Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Disneyland 2020 or How I Learned to Love The Star Wars

For years when people asked me something about Star Wars I would have to sigh and patiently explain that I'm not a Star Wars fan, which led to everything from mild shock to being chased with torches and pitchforks. To make a long story short my beef with Star Wars was that I found it to be an overwritten exploitative marketing exercise with a toxic fan base to rival Rick and Morty, so for the most part I just stayed away whenever I could.

And Then Came The Baby...

With the lead up to Disney+ coming out a lot of talk was floating around The Mandalorian, the new Star Wars series exclusive to the streaming service, for which I cared about as much as I care about hip new trends in nail files. Either way I was getting the service for access to the Disney vault and Gargoyles. And then memes of the Child, AKA Baby Yoda started cropping up, and his cute eyes and those big green ears melted through my cynicism enough to sit down with my wife and watch the first episode of The Mandalorian

Then we binged the series and were in love. 

The Galaxy's Edge
Last week I found myself in Disneyland, the happiest place on earth and my home away from home. I was of course aware of the new Galaxy's Edge, the so called new "Star Wars Land", and before had no interest in it for the reasons listed above, but this time I was with five children and was on a personal hunt for Baby Yoda swag so off we went to Galaxy's Edge.

First thing I noticed about Disneyland was that it seemed that everyone was decked out for Star Wars. Gone were most of the princess and Mickey Mouse tee shirts to be replaced with Boba Fett, Chewie, and Han Solo outfits. I even saw several adorable Reys wandering around complete with triple bun hairdos. The fans I'd thought toxic for so long had invaded my precious happy place en masse, covering my beautiful fairy tale world with their sci-fi rubbish. (Yes, I know Star Tours has been a fixture at Disneyland for years, but I'm making a point). 

I honestly wasn't sure I was expecting when we first passed through Frontier Land into Galaxy's Edge, certainly not what I found. here was a life-size representation of the Star Wars universe. It was like Hogsmeade at Universal Studios or Radiator Springs in California Adventure, a fully immersive world filled with wall to wall fans enjoying themselves. It didn't just feel like Star Wars, it felt like Disneyland.

That's when it happened. All those years of resentment and anger faded and that little boy who dreamed of becoming Darth Maul, the one who saved his allowance to buy the Lego speeder with Luke and Obi Wan, the one who spent countless hours running around with HK-47 and Mission Vao in Knights of the Old Republic trying to get all the dark side points emerged. I was a fan again. 

Don't get me wrong, I didn't spring for a lightsaber. Or a droid. Or a $22,000 R2-D2, Mainly because a majority of my money had already gone to pins and stuffed baby Groot, but also because for $22,000 the thing had better repair my car. I did love the experience though. We were even lucky enough to win a spot in the new Rise of the Resistance ride, which further cemented my reemerging fandom with animatronics I honestly mistook for actors at first. I watched Stormtroopers take a woman from the crowd and accuse her of being a rebel spy and then do a fun comedy routine for the crowd. 

This trip is my tenth time to Disneyland in seven years, and while each time has had its own memories (losing a hat covered in pins, crying when I first met Mickey Mouse, being wished happy birthday by Elsa from her float to name a few), this one will go down in my personal history as the time I fell back in love with Star Wars

Clone Wars is still crap. 


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