Inside of Disneyland lives the fictional planet of Batuu. It’s an engaging experience that invites you to craft your very own “Star Wars” story. Set during the era of “Star Wars” sequels rather than the first trilogy, Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge (SWGE) gives fans a chance to explore their own journey and live out their wildest dreams.
Somebody has to Save our Skins
On May 31, Disneyland finally opened Galaxy’s Edge. Ever since the initial announcement from Disney CEO Bob Iger in 2015, people have been waiting for Disney and Lucasfilm to officially merge worlds in what is now the most immersive “Star Wars” experience to date. Select members of the press got a sneak peek a few days early, leading the way in what has become its own phenomenon.
Since the opening, theme park goers have been allowed to come in on a reservation basis only. That continues until June 23. It will open to the public the next day. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens their version on August 29, 2019. While no reservations are set in place for the Florida opening, it’ll be interesting to see if it follows the same trends as Southern California. Recent reports show the new attraction has been so popular, that it makes the rest of Disneyland look empty by comparison.
This is a New Day, a New Beginning
Galaxy’s Edge does a beautiful job of captivating the crowd. Apart from spotting trilogy stars such as Rey and Kylo Ren—or landing on the bad side of a Stormtrooper as they mobilize to enforce the park’s strict 4-hour time limit on “Star Wars” visitors—there are plenty of activities to get lost in.
Black Spire Outpost encompasses shops and restaurants. Most importantly, it’s the home of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The $1 billion attraction appears to be the most intricate and fascinating thing Disney Imagineers have ever brought to life. For a “Star Wars” fan, it is a dream come true. Even the line makes you feel as if you’re incorporated into the ride. When you make your way in, it’s as if you’re boarding the actual Falcon.
Eventually, you’re handed a ticket that gives you your position on the ship. There are two gunners, two engineers, and two pilots. Once the doors open, you enter an interactive holding space before splitting off into groups of six and taking your position inside.
Having ridden the ride twice in one night, it’s safe to say that each time feels as if it were a unique adventure. Depending upon your position in the cockpit (and the crew you’re with), you’ll walk away with a different experience each time.
After some interaction with space pirate leader, Hondo Ohnaka (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”), and the ride simulation ends, you’re left to see the damage you’ve done to the Falcon on your mission. Likely, a good laugh will be had.
Do. Or do not. There is no try
While the Falcon is nothing less than fantastic, the absence of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is still felt. As of now, SWGE’s 14-acre area only contains one “ride,” so the buildup for something more may leave people somewhat disheartened.
One ride aside, there are other things to do. However, as is the case in any Disneyland outing, be prepared to spend some money. Certainly, there is merchandise that aligns with the normal higher end price point. But, a lot of the more exciting options come at a heftier cost.
Just as if it were a ride, each shop has its own line. If you have the cash, the Droid Depot is a cool spot. After approximately a 60-minute wait (for $100 and up), you can build your own droid. Savi’s Workshop comes with a two-hour wait (and a $200 price tag). If you’re a fan, the chance to build your own lightsaber is worth it. For those on a tighter budget, the Den of Antiquities has replicas available for $100.
Oga’s Cantina is the hub of Black Spire Outpost. As such, it has a longer wait time than anything else in that area of the park. Upon entering SWGE, people are ushered over in a roundabout way just to make a reservation at the hotspot. On this occasion, one theme park goer was apparently so excited to get there that they left their shoe behind as they moved in line as to not lose their spot.
Your Focus Determines Your Reality
Inside, DJ Rex is on deck (voiced by Pee-wee Herman, as in the original Star Tours attraction). And, as Oga’s is the first (and only) place inside of Disneyland that offers alcoholic beverages (some cost up to $75), it has crowds waiting in line twice in the hope of getting in. You may have to opt out of trying drinks such as the Jedi Mind Trick (clever, right?) and go for the Blue Milk at the Milk Stand—as seen in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”
While they don’t all come with a robotic deejay (like Oga’s), there are plenty of places to eat that won’t break the bank. Ronto Roasters is a good choice, as is Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. The same thing can be applied to merchandise. Unless you opt for the full-size Stormtrooper—that will run you upwards of $6,000.
All in all, there were pluses and minuses; mainly pluses, especially for the super fans. It is probably the coolest place for cosplay you can go outside of a convention. There is even a Play Disney App that you can download, which allows you to interact with SWGE. The Star Wars: Datapad will enable you to translate languages, scan objects, and hack objects so that you can control them.
It’s up to the adventurer to decide what kind of adventure they want to have. As Qui-Gon Jinn says, “Your focus determines your reality.”