by Disney Magic Diva and Matt
When they announced the opening date of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, one thing struck me. I’d miss it! We had already scheduled our summer trip with the grandkids to Walt Disney World for that same time.
Luckily though, my son Matt who is a self-described Star Wars geek, was able to get a reservation to enter Batuu on Opening Day. He shares his thoughts and tips on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, details about the various shops, and – his personal favorite – his experience building his own lightsaber.
In case you missed it, Tinker Belle Diva was also able to get a reservation to travel to Batuu on Opening Day, and she shared her perspective earlier this week. Check it out!
First, WOW! Can we just all appreciate the gift we’ve been given? Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lives up to its billing as Star Wars come to life. The sounds, the atmosphere, the cast members, and the land are stars of everything you do. You may only be taking a walk down a paved, wooded trail but it might as well be a jump to hyperspace for how different it felt from being in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, or any of the other wonderful parts of Disneyland.
Disney deserves credit for limiting the number of guests to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, because having room to move around and experience the land without being hit by backpacks, elbows, and other guests at each turn makes enjoying it much easier. You are able to get the pictures you want without 20 strangers in the background, and the addition of mobile ordering limits the number of lines for food items (though mobile ordering is not available everywhere).
Tip: As with other places in Disney Parks, Mobile Ordering is your friend. Especially these first few weeks, anytime you can skip the line do it. Milk Stand, Ronto Roasters, and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo all have mobile order available.
The next thing I want to point out is I had a wonderful time interacting with the guests. I met guests with a wide range of Star Wars knowledge, from having seen no movies at all to those who geeked out about all the novels and comics in which Black Spire Outpost is mentioned. People were being kind to each other, asking and answering questions ranging from “What’s a holocron do?” to “Where can I find the bathrooms?” (fyi…restrooms are known as “refreshers” in Star Wars parlance).
Tip: Brush up on your Batuu-slang to make it feel a little more fun and otherworldly. When the sun is up, greet cast members with “Bright suns”; when night has fallen switch to “Rising moons.” If you are departing, a cast member may say,“Safe travels” and you can respond back, “Til the spire!” And in the Star Wars galaxy you have a morning “caf “ not “coffee.”
No one was shoving or running people down with strollers, and while guests would get out of line at Oga’s Cantina to pick-up their mobile order at the Milk Stand, no one was bringing forward family members who hadn’t been in line at all. Maybe it was because we were all happy to just be there, but it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a Disney Park based on how guests were treating each other. Honestly, I felt more like I was in a RunDisney Expo or post-race area than inside a park.
Tip: Talk to cast members! They aren’t all huge fans of Star Wars (or maybe not even fans at all) but that makes the world more believable! They create their own stories their character is living, and maybe they’ve only heard a rumor of someone named Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. To me, that’s more believable than ***SPOILER WARNING*** everyone knowing Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader who turned on the Emperor.
Okay, onto the actual park. I’ll start off by saying despite Disney Parks assuring me I’d have a chance to “do it all”, I definitely did not. Four hours simply isn’t enough time given what there is to do. So, I didn’t get to go into Oga’s Cantina, I didn’t go through Smuggler’s Run stand-by queue, and I tried exactly zero food items. I drank blue milk, I built my own lightsaber, I looked around almost every shop, I played on the Datapad (your cellphone is called a Datapad while you’re in Black Spire Outpost and using the Disney Play app) and I took photos with life-sized ships in the background.
The shops are small, like you might expect from inside a land. They differ in theme, which is nice, so you know what to expect when you choose a shop. My first stop was the Droid Depot which I highly recommend. As someone who was planning on buying a lot of stuff, picking up the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge gift card is a must. Called the Batuaan Spira, this heavy metallic hexagon is a credit medallion, and can be used at any cashier register. At $100, and only $100 (you were limited to one per guest) you can’t load up on them, but it does become a cool souvenir if like me you are planning on $100 in merchandise spending (and no, it’s not hard to get to $100). The Droid Depot seemed busy, but the line to get into building–your-own-droid was quite small, only a handful of guests in line with all the building stations occupied.
First Order Cargo is a relatively small shop, but has enough knick-knacks for those wanting to show support for the bad guys. With officer caps, full stormtrooper armor, and coats you can dress yourself as a full-fledged villain. In the Resistance Supply stalls at the other end of Black Spire Outpost (right now those vendors are hanging out alone until Rise of the Resistance opens) you can find similar items for the good guys, including a full Resistance flight suit and helmet! Both areas were fun, but for the $300 to buy the flight suit, or the even worse $6,000 for the stormtrooper armor, it just wasn’t worth it to me.
The marketplace is similar to the streets of Mos Eisely from the movies, with alcoves along the way containing small shops and a few vendors in stalls. While the clothing items are incredible, I wasn’t about to drop the several hundred dollars it would take to complete a Jedi outfit. Since guests over the age of 14 are barred from wearing costumes in Disney Parks, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, I can’t justify that kind of money on something I’m not wearing except on Halloween. The small dolls available at Toydarian Toymaker thrilled me. They are made in a manner that resembles the stormtrooper toy Jyn Erso has in Rogue Oneand might be made by any parent on a backwater world working with limited resources. Mine are coming back as relatively cheap gifts for my nieces and nephew. I enjoyed that one stall had Black Spire Outpost souvenirs, so guests can bring home small magnets or pins themed on the having visited the outpost, like I might have from London, Tokyo, or Casablanca.
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities was my favorite store. There is something in this store from just about every Star Wars story I know, even if it isn’t for sale. The stars of the show are the legacy lightsabers – replicas of those seen in the movies and shows. At $110 – $200 for just the hilts these are definitely expensive, but beautiful. And you can actually carry these around the world on your belt if you’d like.
Tip: Be sure to look up while in the store. Some of the best Easter eggs are on the walls and inaccessible upper level of the store.
Holocrons are more affordable gifts but are best when paired with kyber crystals. These crystals, which are used to power lightsabers in Star Wars (and in real life will change the color of a lightsaber blade if you buy a hilt and blade in Galaxy’s Edge) are relatively cheap at $13.
Tip: If you happen to have a creature from the Creature Stall in the Market, bring it near the Dok-Ondar animatronic and see what happens. Rumor has it he’s not a fan of creatures.
Now for the first of the two big attractions: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. I experienced this attraction via single rider, so I missed the Hondo Ohnaka animatronic. While disappointing, it only took me 25 minutes to get through the entire ride, which I was happy to trade while on a 4-hour reservation. After our crew assignments we walked into the main hold of the Millennium Falcon. I was amazed at how big the area was, since I always felt it would be a small hold given the movies. Clearly, I was wrong, and the hold has enough space for several crews to wait. The dejarik table (that’s the holochess game Chewbacca and R2-D2 play in Star Wars) is the main attraction here, and you can go sit at it and get a picture.
Tip: Be quick on the photo, and act with purpose to get one. There is no cast member taking photos, so head there right away and work with other guests to get yours taken. We only had a few minutes in the hold, so you may not want to spend time looking at other things first.
The ride itself has left me with mixed feelings. I loved the random crewmates I got, who were talkative and excited. As one of the two engineers, I just had to hit the buttons on my right side when they would light up. Not exactly thrilling, but if we wanted to succeed I had to keep my eyes on my display and not the front of the cockpit, so I can’t recall much of what happened in the viewports/outside our ship.
Tip: I walked out of the cockpit willing to pay extra to get a video of our crew during the ride. While that didn’t happen, it turns out I forgot to turn off the GoPro strapped on my backpack during the ride and recorded a lot of the crosstalk/noise. If you have a device you can strap onto a head strap or mount, I bet it makes a special souvenir!
We did well, netting over 7,000 credits after Hondo took his cut. While I loved that, I don’t know much about what happened during our ride honestly since I spent all my time focused on the 10 or so buttons near me. I think being pilot is harder, but also more fun. Maybe gunner as well, since they are the middle seats and just have one button to focus on. Overall this ride seems to be about the pilots communicating and working together to avoid objects, and the others doing what we can to shoot TIE fighters or “fix” the ship. It’s not the gamechanger that Flight of Passage was, but it’s also not the sit back and press two buttons that Mission Space is. Six friends riding together would be ideal, since you fill your own crew and communication should be easier than with strangers, but any group of 3-4 should feel comfortable working with a few strangers.
For another point of view on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, be sure to read Tinker Belle Diva’s review.
To me, having the chance to create a handbuilt lightsaber was the best part of my visit to Batuu. I got to talk with a cast member at Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers for almost 30 minutes before going in, discussing everything from the Black Spire Outpost gossip about who has a crush on whom, to where the parts lying around the workshop came from, and what to do while I was visiting Batuu. He ended up leading our group’s build and was both serious and funny.
Tip: If you plan on building a lightsaber, your first stop during your reservation should be Savi’s. My reservation to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was at 8:00 pm, and even though I rushed for the Droid Depot and Milk Stand, I probably shouldn’t have. I was lucky to just make it into the reservation purchasing line before they closed it for the night by 8:20.
Putting together and choosing the parts for my lightsaber was difficult. This is something I plan to bring with me on each visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and I want it to be uniquely mine. But I also don’t want it to be so outlandishly personalized it was ugly. I ended up going with pieces that looked like they may belong together instead of mixing and matching for a more unique style.
Tip: Study the images of the theme choices before you go! I only had about 3 minutes with the cards you use to design your lightsaber before being called to the register, so was thankful I had already narrowed my choices down to two. I quickly settled on my second choice after seeing the first one.
Choosing the kyber crystal color wasn’t hard at all. If you are going to end up with multiple kyber crystals by buying some in Dok-Ondar’s like I did, I highly recommend picking purple in Savi’s, as there were fewer purple crystals available for sale there than blue, green and red crystals.
Tip: If you decide the color you got in Savi’s isn’t working for you, stop by Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and pick out another kyber crystal. You can swap the crystals out after construction to change your blade color.
The best part of Savi’s is that it isn’t just “build this.” It’s a show, a presentation and story of the lightsaber and what it has meant to Jedi and Sith. I cannot express how excited I am to have a blade that I can battle a friend with, clip onto a belt, and most importantly call mine. Building it in a situation like Savi’s, as opposed to Tatooine Traders or Mouse Gear at Walt Disney World Resort, was more mystical and fun. I appreciated the quieter setting, which combined with some cool lighting and a special activation moment provided more solemnity and intimacy to the moment on which, let’s be honest, I spent a lot of money.
I cannot wait to go back. I believe some people will be let down by Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, and the lines to get into Oga’s Cantina are disappointing, but George Lucas said it best, “It could have gone very bad, but it didn’t.” There are things I’d love to see improved, but overall I’m amazed at Black Spire Outpost. It’ll be the must-do event of every trip to Disney for years to come for me. And in several years, when it quite downs a little, I look forward to just leisurely strolling around this outpost at the galaxy’s edge.
When you’re ready to travel- whether at hyper-speed or just normal flight – Patricia at All for Dreams Travel can get you across the galaxy is less than 12 parsecs. Be sure to touch base with her via email today and secure your reservation to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
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