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Only one ride is open as Disneyland’s Star Wars land launches

Here’s a sneak peek at Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a new "Star Wars"-themed attraction, will open at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, on May 31, 2019, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on August 29, 2019.
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Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a new "Star Wars"-themed attraction, will open at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, on May 31, 2019, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on August 29, 2019.

Disneyland’s hotly anticipated new Star Wars-themed land opens Friday.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the largest addition to the Anaheim theme park since its opening in 1955, with 14 acres of shopping, food and interactive experiences meant to transport you to a galaxy far, far away.

When it opens Friday, the new addition won’t be complete yet however.

For the first few months of operation, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will feature only one ride: the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — the land’s second planned ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn’t expected to open until later this year, according to Disney.

Why the holdup?

There’s no definitive word on why the ride won’t be up and running for the opening, though it likely has to do with its massive scope.

“We are pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology with these signature attractions and will not open an attraction until it exceeds our expectations,” Disney officials said in a FAQ on its Disney parks blog.

In advance of the opening, let’s talk about both rides, and the expectations for them. (For more on the new land, check out our comprehensive guide here.)

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

You can’t have a Star Wars-themed land without the beloved “hunk of junk” that captured our imaginations in the original trilogy — and luckily the minds at Disney knew this.

The ride puts visitors in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon in one of three roles: pilot, gunner and flight engineer, and each visitor will be asked to perform actions critical to the success of a smuggling mission as the ship hurtles through space, according to Disney.

From the promotional videos posted on the Disneyland website, the ride feels similar to Star Tours — the original Star Wars ride that opened in the park in 1987.

Smugglers Run will pack six guests into the cockpit, while the mission through space plays out on a giant screen visible through the ship’s windshield, and the ship rocks and shakes to simulate the through-space experience.

Unlike Star Tours though, the ride does not appear to be in 3-D, so those who get motion sick might have more of a chance to enjoy this one than the Tomorrowland ride.

As advertised, the ride appears to be incredibly immersive, requiring specific actions of the visitors to succeed in the mission (you aren’t guaranteed success as a smuggler, of course) and setting up a line experience where guests walk through parts of the ship, including the Chess Room, where we learned what happens when a Wookie loses in 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

One of the biggest questions left unanswered is how your success during the mission will translate throughout the rest of the land. When they announced Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s Imagineers claimed that doing well or doing poorly on the ride would impact how you are treated throughout the rest of the land, but details on how exactly this will be accomplished still have not been revealed.

It will likely involve the park’s Play Disney Parks app — which allows visitors to interact with the land in different ways, from translating alien languages on cargo crates to choosing whether you will be part of the Resistance or the First Order.

According to Disney, upon entering the new land the mobile app will transform into a datapad, through which you can “uncover stories and secrets throughout the land.” You’ll also be able to receive digital rewards through the app, like ship schematics, star maps and galactic credits.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is being hyped by Disney as “the most ambitious, immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined.”

Confirmed details on the ride are scant, but Disney has said that it will put visitors in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

It’ll follow a more traditional ride path than Smugglers Run, with visitors packed into ride cars that travel throughout different scenes as they work through the storyline, similar to how Fantasyland rides work.

The ride appears to be massive in scope however, featuring numerous animatronics, holographic appearances from favorite characters, full-size starships and AT-AT walkers and special effects.

The Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride hasn’t been given a specific opening date, but it is expected to be ready sometime later this year.

An important note for everyone: Disney says the new rides will not be eligible for Fastpasses — Disney’s skip-the-line option — so you’ll need to be prepared to wait in the full line to experience both these rides.

Hey, Star Wars fans: We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about Disneyland’s opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. What do you want to know about the new section of Disneyland? Send your questions, tips, praise and gripes to kleslie@thetribunenews.com.

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