After years of wondering when Disney would build an entire theme park land, years of rumors, speculation, confirmation, teasing, excitement, curiosity and other words, we can now finally access an entire area of a theme park that was built from the ground up for Star Wars. And long story short, it was well worth the wait, mostly. But what about a more in depth review? I can do that, so let’s take a stroll over to the planet of Batuu and check out all that Galaxy’s Edge has to offer. Keep in mind as well, this will only be looking at the Hollywood Studios version (granted there aren’t any major differences between the two) and Rise of the Resistance has not opened as of writing this article. So my opinion can and probably will change once it does.
Let’s start by looking at the actual land, the layout and how it looks. Bottom line, this is the most beautiful theme park land I have ever been in. The architecture is 100% what you would see in a Star Wars movie. Lush green plants, weathered buildings and the petrified black trees really pulls you into the land. But the other thing are the full size replicas of ships. A-Wing, X-Wing, First Order Transport Ship and, the most famous space ship ever made, the Millennium Falcon. And you will randomly see Chewbacca and/or Rey working on the A-Wing or Falcon. That’s the other great thing about the land is that it feels lived in. You will see First Order Storm Troopers patrolling, Rey will be hiding from them (also heard her refer to the Falcon as the ship that made the Kessel Run in 14 Parsecs which was a nice nod to Episode VII) and every single cast member is in character. I have read some people complain about this (some more exaggerated than others), but I like it. There are no dollars, only credits. While it can throw you off at first hearing new lingo, I was, once you spend some more time in the land, it’s easy to pick up on it. Walking around is an attraction on it’s own. Yes, it can feel empty in some places. But that’s the charm of it. It can make for great people watching at times and is cool seeing the characters interact with everyone (like droid races hosted by Rey and Chewbacca). There is also next to no background music. Some people may not enjoy this since Star Wars has some of the best music in cinematic history. But once again, it adds to the experience. You wouldn’t be hearing the Star Wars theme if you were walking through a bazaar. Or any music. Hearing natural sounds of wildlife, ships taking off and conversations, that’s the best BGM. It creates more immersion into this land that I don’t think gets appreciated enough.
Ooga’s Cantina is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Yes, it is small. There is no getting around that, but so are the cantina’s in the movies and it’s still bigger than most places in Wizarding World. The drinks are good and they have a big variety in terms of variety of having different liquors as the base for them. But having them pre-mixed is kind of weird, but I get it from an efficiency perspective. The bartenders were surly when I went, but I like that little detail since it adds to making me feel like I’m in a seedy bar in the Star Wars Universe. But the best part of this is DJ R3-X and his tunes. I, like everyone, would LOVE to have this loop available for purchase or download on Apple Music. It features remixes of classic Star Wars music as well as some originals, but it feels like a club mix. It helps in making the 45 minutes you’ll spend in here very enjoyable, and if you’re like me you’ll start dancing and end up on someone’s Snapchat.
Docking Bay 7
The quick service location and it was the most okay food I’ve had. I had the Yobshrimp Noodle Salad which wasn’t very filling, or flavorful, or good. My fiance had the Fried Endorian Tip-yip which is their version of chicken tenders and they were infinitely better. I would advise against being adventurous here as the more you are, the less good and more expensive it is. No sporks here thanks to those dang eBay resellers in Disneyland. But overall the experience wasn’t bad. It was cool hearing ships take off and land while I was eating. But I would probably eat before coming to Batuu.
I refuse to pay $13 for a hot dog taco so I didn’t try this. Because it is $13 for just ONE hot dog taco. If it were $7, I’d buy it.
Blue Milk is okay and Green Milk gives me PTSD. I’ve heard that the alcoholic versions are better, but I did not try them. Most because I didn’t feel the bases of them were that great.
The shops are filled with what you would expect to have in a Star Wars shop. Disney definitely learned from Launch Bay on what level of quality to go for the merchandise offerings. Granted, you have your standard t-shirts, keychains, magnets and the like. However the quality on these items is phenomenal. Yes, they are more expensive. But you pay for quality. Favorite pieces include Jedi Garb, a Sabbak card game, the entire plush line you can buy at Toydarian Toymakers, and patches and banners for both First Order and Resistance. But there are two merchandise experiences that you do have to pay to do.
Building a droid is pretty cool. For $99 you get to build your choice of R or BB unit and you can add different parts, domes and colors to it. You can even give it a personality chip to change how the droid reacts in certain parts of the land (like Made With Magic but Star Wars). It is really cool to have your droid who has a First Order chip start growling in a Resistance area. However, the BB droids do have a tendency to loose their heads. The actual experience is similar to Build Your Own Lightsaber in that you go down an assembly line to pick parts. Some people I’ve heard loved it. Others I’ve heard thought it was okay. But the other experience…
This is what you can call an E-Ticket merchandise experience. Clocking in at a $199 entry fee, you can build your own lightsaber. But unlike the ones you could build previously at WDW, these aren’t made of plastic. The blade is plexiglass and can be removed from the hilt, which is made of metal and so are the pieces you can attach to it. You start the experience choosing one of four categories which will dictate which pieces you are allowed to pick from when constructing your saber. They take around 20 into the workshop at a time to make for a more intimate experience. You are told the tale of the lightsaber and how you will get to build one. The first piece you pick it the kyber crystal, which dictates the color of the saber. The options are red, blue green and purple, but another shop sells yellow and white crystals that also work in the sabers (and it’s really easy to change out crystals on the fly). The entire experience is amazing and makes crafting a $200 toy seem amazing and special. There are plans apparently to sell extra pieces to even further mix and match, but they have not been put out for sale as of this article’s release. They also give you a nice carrying case to keep it stored in while in the park. But be warned, stormtroopers will give you an hard time if they see you walking around with your, “scrap metal.” So keep it in the case, expect for photos.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
As of now, this is the only ride available in Galaxy’s Edge. But it is a ride that can either be really good, really bad, really okay or an absolute riot based on who is in the cabin with you. The ride has you joining Hondo Onaka’s (from Clone Wars and Rebels) crew and you are given the Falcon on loan from Chewbacca to pull a train robbery and steal coaxium. First, the queue is absolutely massive and everything is built to proper scale. So the big engine that is inside the line is how it would really appear if you were in Star Wars. It is also long to help in accommodating the large amounts of people expected to show up on any given day to ride. However, the ride moves people through incredibly quickly so you’ll never be in one place too long barring any downtimes. You are sorted into groups of six to control the Falcon. There are three positions you could be, Pilot, Gunner or Engineer and two of each are available. In order of personal preference is Pilot is least fun (you can hold one button the entire ride and be fine, how is that fun), Engineer is second most fun (you have to repair the ship by pressing series of buttons as they light up, which can be frantic if your pilots can’t fly) and Pilot is my absolute favorite thing to do in any Disney Park (you get to fly the Millennium Falcon which is amazing, left pilot controls horizontal movement and right pilot controls vertical movement and makes the jump to light speed). First of, stepping onto the Falcon to board is amazing. Sure, you can only go into one or two rooms, but it is amazing to see a complete recreation of the most famous spaceship ever made. Now the actual ride will vary on how much you enjoy it based on everyone else’s skill level. I have heard of rides where the pilot do absolutely nothing and it kills it. I have been on rides where we did everything perfectly with random strangers and it was great. I did a ride where we did everything to crash and destroy the Falcon and I have never had more fun on a ride. So it can be a gamble on if you’re going to enjoy the ride and I can eventually see an auto pilot override option for some seats getting added in. But for what it is now, it is a great and phenomenal ride sometimes. But for an E-Ticket attraction to allow the riders to control a motion simulator’s pitch in real time and allow you to fail the mission is a technical marvel. While not the best ride ever, it is still a must do.
Rise of the Resistance
(So this isn’t done yet. They have said some further details about the ride, like multiple ride systems, life size AT-AT’s and a drop. But as of this writing, no one has ridden it. So I’ll update this once I have been on it and properly digested what I rode)
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is the most ambitious Disney Parks land ever created. I personally feel it blows Pandora out of the water for the sole immersion aspect and that it is better laid out for walking and guest flow. Yes, a lot of things got cut. But I blame that on guests and the logistics of having to bring hundreds of people in hours ahead of working for hair and makeup rather than budget cuts. Ultimately, it is an amazing land that deserves all of the praise it has gotten so far. Is it perfect, no but what land is? But it still stands as the best land in Walt Disney World. There were times where I completely forgot that I was a 5 minute walk from Rockin’ Roller Coaster and it was next door to Toy Story Land. It is something to see and be amazed at. So make the jump to light speed and check out Batuu. But don’t go too fast or you’ll go to plaid and miss it.