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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Gets An Outpost in Downtown Disney

    On February 19th, the Disneyland Resort opened a Star Wars "outpost" in its Downtown Disney district reclaiming the former Rainforest Cafe location:

    Quote Originally Posted by OC Register
    How Disney Imagineering turned the Rainforest Cafe into a Star Wars rebel base in Downtown Disney

    By Brady MacDonald

    If Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland is locked into a very specific timeline in the epic space opera, then the new Star Wars Trading Post in Downtown Disney encompasses every story, character and era from a galaxy far, far away.

    “It’s a place to celebrate all things Star Wars,” Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Kirstin Makela said in a video interview. “We want this to be a space that grows with the fandom and has the ability to celebrate all the different characters and adventures that unfold.”

    The new Downtown Disney Trading Post solves a problem created by Imagineering’s commitment to telling a thin slice of the Star Wars story in Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

    From a storytelling standpoint, the Galaxy’s Edge lands exist in a time period between the events of “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” — the last two films in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

    From a merchandising standpoint, the strict storytelling rules in Galaxy’s Edge mean that the residents of Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu are unaware of the sweeping Star Wars movie saga — because they’re living it. That also means a vast swath of Star Wars merchandise can’t be sold in the Star Wars lands.

    The new Downtown Disney shop doesn't have any such restrictions. The Star Wars Trading Post serves as a one-stop shop inside a secret rebel base where all of the stories in the galaxy can be told — and sold.

    “We have so many fans that love all the different movies and adventures that have come out — whether they’ve been there from the start or if they are new fans or somewhere in between,” Makela said. “We want to create a space where they can shop for all the new merchandise that goes along with all these different adventures and different stories, especially as the Star Wars universe continues to grow, change and evolve.”

    The new Downtown Disney Trading Post also sells items found in Galaxy’s Edge — something that was never supposed to happen. Disney once boasted that the merchandise sold in Galaxy’s Edge would be exclusively available in the Star Wars land. But COVID-19 has changed everything.

    “We’re not taking you to a specific destination,” Makela said. “But it still gives you the chance to celebrate your love for the fandom and to lean into the different characters that are special to you.” “It’s more of an open environment for us to really play with all of those different stories, especially as things evolve with all the new content that’s coming down the pipeline on Disney+ and different channels,” Makela said. “It gives us the flexibility to really embrace all of those different Star Wars stories.”

    That flexibility will become increasingly important now that Lucasfilm has unveiled nearly a dozen new Star Wars series and movies that will either debut on Disney+ or eventually end up on the streaming service after a theatrical run.

    At first glance, the pairing of a Star Wars gift shop with the former Rainforest Cafe might not make sense. But Disney fan sites have pointed out that the Star Wars jungle planet of Yavin-4 features Mayan-style structures similar to the Rainforest Cafe exterior.

    The design vernacular of the new Star Wars Trading Post in Downtown Disney draws on references from many Star Wars stories, according to Makela.

    “The things that are developed for the films really have such a strong design vernacular that when you see them you immediately remember all your favorite adventures and characters,” Makela said. “A lot of times people tend to automatically think Star Wars is some type of sci-fi, futuristic adventure, but really it comes from more of a rough and tough Western type of thing. We lean into that aesthetic.”

    Makela was a core creative member of the Imagineering team that designed and guided the creation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. As art director for Galaxy’s Edge, Makela serves as the creative guardian of the Star Wars land as it continues to evolve and change.

    The Rainforest Cafe exterior has been transformed into a mysterious and funky jungle temple used as a Resistance base camp. Satellite antennas have been placed on top of lighting sconces at the entrance. Electrical panels have been added near the front door while exhaust vents have appeared atop a temple tower. Cable wires and camouflage netting have been tossed haphazardly over an outdoor balcony. Rey’s iconic speeder sits in front of the former rain forest-themed restaurant.

    “It feels like one of those clandestine places you may find in Star Wars adventures,” Makela said. “It really brings those emotions to life — that sense that you’re going to this unique place where you don’t know what stories are going to unfold. We thought that would be a great place to build off of for the Trading Post.”

    Star Wars props also fill the interior of the new Downtown Disney Trading Post. Resistance tactical displays can be found inside the shop along with Grogu’s hover pram from “The Mandalorian”.

    Imagineers were able to repurpose a lot of the Rainforest Cafe infrastructure while “leaning into the idea of a secret temple,” Makela said.
    Figment! aka Jason o
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  4. #2
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    Wow...didn't realize the Rainforest Cafe had exited. Maybe they can repurpose Planet Hollywood to a Death Star outpost if they decide to vacate too...sad.
    Beth & David

    09/82 Treehouse Villas, 06/86 BVP, 10/95 CBR, 10/99 DI, 08/03 PORS, 10/05 POP, 11/06 AKL, 09/09 POLY, 10/10 Wonder, 05/11 Dream/PORS, 08/13 POLY, 11/13 GF, 04/15 POLY, 11/15 BLT, 11/16 Aulani, 03/17 BLT, 08/18 BLT, 07/19 AKL
    , 06/21 BLT

  5. #3
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    This sounds like a fun addition to Disneyland ... and of course Disney wants every chance for people to spend money!
    Heather aka ibelieveindisneymagic
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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldburke
    Wow...didn't realize the Rainforest Cafe had exited. Maybe they can repurpose Planet Hollywood to a Death Star outpost if they decide to vacate too...sad.
    I think you might be on the wrong coast.

    Article is about the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney at the Disneyland resort. It closed a while back when they were going to make way for a new hotel that never came to be.

    Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood Observatory are still operating at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.
    Figment! aka Jason o
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  7. Likes baldburke liked this post
  8. #5
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    I just unpacked my souvenir cup from Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. Sad to see it go.
    I'll meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Figment! View Post
    I think you might be on the wrong coast.

    Article is about the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney at the Disneyland resort. It closed a while back when they were going to make way for a new hotel that never came to be.

    Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood Observatory are still operating at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.
    Indeed! I saw that after our Canadian friend posted. ��
    Beth & David

    09/82 Treehouse Villas, 06/86 BVP, 10/95 CBR, 10/99 DI, 08/03 PORS, 10/05 POP, 11/06 AKL, 09/09 POLY, 10/10 Wonder, 05/11 Dream/PORS, 08/13 POLY, 11/13 GF, 04/15 POLY, 11/15 BLT, 11/16 Aulani, 03/17 BLT, 08/18 BLT, 07/19 AKL
    , 06/21 BLT

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