Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. As an enthusiastic Star Wars fan I had high expectations coming into the land. However, after a day of exploring and experiencing Galaxy’s Edge, the planet of Batuu, and Black Spire Outpost I can confidently say that the entire land expansion didn’t disappoint. It blew me away.
There are 3 ways to enter Galaxy’s Edge including Critter Country, Fantasyland, Frontierland, but for my first experience I felt the best route in was through Critter Country. After passing Splash Mountain and the Hungry Bear restaurant in Critter Country, you eventually walk under a train track bridge where one can sense change in the air. Surrounding the walkway are these Star Wars inspired lamp post and devices that resemble the moisture vaporizers found on Tatooine. As one ventures deeper into the forest you can hear speeder bikes charging by and creatures roaming around. Ahead, the Resistance have posted camp and a parked A-Wing and X-Wing starfighter are under maintenance off to the side. Across the starfighters, a huge turret blaster marks the ride entrance of the Rise of the Resistance which is set to open January 17, 2020 at Disneyland and December 5, 2019 at Hollywood Studios in Disney World.
After snapping a few photos I spotted Chewbacca heading towards the X-wing while guests including myself yelled, “Chewie!” Chewie raised his hands in exultation and went back to gathering tools before doing maintenance on the X-Wing. It looked like he was swapping out some parts for the proton torpedo and going about his day. In my mind, all I could think about was, “Wow, I’m finally here on the planet Batuu in my very own Star Wars movie.”
Further down the path, I can see the entrance to the marketplace at Black Spire Outpost. The locals known as Batuuans had their goods for sale including creatures, toy speeder bikes, and moisture vaporizer fans for those hot days on Batuu. The surrounding architecture reminded me of the photos I’ve seen of the Marrakesh marketplace amplified by the Star Wars technology aesthetics. While this part of the land felt a bit crowded, I felt like it was proper storytelling. The marketplace is supposed to be filled with life and having the stores relatively close to one another gave it a more intimate space for the guest to experience.
Beyond the marketplace it opens up to a few of the bigger shops at Black Spire Outpost and also the quick-service restaurants such as Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. At Ronto Roasters you can spot a droid grilling food using the heat from a massive podracer engine. At Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo there are plenty of great food options. My party ended up eating at Docking Bay 7 and tried the Smoked Kaadu Ribs (pork) and the Fried Endorian Tip-Yip (chicken). Both dishes were tasty and I highly recommend this spot to check out. Also, be careful, as transport ships land and take off constantly above you so the ceiling echoes from the engines taking off.
Around 12:50 PM we had reservations Oga’s Cantina so we made our way to that area dodging some of the First Order troops on patrol looking for Resistance sympathizers. While we did make reservations ahead of time, Oga’s Cantina experience is based on capacity and arriving guests can only enter once other parties leave so there was a bit of a line. Overall the wait wasn’t bad at all and I believe it was only about a 10 minute line. After entering Oga’s, one definitely feels the cantina vibes with DJ-R3X, the former pilot of Star Tours now working as a DJ for Black Spire Outpost. The cantina is filled with neat details and the illuminated bar countertops made for perfect cantina photo ops. I did give the tequila based Outer Rim cocktail a try and it was pretty good! At this point I definitely felt like I was a resident of Black Spire Outpost keeping my eyes on constant alert for any bounty hunters after me.
After Oga’s, my last reservation for Galaxy’s Edge was Savi’s Workshop where you can build custom lightsabers from junk parts collected from across the galaxy. Just like Oga’s there is a check-in system and somewhat of a waiting queue before entering the workshop. I don’t want to spoil too much of the experience, but it was a worthwhile experience minus the hiccup of my lightsaber hilt malfunctioning near the end of the experience. The cast members felt really bad about what happened, but immediately came to the rescue to fix my lightsaber. In addition, they also even went above and beyond allowed to come back in Savi’s Workshop to take some private photos with my lightsaber and the kyber crystals. It was unexpected, but I have to give major props to cast members working that day for elevating my experience at Savi’s Workshop.
At night, Galaxy’s Edge lights up and offer a completely different guest experience, one that everyone should experience. Heading back to Galaxy’s Edge we went the same way in through Critter Country and the forest transition felt so peaceful and serene. At the Resistance camp, Chewie was playing around with guests while Resistance members smiled off to the side. Further down the path, the marketplace shined brightly, lit by lanterns and glowing electrical panels. As I approached the entrance to the marketplace, off to my right side Rey emerged unexpectedly from the darkness. She greeted everyone and headed towards a young fan and kneeled and greeted him. Everyone, including myself were excited to see Rey, but nothing could compare to what was about to happen next. After chatting with the youngling, she offered us to join her back to the Resistance camp. I walked alongside Rey as we chatted about the progress of the Resistance camp, Chewie’s never-ending will to get the starfighters in tip-top shape, and Hondo Ohnaka’s smuggling gig. I seriously left all notion of reality and truly believed I was part of the Star Wars universe. As we made it to the Resistance I ended up getting a photo record for my datapad’s facial scanner with Rey and as I thanked her the following words spilled out of my mouth, “May the force be with you.” In reply, she said, “May the force be with you as well.” At that point I felt like I checked off a bucket-list item that a Star Wars fan as myself would’ve never imagined happening. But it did!
After that point forward I ended the night with my first trip on the Millennium Falcon, which was a thrill. My party decided to back out so I ended up going through the single-riders line with the standby time holding at 30 minutes. It didn’t take long to get to the front of the line and just like that I was on the Millenium Falcon. Before entering the Falcon, the transport crew assigned us roles which included pilot, gunner, and engineer. I ended up getting the engineer, which seemed to be a good introductory role for my first time on the Falcon. After boarding the Falcon, you are brought into the room with the holochess table and where Luke Skywalker did his lightsaber training. I wish I had more time to check out the area, but within a minute our group was called forward to enter the corridor to the cockpit. As the cockpit doors slid open, our group entered and I buckled up as I stared at the engineering control panel. I had a very hardcore Star Wars group so throughout the ride there was a lot of excitement, yelling, role-playing, and I even got a chance to say “Punch it!” Overall it was a great ride and I can’t wait to go back.
After heading back off world and leaving the planet of Batuu behind, I can’t help, but to smile and reminisce of the adventures I had at Black Spire Outpost. The storytelling and the immersion brought forward by the talented cast members, Disney Imagineers, and environment allowed me to lose myself to the world of Star Wars. While 2019 marks the first year of Galaxy’s Edge, I hope that this part of Disneyland continues to evolve and create more memorable stories to come. Until then, till the spires!