The clock is ticking for Disney to finish the immersive experience that will be the Star Wars’ Galaxy’s Edge theme parks (and hotel) by the time Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters in 2019. Right now both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are alive with the sounds of construction as the galaxy far, far away takes shape under the scrutinizing eye of fans. And while Disneyphiles in California seem content to trek up the parking structure across the street and videotape footage on a weekly basis, Floridan Bioreconstruct has taken things to the next level with aerial footage. I’ve used his images before to parse what’s happening behind the scenes at Hollywood Studios, but a lot has changed since then as construction moves vertical.
The most recent photos, when compared to the official imagery released by Disney and Lucasfilm at D23, create a better composite of what fans can expect when they join the massive crowds surging forward on opening day two-ish years from now. In the photo below (click to embiggen), you can see the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge in the upper right corner next to what remains of Streets of America and Muppet*Vision 3D. We now know the concrete slab will not only shield Galaxy’s Edge visually from the rest of the park but will help funnel guests down one of two paths: the Resistance or the First Order. If the concept art is accurate, the concrete wall off to our left will be the pathway to the First Order while the other one (not yet built) will lead to the Resistance. More concrete to the left of the yellow arrow in the image seems to show the cutoff for Galaxy’s Edge that will separate the park from the “backstage” area where the employees will park, take breaks, etc.
Another interesting visual is the two semi-circles in the lower right corner. This is where the Millennium Falcon ride will be. Construction is still setting the foundations but it’s a) certainly an interesting shape and b) being reused in the upper right corner of the image, beyond the exposed vertical skeletal structure of the other big ride Disney is building, an untitled E-ticket battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The smaller circle being near the main entrance leads me to believe this is structural design based on the shape of Naboo architecture seen in the concept art and not indicative of the interior workings of the Falcon ride. However, another angle makes me think if both circles do share a purpose, it must be as a small footprint for a huge line queue, as you can see the tiny circle is currently a hollow spiral. Perfect for corralling hundreds of people.
With both major rides on the same side of Galaxy’s Edge, that leaves a lot of other space within Disney’s immersive theme park experience. Of course they’ll have shops, restaurants, and perhaps even a stage for a live show but it still seems like a lot of dead space. Especially when compared to the relatively tightly packed Toy Story Land visible off to the left. Hopefully this means Disney is optimistic about guest receptiveness to the park and factored in leaving space for future attractions. Based on how often I cover Galaxy’s Edge, it’s safe to say folks won’t cry if more rides are announced in the future. Unless they’re tears of joy.