With the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland, the park's talented designers, artists, and imagineers created more than just another themed area inside the beloved park. Instead, they created an entire world. The experience of traveling to the new land is meant to be a fully immersive, captivating experience that transports visitors out of Disneyland - not just off the face of the Earth, but to the outer rim of a distant galaxy (hence the name).
Everything in Galaxy's Edge was designed to make guests feel like it's part of the Star Wars universe. The park goes to great lengths to make the land look like it's a real, lived-in city, complete with a full backstory and an overarching narrative. Galaxy's Edge has written itself into the lore of the epic space opera, allowing parkgoers to experience the world like never before.
The land is known as Batuu, a desert planet on the outskirts of the known galaxy that serves as a port for smugglers, transporters, and lost travelers. Its many attractions include a watering hole known as Oga's Cantina, Ohnaka Transport Solutions, many cave-dwelling homes, and the Black Spire Outpost, an open-air marketplace where merchants and vendors sell their wares. And while Batuu appeals to visitors of all kinds, there are dozens of lovingly crafted little nods to the franchise's diehard fans scattered throughout the area.
For those who love Star Wars and plan on venturing to Galaxy's Edge, here's a look at some of the land's coolest, funniest, and most magical Easter eggs.
Galaxy's Edge pays tribute to a nasty moment in Return of the Jedi, in which a "Gonk" droid (also known as a GNK-series power droid) is punished by another droid in Jabba's Palace. In the film, the unfortunate machine is held upside down while a piece of red-hot metal is pressed against its little pedal feet, and it screams out in pain.
In one small alcove of Bantuu, visitors can see three droids hanging out together on a raised platform. However, the droid in the center - affectionately known by some fans as a dustbin droid - is being held upside down with electrodes inserted into its "feet" in a way that clearly is supposed to evoke that infamous moment in the franchise.
Additionally, a black Arakyd Viper probe droid, identical to the one Han and Chewbacca take out on Hoth, hangs suspended from a net and some cables against the far wall.
Located inside the Droid Depot, where visitors can build their own custom pint-sized droid companions, there is an R2 unit droid (who looks essentially identical to the R2-D2 of the movies) that tools around the shop. If you go up to the droid while he's resting, there's a chance he'll awaken, roll all throughout the store, and chirp at you in his signature language of bleeps and bloops.
In reality, when the R2 unit is on the move, it's being controlled remotely by an unseen Batuu worker. The droid's automated chatting and movement add depth to its interactions that fans don't often experience outside of meeting costumed Disneyland castmembers.
If you really want a life-sized, controllable R2 unit of your own, you can purchase one from the Droid Depot. However, it will set you back a whopping $25,000. Three such units were sold within the first week after the park opened.
While wandering the varied shops and stalls inside the Black Spire Outpost in Batuu, you'll find dozens of toys and figurines, all related to the Star Wars universe but manufactured to look handcrafted. There is a sense that they were lovingly created by the proprietors of each of the small stores for the children and families that call Batuu their home. What makes them truly remarkable is the complete lack of branding. The Star Wars logo does not appear anywhere in the park or on the merchandise.
As Brad Schoenberg, the director of merchandise, strategy and new parks experience development for Disneyland, told Forbes,
It seemed so crazy in the beginning to say that we are going to have hundreds of new products in nine or ten unique spaces and nowhere are we going to use the word "Star Wars" on products.
Schoenberg added that, in the actual universe of the films, the characters "are not aware... that they are in a Star Wars movie, so we have really held that story true."
The immersive illusion of Galaxy's Edge is lovingly maintained by all the park employees, from their name tags - which are written in Aurebesh instead of English - to their desert outpost clothing to even their greetings and sayings.
Using phrases and idioms native to the world of Batuu, the employees refer to themselves as "residents" - implying they live on the small, dusty alien planet. They will welcome visitors not with "hello" but with a hearty "bright suns" in the daytime and "rising moons" in the evening. When departing, expect to hear the regional term for "goodbye," which is "till the spires" or "may the spires keep you," in reference to the many rocky spires of Batuu. A less formal and quicker version of goodbye is simply "good journey."
Additional terminology includes "younglings" or "padawans" when referring to children; drinking fountains are called "hydrators"; and restrooms are known as "refreshers." Additionally, if a visitor asks a resident a question they don't have an answer for, the resident is likely to respond, "Only the ancients know."