Introducing Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

My family loves Star Wars and we were lucky enough to be able to visit Disneyland for the opening of Star Wars: A Galaxy’s Edge.  I myself, have never seen the movies but was looking forward to experiencing the new area of the park with my Star Wars loving family.  

Our reservation opened up at 8 am with entry to Disneyland at 6 am, however we were only allowed into Tomorrowland’s Launch Bay where wrists bands are being issued.  (Please note this is a special procedure that was in place for the opening of the new land at Disneyland only until June 24, 2019).    Wrist Bands were issued on the first floor of Launch Bay and we were able to enter and exit this queue within 5 minutes.  The Star Wars area was an immersive experience.   The minute you walk into the planet of Batuu, the cast members are committed to the roles that they are playing.  I was greeted with “Bright Sun” by a cast member.  I looked at my daughter the Star Wars expert for translation because I had no idea what that meant.  I  assumed that this is Star Wars language for “Good Morning”.  Bright Sun was just the first example of communication that I didn’t understand.   Another example is the term “credits” which is used for money or credit cards.  The Droid Depot, was the winner of all difficult conversations I had while in Batuu.  I asked a cast member if there was a shop where I could buy a Star Wars: A Galaxy’s Edge (SWGE) t-shirt and the response I got was “Is there a war going on?”  I am still 100% confused by this response, and never did find a shirt or any merchandise with reference to A Galaxy’s Edge.  However, there is a one shop that I found called “The Market” that does sell gifts with Black Spire Outpost logos.  We must have been ahead of the crowd because as soon as I got in line to pay, a swarm of guests also discovered this shop and suddenly cast members were letting everyone know that only one item of each size was allowed per person.   Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is where you can find information on Light Sabers with price points starting at a little over $100.  It  felt like I was at Ollivander’s looking for a Harry Potter wand, in Universal Studios. One wall that caught my attention was labeled royalty and displayed accessories, costumes, mini busts, and portraits of Padme and Leia.  I haven’t seen anything like this before offering so many different items to purchase based on these two characters. My daughter was amazed by the Holocron which is a cube like object available for purchase.  She found out that if you have two, they will talk to each other and share special messages. 

Once again the crowd seemed to have been following us.  We didn’t make it into Docking Bay 7, but we did get a chance to try “Ronto Roasters” where we had a “Ronto wrap.”  It is something like a hot dog but instead is made with pork sausage and has peppercorn sauce and slaw wrapped in a pita.   This is a great spot to grab a quick bite, but they did not have any seating.  We did however find some seating around the corner but the seats were all occupied.   I can see it being even more of a challenge to find a quiet place once reservations are no longer required.  Next, we tried to go to the “Cantina” for a drink, but the line was closed off due to overcrowding.   Instead, we decided to try and come back to it after riding “Smuggler’s Run.”   Now I know it was opening morning and we were in the first group to enter Batuu, but our wait from joining the queue to sitting down to the ride took us about 30 minutes which wasn’t bad at all.  Once reservations are no longer required, I can definitely see this line rival the wait of those wanting to ride “Flight of Passage” located inside Pandora, at Animal Kingdom.  The queue itself is similar to the queue for Star Wars in Disneyland with lots of cool things to see and hear while you loop around the many turns before boarding the ride.  Once we came to the end of the first part of the queue, we were separated into small groups and walked into another room where “Hondo” briefed us on our mission.   From there we were sent down a series of narrow hallways similar to the tunnels you enter before boarding a plane.  At the end of the last hall, we were grouped into groups of 6 where each person was assigned a job of either pilot, gunner, or engineer. This determines where we would be sitting once inside the simulator.  From this point, we waited for your group to be called and were able to wander around the area until we heard our group color.  There were a few photo opportunities with the most popular being the chess table.   However this area quickly became crowded and felt a little claustrophobic even with the limited guests waiting to enjoy the ride.   Thankfully we were not in this area for long before our group was called and then it was time to enjoy the ride.  I was very nervous boarding this ride because I experience motion sickness and was worried that it might be a similar experience to the ride in Pandora which is overwhelming for me.   However, there was so much going on while on the the “Smuggler’s Run” ride that I was in control of that I didn’t have time to focus on the screen or the movement.  “Smugglers Run” is very much like a video game in that there are buttons and switches that you are in control of activating at different moments during the ride.  By far this is one of the most fun and thrilling rides that I have been on in a long time!   We were so thankful that we had the opportunity to enjoy it as one of the first groups of guests in Batuu!

We never did get a chance to go into the “Cantina” or the “Droid Depot” because the lines where very long and kept getting closed off.  All in all, for the first group of reservations, I would say that Disney had everything organized and efficient for the opening of SWGE.  Considering I did not know very much about the Star Wars Universe, this new land lived up to the hype!  Based on everything that I had been told and read about, it was worth getting up very early to watch my daughter who is a “real fan,” walk around in amazement and with the biggest smile on her face the entire time.  Watching her and other guests interact with the characters was worth every penny!  Some of the fun included the Storm Troopers who are randomly walking around questioning guests about their alliances, running into Chewbacca and helping him try to repair his ship or listening to my daughter talk to Rey who helped her figure out where she could finally get the “Blue Milk.”  The highlight was taking a photo in front of the Millennium Falcon with no guests walking around in the background!   Now that reservations are no longer required, I definitely know many of these favorite attractions including: Smuggler’s Run, Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities will become overrun with crowds.   My advice is to get there early and be prepared for crowds and long wait times.  But with all there is to see and do, I am sure this immersive experience will keep you entertained while you wait! 

Jason Valade