An in-depth review of every experience offered at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the eyes of a lifelong Star Wars fan shows where Disney succeeds and where Disney can improve.
On May 31st, 2019, the newest land at the Disneyland Resort, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, finally opened and let guest travel to the planet of Batuu to explore and create their own Star Wars story. There are many things to experience once you’ve made it to Batuu such as stopping for a drink at Oga’s Cantina or building your own Droid at the Droid Depot. Just walking around the land you can tell that Disney put a lot of time and effort in making this experience memorable to not only the fans of the Star Wars franchise but to everyone who gets a chance to visit Batuu. While many guests will be blown away by this immersive land that Disney has created one has to wonder what will the fans of the Star Wars Franchise think of the land? As someone who spent most of their childhood obsessing over Star Wars, from watching the movies/TV shows, playing the games, reading the books/comics I think I qualify as a Star Wars fan. So here is my Star Wars fans review of Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge.
Disclaimer: These are all my thoughts and opinions as a lifelong Star Wars fan. Everyone is entitled to their own.
The planet of Batuu
The first thing that impressed me about the land was the transition from Disneyland to the planet of Batuu. We entered through the entrance located next to the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country. The transition is slow as the forest of Critter Country slowly becomes the outskirts of Batuu which is pointed out by the light fixture and trash cans that inhabit Batuu. Next, you’re greeted by some Resistance merch and an A-wing and X-wing which both look amazing. Follow that path and you reach Black Spire Outpost (BSO) which is, to quote Anakin Skywalker, where the fun begins. BSO look amazing the buildings, although brand new, look like they have seen better days as many of the walls have cracks or blaster marks and even some lightsaber scares. All around you can also find Droids of all shapes and sizes such as GNK Droids, Broken Spy Droids, Astromech droids, protocol droids and even a few broken down battle droids. Every inch of this land has some reference to the prequel, original trilogy, and sequels. The character interactions are phenomenal while waiting in line for Droid Depot two First Order Storm Troopers approached us and asked us about our allegiance to the First Order. The Datapad (Play Disney Parks App) are super fun and interactive with the land as well as this is where you build your Star Wars story. On the Datapad you get missions and earn credits for doing these mission around Batuu. These missions do come with a choice and that is whether you stand with the Resistance or the First Order and whoever you choose affects your character profile. Along with missions the Datapad also allows you to hack droids, decipher the Aurebesh (basically the Star Wars alphabet) everywhere, and even tune in to different radio frequencies that further the story and immersion in this land. Overall, the planet of Batuu is filled with fan service that you can tell it was built for Star Wars fans by Star Wars fans.
One of the first things that we did on our visit to Batuu was to build a droid so that we can carry him throughout our adventure at the Droid Depot. Thomas’s younger brother, Toby, chose to build a BB-Unit droid. He decided to go with an all black droid with a Resistance personality chip inside. The experience seems like a lot of fun as you pay for your droid (about 108 Dollars) then proceed to select your droid from a conveyor belt full of droid pieces that come in different shapes and colors. Once all the pieces are selected you then get to pick out a few more customizable pieces, assemble your droid, and finally run a diagnostic test to assure that your droid is working properly. You then have an option of buying other accessories for your droids such as decals, extra parts, and personality chips if you choose to do so. For the price of about 108 dollars, this experience is not only totally worth it but also fulfills many Star Wars fans dream of building their very own droid. Something to note is that the day after we returned from Batuu the BB unit was no longer working and we couldn’t figure out why.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Every Star Wars fan dream of one day piloting the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy is finally here and spoiler warning its fricking incredible. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is currently the only ride open at Galaxy’s Edge with The Rise of the Resistance attraction opening later this year. This ride is basically a flight simulation but to the next level as there is a lot more to do than just simulate flight. The ride holds six people inside each with their own role which are pilot, gunner, and engineer. The pilots fly the ship with the right pilot moving the Falcon up and down and punching it to Hyperspace while the left pilot controls left and right. The gunner’s job is to shoot anything that tries to stop you from stealing your precious cargo. The engineer’s job is to make sure the Falcon is working properly and also to shoot harpoons at the cargo you are stealing. During our flight, Thomas and I were fortunate enough to get pilot and let’s just say it was an awesome but very bumpy ride. Everything about the experience was great from all of us shouting inside the cockpit making sure we were doing our jobs to the very end where we saw just how much damage we caused to the Falcon. The preshow and preboarding area are also fun and immersive with Hondo Ohnaka giving you your mission and sitting by the Holochess board waiting to play a game of Dejarik. If I had to pick something out about this ride its that once you’re inside the Falcon you can’t open the floorboards and hide so that you can stay on Batuu forever. This ride and everything about it is Fan Service and while there are people who have complained about the ride I’ve heard nothing but positive comments on it.
No trip to Batuu would be complete without heading over to Savi’s Workshop and building your very own lightsaber. Now, this is the experience that I was both excited for and feared for because this could either be an amazing experience that I would remember for years to come or it could be an epic failure and I would never come back to Batuu ever again. Good News, I’m going back to Batuu because the build your own lightsaber experience is amazing! While this is the most expensive experience in Batuu, the experience will run you 215 dollars, its the one that every Star Wars fan should experience at least once. From the way, the gatherers disguise this experience as nothing more than a scrap yard to when you’re inside and have completed your build every moment of this was made with the fans in mind. I won’t speak much of this experience as I want everyone to experience this as I did but what I can say is that while yes this experience is the most expensive and it took forever for our appointment to be ready I could not stop smiling once inside. In all honesty, once we finished our build and I saw everyone lift their lightsaber up in the air I cried because this is what the child in me has always wanted. To any Disney Imagineer or anyone who worked on this experience, I wish to say thank you for bringing one of my childhood dreams into reality.
Food and Merchandise
Unfortunately, during my trip to Batuu, I did not get to experience Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, the main sit down restaurant of Batuu, or Oga’s Cantina. What I did get to experience though was Ronto Roasters, The Milk Stand and everything in the Bazaar. The Ronto Roasters has one of the coolest designs as it has a giant Pod Racer engine strung up and being used to cook the meat that this quick service restaurant is serving. I tried both the Ronto Wrap and Nuna Turkey Jerky and they were both really good. I love the Ronto wrap so much to say that it will be my go-to meal whenever I visit Batuu. Nuna Turkey Jerky was alright, for those who love jerky I feel like this will also be your go-to snack around Batuu. The Milk Stand sells both blue and green milk which are both made famous by Luke Skywalker. The Blue milk was sweet and tasted somewhat like a pina colada and the green milk had more of a passion fruit taste to it both are very good drinks and worth the try. The bazaar was unlike any other gift shop that Disneyland has created as it actually feels like each one of these stalls is owned by a local of Batuu. The bazaar is where you will find shops like Toydarian ToyMaker, The Creature Stall, Black Spire Outfitters and Jewels of Bith. Each one of these stands sells unique items that Star Wars fans will go crazy over whether it be Jedi robes, A Porg, or even Sabacc there is something here for everyone. I also got a chance to visit Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and this is where the good stuff is at! If you’re looking for Legacy Lightsabers (Replicas of lightsabers wielded by famous Jedi), Kyber Crystal, or Sith/Jedi Holocrons then Dok-Ondar’s is the place to go. The theming in here is amazing and the Dok-Ondar animatronic is surreal.
Overall, Disney outdid themselves when creating this immersive new land and I applaud them for that. Batuu is unlike anything you can imagine and for Star Wars fans its a dream come true. I can’t recommend enough to try and visit Savi’s Workshop and build your own lightsaber as its an unforgettable experience. Also, download the Play Disney Parks app on your phone so that you can use the Datapad in Batuu as its really fun and adds to the whole experience. Most importantly have fun in Batuu, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan, it’s your chance to create your own Star Wars story and you can shape it however you want. I love Batuu and everything about it and I hope you all get a chance to visit and have just as much fun as I did, as they say on Batuu, ‘Till the Spire!
For a more visual account of our experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, check out the YouTube playlist below with our videos!