Obviously, my recent trip to Disney World had a positive impact on me, and I thought it would. It had been decades since I was really able to take a trip like that and just enjoy it without a whole lot of tag along projects. I could write a lot about all the positive experiences I had the week I was in Orlando at Disney World visiting all the parks and Disney Springs in general. But specifically I observed in the context of creativity some jaw dropping elements put forth by the new Star Wars land they call Galaxy’s Edge and I had a kind of moment after it all soaked in where I was in the Oga’s Cantina, a kind of recreation of the popular spaceport bar that was seen in the very first Star Wars movie way back in 1977, and I was awe struck. It was 2019, I was 51 years old and remember seeing that place for the first time in the movie and buying the album of the soundtrack and listening to the music over and over again on a record player. That popular cantina song was the gateway for my generation to science fiction and adventure, and here was the real thing, and they were selling drinks to an adult audience with barely standing room only around the bar. I included a few video clips of my point of view from the cantina that night here for reference, but it was really quite ostentatious that I could leave where I was having a couple of drinks with my wife and go outside to see the Millennium Falcon sitting there in a setting that belonged in a movie of the most fantastic type. It was quite an achievement to build, let alone experience and I couldn’t help but feel that something very important was happening to our human species.
Imagination had stepped over a kind of intellectual barrier and a new reality had been created born from a new kind of thinking driven by myth. Before visiting the cantina that night I had purchased from the marketplace just around the corner a much-desired deck of Sabacc cards which I had been waiting for really all of my life. After hundreds of books that I had read on that popular intergalactic poker game, finally Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge had invented a real game with real cards that could only be bought at that location and I was having quite a time with them. It was all a bit overwhelming and I had a lot of thoughts about what should come next to such an experience. Since a new reality has been born there at Galaxy’s Edge, and from the looks of the crowd, that cantina wasn’t big enough, nor would it be in the future I am offering my thoughts to help the story advance based on my observations. Granted, I never thought such a place would have ever been possible. But since it is, we should talk about improvements.
I’m not much of a drinker, so going to the cantina at Galaxy’s Edge was more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m not into the drinking songs and other things that go on in bars. But I do think the cantina should be more of a social destination, a place to meet people, get away from the heat of the day, and to freshen up. Since that cantina has the reservations booked for the whole day before you can even enter the park, its not a relaxing place to go. It’s certainly cool, but not relaxing. If I were program managing Galaxy’s Edge, I would offer some free advice to them–they need to build several more cantinas around the complex. The one they have isn’t enough. They need at least two more, and both of those need to be larger. They can be in the designs of other locations in the movies, but it is very obvious that Star Wars fans going to Galaxy’s Edge want to hang out and talk to other fans without a time limit, so more cantina space is required.
Also, the cantina management need to give happy hour prices to fans who cosplay, so that there are more people in the cantina who look like people from all over the Star Wars galaxy. Many people would willingly dress up in creature costumes if they could get significant costs knocked off their drinks and that would solve the environment problem of having the place full of non-Star Wars looking tourists. I would be surprised to learn that this wasn’t already happening, but I must suggest it because it’s the most logical thing to consider. That was really the only thing missing is the atmosphere full of strange creatures. Everything else looked great.
Additionally, as I had my drinks watching the crowds feeling like the best thing to do would be to have a good Sabacc game at the bar or in one of the booths. The booths around the outside parameter were full of families so such a game wouldn’t be possible. The cantina staff wanted quick turnover inside to make room for the lines of people outside, so playing Sabacc in the cantina just wasn’t an option and it should be. In fact, Disney I think has done such a good job marketing their new Sabacc game, that I think in a year or so there will be so many people playing it that they should host Sabacc tournaments at Galaxy’s Edge the way that poker tournaments are held in Vegas. I would go, I love the game. In a lot of ways I think it is much better than poker or black jack and it is otherworldly enough to allow participants to embroil themselves into the Star Wars mythology. Fantasy Flight Games has had great success with their X-Wing games and other Star Wars games. This Sabacc game would be the perfect meeting game in Galaxy’s Edge for years to come and would really enhance the cantina feel that you should experience when you enter those types of places. That would make the cantina more of a function than just a novelty act.
Going even further, I would think a cantina like Oga’s, except much, much, larger should be build at Disney Springs and it is there that yearly Sabacc championships should be played from players all over the country. The stakes could be simple, a week vacation package for four to the parks and hotels, that way it wouldn’t be gambling where money is exchanged, but still the prize would be in the tens of thousands and worth practicing all year to have a chance to win. And the tournaments could be broadcast on Disney+ the way poker games are broadcast on cable networks currently. I’ve been playing the game since I picked it up that day and it would be very good for television, and for cantina events.
All things come from imagination, even the games of our past like poker. When film and literature create in the imaginations of people the kind of demand I saw at Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, we are on the frontier of some new kind of thinking, and that is very exciting. I can see future engineers for space stations on Mars and beyond playing Sabacc to pass the time on those long space voyages that they started learning to play at Galaxy’s Edge in one of these cantinas. Its more appropriate for the future than the games of the past, and that is something that is astonishing to see, how intellect is inspiring creations not born of rigid societies, but of creativity and vastly expanding mythology.