May 4th is a special day for Star Wars fans everywhere—mostly because it's fun to say, "May the fourth be with you"—but the whole year is shaping up to be a doozy for anyone enamored with George Lucas' faraway galaxy. The 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disneyland Resort on May 31, and the next movie, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, debuts this December 20. California has long been a nerve center for Star Wars love, but here are 10 justifications for showing your appreciation of the series all over the Golden State this year:
1. It's the law
In Sacramento, the state capital, legislators decreed May the 4th "Star Wars Day." Folks around the capitol building celebrated by flying a giant Yoda balloon while Stormtroopers wandered the grounds. The resolution honors the creation of Galaxy's Edge, the single-largest expansion at any Disney park.
2. Reserve your spot for Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort
Between May 31 and June 23, you’ll need a reservation, along with your regular admission, to access Galaxy’s Edge. You can book your spot starting at 10 a.m. PT on May 2 (just be sure you’ve set up a Disney account beforehand). One inside track: Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels between May 31 and June 23, 2019 are also guaranteed admission to Galaxy’s Edge.
To further enhance your visit, download the Play Disney Parks app, which includes interactive smartphone games tied to the area’s two E-ticket attractions (Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and the Rise of the Resistance dark ride) as well as the terrain of the park’s Black Spire Outpost.
3. Imbibe a “Mind Trick” with sci-fi nerds in L.A.
Scum & Villainy was just a pop-up when it opened in Hollywood in 2017, inspired by the original Star Wars cantina and other sci-fi watering holes. But the self-proclaimed “friendly neighborhood geek bar” found enough fans to go fulltime. May the 4th brings contests and giveaways, but every Wednesday night is trivia night, and you can always order drinks such as the tequila-and-elderflower Mind Trick, or the peach-and-bubble-infused Gold Bourbonkini, which “gives you the energy to slay a Hutt.”
4. Come to Comic-Con for possible sneak peeks of Episode IX
Rumor has it that folks from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will appear at Comic-Con (July 18–21) in San Diego. Star Wars notables have not been at the famed convention in a few years but have a long track record of appearances—even showing up in 1976 before the original film had even debuted. There's a good chance, too, that there will be some Star Wars elements in the upcoming Comic-Con Museum, currently in the works at San Diego’s Balboa Park.
5. Can’t go to Comic-Con? Go to D23 in Anaheim
The August 23–25 confab of all things Disney is also rumored to have a big Star Wars presence—not surprising, since Galaxy’s Edge will have recently opened nearby. D23, held at the Anaheim Convention Center, will supposedly focus more on The Mandalorian, the upcoming Disney+ television series (set to premiere Nov. 12), which takes place a few years after the events of Return of the Jedi.
6. Enjoy the soundtrack under San Diego’s summer sky in August
Even if you can’t tell a Sith from a member of the First Order, anyone can enjoy John Williams’ iconic melodies, especially staged on the downtown San Diego waterfront. The San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights series will include a concert of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (Aug. 1–2) at the Embarcadero Marina Park South; tickets start at just $20.
7. Explore the LEGO-built galaxy in Carlsbad
The Star Wars section of Miniland at LEGOLAND California is gently keeping pace with the release of films. There are no new models yet based on the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, but the latest additions include a 16-foot long Finalizer model (made out of 350,000 LEGO bricks), six new brick-built Miniland scenes from The Force Awakens, and Minilanders of Rey, BB-8, Poe, Finn, and more.
8. Pay your respects at the headquarters of Lucasfilm, Ltd.
Head to one area of The Presidio in San Francisco, and you can commune with a “life-sized” statue of Yoda (granted, he wasn’t tall) outside the Letterman Digital Arts Center, home to the Star Wars masterminds. Many people think you can’t go inside, but you can explore the Lucasfilm lobby (open to the public during regular business hours) and see props, memorabilia, and costumes, along with also-life-sized Darth Vader and Boba Fett statues.
9. Seek out distant galaxies from Death Valley National Park
It may not embrace the dark side, but this massive national park in the desert played its own role in the first Star Wars film: Dante’s View, about 16 miles from Furnace Creek, was the perch from which Luke looks out onto the rough-and-tumble town of Mos Eisley. At night, meanwhile, the park has plenty of Dark Sky, having been named one of the best by the International Dark Sky Association. Check out the park’s tips for stargazing year-round.
10. Tap into your inner Jedi at Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
Along the North Coast, the park’s Cheatham Grove has drawn fans for years, after providing the setting for the scooter chase in Return of the Jedi. (Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park also played roles.) These massive redwoods will make you feel centered, no matter where you are on your personal journey.