Disney’s Hollywood Studios is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and with that comes anticipation for new park attractions opening in the near future.
News 6 recently got a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, opening Aug. 29, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, opening in spring 2020 at the Chinese Theater.
Jon Georges, executive producer for the 14-acre Star Wars expansion, said it will be the largest in the park’s history.
“Our signature attraction when we open will be Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which gives you an opportunity to get behind the controls –in the cockpit — of that iconic ship with you and five friends and actually fly that on a super-secret smuggling mission for the first time,” Georges said.
The goal is for guests to feel like they’re in a galaxy far, far away.
“The land itself is like another attraction. The immersion, the food and beverage, the merchandise, the interactivity all of that is fully in the Star Wars story and reinforces the fact that you’re actually on the planet Batuu,” Georges said.
He acknowledged the hype around the new expansion and promised it will live up to all the excitement.
“We’ve been waiting for over 42 years — we being Star Wars fans of the world — to go to a place that’s fully immersive and fully in-story and I think the Imagineers and the partners at Lucas Films have really delivered on that promise,” he said.
The new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride is also designed to be an immersive experience, this time into the world of animated shorts.
“The Chinese Theater is the perfect setting, and I think as we think about these cartoon shorts that kids are watching right now, to be able to dive in to that, like the wacky world of the shorts, and we take them through that ride, this is really the first attraction we’ve ever created that has Mickey and Minnie, our real hero and heroine, as the forefront, as the real guiding characters,” general manager of entertainment Amy Ardelean said.
Cast members T.J. Wollar and Kevin Brassard said they’ve been working at Disney since the early days and have seen the changes the parks have undergone.
“I’ve been part of the past, present and future of the Studios. It has been wonderful. I’ve been with Disney for 35 years but the Studios is my home,” Wollar said.
Even decades later, their excitement hasn’t died down.
“I haven’t worked in 30 years; I’ve played for 30 years and enjoyed every single minute of it,” Brassard said.