Galaxy’s Edge, a Star Wars-themed land, opens at Disneyland on Friday

By Helen Murphy and Melody Chiu
May 30, 2019 12:48 PM

May the force be with them!

Star Wars cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williamsreunited with director George Lucas and Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland on Wednesday night.

The new land, which opens Friday in Anaheim, California, features rides like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which takes place on a replica of the iconic spaceship, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which brings guests through a virtual battle between the Resistance and the First Order.

Iger began the opening celebration by introducing Lucas, who called the Millennium Falcon replica "amazing."

"It's something you couldn't even dream about 20 years ago," the director, 75, said. "It'll change your life."

Williams, 82, who played the Falcon's original owner Lando Calrissian, came out next.

"It's amazing to see [the spaceship] looking so good today!" he said. "I'm so excited for you, you're going to get to pilot the Falcon too and experience your own adventures. You're going to love it just as much as I've loved it being a part of this fantastic franchise. To all the fans out there, thank you. This land is for you."

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge AMY SUSSMAN/GETTY IMAGES
George Lucas, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, Bob Iger and Harrison Ford AMY SUSSMAN/GETTY IMAGES
Bob Iger and Harrison Ford

Luke Skywalker himself came out next, and Hamill, 67, reminisced on his experience with the franchise.

"Look where we are today. We get our own land! Star Wars, to me, has always been the gift that keeps on giving and the reason is because of you," he said. "Your parents tell you not to speak to strangers, yet everywhere I go, everyone treats me like family. The stories [fans] tell me are so heartfelt."

Ford came out last, after Iger joked that he couldn't figure out how to turn on the Falcon.

"I'm gonna give it a try, Bob," Ford, 76, said, to cheers from the crowd.

"Peter, this one's for you," he added, referencing actor Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca in the film series and recently passed away in April.

Other celebrities in attendance at the event included Brie Larson, Viola Davis, Cobie Smulders and Kerry Washington.

Galaxy's Edge was first announced in 2015 and will open at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Friday and at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, on August 29. It's the largest single-themed land expansion ever at a Disney park, coming in at a whopping 14 acres.

Those planning to visit Disneyland between May 31 and June 23 will have to make reservations - free, but subject to availability - to access the land, though guests staying at any of the park's three hotels will receive one reservation per guest with their booking.

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