Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek Discusses Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opening

LaughingPlace.com was invited to participate in a roundtable-style interview with Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Bob Chapek in front of the Millennium Falcon on the east coast version of the planet Batuu.

Ten things we learned from this interview:

• The lands are almost identical to each other on the west and east coasts, except for the amount of entrances and a few other minor details.
• Despite the physicality being close to identical, Chapek says the operational programming of the lands will diverge. For example, they never planned to use the reservation entry system at Walt Disney World.
• Bob is very proud of Galaxy’s Edge making Time Magazine “World’s Greatest Places” list.
• Rise of the Resistance uses five million lines of code, and its ride vehicles will have four different functions. He says it will “redefine the ambition level” for Disney attractions.<• “The fact that we don’t have back-up lines [in Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge] is actually going according to plan.” He says ten-hour waits are not a great guest experience, in an apparent dig at Universal Orlando’s Hagrid ride opening.
• The virtual queue system is planned and in place for Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios if attendance demands they employ it.
• Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be “the perfect example of the type of experience we try to create.” He compares it to the communal model of a cruise experience.
• When asked about the possibility of creatures and droids roaming the land, Chapek says Galaxy’s Edge will grow over time and add elements, but he also comments that it already has more characters than any other land because each Cast Member has their own backstory.
• He says the most important people they have to please with theme park expansions are their guests, but they also aim to please Cast Members, local communities, and Disney shareholders. “Everything we do has to work in concert.
• On the reception of the land, both aesthetically and financially: “You design and build something given a set of expectations. Over time you learn, and you find out how to manage things. But paramount to all that is that we have to have a great guest experience. And our guest experience is extraordinary.”

James is an active member of the Star Wars collecting community, and is the Brand Director for Jedi News. James is also the host of the Star Wars Collectors Cast, and co-host of RADIO 1138 on the Jedi News Network.