Bright suns! This past Sunday (4 August), I accompanied my friend Jane to her Disney Cast Member preview of Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Ever since this park was announced, I’ve been beyond excited to experience it. Our reservation for the preview began at 9am, just after the park opened to non-resort guests. The entry to Galaxy’s Edge is located just past the Muppet Vision 3D area and not too far from Star Tours, aka, the “Old Outpost”. It is marked by a large gateway and stepping through, you’ll enter a tunnel that will take you into the world of Batuu, a planet located in the Outer Rim on the edge of Wild Space. The theming of this area is beyond anything I’ve experienced in any theme park thus far. You will not see any Star Wars branding in Galaxy’s Edge and the only signs you’ll see are near the entrance. This will be a long read, so strap in.
As you enter Batuu, to the left you will find the queuing area for Rise of the Resistance, opening later this year on 5 December, as will as a couple of “Resistance Supply” kiosks. Continuing past this to the left, you’ll enter the marketplace where you will discover various shops, such Black Spire Outfitters, where you can buy some pretty decent costume pieces; I bought a faux leather belt there for my Rey costume. You’ll find Jedi and Sith robes and accessories here as well. Other shops include the Toydarian Toymaker where you can find items that resemble handmade goods, and the creature stall which features an adorable lothcat in a cage. Kat Saka’s Kettle and Ronto Roasters are food options located in this area. Kat Saka’s has Outpost Mix, a popcorn snack, as well as the specially designed Coke products. Ronto Roasters specializes in “exotic meats”; as such there is no vegan option, but vegetarians will find the breakfast offering of Rising Moons Overnight Oats as well as some unique beverages, including black caf. You’ll also notice the pod racing engine which has been turned into a barbecue pit tended by 8D-J8, a smelter droid. Refreshers (restrooms) are located toward the entrance of the Marketplace.
Exiting the Marketplace area to your left you will find Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Some items here are only served during lunch or dinner. We had lunch here; there is one vegetarian/vegan option, which is the Felucian Garden Spread: plant-based “kefta” served with herb hummus, tomato-cucumber relish, and pita. The kefta is actually Impossible meatless balls. This reminded me of an item I had at Epcot during the Festival of the Arts earlier this year, which was the farmhouse meatball with lentil bread, spinach, marinated vegetables, and creamy herb dressing. (Apparently, for dinner, the Ithorian Garden Loaf is available: plant-based “meatloaf”, roasted vegetable potato mash, and seasonal vegetables, with mushroom sauce. Edit, 09/07/19: Upon going back to the park recently, I noticed this item is not available and I can’t find it on the official menus either, yet people have had it in Disneyland.)
Directly across from Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo is Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Looking for Jedi or Sith holocrons? How about Princess Leia’s classic white dress or Qi’Ra’s gold Crimson Dawn necklace? Kyber crystals? This is where you’ll want to go. The senate dress is actually relatively nice — I’m extremely familiar with the construction of that dress because I’ve made several for myself over the last 20 years, so I had to examine it. The belt is vinyl (somewhat thin) as are the silver medallions adorning it. The dress itself is the first commercially made version of this costume that does not have shoulder seams and has the correct open, u-shaped hood. Both of these features are simple details, but I appreciated them. If you don’t feel like making or commissioning this costume and you’re not going for an elite costuming group’s approval, this is a relatively inexpensive option as it is less than $200, but still fairly accurate.
Looking straight ahead from between Dok-Ondar’s and Docking Bay 7, you’ll see the Millennium Falcon herself, docked here at Black Spire Outpost! You may even catch a glimpse of Chewbacca and Rey, if you’re lucky. This is where you’ll find the queueing area for Smuggler’s Run. If the wait is longer, part of the queue is outside, however it is mostly located in the shade and has good airflow. It was pretty hot and sunny when I was there, but it really wasn’t too bad with all of the shade. Honestly, there are many places in Batuu to sit and rest outside of direct sunlight, which is really nice. (But you should still remember to wear sunscreen!) Just before you board the ship, you’ll meet Hondo Ohnaka and he has a job for you: you’ll be borrowing the Falcon from Chewie to pick up a shipment of Coaxium for Ohnaka Transport Solutions.
Boarding the Falcon feels very similar to walking down the ramp to board a plane. You will enter the ride in groups of six; if you do not have six people in your party, a single rider or two may be added. Yes: Smuggler’s Run has a single rider line! As you enter the ship, you’ll be handed a coloured card with your assignment: pilot, gunner, or engineer. The card also has brief instructions for your role and you will hand this in just before going on your mission. In this waiting area, you will see some familiar sights, such as the Dejarik table and as you await your turn, you’ll have a little bit of time to take some photos and just enjoy being in this iconic vessel.
I rode Smuggler’s Run twice. The first time I was the right pilot (that’s Chewie’s spot!) which controls the up/down motion of the ride. I also got to take us into hyperspace…TWICE! The left pilot (Han’s spot) controls the left/right motion of the ride. Piloting will work best with two people who can coordinate well together; this is a role that will take some practice to be good at! It also has the best view of the action. Behind the pilots are seated the gunners, and behind them, the engineers. On my second time on the ride, I was an engineer; this job is very easy — you will be responsible for repairing the ship by punching flashing buttons or flipping various switches. I completed my engineer role with 100% success. I didn’t play the gunner role yet, but their job is to help defend the ship against attacks, of course. Allegedly there is a manual option or an automatic option for this role, with the manual option being the harder one. The points you score in performing your role will factor into your experience within the Play Disney app once that is up and running. Of note as well, this ride does not dump you out in a gift shop!
Upon exiting Smuggler’s Run, you may want to go to Oga’s Cantina, which is located nearby. Note that you may need a reservation; Oga was not taking walk-ins on the day of my visit, so I was unable to check the place out. Oga’s is where you’ll catch up with Rex, our old friend from Star Tours, now working here as a DJ. I’m looking forward to trying several things here, especially the Toniray wine. As you pass between Oga’s Cantina and Dok-Ondar’s, you’ll see a First Order TIE Echelon fighter with the First Order Cargo Shop to your left. On the right almost directly across from the cargo shop is the Milk Stand. At the Milk Stand, you can try both green (Thala Siren) and blue (Bantha) milk! There are alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of this frozen beverage. The alcoholic green milk is blended with tequila and the blue milk is blended with rum. Both of the milks here are a plant-based blend of coconut and rice milks, so vegans and lactose free folks can freely enjoy! I tried both and both were delicious.
As you leave the area where the Milk Stand is located, you’ll pass by another Refresher location on your way toward the Droid Depot. This is where you can build your own custom astromech unit! You’ll also find various accessories for your little friend. Next door to the Droid Depot, you’ll find Savi’s Workshop where you can create a custom lightsaber or purchase one that’s already been completed. Note that both of these experiences may require a reservation! This will bring you back around to the area by Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and you have now completed your loop around Black Spire Outpost.
During my visit, the Play Disney Parks app was not yet functional. Once the park is open and this feature is integrated, the app will transform into a datapad when you are on planet, allowing you to scan objects around the area, “hack” into droids, unscramble transmissions, and translate the languages such as the main Star Wars alphabet Aurebesh. You will be able to take “jobs” and choose your allegiance — will you stand with the Resistance, join the First Order, or decide to be a scoundrel out for your own personal gain?
Galaxy’s Edge opens to the public on 29 August and the Rise of the Resistance ride opens on 5 December.