Last week I visited Disneyland with a few out-of-town relatives. I was excited to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which opened in May of this year. Special reservations were required during the first month but now a Disneyland ticket grants normal access.
Galaxy’s Edge has three entrances: One from the rear of Frontierland, on the backside of Thunder Mountain Railroad. The second is from Fantasyland, past the Red Rose Tavern. The third, and one I took, is a long walk from Critter County, to the right of the Country Bear Jamboree. It was interesting to see the details shift from frontier-styled plants, light-posts, and trash cans to the Star Wars themed environment. I mentioned that walk was pretty long but, honestly, each step heightened my anticipation!
If you enter the way I did, the first thing you are greeted with is a blue X-wing and an A-wing you can pose for photos with. There is a Disneyland cast member on-hand who can take a photo for you. These are across from the entryway for a ride that will not open until 2020. There is plenty to look at; in all the reviews I read of Galaxy’s Edge, the word “immersive” kept coming up again and again. That word is extremely accurate—every little detail has been decorated and designed to create the feeling of truly being in the remote outpost planet of Batuu.
An Immersive Experience
Since there is currently one ride open (I’ll get to that), most of the current attractions are Star Wars themed dining and shopping, which are abundant. For dining, choose from this extensive list: Kat Saka’s Kettle, Ronto Roasters (see below), Docking Bay Food and Cargo, Oga’s Cantina, and the famous Milk Stand. Oga’s Cantina is the only place alcohol is available in the Disneyland Park (aside from the exclusive Club 33). The Milk Stand had the longest line; fans were willing to wait a while to try the famous, mysterious (and very instagrammable) blue milk.
Shopping is a huge draw to Galaxy’s Edge, but time will tell if repeat visitors will remain enthusiastic about the stores. The most-hyped stores are Savi’s Workshop, where you can build your own lightsaber (to the tune of $200), and Droid Depot, where you can design your own functioning (bluetooth) droid, which will run you about $100. These options sounded pretty expensive to me, but then I remembered that the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique child makeovers range from $60-$200, so it seems in line with custom, reservation-based Disneyland experiences.
The below photo was snapped inside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, which contains memorabilia from the full range of Star Wars eras. Fitting with the trade-outpost theme of the planet Batuu, there are also several smaller shops and stalls specializing in creatures, clothing, and trinkets. The merchandise varies between them all.
The one ride currently open in Galaxy’s Edge is Smuggler’s Run, which is part rollercoaster simulator and part game. One of the coolest parts about Smuggler’s Run is that as you queue, you are ushered through and into famous parts of the Millennium Falcon. The chessboard was, naturally, a popular option for photos. I was totally geeking out, but didn’t get a chance to have my photo taken at the chessboard because my group was called to the ride pretty quickly.
Riders are grouped into crews of six and enter into a Millennium Falcon simulator complete with buttons and levers to operate when prompted by the mission controller (via video). Depending on the team’s performance, a score is given at the end. I didn’t know, until I heard other people chattering on the way to the exit, that the score is real and different groups perform better or worse than each other!
The second immersive ride experience, Rise of the Resistance, will open next year, sometime in 2020. It is expected to “blur the lines between fantasy and reality.” In the meantime, there are in-character cast members who will bar your entrance into that area. They are required to stay in character at all times so you can ask them about growing up in Batuu and what they think of The Resistance for a little back-and-forth.
Fans overall have been disappointed that there is only one ride open in Galaxy’s Edge. I am really glad I got to visit it so soon after it opened, but I love Disneyland overall and didn’t make a special trip just for Galaxy’s Edge. I love Star Wars so I will be eager to see the new ride next year and learn whether or not they have more changes in store for the land.
Star Tours, Star Trader, and Star Wars Launch Bay still appear to be business-as-usual on the opposite side of the park at Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland is a frequently-changing area, so time will tell if these attractions (which are still solid draws) will make a move across the park or remain as-is.
Have you been to Galaxy’s Edge yet? What did you think? Are you planning a trip sometime soon? Let me know in the comments!