge, close to opening in both Disneyland Park and Disney World.
“Project Porg” on Magic Leap is not the only VR project that the “Star Wars” creative company is working on. They also have the episodic VR series “Vader Immortal” which runs on the Oculus Rift.
In the happiest places on Earth, no matter which specific parts of them you may happen to be, there’s always a festival going on. Whether it’s the string of festivities there always seems to be in Disney World’s EPCOT, or a more natural sequence of special events, Disney theme parks won’t let you down celebration-wise.
Take for instance this flash from Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. They’ve got a reminder of the major multi-day festivals that will be going on at the early months of 2019 at Disney California Adventure. And while this is a short list, we’ll be sure to add important, necessary details so you’d know what to expect when dropping in at the DCA to celebrate New Year’s:
Festival of the Holidays (until January 6) – Just because the year has turned doesn’t mean DCA can’t squeeze a few more days to see the yuletide season of 2018 off
Lunar New Year at DCA (January 25 to February 17) – take part in the grand welcome for the Chinese New Year. Since it’ll be the Year of the Earth Pig, the Three Little Pigs will take center stage, along with the return of the always-anticipated Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession
Food and Wine Festival (March 1 to April 23) – giving a respectful yet fun tip of the hat to the agricultural industries of the state, it will be even better than before thanks to Disneyland Resort expanding the Sip and Savor 2019 Pass not just to the annual pass-holders but to everybody coming to Disney California Adventure to partake in the occasion.
All these DCA festivals as spring comes next year will also have the ever-present Festival Marketplaces offering merchandise to fit the event and commemorate your visit. Plan your trip to Disneyland Resort soon.
The news about a new expansion area for Disney theme parks around the world that is inspired by Lucasfilm’s Star Wars saga, and that of similar areas but themed after Marvel, may have dominated recent park-related news for Disney. It’s come to the point perhaps that new in-development attractions under Disney in general are overlooked.
But there are indeed new attractions that even now are under construction in Tokyo Disneyland, looking forward to opening sometime in the year 2020. The centerpiece of the new additions is a Beauty and the Beast indoor ride opening in Fantasyland over there. Here’s a list of these attractions headed for Tokyo in due time:
Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Tale – indoor spinning cup ride with scenes from the movie, housed inside a replica of the Beast’s castle, with all major characters featured in animatronic form
La Taverne de Gaston – new Fantasyland restaurant
Fantasyland Forest Theatre – 1,500 seat capacity indoor stage for Disney musical productions
Happy Ride with Baymax – Big Hero 6-inspired ride opening in Tomorrowland
The Big Pop – new Tomorrowland popcorn shop
These new in-development attractions will make visiting Tokyo Disneyland new again for returning guests, and will inspire more first-time visitors to come.
If anybody told somebody from videogame developer Square Enix that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the greatest crossover franchise ever, they might politely ask the speaker to hold whatever beverage they had on hand. That’s because Disney and Square Enix have been working on the Kingdom Hearts game series, crossing characters from the House of Mouse and S-E’s Final Fantasy games, for many years now.
And the long-arching saga of King Mickey Mouse and the Keyblade wielders is set to continue in Kingdom Hearts III arriving January 2019. To whet gamers’ appetites however, Disney and Square Enix will be opening a limited-time attraction and exhibit at Disney Springs, Walt Disney World: the Kingdom Hearts Experience.
Said Kingdom Hearts Experience will be centered around one thing fans of the RPG franchise have been clamoring for: a playable demo of the game featuring Sora, Donald and Goofy on their cross-dimensional adventures in the worlds of Frozen, Big Hero 6, Toy Story and more, as promised in the official Kingdom Hearts Twitter page.
But that’s not all. We’re making a list of what the whole Experience can offer.
Kingdom Hearts IIIdemo
Keyblade replica exhibit
Game artwork gallery
Preorder digital kiosks
Kingdom Heartsmerchandise booth
The Kingdom Hearts Experience will run from December 14 to January 31, making the holidays the perfect time to visit Disney World if you’re a console RP-gamer. The Kingdom Hearts III game from Square Enix will be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on January 25.