Everything you need to know about experiencing Disneyland’s new Star Wars land
Woohoo! Are you ready to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in California? My family and I were fortunate to get a sneak peek at Disney’s highly-anticipated land before the official June 23, 2019 opening. And there’s much to know before your family embarks on this intergalactic experience in the land of Batuu.
If you have a visit scheduled, you probably are already concerned about crowds. Yes, you should prepare yourself for plenty of other Earthlings and long wait times, but my family and I found Batuu to be larger and more spacious that we expected. In fact, there are about 14 acres to explore. So let’s get started!
Once you step into Galaxy’s Edge, you arrive at the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu located in the Outer Rim of the galaxy. Immediately, my kids and I felt immersed in the Star Wars universe. You won’t find any of the typical Disney characters here, but you will come face to face with members of the First Order and the Resistance. What really stood out to me were the interactions with all of the cast members. As inhabitants of Batuu, they spoke to us in their own dialect. Here’s a sampling of the new vocabulary that we learned:
Farewell = ’Til the spire, may the spires keep you, good journey, and may the force be with you (said to the Resistance, only)
KidTripster Tip: Before you enter Galaxy’s Edge, be sure to download the Disneyland app so that you can see ride wait times and a map of Batuu plus submit mobile food orders. You’ll also want to download the Play Disney app to gain access to the deeper level of storytelling integrated into Batuu. The app will unlock super cool, interactive features. For example, to translate Aurebesh - the written language of the Star Wars galaxy - use your phone to scan words that you see around the land. The apps also has a hacking feature that allows you to interact with certain droids to see their memories and open hidden door panels. Use the scanning tool to peek inside cargo crates and other containers to collect virtual credits, or points. You can even tap into satellites and decrypt secret messages from the Resistance, the First Order, and the smugglers. A map in the app points out where to find the scannable, hackable, and decryptable items.
Throughout the Black Spire Outpost, the First Order is trying to install surveillance devices in various door panels to spy on the Resistance. By using the Play Disney app, you can join in Outpost Control, a multi-player game happening throughout the land several times daily. You can choose to support either side by hacking the panels for the Resistance or the First Order. The game finishes when one side successfully hacks a majority of the available panels. We sadly ran out of time and energy to complete the game, but it’ll be first on our list for our next visit.
The last cool point about the app is that while waiting to board Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, you can take on a job from Hondo Ohnaka, the pirate turned “legitimate” businessman operating Ohnaka Transport Solutions out of Black Spire Outpost. It helps pass the time.
Think of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run as an interactive video game more than a ride. We found it to be more engaging than Mission Space at Walt Disney World.
KidTripster Tip: When you arrive, pose in front of the ship for a photo and then head to the line.
KidTripster Tip: While waiting in line, there are lots of Star Wars Easter Eggs along with a speeder engine to keep everyone occupied. Don’t know what a Disney Easter Egg is? It’s a joke or reference that’s intentionally hidden and typically rewards viewers with a closer look at something.
Once you reach the ship, Hondo Ohnaka will tell you his story and give you your mission. Then it’s time to board. We were amazed at just how authentic this “hunk of junk” was - from the chess board in the lounge from the original Star Wars to floors that bounce. Once you get to the cockpit of the ship, you’re assigned a role. You and five other riders assume the positions of pilots, gunners, and engineers. One pilot controls vertical movement, while the other controls horizontal movement. The engineers assist the pilots by making minor adjustments. The gunners attack incoming TIE fighters and other enemy ships. The choices that you and your crew make during the mission actually affect the outcome of the experience, so no two rides are the same! My kids loved this ride and rode it twice.
KidTripster Tip: If you have a strong preference regarding your role, let the ride attendant know. The two pilot seats are the most coveted positions.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be the second ride in Galaxy’s Edge, but it’s not slated to open until later in 2019. As of this writing, no date has been confirmed.
3/Imaginative food & drink
Wherever you travel, the food always reflects the culture and traditions of the place that you’re visiting. When you arrive on Batuu, the food and drinks couldn’t be more spot on, providing you with yet another immersive experience.
A visit to Oga’s Cantina is a must. I highly recommend the Jedi Mind Trick, my favorite adult beverage. The Blue Banta - blue milk with a cookie on top - was my kids’ favorite. For a snack, we tried Oga’s Delight. It tasted like lemonade-cotton candy jello with the same round sweet boba balls used in the Night Blossom drink at The World of Avatar’s Pandora topped with mixed fruit-flavored pop rocks! The beer flight was pretty cool, too, featuring tasty craft brews. We found it to be pricey at $75, but it does come with souvenir ceramic horns and a stand. Above all, the upbeat ambience at Oga’s makes you feel like you’re an intergalactic scoundrel!
For dinner, we ventured over to Cargo Bay 8. We tried the Smoked Kaadu Ribs, Fried Endorian Tip-yip (fried chicken) Yo Shrimp Noodle Salad. No complaints here; everything was delicious! Just be aware that the noodles are a cold dish.
KidTripster Tip: I highly recommend ordering on the Disneyland app so you don’t have to wait in line.
If you really want to purchase a lightsaber, the quality here is much better than your typical store. My aspiring Jedi knights purchased the Kyber Crystals and Holocrons ones. If you’re looking for the immersive experience of building your own custom lightsaber in Savi’s Workshop, it’ll cost you: $200 per person. That’s a lot of “credits!”
You also can pay extra to build a custom, blue tooth-controlled droid. That’ll set you back another $100.
5/Dressing the part
True fans will likely what to dress the part so as to blend in on Batuu, but know that Disney has some pretty strict rules. First, guests ages 14 and up may not wear costumes, but appropriate “bounding” is permitted. What does that mean? You can wear clothes that would be worn by Batuu villagers - think muted earth tones and layers. Want to dress up like Chewbacca? Nope. Resistance pilot? Nope. Read the Disney Parks Blog here for more details.
Couple of more things to know before your visit…
Star Wars Easter Eggs are plentiful all around Batuu. We definitely spotted a few, but I’m sure there were more. The easiest one to find is near the cargo ship above the Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo restaurant. Here you’ll see three containers, each labeled with different number: 77, 80, and 83. Those numbers correspond to the years that the original trilogy movies were released. Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities also had a plethora of Easter Eggs and was my second favorite place in Galaxy’s Edge, right after Oga’s.
KidTripster Tip: Look for the Indiana Jones references on the upper walls above the cashier in Dok-Ondar's Den.
Look carefully when you’re at Ronto Roasters. A pod racer engine cooks the meat, controlled by a droid. That droid is the same one found in Jabba’s the Hutt’s Palace in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
We did see a Hidden Mickey! I won’t say exactly where it is, but it looks like blast marks and blends in perfectly with the rest of the building.
In short, my family truly had an amazing experience. Batuu exceeded all of our expectations. We sincerely experienced one of our families’ #BestDayEver moments and can’t wait for a return trip.
KidTripster Tip: I’d recommend planning on four to six hours in Galaxy’s Edge or spread your visit over two days.
‘Til the spire and may the force be with you!
Kimberly Anwar is the owner and founder of Magic Family Getaways. She resides in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and is the mom of three active boys. Her favorite Disney character is Moana, and she embraces Walt Disney’s quote, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”
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