Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Spires, Fireworks, and Sunsets
I first stepped foot in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on the west coast on May 31st, 2019. During that weekend we had many visits including multiple foggy mornings and many lovely evenings. The one thing missing from the evening at Disneyland was, of course, a nice sunset. Sunsets that pop the sky pink and purple are rare in California, so being able to capture one with Batuu in the foreground was a near impossible feat and definitely not possible during the opening weekend. Sunset behind Batuu at Disneyland would be behind the Resistance Forest, not the actual spires of the outpost.
The image above shows the approximate sunset at Disneyland, the darker orange line being sunset and the yellow line being sunrise. This is sample data from 8/10/2019, May 31st 2019 doesn’t deviate too far from this. Due to the size of the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run facade there was no way of getting sunset pictures with ‘the falcon’ in the foreground. You might have been able to get a pinch of the bright sun above the building, but nothing that would make you say WOW… except maybe some fireworks. The launch point for fireworks at Disneyland is behind the spires and falcon, making for some impressive visuals. I captured the image below on the first night in Batuu.
Surely this can be replicated at Walt Disney World, right? Well, not exactly. Fireworks aren’t launched in the same spot behind Galaxy’s Edge at ‘world’ and the shots that would be further away aren’t that impressive. The current Hollywood Studios nighttime spectacular really isn’t a fireworks show, it’s a projection show that has a few bursts of fireworks. Anyway, the positioning of the land here at ‘world’ is a 180 degree flip of the Disneyland setup. So while no fireworks will happen at world in this spot, there’s huge potential for sunset to be over the spires with the falcon in the foreground.
Above is another snippet from SunCalc showing exactly where sunset at Walt Disney World would be: Dark orange hand is sunset, yellow is sunrise. Not only is this different from Disneyland, it’s literally the opposite direction. This is cool for a variety of reasons and the very top one being the amazing sunsets we get here in Florida. I had the opportunity to enter the land during previews and although the sunset doesn’t exactly line-up where I wanted it it was worth the hassle of bringing the camera and equipment to the park to see what could potentially happen). I was set to enter the land during a 5-9pm time slot but the rain had other plans. Arrival on Batuu didn’t happen until well after 6pm and at that point it seemed that sunset was out of the question. Gloomy skies across the board and everyone with umbrellas or ponchos.
It wasn’t looking to be the perfect evening for sunset, which is fine. Galaxy’s Edge officially opens on August 29th, 2019, and sunset won’t position itself behind the spires (in the Disneyland fireworks position) until early November. No harm no foul on bringing the camera to the park, except of course the deluge that already visited and the next one coming soon. After sitting down for a meal at Docking Bay and putting the camera away I was able to catch a glimpse at the sky out one of the open doors. The sky was pure YELLOW. I grabbed the camera and ran. What happened next was a pure dumb luck scenario.
With the sky looking bright yellow there was hope for a great pop of pink and purple in the sky. Any time that this happens in Florida you *know* what’s coming is going to be gorgeous. I wasn’t prepared for just how stunning it would be.
The sky popped pink, purple, a hint of blue, and looked of the Star Wars planet Bespin. Sometimes there’s just stupid luck that goes into sunsets at Walt Disney World. You need to be in the right place at the right time: these colors fade quickly. Whenever these sunsets happen you need to not be afraid to run around and look like a fool, you’re never going to see the other people around ever again anyway. Even with all the planning to return to Batuu in November for proper sunset with the correct angle, there’s no way to predict when the sunset will strike perfectly. I like to think that this one did. Rather unexpected, but wonderful nontheless.