Walt Disney World’s version of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29, months earlier than Disney had previously indicated.
The initial time frame for the opening of the highly-anticipated land had been “late fall 2019.” Disneyland’s version of Galaxy’s Edge will open first, on May 31. Speaking at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said the lands were opening earlier than originally planned due to “tremendous demand.”
“On opening day, we’ll transport guests to a galaxy far, far away to live their own Star Wars adventure exploring the planet Baatu and mingling with famous and some infamous characters, hanging out at the cantina, building a droid or flying the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy in our phenomenal Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction,” Iger said.
The earlier-than-expected opening comes with a catch: the land’s other ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, will not be operating when Galaxy’s Edge opens. Instead, it will come online later in the year as part of what Iger called a second phase for the land.
“This is the most technologically advanced and immersive attraction that we have ever imagined,” Iger said.
Disney recently showed off the 14-acre expansion still under construction in Disneyland to select members of the media. While Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run looks to be a more interactive and advanced take on a motion simulator attraction, Rise of the Resistance appears to be the more ambitious of the two, with Disney calling it “the longest attraction we’ve ever developed with a ride vehicle.”
Galaxy’s Edge will also feature nine main merchandise locations, including a shop where guests can build a customizable lightsaber, along with several food and beverage locations like Oga’s Cantina.
The reveal of the opening dates marks a major milestone in one of the largest projects Disney has ever undertaken for its parks.
“Soon after we bought Lucasfilm in late 2012, I met with the Imagineers and we started the planning process and the development process to actually create these lands,” Iger said. “They asked me what did I want the Star Wars lands to be, and I said one thing: ‘Make sure they’re ambitious.’ I think they have certainly taken that word seriously.”
Disney also revealed some of its plans for controlling the massive crowds expected for Galaxy’s Edge in a post on the Disney Parks Blog. The Fastpass ride reservation system will be not offered for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run at either Disneyland or Disney World when Galaxy’s Edge opens. While Disneyland guests will be required to make a “no-cost reservation” in order to access the land between May 31 and June 23, no such system is being put in place for Disney World, at least for now.