ORLANDO, Fla. – Disney CEO Bob Iger first announced at the D23 Expo on Aug. 15, 2015, that the company would build a “Star Wars”-themed land.
Now, years later, the land is open to the public at Walt Disney World -- and has been for nearly two years: Since May 2019.
“Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” takes you to a planet far beyond our solar system. Located on the edge of the galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories, you’ll find the planet of Batuu.
This land will prove to be highly immersive -- something we hadn’t seen since the opening of Pandora -- The World of “Avatar.”
(We’ll leave it up to you to decide which is better).
As you enter the land and make your way toward Batuu, you'll pass rebellion ships with a busy town in the distance. You might even catch a glimpse of Chewbacca working to repair a damaged X-Wing fighter.
In an area known as Black Spire Outpost, you'll get your first glimpse at the Batuuans, the locals of Batuu. Each carries a story of his or her own. After a friendly hello, or "bright suns," in their language, the first thing you'll probably notice is the outfits.
However, these are no ordinary Disney park costumes.
They're specifically designed for the role the cast member is assigned to.
Better yet? Some cast members are actually able to choose what they wear and design an outfit unique to their character.
A PhotoPass photographer in the land spoke with us, and she described the magic behind the planet and what makes this new land so immersive.
"It’s the first land where we can mix and match our pieces," she said. "Every other location has set costumes. We all can be 'living' in the land, so it appears we have similar but different outfits."
Besides being given the choice of what they will wear, cast members are also given a backstory detailing their lives on Batuu.
You might be part of the Resistance or perhaps you support the First Order. Maybe you're a scoundrel who supports both sides. Depending on where you are in the land, your actions will be based on the side you chose.
"So if I’m part of the Resistance and I’m by the First Order Depot, I’m going to try and gather intel for the Resistance," the photographer said.
After you choose your side, you then can choose which community you live in. Batuu has three very different communities that locals call home.
- Peka is a river community where all the livestock and grains come from. They have breezy and moderate weather.
- Galma is for the underground (illegal) droid battles. It’s where the technicians come from, who help fix and sell droids.
- Lastly, there’s Surabat. People in this community live in the black Spires of Batuu. They deal with the harshest climates. Surabat is plagued with the worst summers and winters.
If you're heading to Batuu, be sure to ask the locals where they live and which side they have taken.
This land is seriously going to be in contention when it comes down to the most immersive one Disney has ever built. The attire, along with the backstories of each cast member, transforms the land into its own attraction, making it that much better.
All photos: Thomas Metevia/Graham Media Group
This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.