Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an immersive, Star Wars-themed land now open at both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida. The experience at the two parks is similar, though not in every way the same, so for clarity, Liliane Opsomer has funneled her insights into two independent and overlapping guides:
Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World (Florida) | Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland (California)
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, now open at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is one of the most detailed and immersive lands ever created. It has a lot to offer both Star Wars fans and non-fans (but especially Star Wars fans), as I found out on a recent visit.
Here’s my guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and how to prepare for your own voyage to a galaxy far, far away:
An introduction to Galaxy’s Edge and the world of Black Spire
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is completely isolated from the original Disneyland park, which helps guest immerse themselves in the story that will guide your experience there. That story…
In the Star Wars universe, Batuu is a backwater planet that’s home the outpost village of Black Spire. Formerly a busy trading port, Black Spire is now a place where rogues, adventurers, bounty hunters, and smugglers live among the villagers. It’s also a place where the First Order and the Resistance live in an uneasy coexistence. In the Star Wars movie timeline, this story of Batuu and its inhabitants takes place between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
More backstory: If you want the full details, check out “Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire” by Delilah S. Dawson.
Inside the park, cast members have modular wardrobes. Each has his or her own backstory. Engaging with these cast members, whose name tags are translated into Aurebesh, is part of the overall experience. Don’t expect them to direct you to the next bathroom; rather, listen carefully to the directions to the next “refresher.” When I asked for the best way to Oga’s Cantina, I was told to turn right at the next pile of junk, meaning the Millennium Falcon.
Star Wars characters such as Rey, Chewbacca, and Vi Moradi—General Leia Organa’s (aka Princess Leia’s) top spy—roam the land, but there are no scheduled character meet-and-greets. There’s also no shortage of bad guys, as Kylo Ren and the First Order’s stormtroopers make it their business to interrogate inhabitants and visitors alike.
Getting around (use the app)
Before you embark on your voyage to Batuu, I recommend that you download the Play Disney Parks app. Once you enter the Galaxy’s Edge park, the app’s interface converts into a datapad that allows you to interact with the land’s many control panels and droids. Pledge your alliance to the Resistance or the First Order, or roam the land as a rogue looking out for yourself.
The datapad allows you to translate languages from across the galaxy—including the Aurebesh signs posted throughout Black Spire Outpost. Use the scanner on your datapad (phone) to discover hidden cargo, or hack and interact with select panels to help the Resistance. You can even tune into the planet’s communications to decrypt signals from satellite dishes.
With each task you complete, you collect’ll information, digital rewards and even galactic credits. And as you take the controls of the Millennium Falcon, make sure to pay attention. How you operate the most famous ship in the galaxy will also affect the game. If you wreck Chewbacca’s ship, it will cost you. The game is a lot of fun and can really get you hooked.
Ride: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (opened January 17, 2020)
Guests access Disney’s most epic ride by entering the Resistance military outpost, which is cleverly tucked away in a scrubland forest. BB-8 and Rey, who appears in a holo-transmission, recruit visitor for a strike against the First Order and Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.
On the ride, you’re launched into space abroad an I-TS (“intersystem transport ship”). All goes well until the shuttle is caught in a tractor beam of a Star Destroyer, which strips the I-TS of its ability to jump into lightspeed. Your ship is pulled into a massive hangar bay, where you’re greeted by 50 animatronic stormtroopers, a docked TIE fighter and stern First Order officers (aka cast members). The scene, set in front of a 100-foot-wide bay window looking into outer space, is breathtaking. Next thing you know, First Order officers are herding their prisoners (you) into a cell for interrogation by none other than Kylo Ren himself.
Eventually, you’re off on a daring escape aboard an eight-passenger First Order Fleet Transport piloted by a reprogrammed R5-series astromech droid. The route is perilous, and there are plenty of encounters with stormtroopers, giant AT-ATs, and a relentless Kylo Ren. Thousands of special effects—like slashing lightsabers, exploding walls, blaster bolts, and turboblaser cannons—accompany your vehicle en route to an escape pod. The narrow escape ends with a crash landing on Batuu, courtesy of a multi-sensory plunge enhanced by digital projections.
Rise of the Resistance is Disney’s longest attraction ever and truly epic. It seamlessly combines a walkthrough experience, a ride in a trackless vehicle, a motion simulator, and an elevator drop.
Ride: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
The Millennium Falcon sits in a spaceport surrounded by the black spires that give Black Spire Outpost its name. The 110-foot ship is impressive. Once you enter its interactive queue, it’s time to get that datapad out.
Riders enter the ride/experience in groups of six (two pilots, two engineers and two gunners). After spending time in the fabled lounge of the ship, complete with the holo-chess table and many memorable props from the films, they eventually settle into the cockpit to complete their mission.
The video-game-like experience is exhilarating—in fact actually way better than a video game, as you get to sit inside an authentic replica of the Millennium Falcon without any distractions!
For disabled guests: There are two stationary simulators that allow disabled guests to experience the attraction without interrupting operations for other guests. The five-minute ride comes with a 38” height requirement.
What to eat and drink
Hungry off-worlders should make their way to Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Even if you don’t speak Aurebesh, you’ll find the quick-service restaurant easily. Just look for the Sienar-Chall Utilipede transport ship parked smack on its roof.
If you like chicken, go for the “Fried Endorian Tip-yip” served with quinoa-curry salad. My favorite dishes are the “Smoked Kaadu Ribs” served with a blueberry-corn muffin and cabbage slaw, as well as the “Yobshrimp Noodle Salad” with spicy Thai dressing and cilantro.
For a quick bite go for the “Ronto Wrap” (roasted pork and a grilled sausage served on a pitta) at Ronto Roasters. If galactic food is not your thing, but a great drink is, make sure to visit Oga’s Cantina, the seediest establishment on Batuu. Here, Captain Rex, the former Star Tour droid pilot, takes on the role of DJ, spinning galactic tunes.
In alien proprietor Oga Garra’s establishment, off-worlders are asked to make reservations on the website. If you get one of the coveted spots, make sure to try the “Bespin Fizz” (a bubbly Cosmopolitan) and the “Outer Rim.” If your reservation is early in the morning, try the “Spiran Caf” or the “Bloody Rancor.” After all, it’s five o’clock somewhere in the galaxy.
More on Oga’s reservations: Note that a reservation at Oga’s Cantina requires a credit card. A $10 no-show fee, per person, will be charged if you decide to forgo the most popular watering hole in the outer rim.
Where to shop (including for snacks)
The merchant’s alley of Batuu is home to shops and small stalls selling furry friends looking for a home, plus hats, pins, badges, blue and green milk, and for good measure, a colorful and tasty popcorn.
Droid Depot is the place to go if you want to build your own droid ($99 plus tax). At Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, you can find ancient artifacts and pre-built legacy lightsabers, but any aspiring Jedi will want to build his or her own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop.
If you’re in the market for your own mysterious, luminescent blade, make sure to reserve your spot via the Savi’s website as Savi’s Workshop can only handle 14 paying guests every twenty minutes. Beware, though, the fee for no-shows is the entire cost of the lightsaber: $199 plus tax!
Getting in and getting around
You should arrive at least 60 minutes prior to the park opening, as on busy days Disney may restrict entry to the land.
When this happens, and you’re on the outside looking in, you can use the Play Disney Parks app (same one as above) to secure a free spot in the “virtual queue.” You can also use a FastPass kiosk to do this, but the app is really the way to go. When your time has arrived to visit Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll receive a push notification on your phone. You’ll then have a two-hour window to make your way to Black Spire Outpost. If no spots in the virtual queue are available, make sure to check again later in the day when crowds may have dispersed enough to allow access.
For now, there’s no FastPass or MaxPass service and Galaxy’s Edge is not open for Magic Mornings or Extra Magic Hours. There’s also no stand-by line to enter the land, but once you’ve landed on Batuu, there’s no time limit on how long you can stay. Be prepared to find that, at times, the land can reach capacity and simply will stop admitting visitors.
Good to know: A reservation for Oga’s Cantina, Droid Depot and Savi’s Workshop includes entry into Galaxy’s Edge an hour prior to your appointment, but remember that if you don’t show up for your reservation, you’d better be ready to part with your credits. Also, and this is important, those reservations do not guarantee that you will ride either of the land’s attractions.
For more on visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, visit the website here.
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