Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an immersive themed land at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California that transports guests to a galaxy far, far away. The 14-acre expansion opened in 2019 and replaced several former attractions.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge replaced Big Thunder Ranch, which included attractions like Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, and seasonal events like Halloween Carnival and Jingle Jangle Jamboree.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the history of what exactly Galaxy’s Edge replaced and how Disney transformed raw land into an intricately detailed Star Wars planet.
Big Thunder Ranch
Before the arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch was a beloved area that offered a unique experience for visitors. Let’s take a closer look at the history and attractions of this cherished spot.
Overview and History
Big Thunder Ranch was an immersive themed area located in Disneyland’s Frontierland. It was designed to resemble a rustic ranch in the Old West, complete with a petting zoo, live entertainment, and a barbecue restaurant.
The area opened in 1986 and quickly became a favorite destination for families and Disney enthusiasts.
One of the main draws of Big Thunder Ranch was its petting zoo, which allowed visitors to interact with various farm animals, including goats, pigs, and even some exotic species. This hands-on experience was a hit with children and provided a unique opportunity to learn about and connect with animals.
In addition to the petting zoo, Big Thunder Ranch offered live entertainment, such as musical performances and storytelling sessions. These shows added to the immersive experience and brought the Old West theme to life.
Attractions and Offerings
Big Thunder Ranch was also home to the Big Thunder Barbecue, a popular restaurant that served up delicious, hearty meals. Guests could feast on mouthwatering barbecue dishes while enjoying live entertainment provided by a talented cast of performers.
The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and delectable food made it a must-visit spot for many Disneyland visitors.
Furthermore, the ranch hosted seasonal events and celebrations throughout the year, including holiday festivities and special character appearances. Families could partake in activities like pumpkin carving during Halloween or meet Santa Claus during the Christmas season.
These events added an extra layer of magic to the Big Thunder Ranch experience.
Planning and Construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Announcement and Initial Planning
The planning and construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge began with a thrilling announcement made by Disney in 2015. The company revealed its ambitious plans to bring the immersive world of Star Wars to life at Disneyland.
Fans of the franchise were overjoyed at the prospect of stepping into the iconic galaxy far, far away.
The initial planning phase involved extensive research and collaboration between Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm. The goal was to create an authentic and immersive experience that would transport visitors to the Star Wars universe.
This included detailed discussions about the layout, attractions, and overall theming of the new land.
One of the key challenges in the planning stage was determining the location for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge within Disneyland. After careful consideration, it was decided that the new land would replace portions of the park’s existing attractions in order to maximize space and create a seamless transition between the different themed areas.
Construction and Transformative Landscaping
Once the initial planning phase was completed, construction on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge began in earnest. The scale of the project was immense, requiring the demolition of existing structures and the creation of entirely new buildings and landscapes.
The construction process involved a combination of traditional building techniques and cutting-edge technology. Skilled craftsmen and engineers worked together to bring the world of Star Wars to life, paying attention to the smallest details to ensure an authentic experience.
In addition to the physical construction, transformative landscaping played a crucial role in creating the immersive environment of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Lush vegetation, rock formations, and other natural elements were carefully designed and strategically placed to transport visitors to the planets of Batuu and Black Spire Outpost.
The construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was a massive undertaking, involving a dedicated team of professionals working tirelessly to create a truly extraordinary experience for guests. The result is a breathtaking and immersive land that has captured the hearts of Star Wars fans around the world.
Immersive Details in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the highly anticipated addition to Disneyland, offers visitors an immersive experience like no other. From the moment you step foot into the land, you are transported to the far reaches of the Star Wars universe.
Every detail, no matter how small, has been carefully crafted to create an authentic and unforgettable experience for guests.
An Authentic Star Wars Setting
One of the most impressive aspects of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the attention to detail in creating an authentic Star Wars setting. From the architecture to the landscaping, every element has been designed to make guests feel as though they have stepped into a galaxy far, far away.
The buildings are constructed using weathered materials and feature intricate carvings and designs. The pathways are lined with alien flora, and the sounds of droids and starships can be heard in the distance. It truly feels as though you are walking through a bustling outpost on a remote planet.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge goes beyond just being a visually stunning environment. The land is filled with interactive experiences that allow guests to become a part of the Star Wars story. Visitors can build their own droids at the Droid Depot or customize their own lightsabers at Savi’s Workshop.
These hands-on experiences not only provide a unique souvenir, but also allow guests to feel like they are truly stepping into the shoes of a Jedi or a droid engineer.
Additionally, guests have the opportunity to pilot the iconic Millennium Falcon in the thrilling attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. This interactive ride allows visitors to take on different roles, such as pilot, gunner, or engineer, and work together to complete a mission.
The outcome of the ride is dependent on the actions of the guests, adding an extra layer of immersion and excitement.
Authentic Cuisine and Beverages
No trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is complete without trying some of the unique and delicious food and beverages on offer. The land is home to a variety of themed dining locations, including the famous Oga’s Cantina.
Here, guests can enjoy exotic concoctions and listen to the tunes of the cantina band. The food offerings include dishes inspired by the Star Wars universe, such as the Ronto Wrap and the Blue Milk, a refreshing and iconic beverage that has been a staple of the franchise since its inception.
The remote outpost planet of Batuu, known as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, replaced Big Thunder Ranch and drastically transformed a quiet corner of Frontierland into an immersive Star Wars experience.Attention to detail in rockwork, landscaping, architecture, props, and storyline help transport guests to the Black Spire Outpost village on Batuu, making it feel like part of the authentic Star Wars universe.
While Galaxy’s Edge offers new technologically advanced attractions, part of its magic comes from the simple joy of exploration and discovery throughout the intricately themed land. What was once home to Big Thunder Ranch has now become a gateway into the galaxy far, far away for Star Wars fans of all ages to enjoy.