What The Ultimate Star Wars Experience At Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge Looks Like

With Star Wars being the talk of the town these days, for better or for worse, you can’t deny the amount of hype it receives — even the too-passionate mob of fans launching their tirades online can agree, few things can top this particular fandom in scale, grandeur, and deep, deep lore. Is there someone with a PhD in Star Wars theology? There could be, maybe in a galaxy far, far away…

Which is, thankfully, where we don’t need to be in order to be immersed in the Star Wars universe. At Disneyland Park (and also Disney World), you’ll find a curious colony with a thriving marketplace and spaceport — Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a themed world that just opened its doors earlier this year at Anaheim, California.

And hell yeah, there’s a life-sized replica of the Millennium Falcon, and an accompanying ride, to make you feel right at home!

As fans, a visit there had us floored — the realism was impeccable, and a lot of the details were done exactly as scrappy as it needed to be in order to maintain the charming allure; there were also neat surprises and easter eggs to discover. But I can imagine the same excitement for even the casual Star Wars fan.

So the story goes, you’ve just landed on Black Spire Outpost, situated on the “fictional” Planet Batuu that’s on the edge of the Outer Rim Territories. I’ll leave you to decide on how fictional you want this to be, because even the cast members, sorry Batuuians, know nothing outside of this existence.

I’ll elaborate more on what you can expect below too — namely, what’s it like exploring the First Order base and where to find the secret Resistance base; interesting sections such as the main Marketplace, Droid Depot, and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities; as well as a detailed breakdown of what it’s like to fly the Millennium Falcon, and how you can go about building your own custom lightsaber.

Consider this your guide to the best spots of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

GENERAL TIPS
  • Get the Disney MaxPass, which allows you to skip long queues and get your ‘FastPass’ for rides on the Disneyland app — you can book in advance without the traditional way of walking to the ride entrance to get a ticket. Do note that there is currently no FastPass for the rides, nor Magic Hour (special early access) for Galaxy’s Edge, but you can use this function for the rest of the park!
  • Reserve as much as you can in advance, online — this includes Savi’s Workshop (lightsabers!)  and entry to Oga’s Cantina.
  • Go early. You don’t need to make a reservation to enter the land. Guests will be able to enter Galaxy’s Edge as normal when the park first opens, but as it fills up they will need to make a reservation in the Virtual Queue for access, either on the app or a kiosk at the park.

THE FIRST ORDER BASE

This is what you’ll be greeted with the moment you walk in — the clear, prominent establishment of the First Order. Depending on which side you’re on, and how loudly you choose to declare it, you might be treated very differently by the stormtroopers and other characters who patrol the area. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be seeing any “rebel scum” lurking around here (and honestly, they’ve got better places to be).

 

At Docking Bay 9 sits the very noteworthy TIE Echelon, which has an interesting backstory. Canonically, it’s primarily a transport ship that’s used to deliver First Order stormtroopers of the 709th Legion to Batuu, while Kylo Ren himself emerges from it too. Behind-the-scenes though, this TIE fighter variant was specially created for the land, with a look that’s developed by ex-director Colin Trevorrow while he was working on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Here, you’ll also be able to spot a harried Kylo Ren bossing his subordinates around, or interact with stormtroopers who might regard you in suspicion if you’re donning a Resistance-friendly shirt or wielding a lightsaber.

 

RIDE — MILLENNIUM FALCON: SMUGGLER’S RUN

We’re at the most impressive-looking part at the park now — a life-sized version of the Millennium Falcon stands before you, and so happens to double up as the entrance to the park’s first ride, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

The ride isn’t a typical roller coaster, but an interactive, immersive co-op where you get to live out the dream of flying the Falcon. You enter the famous cockpit in a group of 6, each with a specific role, before punching it to jump into hyperspace and blast yourself across the galaxy, flying past obstacles and completing a mission along the way. Yes, you might fail. Some hand-eye coordination is required, but nothing too difficult; if you’re used to video games on the Playstation/Switch, this should be a no-brainer!

 

As you can see, even before you get on the ride, the attention to detail deserves utmost praise. One of the most breathtaking moments lies before you enter the cockpit. You’ll pass through corridors that look exactly like those of the Falcon, as if Han and Chewie could pop up beside you any time. Once inside the cockpit, the Falcon’s windows, as well as its functioning buttons, switches, and blinking lights add to the experience too.

For the ride itself, you’re assigned one of three roles — Pilots, who steer the ship; Gunners, in charge of shooting down enemy TIE Fighters, and Engineers, who monitor the ship’s systems and make repairs. Hands down, the best role? The Pilot. It’s the most important — though stressful — role as both pilots have to work together to navigate the ship. The left pilot controls the horizontal steering, and the right pilot controls the vertical steering. Should you crash, the cockpit moves and rattles with you. Be warned: if your ship takes on too much damage, the mission may not be successful. The gunners’ role isn’t bad too if you’re nervous on your first run, but pick manual mode for a more challenging game.

I don’t know if you (and your crew mates) will be skilled enough to, as they say, do the “Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs”, but one can try.

TIPS:
  • You can’t use FastPass here at the moment. However, the queue isn’t that long — a maximum of 45 minutes throughout the day.
  • Choose the role of the Pilot — it’s the most challenging, but fun and satisfying vocation on the ride.
  • The ride operator will be passing out cards with the assigned roles, according to groups of 6, where you might be grouped with strangers. If you didn’t get your preferred role, politely decline, and wait to join the next group.
  • Going on the Single-Rider Queue will probably cut your queue time in half, but you’ll have no choice but to accept the role offered to you. Often times, this means the Engineer.

 

EXPLORING THE WORLD

 

Elsewhere, roam towards the central area for more views of the spaceport, cantina and market. You’ll be able to find some substantial nosh over at Docking Bay 7, fashioned after a working hangar bay, or even better, get a taste of blue milk at the Milk Stand. Rest assured, it’s not as gross as it sounds; this one’s made of tropical fruit-flavoured coconut and rice milks, so it’s even lactose-free!

What I’d totally recommend as worthy souvenirs though are the series of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Sprite drinks housed in bottles that look like Star Wars-themed thermal detonators, complete with Aurebesh text. Come on, how cool do they look! Best thing is, you can stow them away in your luggage to take home. TSA reversed their earlier ban and now says it’s okay to bring them onboard planes. I guess these are not the bombs they’re looking for…

 

The Marketplace is also a buzzy spot for its slew of shops and interesting knick knacks — aka, all the merch you’ll ever want! From enamel pins and t-shirts, to ugly-cute plushies at the Creature Stall, to wooden toys and instruments at the Toydarian Toymaker, you’ll, for sure, be spoilt for choice, almost as if you’ve been Jedi Mind Trick-ed to bust your Disneyland budget. I mean, that’s not what’s happening right??

 

Then, at the Droid Depot, you’ll again be tempted because here, you get to put together your own lil’ droid. Choose from a BB-series or R-series unit, then pick your customisable parts as they roll by on the shop’s conveyor belt, before finally assembling your sidekick. It costs USD99.99 for an astromech droid unit, which can be activated with a remote control.

Also, interesting, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. You’ll find that nearer to the main canteen actually, a den of unique items, rare objects, oddities, and other knick-knacks, things that hardcore Star Wars fans would gush about. Once again, each detail is so deliberate that it’ll feel more true-to-life than just the usual set design.

 

THE (SECRET) RESISTANCE BASE

Just a short walk away… the Resistance Supply.

Located a little away from the main action, lies Resistance Supply, where you can rendezvous with other allies in a forested area near some ancient ruins — this happens to be where the Resistance has set up their covert makeshift post. I do wonder what’ll happen if you give the location away to the First Order… but nah, I’m with General Organa.

 

Here, we spotted Chewie tinkering with an old X-Wing, and a brief appearance of Rey along the way, but other than that, this is pretty much a photo spot and possibly the only place you can get Resistance-themed souvenirs. A little quiet for now, but a nice respite from the crowds, while it’s also cool to know that the fact that it’s kinda hidden makes sense for its storyline.

This will be the site for an upcoming ride too — Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening 17 Jan, which will give this area more of a buzz.

 

MAKING LIGHTSABERS — SAVI’S WORKSHOP 

I went to Savi’s Workshop, and all I got was this blurry pic.

Custom-built lightsaber. Enough said? No, not really. Okay, how do I justify the price of a USD199.99 toy… it’s tough, but just know that as a Star Wars fan, you’ll be sorely tempted, even if said lightsaber ends up being a mere prop at home.

Just so you know, this goes above and beyond the cheap plastic ones you’ll get from a toy store — we’re talking premium metal that has a good weight to it, realistic-looking sleeves and pommel caps that look like they exist in the Star Wars universe, and a blade that lights up sequentially from the hilt, that starts with a low hum on rest mode, which later gives way to electrifying static when you land a good clash. You don’t know how satisfying that sounds.

As for the workshop itself, it probably lasted less than 30 minutes in total. Click on the gallery below to find out about the process, from choosing your hilt build and Kyber Crystal — that determines your lightsaber colour — to the glorious unveiling of your finished project.

 

To say the experience was breathtaking and immersive would be an understatement, and that’s coming from an adult! I can imagine how any young Star Wars fan will be ten times more blown away. I won’t say it’s a must-do, simply because it is pricey, but it’s something you won’t regret after.

What’s also fun was the storytelling element. The story goes that Savi’s a Jedi supporter who runs a covert workshop, gathering parts and lightsaber fragments from across the galaxy, in order “to keep the Jedi hope alive”.

First, you’ll have to find the workshop, slightly hidden from the main paths and disguised as a small junk shop, nothing overt except a blue banner. Even the gatherers you come across would tell you they deal with “scrap”. I’ve heard that when First Order stormtroopers start poking around, they’d hurriedly rush any builders in line into the premises, and deny anything to do with lightsabers or Jedi. During the workshop itself, the choosing of your Kyber Crystal was also an important moment — you’re asked to close your eyes and essentially, feel the Force, going with whatever colour’s calling out to you. Delusion or not, having that mythology throughout makes you feel that more connected to the Star Wars lore, and your new lightsaber of course.

 

The best time to show off your new lightsaber — after dark. Our Disney photographer was real serious about capturing the moment, as you can tell.
TIPS:
  • Reserve your slot! I can’t stress this enough. You can book in advance online, because apparently, they cut off the day’s queue after a certain time. Reservations can be made 60 days in advance.
  • Choose your builder — you don’t need your entire family to do it, just pick the most fervent Star Wars fan, because you’re allowed 2 guests per participant. All the better to take good photos, while also savouring the experience.
  • Good to know: the lightsabers are TSA-approved so rest assured, it’ll pass through customs fine as “odd-sized baggage” or a personal carry-on with the provided soft carrying case, though we kept an ever-watchful eye on it all the time.

 

FUELLING UP — OGA’S CANTINA

A bartender serving up drinks at Oga’s Cantina.

Consider this a local watering hole where the visitors and locals of Black Spire Outpost gather to cool off from the heat. What’s unique is that this is the first and only place where alcohol is served in the Disneyland Park, so be prepared for inventive cocktails (and mocktails) that’ll reference anything from Tauntauns and Banthas to Yub Nub, an Ewok song featured in Return of the Jedi (the drink’s even served in an Endor souvenir mug). Full menu here.

Did they play the Cantina theme? Only briefly. Instead, resident droid DJ-R3X, will pump your eardrums with hits from all over the galaxy. The cantina is fairly cave-like, definitely grungy, with a centrepiece of a  u-shaped bar framing an old hyperdrive. Like the rest of the world, you’ll find a couple of cool knick-knacks if you look hard enough.

Oh, most of us were standing too, due to there being very limited seating, so expect to be shoulder-to-shoulder with a stranger. Think of this more like a hole-in-the-wall dive bar, rather than a comfy pub or swanky affair.

 

As you can tell, the drinks here are going for exotic and photogenic. Popular drinks include the Fuzzy Tauntaun, a peach-citrus vodka drink that’s topped with a salty, tingly “buzzz” foam; Jedi Mind Trick, another vodka concoction that glows a luminous blue; as well as Cliff Dweller, this time, a tropical non-alcoholic drink with ginger ale, coconut, and citrus juices, probably sought after for the irresistible Porg souvenir mug it comes in. Blue Bantha was also a popular choice for the ‘gram, since it’s chilled blue milk, a Star Wars classic, served with a photogenic Bantha-inspired sugar cookie on top.

For the drinks we did try, Jabba Juice was a fun one. It’s a very fruity mixture of Simply Orange® with Pineapple, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, and then with popping pearls floating inside, meant to resemble Worrt eggs. A tad sweet for my liking, but not bad! The Gold Squadron Lager, served on tap, reminded us of a Tiger beer actually, since it was on the light side, but otherwise, nothing that distinct. Honestly, I’d say, come for the novelty and atmosphere, not necessarily for the drinks.

TIPS:
  • Reserve your slot! You don’t want to be outside queueing in the hot sun. I found this easier compared to booking a slot at Savi’s. I booked for 7pm, but really, afternoon’s fine as well so you can head out to the other parts of the park.
  • Bring ID. They’ll card you if you’re intending to order alcoholic drinks.

 


Star wars: Galaxy’s edge. at both disneyland resort, california and walt disney world resort, florida. info here
coming soon — the ‘star wars: rise of the resistance’ ride, opens 17 jan 2020. 
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