In 2019, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, unveiled a new attraction that captured the hearts of Star Wars fans worldwide: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This 14-acre themed area, inspired by the Star Wars franchise, replaced Big Thunder Ranch and some backstage areas, transforming them into the village of Black Spire Outpost on the remote frontier planet of Batuu. But what led to this significant change, and how has it impacted Disneyland since its introduction?
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a 14-acre themed area inspired by the Star Wars franchise, replaced Big Thunder Ranch at Disneyland in 2019. Big Thunder Ranch, which used to offer a petting zoo, a barbecue dining experience, and seasonal entertainment, was transformed into the Black Spire Outpost on the remote frontier planet of Batuu for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction.
The Former Attraction: Big Thunder Ranch
Before the arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the space was home to Big Thunder Ranch. This attraction was a beloved part of Disneyland for many years, offering a petting zoo, a barbecue dining experience, and the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, where guests could enjoy seasonal entertainment.
The Decision to Transform
Disney’s decision to replace Big Thunder Ranch with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was driven by the desire to capitalize on the immense popularity of the Star Wars franchise and to create a more immersive and expansive experience for park guests. The goal was to create a unique location within the Star Wars universe that would appeal to both hardcore fans and casual visitors, even though critics argue that the land has not lived up to its potential due to budget cuts and a lack of recognizable characters and settings from the movies.
The New Attraction: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a significant departure from Big Thunder Ranch in terms of theme, size, and activities. This new attraction offers a fully immersive Star Wars experience, complete with a life-sized Millennium Falcon, interactive droid builders, and opportunities for guests to join the Resistance or pledge their loyalty to the First Order. The new area also includes unique dining experiences, like the Cantina, which serves up exotic beverages and features a DJing droid.
Impact on Disneyland
The introduction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge had a mixed impact on park attendance and revenue. Despite the hype surrounding the new attraction, Disneyland’s attendance remained flat in 2019. However, the park’s annual economic impact rose by 50% to $8.5 billion since 2013, thanks in part to the Star Wars expansion.
As for the future, Disney has plans to continue expanding and updating Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While specific details remain under wraps, it is known that new characters will soon be introduced to the Black Spire Outpost. This is all part of Disney’s vision to keep their theme parks dynamic, ever-growing, and ever-expanding.
The transformation from Big Thunder Ranch to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge represents a significant shift in Disneyland’s history. It showcases Disney’s commitment to innovation, immersion, and the continued evolution of the park to meet the changing tastes and preferences of its visitors. While some may miss the old attractions, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge offers a new, exciting experience that promises to keep Disneyland at the forefront of theme park entertainment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other attractions can be found in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
In addition to the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance rides, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge also includes attractions like Savi’s Workshop where visitors can build their own lightsabers, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities for unique collectibles, and Droid Depot where you can create your own droid.
How much does it cost to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
Access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is included in the price of admission to Disneyland Park. However, prices for individual attractions within the themed area, such as building a custom lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop, are additional.
Did the introduction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge result in the removal of any other attractions?
In addition to Big Thunder Ranch, a few smaller attractions and backstage areas were also removed to make way for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. However, no major attractions were closed as a result of its construction.
Are there any Star Wars-themed attractions in other Disney parks?
Yes, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is also available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. There are also various Star Wars attractions and experiences at other Disney parks worldwide, including Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.
When is the best time to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open year-round, it can be particularly crowded during peak times such as summer and holiday periods. For a less crowded experience, consider visiting on a weekday during the off-peak season.