Bright suns, my friends (or Rising Moons, depending upon when you are reading this, I suppose). I honestly never imagined the day would come ~ the day we would visit a galaxy far, far away and live to tell about it. LOL. No, seriously. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been a long-awaited dream come true for many fans here on Earth. The planet of Batuu, which is said to be the “Route 66 of the Galaxy,” has begun to open its docking bay doors to select travelers from the outside. The question is, is it everything travelers hoped it would be? Hubby and I had the chance to check it out during an Annual Passholder Preview just before the land welcomed Guests from all species and galaxies. Here are the positives and the negatives of our intergalactic adventure.
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Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Our Maiden Voyage to Batuu
No doubt, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a land like no other on Disney property. I kid you not, you walk in and you have left Earth completely. You don’t hear the sights and sounds of contemporary music. You don’t see traditional souvenirs or meet Disney “Cast Members.” Instead, you’ve landed on a planet where you hear droids beep and the sound of ships soaring overhead. Miscellaneous pieces of scrap metal are lying around in strange places and members of both the Resistance and the First Order can be seen roaming the streets (or hiding from the other).
It’s very much like the experience you have when walking into Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You are completely disconnected from the rest of the park and immersed in your new surroundings.
Hubby and I were pretty excited about our journey, so we arrived a little early for our four-hour blocked reservation to preview the land. Since it was a scheduled preview, we had to show picture ID and the email confirmation we received. Through the second entrance, we had to also have our Magic Bands scanned to verify our Annual Passholder status.
WE WERE BLOWN AWAY!!
It was such a rush to walk through that tunnel that took us from Earth to Batuu (and it took but a minute or three!!!! No jet lag, no space sickness….all good 👍). Where we “arrived” is where Rise of the Resistance will be once December 5th rolls around (Shhhh….the First Order is already recruiting for what is feared to be a heated battle). Now, a few weeks back, I had the awesome privilege of seeing up to this portion of the land when I attended the Disney Social Media Conference On-The-Road at Walt Disney World. I mean, I was giddy back then….and I was even MORE giddy about it now.
So, Let’s Talk Batuu, The Planet
The entire area is designed to look like an outpost, so it’s meant to look rundown, neutral and worn. As noted above, Guests will find droid parts lying around in various corners and see wear and tear on ships (including inside the Millennium Falcon). The merchandise even has a look about that says old and ragged, but it’s not. Trust me.
The land seems to be officially divided into two sections (according to the pamphlet, but it’s really all one): The Marketplace and Black Spire Outpost. Within each, you will find various shops, eateries and opportunities to create a memory. So, here’s the rundown:
- Kat Saka’s Kettle ~ A young inhabitant there tried selling us Kat Saka’s special blend of popped grains, as well as some orbs (Coca-Cola products in very cool containers). Rumor has it that they sell these orbs for about 50 credits (50 cents) less than anywhere else on the planet. Hmm….
- Ronto Roasters ~ There are a few small selections here. I’ll talk about the Ronto Wrap we shared in a bit. They even have a few breakfast options, as you can see from the pic.
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo ~ This is the larger quick service options with more selections and a little more space here. They have some great vegan options and an allergy menu (see below).
Black Spire Outpost
- Oga’s Cantina ~ This is VERY popular already, but does not offer as much as you would think. Drinks are the primary attraction here, aside from the draw to see what kind of creativity lies inside. There is one snack option, I believe.
- Milk Stand ~ Now, this is where you can get the infamous blue or green milk. I’ll share our thoughts and experience on this in a bit.
- Creature Stall ~ There are so many adorable and unique creatures to “adopt” here.
- Toydarian Toymaker ~ This is a great place to see the latest and greatest toys in the galaxy.
- Black Spire Outfitters ~ Need a new cloak or robe? This is the place to check out!
- Jewels of Bith ~ For those looking for a classic souvenir to take home to Earth, you can find jewelry, necklaces, handbags, lamps and lanterns in this hole-in-the-wall shop.
Black Spire Outpost
- Resistance Supply ~ For those secretly joining the Resistance, this is the place to grab some of your gear.
- Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities ~ Don Ondar has some very interesting items here to browse and purchase. This is where you can purchase a legacy lightsaber, kyber crystals and other mystical artifacts to take on your journey back to Earth.
- Savi’s Workshop ~ Many come here to build their very own unique lightsaber…I mean find some unique pieces of scrap metal to…umm…remind them of their visit to Batuu. (ahem).
- Droid Depot ~ This looks like fun!! Visitors can construct their own customized droid by selecting parts from a conveyor belt. I WANT MY OWN DROID!!!!! (Not sure I’ve made that point clear enough to Hubby yet…..)
- First Order Cargo ~ Now, if you’re one for “law and order,” you can find recruitment gear and cargo in this shop. You may even find First Order officers, Storm Troopers and even Kylo Ren actively pursuing members of the Resistance during your shopping trip.
Attractions ~ I’ll just list these….
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Height min. 38″)
- Rise of the Resistance (coming December 5th)
Our Tour of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
We took advantage of the the entire four hours we were given to explore and try everything we could. We ducked in and out of many small shops, talked to the inhabitants, tried a few food options. I even came close to being placed on a prisoner transport ship thanks to my law-and-order husband! All in all, we were completely enraptured by what we saw.
While we enjoyed our time there at Batuu, we did find a few things that were either a little off-putting or a little disappointing. However, the majority of what we experienced was absolutely out-of-this-world ah-mazing! In fact, here. Here’s our quick (ha!) rundown..
What we LOVED about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
We are talking full-on role play, people. Storm Troopers were keeping things in order. Kylo Ren was roaming around intimidating travelers. First Order officers were questioning everyone’s motives, or at least mine. Chewbaccca and other secret members of the Resistance were working on an X-wing fighter and we spotted Rey “scrounging” materials at a nearby “garage.”
You have to see this encounter we had with the First Order…
The Attention to detail
From the Marketplace to the “hunk of junk” we all adoringly call the Millennium Falcon, the Walt Disney Imagineers did a phenomenal job creating a world that depicted what it would be like to land on an intergalactic outpost. Nothing seems new, everything has some “age” to it. There are symbols everywhere and the placement of droid parts, while it appears haphazard, is quite deliberate.
Flags are torn. Droids are working among the visitors. Even the detail paid toward the use of language is mind-boggling. They don’t work with our type of currency. They work with “credits.”
When you see the Millenium Falcon? Oh, boy ~ the detail paid to THIS iconic ship will have your eyes nearly falling out of your head. Seriously – it’s jaw-dropping.
The TASTE of The Food
Now – hold onto what I’m going to say here, because I’ll be touching on the food again in a minute.
While we were on Batuu, Hubby and I ended up sharing a lot of things because we wanted to make sure we had the money ~ I mean, “credits” ~ to last the trip. Our edible line-up for this particular trip included:
- Ronto Wrap at Ronto Roasters
- Tattoine Sunset (okay, this is a drink, but we still had to taste it) at Ronto Roasters
- Blue Milk from the Milk Stand (yes, another drink).
- Fried Endorian Tip-Yip (which was crispy chicken served over a roasted vegatable potato hash with an herb gravy) at Docking Bay 7.
Everything tasted good ~ no doubt. Everything had great flavor and we really enjoyed what we ordered. We had no regrets with regard to the right plates and drinks. Though, I will say that I do wish we had tried the “popped grains” over at Kat Saka’s Kettle, though – maybe next time???
Yup – this gets its own category. We have been hearing so many mixed reviews about the blue and green milk options, that it actually scared us into only trying one of the two. Of course, as noted above, we were also trying to conserve “credits.” Since one of the inhabitants said the green milk was a less sweet and had more of a “tea” taste to it, we decided to go with the blue.
So – we tried it…..and we actually LOVED it. It was a frozen drink with a very sweet taste. I was VERY surprised to find it was dairy-free, as well. Now, while our family doesn’t have any issues with dairy like this, this is good news for those who have a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to it. What a relief to hear there is a potential option for them while visiting the outpost! Phew!
The Lay of the Land
As I noted earlier, you truly do have this sense of being far, far from Earth. You cannot hear the noise from the rest of the park once you enter that rock tunnel that “transports” you to Batuu. It does appear that another entrance will be opening at one point, but that, too, seems to have enough distance between it and the next land that you feel as if you’ve escaped reality (or Andy’s backyard??).
Even when traveling AROUND Batuu, you find yourself separated from the other parts of the land. When snapping photos of the X-Wing, you have no idea what’s going on over near the TIE fighter in the opposite corner of the outpost. While riding the Millennium Falcon, you have no knowledge that Storm Troopers are in hot pursuit of Resistance fighters just around the corner. When in the Marketplace, you are completely oblivious to whom Kylo Ren is intimidating near the Oga’s Cantina.
The land is not hard to maneuver either. By the time we were ready to travel back to Earth, we had the layout down fairly well. I could direct any new Guest visiting for their first time where to go (my husband, on the other hand….wellllllll).
The accommodations Made For Those With Food Allergies
Now, this trip, we did not take our son with us. As you may recall, he has severe, life-threatening food allergies to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. However, I have several friends who have already traveled to Batuu with their food allergies and dietary restrictions. What I found the most amazing ~ aside from the ability to accommodate so well ~ is the extra attention given to these special orders on Batuu. The inhabitants tend to label these orders as “special cargo.” Why do I love this so much? This means that someone took the time to give food allergies a special designation, a little extra special attention. That makes the visitor feel a little extra important.
My friend, Liz, who runs a travel agency that specializes in food allergy travel, recently visited Batuu with her daughter and successfully ate at Docking Bay 7. Another friend of mine, Jess, is vegan and has some dietary restrictions. She wrote about her experience in a blog post on her site Art of Adventures.
The Opportunities with the Play Disney Parks App
Batuu isn’t just a place to purchase outpost souvenirs or run into some of our favorite Star Wars characters. Disney has created some unique opportunities that will pull you into the experience even more.
On the Play Disney Parks App, visitors to Batuu can interact with droids, scan crates or tune into transmissions, all on their phone! It may even become a vital tool when it comes to creating and living out your own Star Wars story while on the planet. You can “choose a side,” take on jobs to help outpost residents or translate a variety of languages spoken throughout the galaxy. The possibilities are endless!
The Iconic Millenium Falcon (now this one is tricky….)
This is the one “ride” attraction to be found on Batuu at the moment. It’s certainly a jaw-dropping experience to walk around the corner and see this life-sized creation of something so many of us saw in a movie when we were kids decades ago (shhh….I’ve earned my years). Now, the idea of stepping onto the iconic ship and finding yourself in control of the famous cockpit ~ well, who would have thought this would have ever become a reality in our lifetime? Right?
After walking through the extensive queue, we found ourselves face to face with Hondo Ohnaka, who was first seen in The Clone Wars. He is the one who gives the instructions and guidance before boarding and taking on designated roles in the smugglers mission.
From there, we moved into a line that ultimately divided us into groups of six ~ two pilots, two gunners and two engineers. I knew ahead of time to ask for pilot (thanks to my friends), so we were asked to step to the side for just a few short moments.
Why did I ask for pilot?
I had a feeling this was going to be one of those attractions that could induce a little motion sickness and I heard this was the role to play with the least potential for it.
OUR EXPERIENCE WAS INTERESTING…
We received our roles and got to know our team. We were then directed to our “ship” and asked to sit down and buckle up. However, within sixty seconds of doing so, we were asked to unbuckle and “deboard.” There was apparently something wrong with our “hunk of junk.” After about two or three minutes, we were invited to take our seats once again, but to wait before fastening our seatbelts. It didn’t take but another minute or two before we were asked to once again “deboard.” Ultimately, we had to be moved to another ship as that one was not cooperating. Thankfully, there are seven bays. (If you do the math, seven bays with six roles – that means 42 people at a time).
The “flight” is not long and there are multiple outcomes I believe. They say you have a “role” in the mission, but really – you don’t. I barely touched my controls and we still moved left and right. It’s still fun to discover which mission you’ve been sent, though. Ours was a successful one, though we “suffered a little damage” according to Hondo.
What did we think?
Well ~ here’s my honest opinion….and remember that this is purely based on one mission flown. Being pilot is the best role because you see more of the action. The role of gunner enables you to see some and be a part of the action quite a bit. Being engineer? Well, this is a good role for those who are there just to be with family. You don’t see as much as you’d like and your “job” takes you away from seeing much of the action in front of you.
Motion sickness? I can see it happening if I didn’t have something in my stomach. To be honest, this is simply Star Tours on steroids and those who are sensitive to that attraction may very well have issues on this one. However, I am still going to recommend trying it once. It’s an experience you will enjoy talking about with your family you joined on the mission. FYI – I didn’t have any issues this trip.
Now…On To What We Found “Meh”
First and foremost – pricing!
A little cup of blue milk for 7.99 credits seemed much. The portion of Fried Endorian Tip-Yip we received at Docking Bay 7 seemed disproportioned to the price. There was one skinny piece of meat in our Ronto Wrap. Get the picture?
Now – we LOVED the taste of all this…but it just didn’t match value-wise. Would we buy again? Okay- you got me. We probably would…but we’d share again to save “credits.” It’s just all part of the experience.
I was discussing this with Hubby and he had a good point that just may make this one null and void, but I personally felt the shops were too crowded. I cannot imagine how crowded they are going to feel once ALL travelers are allowed to land on Batuu. Now, Hubby believes it was designed this way in keeping with the idea that it is an outpost. It’s not meant to feel like World of Disney or The Emporium. When he said that, it made a little more sense…but I still don’t like small spaces.
That’s it really….everything else was amazing…..simply and purely amazing.
What We Have Yet To Experience
We have not had the chance to experience Oga’s Cantina as of yet. The day we were there, they were only taking travelers who had reservations. No worries! Once I have a report on our visit there, I’ll simply adjust this post so you have the update. Expect that some time after September 2nd!
Of course, Rise of the Resistance doesn’t begin until December 5th here at Walt Disney World. That is going to provide a simulated opportunity to get involved in a heated battle where travelers get stuck in the middle between the First Order and the Resistance.
So, needless to say, Walt Disney Imagineering have raised the bar! Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a land like no other and will be the highlight of all travelers coming from galaxies far, far away to visit. The future holds even more galactic magic as we await the opening of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort where travelers will embark upon a two day fully-immersed adventure where they will create their own Star Wars story! Honestly, I just cannot fathom the idea!!!! Gaahhhhh!
Will you be heading to Star Wars: Galaxys’ Edge in the near future? Have you already traveled to the outpost? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and what your favorite part of the new addition is! Until then, ‘Til the Spire, my friends!
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