An incredible transformation continues this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge makes its official Walt Disney World debut. Yesterday, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek presided over a dedication ceremony for the new land, which officially opens to guests today.
“With the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, we’ve set a new standard for the most immersive storytelling in the galaxy,” Chapek said. “Every experience in Batuu—from piloting the Millennium Falcon to building your own droid—puts guests deeper into their own Star Wars story.”
Since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland Resort on May 31 of this year, the response has been phenomenal from fans who have longed for an opportunity to be part of the Star Wars universe, and just last week, TIME magazine recognized the land as one of the World’s Greatest Places for 2019. The annual list spotlights 100 destinations around the world that are breaking new ground, leading industry trends and offering guests an experience that’s unlike any other.
When The Walt Disney Company first began to explore the creation of a robust Star Wars experience in its theme parks, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger challenged the Imagineers to be “the most ambitious they have ever been,” Chapek shared today. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park. The 14-acre land transports guests to the remote planet of Batuu to live out their own adventures in a galaxy far, far away. Visitors to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge discover the unique sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Batuu, where immersive retail experiences also await them, giving fans the opportunity to craft their own lightsabers or build their own droids.
In one of the land’s signature attractions, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy as pilots, gunners or flight engineers in an exhilarating experience that responds in real time to the actions they take. Guest anticipation is high for a second anchor attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which debuts December 5, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and January 17, 2020, at Disneyland. In the most ambitious, immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined, guests will become part of the action during a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance in an experience that will blur the lines between fantasy and reality.
The opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios comes during a period of record expansion for Walt Disney World Resort, and the project has contributed more than 7,000 jobs to the Central Florida region since it began in 2016. Among these new jobs are 1,700 operational roles, including leadership positions, entertainment performers, attractions engineers, and food and beverage and merchandise hosts and hostesses. These exciting expansions offer cast members new opportunities to expand their skills and grow their careers all across the Resort. Additional jobs resulted from the support of both small and large Florida-based companies, creating over 5,500 local trade, artisan and construction roles.
The 1,700-member opening team had unique opportunities to learn about the story of this amazing new land, received specialized name tags and could customize their costume by hand-selecting apparel and accessories from an array of Resistance- and First Order-themed options, creating a unique Batuuan look and fully integrating them into life on the planet. During yesterday’s dedication, Chapek acknowledged this incredible team as “citizens of Batuu” who “have breathed life into every corner of Galaxy’s Edge.”