Wow – I will be honest and admit that I am not a big Star Wars fan. I’ve seen a movie and understand the idea, but never got into the series. Now, even I am excited for the new Star Wars Land coming to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts in 2019!
During the D23 Expo 2017, the name of the new Star Wars Land was revealed to be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. My mom and I almost did not go into the Disney Parks & Resorts pavilion at the D23 Expo, but a Cast Member let us in without waiting, as he said the queue was hard to maneuver in a wheelchair. As we entered the A Galaxy of Stories pavilion, the first Cast Member we saw was our old friend from Imagineering – Chris Beatty! He immediately recognized us from our Disney Cruise Line Fantasy cruise in 2012, where Chris told us all about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I learned that Chris is the Executive Creative Director for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
After catching up on the past 5 years, Chris explained the overall Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (SWGE) concept and pointed out things on the large model. In SWGE you will become part of the interactive story, and it will never feel the same way twice.
In order to enter SWGE, you will enter through a large opening in what looks like an earthen wall; this way you will not see the outside world while in SWGE. There will be two new interactive attractions. The Millenium Falcon will accommodate several people, and you will be interacting with the ride so you can help pilot the Falcon. Based on how well your team performs, you may experience different scenarios on this attraction and in SWGE. The other attraction is a ride on a Star Destroyer, where you will take part in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Chris also told me that both attractions will be accessible, for which I am thankful.
While we were looking at the model, my mom noticed Josh Gad being given a private tour of the SWGE model.
After we our tour of the model and asking questions, Chris told us to stand by the rope just outside the pavilion. The pavilion was going to be closed to the public as a special guest was about to enter. Pretty soon we heard the crowd on the other side, and in walked Mark Hamill of Luke Skywalker fame! Wow! Although I am not a big fan, it was chilling to see him! We watched from the rope as Chris Beatty gave Mark Hamill a private guided tour of the model, and they discussed different elements of the new land. How fun that must have been for Mark Hamill to see a land that he experienced in movies only with a green screen on a back lot! During the tour, the word must have gotten out about Mark Hamill, as quite a crowd had gathered around us. After the tour, he came over to where we were standing and let people take his picture. He was very gracious to the fans who were asking for selfies, and he spent time talking to people. As he approached us, a photographer from inside the pavilion asked for our camera so he could help take pictures. Chris came over as Mark Hamill approached and joined in our photo. My mom had goose bumps as Luke Skywalker put his arm behind her for the picture. As you can see from the picture, Mark Hamill acted as if I were the star and took time to interact with us. Clearly a moment we will not soon forget! Don’t miss the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening in 2019 – you won’t be disappointed!
Other WDW Radio Blog posts on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars D23 Expo News Round-Up – Zack Kaplan
WDW Radio Newswire – Don Myers
(Fly-through video and fans reactions © Disney. All other photos and videos are property of the author.)
To learn more about Andrew Prince and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, please click on his name at the top of this post.