Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are in the midst of some of the largest and most expensive attraction expansions in their history
The final puzzle piece of Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and a brand new land devoted to Marvel movie characters at Disney California Adventure park will highlight Disneyland Resort’s ambitious plans for 2020, the company announced this week.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an immersive dark ride in the recently opened 14-acre themed Galaxy’s Edge land, is slated to debut on Jan. 17. And Avengers Campus, replacing the A Bug’s Land area in Disney California Adventure, has a planned but unscheduled opening date in 2020.
Rise of the Resistance has been billed as the most immersive and ambitious ride in theme park history. It’s so ambitious that its opening has been significantly delayed. Originally it was scheduled to debut when Galaxy’s Edge opened May 31 of this year but it was pushed back nearly eight months. Rise of the Resistance opened Dec. 5 in the identical Galaxy’s Edge land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando. Except for a few opening-day glitches, riders and reviewers online have hailed it as the most epic ride ever created.
Like Galaxy’s Edge, which opened on May 31, Rise of the Resistance is a fully immersive environment attraction. The innovative attraction takes guests through a 20-minute experience that moves guests through a simulator ride, a trackless dark ride and an elevator-style drop ride like Guardians of the Galaxy at nearby Disney California Adventure. Various press reports have estimated the cost of the ride between $75 million and $100 million.
The ride begins with park-goers riding a shuttle transporting them through space where they are captured by a Star Destroyer and end up in the middle of a battle between the dark side forces of the First Order and the positive forces of the Resistance, including the character Rey and her ball-like droid BB-8. Leaving the shuttle, guests join the Resistance and head to the planet Batuu on another ship to meet General Leia Organa. But on the way to her hidden base, they’re intercepted once again by the First Order and pulled by a tractor beam into the hangar bay of a Star Destroyer ship. There, guests encounter villain Kylo Ren and have to escape his clutches. Many of the actors from the recent Star Wars movies reprise their roles for video clips recorded for the ride.
Disneyland has yet to announce how it will manage crowds when the ride opens next month, but it may follow the lead of its sister ride in Orlando. There, park guests could register via smartphone app for a virtual boarding pass. One Orlando journalist wrote that on several days during opening week, all of the boarding passes were claimed either before the park opened for the day or shortly thereafter. But those issues are being worked out.
The year’s other major event will be the opening of Avengers Campus, a 5-acre attraction between the Cars Land and Hollywood Land areas of Disney California Adventure.
The campus is designed as a recruiting station where fans can train to become superheroes like Marvel characters Spider-Man, Black Panther and Iron Man. The land’s first ride will feature Spider-Man where guests will ride on web-slinging vehicles where they can sling webs to collect spider-bots.
Another feature of the new land: a Pym Test Kitchen restaurant where Ant-Man and the Wasp will experiment with shrinking technology. There will also be multiple stations where guests can interact for photos with Marvel superheroes and, eventually, a large Avengers Headquarters building.
Meanwhile, several popular annual events will return in 2020, including the Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure from Jan. 17 through Feb. 9; the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival Feb. 28 through April 21; special after-hours ticketed events Jan. 29 and Feb. 12-13 at Disneyland; and the Oogie Boogie Bash late-night Halloween party at Disney California Adventure.
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