Happy Star Wars Day! May The 4th Be With You
Happy Star Wars Day and May The 4th Be With You! YES, I am a 67-year-old woman who loves Star Wars and who wishes that every day was Star Wars Day and believes that the power of the Force is within us all!
The year was 1977. If you lived in Northern California, you couldn’t help but be caught up in the anticipation of this little film that was about to change all of our lives and take us into a new generation of cinema as we had known it. The movie, of course, was Star Wars. Living right down the road from Skywalker Ranch, everyone knew at least someone that was a part of the movie to the point where a few years later, my son’s preschool teacher was one of the lead Ewoks and would be flown to London from time to time for costume fittings.
And others of us would find ourselves living the dream while we worked as a production assistant, which yes, meant getting people’s coffee, and to this day have our treasured Revenge of The Jedi tee shirt. Back in the ’70s, it was more about our hometown boy, George Lucas, who was fresh off of the success of American Graffiti and THX1138, making good than anything else but when on that fateful day in May, after spending the night in line, and the theater darkened and the opening scroll began you knew from that moment on, our lives would be forever changed. Star Wars was the quintessential movie that it didn’t matter who you were, where you came from if you were young or young at heart, this was the one movie the entire family could experience together-because it is truly something you experience and not merely watch.
Whether we aligned with the dark side and longed to work under the Sith Lord or dreamed of joining the rebel alliance to fight with lightsabers alongside Wookiees and Ewoks, there wasn’t a person around that didn’t appreciate the genius that is behind this remarkable series.
So just what is it about Star Wars that sets it apart from any other film?
Good vs. Evil: From as far back as the Greek tragedies, the classic conflicts of good vs. evil has been a part of who we are and translate to any audience. Never is that more apparent than in any of the Star Wars films. Whether it is the classic clash of battles of the dark side vs. the light side, Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker, Stormtroopers vs. Jedi and who knows what the new clash will be in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s a formula that works, and one that leaves us cheering and wanting more.
- Special Effects – Today we are all so used to computers, CGI, green screen and a host of others that people forget it was Star Wars that opened the door and introduced us to a new breed of special effects the likes of which we had never seen before. Many people aren’t familiar with the amount of work that went into the special effects of these beloved films. Setting a film completely in space makes filming difficult, but George Lucas tackled this task with ingenuity. These special effects were so unlike anything we had ever seen before that they set the bar for films to come. Even today, Industrial Light & Magic Visual Effects Company (ILM) remains the company everyone looks to. Can you imagine any of the Star Wars movies or for those matter Avengers or Jurassic Park and the countless others without ILM? Neither can I-thank George Lucas for having the courage to find a way to bring movies and stories to life.
- Friendships- Friendships in cinema are always a positive, and bromances are even better. So what do you get when you combine Harrison Ford and a Wookiee? That’s right: brilliance. With humor and heart, the twosome encompasses the true meaning of friendship and extends this onto those around them as well. While many of the other characters and their relationships are worth watching the movie for as well, it is the relationship between Han Solo and Chewbacca that keeps us coming back for more. Admit it, you got a little teary-eyed at that end of the last trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens when suddenly Han Solo and Chewie appeared at the end and Hans uttered those immortal words “ Chewie we’re home”
- The Music- Without John Williams, Star Wars, and movie history would be written in an entirely different way. Williams’ score is more than just a part of the film, though — it is its’ essence, the blueprint on which whole subsequent genres of film have been built and the thing you take home with you as you hum the bars over and over again as the lights come back on and many years later, the moment you hear the music played, the floodgates of emotions open as it is those same notes, the ones you first heard in 1977 and the ones that your children and now their children have heard that bring you back to that place and time.
- Strong Female Characters- Star Wars was one of the first movies that allowed multiple female characters that evoke power and have the potential for greatness. From Princess Leia to Padme Amidala, Star Wars made it not only acceptable but also not even out of place to have females in positions of power on the “good” side. So rather than the typical strong female character cast in the role of villain, strong females hold their place as some of the most loyal and intelligent characters the films have to offer. Darth Vader and Yoda may seem strong, but in the end, it is indeed the females that wield the power.
- Ensemble Casting At Its Best- When you think of the all-time great ensemble casts, Star Wars probably isn’t the first one that comes to mind but when you think about it, with Wookies, Ewoks, and Stormtroopers galore, the cast of Star Wars, even though for the most part aren’t quite human, it’s is an ensemble from start to finish and one that keeps us coming back for more. Add in Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2 with a pinch of Jabba the Hutt, Watto and soon to join the rank, BB8, you have all the ingredients for the best that ensemble casting has to offer.
- Best Lines Ever- Admit it-whether you’ve see one, some or all of the movies, at some point in your life, you have found yourself quoting from Star Wars, maybe without even knowing it. From “Luke, I am your father” to being able to speak in full Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try “ there is a line from Star Wars that fits any occasion and circumstance. Whether it’s my own kids favorite, “It’s not my fault” uttered by Han Solo himself, or Darth Vader reminding us “I find your lack of faith disturbing” Star Wars has not only given us some of the most iconic characters ever but dialogue that has become a part of our everyday life.
So now all we have to do is “Stay on target.” “There’s a new day beginning.” It’s time for a brand new generation to live the magic that has become a part of our lives. Now you relive the magic of the entire saga on Disney+ and introduce your family to the Force and ensure that young Padawans near and far carry on the legacy and traditions of a galaxy far, far away.
So as you can see it is indeed a Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th Be With You and to celebrate May the Fourth, Disney is rolling out “The Rise of Skywalker” on its Disney Plus streaming service a full two months early, uniting all nine chapters of the Skywalker Saga films in one place for the first time.
“The Rise of Skywalker” hit theaters in December to conclude the new trilogy of films that continued the story begun by Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and others in the original films 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” Spoiler alert: The Dark Side is still going strong even as new characters like Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) pave a new path in a galaxy far, far away. And of course, R2-D2 and C-3PO are still up to their own tricks.
Disney Plus is marking May the Fourth (a fan celebration day for “Star Wars”) with a concept art takeover of the streaming service.
“Like a commemorative gallery, each film and series’ artwork will be updated on May 4th to feature its original concept paintings,” Disney said. “From ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ to ‘The Mandalorian,’ the updated art will feature work from celebrated artists such as the legendary Ralph McQuarrie and Academy Award-winning artist, author, and production designer, Doug Chiang.”
So as you can see, it is a Happy Star Wars Day and there’s a lot of “Star Wars” for fans to celebrate this May the Fourth but even better, this summer, get ready to visit a galaxy far, far, away by heading to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. There is nothing better as a grandparent to relive not only the magic of Star Wars through the eyes of your children but watch them as they introduce their children to a galaxy far, far away.
If your family is like ours, Star Wars has been a part of our life since the beginning. Being from Northern California, there wasn’t anyone around that was either a part of the original three films, now known as Episodes 4, 5 and 6 or knew someone that was.
Little could we ever imagine however that life would take us from filming among the redwood trees in our own backyard to being able to actually travel to this mythical galaxy not so far away that now you can join the Resistance because it’s time for you to make the voyage to Batuu in a galaxy far, far away. Get ready to make memories for all the right reasons with our Grandparent’s Guide to navigating Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. With Batuu now open at Disneyland and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, now more than ever is the time to take the family on a grand trip.
Having made the journey to Batuu several times now, I can absolutely, positively, 100% say that this is by far beyond anything that Disney has ever created. From the moment you step foot into this out of this world new land, the outside world fades away and you are in every way that matters, transported to the world of Batuu.
The best part this land was created for both the young and the young at heart with something for everyone no matter what the age and even if you know nothing of Star Wars, you will still find yourself completely entranced with this new wondrous world. Taking the grandkids and sharing new experiences is always the best part of being a grandparent so we put together just a few tips we learned along the way to make your trip to Galaxy’s Edge memorable for all the right reasons.
PUT THE CAMERA AWAY
Yep you heard me right-put the camera away! I am guilty of being so busy trying to capture all of these magical moments, that in doing so, I’ve missed so many magical moments. I hereby give you permission NOT to document every single moment. Confession, my first two visits to the Black Spire Outpost I did not take my camera out even once and it was such a freeing experience. Worried about missing that perfect moment?
Don’t be because the incredible Disney PhotoPass People have got you covered. With Disney photographers throughout the Land, take advantage of their skills plus the PhotoPass card makes a great free souvenir. The best part, when you let Disney take the picture, everyone-even you-are in the picture and that’s magic at its very best.
Character Interaction At Its Very Best
The interaction with the local residents of Batuu is the best we have ever experienced and you never know who’ll you run into just around the next corner.
From seeing Chewbacca working on the X-Wing fighter or out playing hide and seek with the kids, to the Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren in search of those that may not be loyal, this is Disney storytelling at its very best.
The one thing I loved is that as intimidating as Kylo Ren has been known to be when I’ve met him at Launch Bay in the past, to the point where my youngest granddaughter was more than a little uncertain of what she was facing, this is almost a “kinder, gentler” version who still is commanding but not in such
a way that terrifies the guests but make no mistake-he’s still in charge and he will let you know it and those you meet along the way make you feel that you truly are a resident of Batuu and seeing and talking to a Wookie is a perfectly normal everyday occurrence-because here, it is.
More often than not, the local inhabitants of the Black Spire Outpost have a very helpful Disney PhotoPass photographer with them to capture all those magical moments for you.
How To Navigate The Crowds
The biggest fear we had taking the grandkids once Galaxy’s Edge was open without the reservation system was having to deal with ginormous crowds, endless waits and not being able to navigate the throngs of people we imagined that would be descending on this new world but guess what-the boarding groups work!
As much detail was put into the storytelling and theming of this all-new land, there was even more put into how to help guests truly enjoy their stay in Batuu without having to wait hours for everything. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is uniquely designed to disperse the crowds, ease the flow, and not once did I ever feel I was surrounded by a sea of humanity.
If fear of crowds is keeping you home-don’t let it. This is the first land truly designed to maximize the guest experience so you never once feel as though all you’re doing is waiting.
Navigating The Land-It’s Easy To Lose Your Way
Batuu, like any other planet, is big and by big, we mean REALLY BIG! It is designed with twists and turns and levels and alleyways and outposts all that help to bring the storytelling to life-which also means that it is also relatively easy to lose your way or have the family go left and you go right.
Unlike most of the other Lands that you are used to in the Disney Parks, there is no one central, easy to find iconic landmark such as Slinky Dog Coaster in Toy Story Land or the Floating Mountains in Pandora-The World of Avatar because while yes the centerpiece of Galaxy’s Edge is
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, you have to be able to find it first and that may take a visit or two to finally become accustomed to the layout that makes this the most unique land that Disney has ever brought to life-even I had issues figuring out how to get back to the Falcon the first few visits. Add into the mix that many of the Cast Members are indeed part of the exquisite storytelling and look like any
other resident you’d expect to find inhabiting a galaxy far, far away and with so many guests who have gone above and beyond when it comes to their DisneyBounding choices, well it’s quite easy to get turned around.
Like any parent or grandparent, you’ll know to go over the “what to do if we get separated’ plan many times and once again while you’re in there but we found other than the reminders to kids-and the
grown-ups- “to stay in one place and we will come to find you” and that the easiest place to find as it was the most centrally located was Docking Bay 7. A few minutes extra when you first enter will save hours of panic later on.
Souvenirs -They Don’t Have To Cost All Your Credits
Like every grandparent, our job is to totally spoil our grandkids. It’s expected and it’s in the Grandparent Handbook and like all things Disney, it all comes down to finding that fine balance of how to take home a
little something extra without going broke. This is the one place where we threw our usual “just say no-they don’t need it all” common sense to the wind and yep, we splurged and now looking back, I would do it all over again.
My son built his own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop which yes was $199 but worth every moment and credit we spent on it. Entering the Workshop and meeting Savi and his friends are worth the price all by itself and the fact that you’ll be coming away with a real light saber-priceless.
The best part is that while you do need a reservation to do this, you can do make your reservations in advance online or on your phone app!
The lightsabers come with a great carrying case which you strap right over your shoulder, and you can buy a variety of Kyber Crystals to change the color of your saber. The littles built their own Droids, a little more reasonable at $99 but again, worth every credit!
To see their faces light up as they picked out the individual pieces and saw their Droids come to life and then the joy on their faces as they played with it throughout the day, whether we were eating or waiting to ride Smuggler’s Run or just taking a break, the best and the best part, weeks later, they are still just as excited by their Droids as they were when they built them-a true testament as to whether the
investment was worth it. Again, these are quality and built to last and I can just picture years from now my great-grandkids playing with their parent’s antique collectibles.
Something I will say, that before we went, each one of the grandkids earned their own money to help pay for their Droids or the souvenir of their choice which made it even more valuable to them. Not able or not wanting to spend that many credits, no worries because there was a wide variety of great options all priced under $10 so there truly is something for every size pocketbook and wallet.
Money no option then for only $25000 there are a few options that can be yours. If you’re flying, it’s important to know that your new Droid or new Light Saber does count as your once carryon item so be sure to check with your specific airlines before heading home with your new treasures.
Let The Kids Take Control With The Star Wars Datapad
If you have done so already, now is the time to download the Play Disney Mobile App onto your phone because the Star Wars Datapad Play Disney Mobile App is now live at the Disneyland Resort and will launch on August 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and help you navigate the world of Batuu.
The Play Disney Mobile App allows you to not only navigate Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge but all of the latest updates while you’re visiting the Disney Parks from giving you up to the minute information on wait times, showtimes, park maps as well as the go-to place for playing Disney trivia as you enjoy your magical Disney day. But as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will in ever sense take you to a galaxy far, far away, this is your must-have app to help you discover the world of Batuu and the Black Spire Outpost.
INTERACT WITH STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE
Soon after you arrive at the planet Batuu, you’ll be able to transform the Play Disney Parks app into the Star Wars: Datapad—designed to guide you deeper and deeper into an adventure in a galaxy far, far away.
Whether you’re interacting with droids, scanning crates or tuning into transmissions, the Play Disney Parks app will be a vital tool when it comes to living your own Star Wars story!
EXPLORE USING THE STAR WARS: DATAPAD
Once you activate the Star Wars: Datapad, you’ll find many tools at your disposal for exploring the planet Batuu:
- Translate a variety of languages from across the galaxy—including Aurebesh signs throughout Black Spire Outpost.
- Scan objects all around the spaceport to discover precious cargo—including items hidden inside space-shipping crates and containers.
- Tune into communications sent by the planet’s many residents as you tap into and decrypt signals from satellite dishes.
- Use the Star Wars: Datapad to hack into—and interact with—select devices, control panels, and droids.
As the Star Wars: Datapad guides you along, you’ll have the chance to pledge your loyalty to the First Order, support the Resistance, or strike out on your own as a scoundrel. And with each task you complete, you can collect digital rewards in return—like ship schematics, star maps, galactic credits and more!
CHOOSE A SIDE DURING “OUTPOST CONTROL”
Throughout Black Spire Outpost, the First Order is trying to install bugs in the door panels to spy on the Resistance!
MILLENNIUM FALCON: SMUGGLERS RUN ADVENTURES
While waiting to board most famous ship in the galaxy at Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, you can even take on a job for Hondo Ohnaka—the pirate turned “legitimate” businessman who operates Ohnaka Transport Solutions out of Black Spire Outpost.
Reroute misplaced cargo, learn how to keep your cover under pressure… and help prep the Falcon for your flight!
Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance:
Never before have I have experienced anything quite like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. I had seen the pictures, watched some of the videos but nothing can prepare you for the most epic attraction ever created in this galaxy or any other-it is just that good. Created in a way never before imagined, the Disney Imagineers have gone above and beyond and truly brought to life a ride never before imagined -out of this world scale and proportions. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a massive attraction with multiple ride systems that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced at Walt Disney World Resort… or anywhere else in the galaxy and it MUST BE EXPERIENCED as nothing can prepare you for it-it is just that good.
This attraction takes you into a world where the Resistance needs your help! Hidden in the forest outside Black Spire Outpost, the Resistance is gathering recruits for a secret mission. The immersive storytelling and details that you uncover as you make your way through the queue help to ready you for your mission.
With the First Order desperate to extinguish the spark of the Resistance, the mission is bound to have unexpected twists and turns. When your transport is captured by an imposing First Order Star Destroyer filled with legions of stormtroopers—and even Kylo Ren!—you’re going to need all the help you can get. Fortunately, a covert team of Resistance fighters—including Rey and BB-8—is at the ready to give you a fighting chance to escape… and a chance for the Resistance to rise. Prepare for a thrilling, first-of-its-kind adventure!
How To Ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance:
As more and more Guests ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney has been testing new ideas to make the overall experience the best it can be. Right now it is all about the Virtual queue which you can access right from your mobile device on the My Disney Experience app Here’s what to know:
- The virtual queue will be available at the published park opening time. We tested it out when we visited last week and the boarding groups became live precisely at 7:00 am which was the posted Park opening time for that particular day. If you ever needed one more reason to stay on property at a Walt Disney World resort hotel-this is it-Extra Magic Hours!
- At the park’s published opening time, the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens along with offerings throughout the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests must be in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to access virtual queue in the My Disney Experience app.
Due to the incredible popularity of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney will continue to distribute backup boarding groups after the initial planned groups have been filled. Backup boarding groups will only be called if all of the initially planned boarding groups have been called back and there is capacity for more riders that evening. If they are able to accommodate boarding groups that evening, Guests will be notified through the My Disney Experience app by a push notification (if enabled).
For anyone with questions with the virtual queue, the members of the Guest Experience Team are available throughout the park to assist. And while people wait for their turn to rise up with the Resistance, there’s plenty to do around Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
May The Force Always Be With You
One of the most important lessons I have learned over the years is that time goes by in the blink of an eye and that tomorrow is never promised. The best gift you could ever hope to give to your grandchildren is time spent with them and memories made that they will hold in their hearts forever. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge allows you to make out of this world memories for you and your family for all the right reasons, and something they will talk about long after the day is over. Walt Disney once said:
“To all that come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” ~ Walt Disney
65 years ago people entered the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time and now millions of people have found themselves in the one place that invites you to leave the world of today behind and enter a world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.
Walt envisioned an amusement park in which his cartoon characters could come to life and interact with the visitors. He also wanted a park that catered to the entire family. The stereotypical American amusement park was not what Walt Disney had in mind. Disney’s goal was to create a park where parents and children could have fun together and 65 years later, Walt’s dream of a place where families could go, immerse themselves in storytelling and create memories that would last a lifetime lives on.
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” ~ Walt Disney
I think Walt would approve of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, be happy that his legacy and ideals continue to live on. How will you celebrate Star Wars Day? May the 4th Be With You always and may the Force live on in us all for years to come.