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My leap into hyper space; First blasts, hyperspace, of asteroids travel WITH SALLY MCLEAN s.mclean@dailyrecord.co.uk Disney theme park, with its Millennium Falcon simulator, means Stars Wars is no longer in a galaxy far, far away.

Byline: JULIE DELAHAYE

sally PILOTING the Millennium Falcon, I've dodged the First Order's laser blasts, jumped to hyperspace, navigated a field of asteroids and smuggled some goods back for the Resistance.

I've earned my pint of Blue Milk.

It's been (light) years in the making but the $1billion Star Wars-themed land at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, is finally open.

I got an exclusive first Luke at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge before it opened to the wider galaxy, and it did not disappoint.

An obvious highlight was the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon (more on that later), while the Play Disney Parks app made for a fun way to interact with the land.

It's a fully immersive experience with themed food and cast members you engage with. And it will soon be coming to a galaxy a little less far, far away when the exact same attraction opens in Walt Disney World, Orlando, later this year.

From the moment I first arrived on the planet of Batuu (the specially created setting for this land), I was mingling with smugglers, Stormtroopers from the First Order, and members of the Resistance. As a huge Star Wars fan, it was pretty overwhelming. You're treated like a real character - give the Stormtroopers some lip and you could face some questioning, help a Resistance member to hide and you may be rewarded with tips to find the land's hidden gems.

So, what are the highlights? Let me Leia it all down for you...

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run The chance to fly the galaxy's most famous piece of junk is any Star Wars fan's dream and honestly, this ride delivers. It was so much fun.

You're assigned one of three roles - pilot, gunner or engineer - and throughout the ride, you'll be given separate instructions to navigate the galaxy, complete a mission and make a few jumps through hyperspace along the way.

The mission? Help smuggler Hondo Ohnaka to get his hands on some precious cargo.

I tried all three roles but pilot was easily my favourite. There are six of you in the ship, two in each role, and you have to work as a team.

Sat inside the cockpit, surrounded by screens that make for a VR-style experience, I really felt as if I was flying the ship throughout the four-and-a-half minute adventure.

If you crash (I may have had a bump or two), you feel the effects as the ride shakes and red lights flash - but luckily I had a great team of engineers. The queues and holding rooms are themed so you feel like you are walking around the ship, and there are in-app games to play while you queue.

Play Disney Parks App Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge doesn't actually have much in terms of rides. There's Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run and then a Rise of the Resistance ride yet to open.

But what's quite special about the land is that you can spend your time interacting with it through the Play Disney Parks app ( free but you need to create an account).

By that I mean you can solve puzzles to "hack" droids and machinery, scan QR codes to discover hidden secrets, or take on missions. All done from your phone.

It's really easy to use and there is something fun about working out the puzzles to unlock clues and searching for specific buildings or ships in order to find the codes.

One highlight for me was successfully hacking a DJ droid in Oga's Cantina, which wreaked a little havoc as it meant bar staff had to react and play out a fun mini storyline!

You can also team up with other players - choose to work for the Resistance or First Order (I was nearly tempted by the Dark Side) and get to work solving the puzzles.

The food (and cocktails) You won't go hungry on Batuu - there are so many different food options whether you're after a quick snack or a heartier meal.

Top of my list was the famous Blue Milk, which Luke Skywalker drinks. I thought the blue colour may have been the only interesting part but it's actually a really tasty and refreshing coconut and pineapple-type smoothie.

Looking for a snack? Head to Kat Saka's Kettle where you can pick up a bag of colourful popcorn.

As for cocktails, head to Oga's Cantina. Think cosy booths, a droid DJ and Insta-worthy drinks whether you opt for the alcoholic or non-alcoholic options. The merchandise Throughout the land there are pretty cool trinkets to be found.

on September 30, a Park Hopper Accommodation virginholidays.3859. Tourist com com For those looking to splurge, there's Savi's Workshop, where you can handbuild your own lightsaber to take home - there are more than 120,000 possible combinations using all of the available pieces.

Know the droids you're looking for? Head to the Droid Depot, where you can build your very own companion, which can begin interacting with the land immediately.

However, these experiences don't come particularly cheap - the lightsabers are about PS160 each, although you do get a full experience of choosing the parts ? Flying from Glasgow on June 20, 14 nights B&B at the 3* Hotel Arda, Bulgaraia PS367pp & PS973 Fam3 Flying from Glasgow on June 26, 7 nights AI at the 3* Panorma Sidari, Corfu, PS1103 Fam3 & PS1507 Fam4 Flying from Glasgow in June 27, 7 nights AI at the 3* Colina Mar, Gran Canaria, PS1317 Fam3 & PS1857 Fam4 For these deals and more, visit www.holidayandflightcentre.

com or call 01698 425444.

. ? Fly from Glasgow/ Edinburgh June 14-23 2019, 7 nights HB at the 4* VIK San Antonio, Playa de Los Pocillos Lanzarote, from PS509pp Fly from Glasgow on June 18, 3 nights RO at the 4* Centro Hotel Berlin Kurfurstendamm, Berlin from PS279pp Fly from Glasgow on June 17, 7 nights AI at the 5* Helena Park, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, from PS479pp For these and other deals go to www.stewarttravel.co.uk OR visit your nearest Stewart Travel store OR call 0800 091 2757 ? Flying from Glasgow on June 17, 7 nights B&B at the 3* Samira Resort Hotel & Apts Turkey, Kalkan, from PS255pp.

Flying from Glasgow on June 16, 7 nights HB at the 3* California Garden Costa Dorada, Salou, from PS379pp Flying from Glasgow on June 26, 14 nights AI at the 3* Sol Cayo Coco, Cuba, from PS855pp For these deals and more, visit www.

barrheadtravel.co.uk or call 0141 222 2223.

California from PS620 per flights from Heathrow Disneyland Resort car hire.

and a backstory, featuring Yoda, too.

included. 0344 557 visitorlando. disney.go.

If you're on a budget, then you may want to head to the Marketplace, where there are fun souvenirs to be found - from plush Porgs and more alien creatures in the "pet shop", to themed clothing and quirky toys. The verdict? Star Wars fans, you're going to love it.

It's a nod to both the classic and newer films, it's immersive, and you get to pilot the Millennium Falcon.

May the Force be with you.

Holidays has seven nights in California from PS620 per person, including Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow on September 30, a three-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket and car hire.

Accommodation not included. virginholidays.co.uk, 0344 557 3859. Tourist info: visitorlando.

featuring too.

com disneyland.disney.go.

where you can handbuild lightsaber to take are more than com disneyworld.

If you're on a budget, may want to head to where there are disney.go.com

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 8, 2019
Words:1254
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