by Disney Magic Diva
If you’ve read some of my other articles about Star Wars, you know that the real Jedi in my family is my son. He was at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in California on Opening Day and was also part of the Opening Day fun last month in Florida. He custom built a lightsaber in Disneyland and enjoyed bringing it with him to Black Spire Outpost in Florida. Over the last 3 months, there have been some changes to the process and one big question debated – is it worth it? As we were preparing for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World Resort, I asked my son what he thought about Savi’s Workshop now that he had had time to reflect on the experience. Here’s what he had to say:
I have written before about my excitement for Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers, and in my review of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s Opening Day in Disneyland Park I briefly covered my experience building a lightsaber. Some things have changed since I built my lightsaber, and with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort it seems like a good time to revist this experience and offer tips for whom the experience may be best suited and whether it’s worth the cost.
To start your lightsaber build, you need to make a reservation at Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers. When I visited on Opening Day in Disneyland Park I had to race to the shop to get in line, knowing it would be extremely popular. Thankfully now you can book reservations online before your visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Tip: While online advance registration is encouraged, Disney does have limited walk-up availability. Be sure to check in with one of Savi’s Gatherers (i.e., Cast Members) to see if there is an opening if you did not make reservations.
When booking your experience you’ll need to select your lightsaber theme. Peace & Justice is a traditional Jedi theme from the Prequels era (Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker, and Qui-Gon Jinn’s sabers would fall into this category). Power & Control is a Sith theme, with elements from Darth Vader’s and Darth Maul’s lightsabers. Elemental Nature is a theme focused on being in touch with the wider Force, with pieces based on animal bones, wood, and stone. Finally Protection & Defense is a theme built on ancient Force teachings, with the metal looking tarnished and some old runes on a few pieces.
Tip: No matter which theme you select, you cannot get a dual-blade lightsaber. However, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is right next to Savi’s, and Dok does sell Legacy lightsabers – replicas of lightsabers used by famous Jedi and Sith. Ahoska Tano and Assaj Ventress’s dual-wielding lightsabers are available, as is Darth Maul’s iconic double-bladed lightsaber.
Some things to know before you arrive: plan to be at Savi’s Workshop at least 15-minutes before your reservation. Groups enter together and no one wants to be the hold-up. Consider who will be joining the builder in the Workshop – builders may bring only one viewer with them into the Workshop due to limited space. Be sure to check-in at the counter in the courtyard. The Gatherers will provide you with a pin which signifies which lightsaber theme you selected, and you need to have the pin where Gatherers inside the workshop can see it.
Once inside you experience about a 20-minute build process. While I will avoid exact spoilers, your build is guided by one of Savi’s Gatherers, who will talk about the importance of secrecy to avoid First Order detection, discuss the importance of lightsabers to Force-users, explanations of different kyber crystals and lightsaber themes, and introduce a special guest speaker. The lighting, music, and narration weave together to create a goose bump inducing activation moment as you complete your lightsaber.
As part of your building process, you will need to make some choices. The first choice you’ll make is what kyber crystal will be the heart and soul of your lightsaber. A kyber crystal is a near living thing to Jedi. Each crystal calls out to only one Jedi, and the connection is meant to last a lifetime. While building their lightsaber, a Force User will bond with a crystal. Jedi typically find a balance with their crystal, each learning from the other. Sith dominate their kyber crystals, bending them to their will. In fact, it is said the dark side infusing with a kyber crystal causes it to bleed, giving it the red hue that all Sith have in their lightsabers.
Tip: In my earlier article I suggested taking the purple kyber if you were planning on buying more crystals at Dok-Ondar’s, as purple was the hardest of the four colors (blue, green, purple, and red) Savi’s offers to find. You might want to check Dok-Ondar’s before going to your reservation at Savi’s to see the options available. You can buy kyber crystals at Dok-Ondar’s before building your lightsaber then switch them out after you complete your build.
Now remember that lightsaber theme you picked when making your reservation? When you check in at Savi’s you are given a pin to wear into the Workshop that tells the Gatherers which theme you selected. The Gatherers in the Workshop check your pin and give you the correct lightsaber kit theme, which contains 13 pieces you can use to build the lightsaber. You have choices the entire way but won’t use all 13 pieces. There is the chassis of your lightsaber, which you eventually put your kyber crystal into, and build the exterior of your lightsaber around. Next you pick which grips to use; there are four options and you end up picking two. You first select just the bottom grip, leaving three potential top grips for later. After the bottom grip you choose the pommel cap. You have two choices, and the one you select is the bottom of your saber. This is also typically the piece that you clip onto your belt, so be aware of what type of clip you select.
Tip: Lightsabers use two different types of belt clips. Some use a D-ring, while others use a covertec clip. Guests can buy a multipurpose lightsaber clip from Dok-Ondor’s for around $17, or go outside Disney Parks to buy covertec or d-ring clips for between $10 and $15. I have a covertec clip on my lightsaber, and found a belt clip that works great on Amazon for $14
After you build the bottom of your lightsaber, it’s onto the top. You choose one of the three remaining grip pieces to become your top grip. After that, pick one of the two emitters to form the top of your lightsaber. The emitter is where the blade will emerge from your lightsaber hilt. The final choice you make is which activation plates to use. There are two sets (each set is two pieces) to choose from. You may have a choice between a slider or push button to turn on your lightsaber. Once you have made your selections, a Gatherer will inspect your lightsaber to ensure everything is properly in place and your lightsaber is ready for the crystal stabilization process.
After the Gatherer had checked my lightsaber for quality control they took the unused pieces from my workspace. I was disappointed I did not get to take home the other pieces and change them in and out, but a friend who visited Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge in July told me about Savi’s scrap metal. At the scrap metal stand in Savi’s Workshop’s courtyard, guests were able to buy extra pieces of handbuilt lightsabers to swap in and out with their completed lightsaber. There are some terms and conditions to accessing this scrap metal purchase, however. First, only guests who built their lightsabers in the last 48-hours may buy scrap metal (you show your receipt as proof). Second, you can only buy up to two pieces of scrap metal. Finally, guests are strongly encouraged to buy only from the theme they initially chose, as other theme’s pieces may not fit their lightsabers well. I had hoped to be able to purchase some scrap metal last month at the opening Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios, but Savi’s wasn’t selling any at that time due to the popularity of building. There just wasn’t enough scrap metal left for them to sell and still ensure adequate quantities for travelers building their lightsabers.
At the end of the experience you’ll get a lightsaber sheath (a fabric tube with some padding for the blade) that you can use to carry your lightsaber and blade around. As discussed above, there is also the option to clip your lightsaber hilt (I highly recommend removing the blade and keeping it in the sheath) to display your newly built lightsaber. I wore my hilt on my belt and carried my blade in the sheath while visiting Batuu. The residents of Black Spire Outpost sometimes commented on my “scrap metal” (as they referred to it) when I interacted with them, and I wanted my blade around to be able to pop in the hilt for pictures.
Tip: My lightsaber came home from Disneyland in just the fabric sheath from Savi’s. While the lightsaber was fine, the sheath was lightly damaged in transit. If you are flying with the blade, I recommend finding a hard, plastic tube in which to put the sheath. The sheath’s padding will protect the blade from most of the bumps and scrapes in transit, but a tube to put the sheath in will protect the sheath itself from those same scrapes. If you are traveling in a car, just be careful when packing the blade and sheath. Dok-Ondar’s in Walt Disney World also had a heavier, canvas type sheath available for $50.
So, is building a lightsaber worth it? At $200 this is quite an investment, so guests want to be sure they are getting a value experience. It is definitely not meant for everyone. Unless the price drops, I believe most Disney guests will skip it, and probably not be too upset. For those fans seriously considering Savi’s, I encourage thinking about two categories: “memory” and “use.”
“Memory” is simple: how memorable are experiences for you? Consider prior Disney Parks experiences, including ones you remember fondly and those you often forget about. What do the best ones have in common? Is it character interaction? A tangible item at the end of the experience? Having the experience themed around a specific story or character? Having a large or small group with you when it happened? Then consider how you feel about a Star Wars experience where there are no specific character interactions, you get to build your own lightsaber, and you can share with just one other guest.
For me, it was undoubtedly worth it. In fact, I’d place it on my Mount Rushmore of Disney Parks Experiences (others are my first runDisney race, celebrating the new millennium at EPCOT, and my sister’s wedding at the Disney Wedding Pavilion). I doubt most guests under the age of 10 will remember this or have it as a magical moment past their teenage years. If you are an adult I encourage you to think of past Disney purchases from 5 or more years ago and how you feel about that now. In short, how important is the memory to you?
“Use” is about how will you use it in the years to come. These are sturdy, battle-ready blades. You can fight friends (who have their own lightsabers, don’t just hit your defenseless friends!), add it to a collection, use it as a high-quality accessory to a costume, or display it as a conversation piece. If you think this is going to sit in a closet, this may not be the best use of your money.
To me, it is a pinnacle of my Disney Parks and Star Wars fandom. It hangs on my wall as a conversation piece, one that I can take down, disassemble, and discuss all the details with any guest. I will be packing my lightsaber for future visits to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and I hope cast members will choose to acknowledge the saber. And who knows how stormtroopers feel about those wielding lightsabers?!
I recommend guests going through the experience be either a fan of Star Wars (movies, comics, books, TV, or other), be mature enough to understand the appropriate use of the lightsaber (again, don’t hit defenseless people, treat it with respect) and old enough to remember the moment. Unlike so many Disney Parks experiences, there is no age limit on Savi’s Workshop, so if you plan on making multiple trips in future years to Disney, I might suggest the Jedi Academy or Star Wars character meet-and-greets for younglings, to see if the passion for Star Wars is retained across the years. Perhaps like me, they will grow up and find building their lightsaber has more meaning as a Disney Parks and Star Wars fan because they waited.
Are you ready to book your travel to Batuu? Be sure to contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel for a free quote or any questions you may have!
***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!