by Lauren Land
We are less than a week away from the grand opening of Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. I got a sneak peek (and a taste) of what it will offer when I visited Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland this summer.
Star Wars : Galaxy’s Edge
Let me start with a confession… my husband and kids have seen the full slate of Star Wars movies but I have only seen the three original movies from the late 70’s/early 80’s (those I’ve seen at least 10 times each). I was concerned that Galaxy’s Edge would be confusing for me and – guess what – It wasn’t! I was immersed from the moment we entered the planet Batuu and enjoyed the full experience.
A Totally Immersive Experience
You will want to download both the Disneyland and Play Disney Parks mobile apps before you arrive in Galaxy’s Edge!! The Play Disney Parks app turns your phone into a datapad and has four basic tools: translate, scan, hack, and tune. Some examples of these tools include translating Aurebesh into English, scanning symbols on boxes and signs, hacking into and interacting with droids at the Droid Depot and tuning into local chatter and possibly gathering valuable intel. If you’re lucky you may get chosen to play the role of a smuggler, show your allegiance to the First Order or become a Resistance spy. This app is great for both Star Wars fanatics and newbies so be sure to download on your phones! You can customize your experience based on who your interact with and what you see and learn.
When Galaxy’s Edge first opened in late May guests needed to reserve their “onboard” time to enter the park. When we visited in mid-July, Galaxy’s Edge was “open,” meaning we could walk in and out freely. We did a tour of both the First Order and Black Spire Outpost sections first to get a lay of the land and plan out the next few hours.
When walking to Galaxy’s Edge from Adventureland, I noticed subtle changes in light posts, music and wide rock paths.
One of the first things we saw was Chewbaca on stage with Rey, arguing about fixing their broken ship before Chewie began selecting guests from the crowd to help them out. It definitely set the tone and was the first of several Star Wars character experiences.
Be on the lookout for characters: you may see Rey sneaking around, Chewie out and about giving hugs and even be interrogated by a Storm Trooper — an experience far more frightening than I anticipated! If you have on a Happy Birthday pin like my friend did, you’ll hear “Happy Origin Day!” over and over again.
I probably had the most fun with the PhotoPass Cast Member. He spent 10 minutes with us posing us in silly pictures, asking a lot of questions about our Mickey ears and sharing tidbits about Galaxy’s Edge.
It’s controversial, but I recommend a quick stop at the Milk Stand, even if only for the Instagram pic! The drink’s consistency is a smoothie/slushie combo and is really refreshing. The Blue Milk has a tropical taste, while the Green Milk is more sour. Both got a thumbs up from us!
We were able to get a reservation at Oga’s Cantina located in the Black Spire Outpost – LOVED IT! The cantina is essentially a pub, but it’s very family friendly with Star Wars-themed music from droid DJ R-3K. You can choose from a large menu of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). There is a breakfast menu of sorts for food in the morning and more “munchies” in the afternoon and evening. Note that all of the drinks are pre-mixed and served on tap so you can’t customize them. We each tried something different – the Fuzzy Tauntaun is a sweet drink topped with “Buzz Foam” that numbs your mouth a bit which not a great surprise but definitely a fun option if you know it’s coming! I’m boring and stuck to the Gamorrean Ale and wish I had gone with the Outer Rim margarita!
Note: At Disneyland the reservation window opens at 7 AM the day you go to the park and at Walt Disney World you can start making reservations when you book your dining at the 180 day mark.
Exclusive Souvenir Opportunities
If you want the coolest souvenir in the galaxy it’s a very good idea to make advance reservations for both Savi’s Workshop and the Droid Depot (ask your travel agent for reservation details). When building a light saber at Savi’s Workshop a Cast Member guides you in selecting customized parts. When you customize a droid at the Droid Depot, you can immediately activate it and it can interact with elements throughout Galaxy’s Edge.
Note that both light sabers and droids are a pretty steep investment, but creating them is an experience all on its own.
Of course I walked into every single gift shop! All of the marketplaces feature the merchandise you can’t find anywhere else – you’ll see nothing with “Star Wars” written on it, because you’re already on Batuu! Take time to walk through and just look around.
Creature Stall is similar to a pet shop, Black Spire Outfitters has apparel, and Toydarian Toymaker features really unique games and trinkets. In the Den of Antiquities store, each detail tells a story – smuggled artifacts are displayed on the second floor and we even got a glimpse of the golden Ark of the Covenant (no Indiana Jones on Batuu though). Depending on whether you choose to support the First Order or the Resistance, you can find a ton of patches, gear and supplies at First Order Cargo or Resistance Supply.
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Last but not least, let’s talk about Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run. It’s currently the only attraction within Galaxy’s Edge, but it’s worth the wait! The line reminded me of Pandora Flight of Passage in Walt Disney World in that you can expect a wait, but everything around you is immersive and tells a story.
Right before your team of six boards the Millennium Falcon a Cast Member will assign each person a specific role: pilot, engineer or gunner. Pilots have the most power and pressure; their flight skills determine whether the mission succeeds or fails. And fail it will — as we discovered!
The first time we rode, we were joined by a family and the younger of two brothers was selected to be the pilot. I’ve rarely seen two people argue the way these guys did, with the non-pilot brother constantly reaching over to grab the controls while the pilot slapped his arm. Not surprisingly our mission failed badly, but I laughed (loudly) the entire time!
It’s a great experience, and every mission is different. If you are able to ride more than once, you’ll see a totally different story play out.
I had a great experience in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! I was impressed how smoothly everything ran, the character interaction and the full immersion.