Batuu, the Star Wars-inspired land, is a collection of squat, sand-colored buildings set amid rock outcroppings and surrounded by a green forest. In addition to the two main rides, of which right now only one is open, the land has several shops and eateries. But what would a land be without a backstory? So here we go.
The location, which hasn’t yet been seen on the big screen, is referenced in Solo: A Star Wars Story, at the Star Tours attraction, and in various tie-in novels. It incorporates design elements similar to iconic Star Wars locales such as Naboo, Yavin 4, Mos Eisley, and Maz Kanata’s hideaway, without re-creating any single familiar setting. Massive attraction buildings reaching as high as 150 feet are camouflaged by towering petrified trees, lush landscaping, and alien architecture, creating a bustling bazaar teeming with extraterrestrial life.
The new Star Wars land is carefully concealed from the rest of the park by a mountainous berm built along the north edge of Frontierland’s rerouted Rivers of America.
The Imagineers, who collaborated closely with Lucasfilm’s story group on integrating the land’s backstory into official Star Wars lore, created this new locale so that guests could feel like the heroes of their own journey, rather than simply retracing Anakin and Luke’s footsteps, and also so that older fans and newcomers alike would be on equal footing. The righteous Resistance, still reeling from their close shave on Crait in Episode VIII (The Last Jedi), has established a temporary hideout on Batuu, but the First Order’s 709th Stormtrooper battalion (a.ka. the Red Fury) recently arrived to root out the rebel scum.
Chronologically speaking, Galaxy’s Edge is set during the most recent Star Wars sequel trilogy, in the gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, so you won’t see Darth Vader or Obi-Wan Kenobi, but you might bump into BB-8 or R2-D2.
Black Spire is Batuu’s exotic Outer Rim spaceport on the fringe of the Galactic Empire frontier. Once a hub of commerce before being bypassed by the hyperspace highways, the outpost became a haven for outcasts.
Depending on which path you take into Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll experience a different cinematic reveal of the land. The tunnel closest to Fantasyland grants a first glimpse of the famous Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, the life-size centerpiece of one of the expansion’s two E-Ticket attractions.
The path from Critter Country leads to ancient ruins concealing the Resistance’s secret encampment, setting off Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the other groundbreaking ride opening January 17, 2020.
The Frontierland entrance opens straight onto the center of the bustling Black Spire Outpost, which is built around a mysterious onyx monolith embedded in the town square.
No matter which route you travel to Batuu, you’ll be completely isolated from the rest of Disneyland—and utterly immersed in the authentic detail lavished on every inch of the land. Disney’s designers did a deep dive into the Star Wars archives, going so far as to model the original R2-D2’s treads for droid tracks imprinted in the cement. Disney’s dedication to maintaining the Star Wars theme extends from the audible (John Williams composed new music for the land, and Frank Oz recorded new dialogue as Yoda) to the ineffable (appropriate scents are piped into the air) to the downright prosaic: restrooms are called “refreshers,” and you may detect a Dianoga swimming in the drinking fountain.
On Batuu Cast Members interact at all times ‘in character’ with visitors. Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren are roaming the land on the lookout for guests suspected to help the resistance. Rey and Chewbacca are also on Batuu and a big hit with all visitors. In keeping with the theme of the land there are no set times or lines for meet and greets.
Make sure to download the Play Disney Parks app before you get to the park. The app allows you to interact with the land’s many control panels and droids. It will be up to you to pledge your alliance to the Resistance or the First Order.
Now that you know the layout of the land, check out our review of the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride; a look ahead to what we know about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opening later this year; and, of course, the merchandise, and the food.
Opening hours, access, and Fastpass procedures for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are likely to change over the coming month. Check out our free, updated information, as it becomes available.
For all there is to see and do at Disneyland, check out The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Seth Kubersky with Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa, and Guy Selga Jr. All Disneyland fans should also check out The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey.