Quite possibly the most anticipated theme park expansion in recent years, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is finally here at the Disneyland Resort in California. I remember back in 2015 when this place was announced and I really dived into the Star Wars fandom. Excitement was everywhere as Star Wars was soon to make an even bigger presence in Disneyland.
Let us walk through this wonderful place, shall we? Walking in for the first time through the mostly calm Critter Country, I was shaking with excitement. I could see the Spires up ahead but I was thinking, “Okay, I can see it from afar, and it doesn’t seem that impressive.” But as I walked through the tunnel under the railroad, into a forest, so much had changed under several feet. The sounds around us echoes of strange creatures that we may or may not have heard from the Star Wars Galaxy. I kept on walking, not looking back, seeing the tip of a battle hardened X-Wing ahead of me. Going further out from the Resistance’s forest base, I took a good look around me and nothing could have prepared me for the full reveal of Batuu. With only the spires looming overhead, the architecture of Black Spire Outpost, both ancient and new, made this place truly feel like being in a galaxy far, far away…
Now we are on Batuu and first reactions have become sweet memories in our minds. We can appreciate Galaxy’s Edge feel as a new park land, as it portrays Star Wars in the closest thing we’ll get in real life for now (until they invent a working lightsaber). It borrows from the “used universe” concept of a Star Wars set, with all the nicks, bumps and grooves woven into the land, as if people have lived there for thousands of years. The use of the flora and weathered architecture make for some truly beautiful shots, especially at night with the lights. From a visual standpoint, Batuu is truly breathtaking.
Now it wouldn’t be Disneyland if we didn’t go into the main attraction. Smuggler’s Run has been one of the more hyped up aspects of Galaxy’s Edge, as it was the fulfillment of many fans’ dreams of flying the Millennium Falcon in real life. Getting in the queue for this ride was enough to stir up the excitement inside of me, as we passed by various cargo and the occasional porg tampering on the Falcon. The cool thing about the ride is that it features the actual Main Hold of the falcon, so you can get the chance to wait in the room for your flying group to have their spin on the Falcon.
The actual ride is worth it for the thrill of fulfilling your fantasy, but it’s on the second time around that needs a little variety. The concept of the ride is that Hondo Ohanaka has borrowed the Falcon from Chewbacca and needs your help in his own amateur smuggling business. So each ride acts as a mission to obtain goods for Hondo and evade the First Order while you’re at it. On consecutive rides, however, it is revealed that there is only one mission: to travel to Corellia to obtain coaxium of Solo fame. The thing that could really elevate Smuggler’s Run as an attraction is more variety in missions ala Star Tours, the other Star Wars ride across the other end of the park. More missions would encourage more guests to ride Smuggler’s Run more often and add another level of immersiveness to the park. After all, pulling the same mission does tend to break the illusion that you’re in Batuu.
However, let’s get to some of the culinary provisions that Batuu offers as its planetary delicacies. Stopping by the Milk stand, serving both blue and green milk, I tried both glasses. The results were … interesting ….to say the least. Both milks were non-dairy vegan subsidizes for milk, part of a long park-wide trend that has introduced various vegan options for guests. However, while I appreciate the effort, the recipe does not quite work enough for me to buy the milk again. The blue milk had a flavor akin to well articulated berry flavor akin to a candy while the green milk had a slightly more citrus aftertaste. The main problem with both is that there is no distinct taste; neither is appetizing or grooms enough. It’s just middling.
Visiting Oga’a Cantina was an experience that was definitely worth at least one visit! The drinks I ordered, the Jabba Juice and the Blurrgfire, were especially delicious. The drinks here are well worth your money or credits, per say, with them having mastered creating distinct tastes with multiple flavors (which they should carry over to their milk stand…)
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo also surprisingly boosts some substantial options, with a stand out for me being the amazing Braised Shaak Roast. Here is where many delicious vegan and plant based options have been well executed that create for some surprisingly well balanced planet food fare. Robot Roasters, while not offering an immersive sit down experience like the Docking Bay, still offers flavorful space hot dogs, as I like to call them, that make for a nice meal or big snack.
Batuu’s Marketplace definitely creates an ambience of galactic trade fare, with many park guests coming in and out. The goods on display help build onto the illusion. The interesting thing about the goods here is that they are made to resemble actual goods that you would buy in the galaxy. Think of Jyn’s stormtrooper doll from Rogue One. You could get a similar wooden or doll version of at the Toymaker’s Stall.
Finally, the character interactions set the stage for Batuu’s story as the Resistance battles against the First Order. You will come across Resistance Fighters such as Vi Moradi, Rey and Chewbacca as well as groups of patrolling Stormtroopers who have a habit of inspecting various park guests. These interactions are very entertaining, encouraging you to play along and be a part of the galaxy far, far away.
Now, on to how Galaxy’s Edge can be improved in the future, because just because I love this place does not mean I call it perfect. There needs to be more experiences beyond shopping and reserved experiences, such as Savi’s workshop, the Cantina, and Droid Depot. Park guests coming in without exclusive and expensive reservations can find little to do once they are done flying the Falcon and browsing the Marketplace. Perhaps the addition of a set live show, much like how Disneyland has its entertainment draws in its other lands. Another could be the addition of interactive areas and walkthroughs, like maybe an abandoned Jedi site or the Resistance Base apart from the upcoming Rise of the Resistance attraction. And leading into that, there is currently only one ride ride in the park, which is the Falcon, which may not apply to everyone’s tastes of cooperative rides. This lack of variation in experiences could be a factor in the low attendance over Batuu’s first few months. Listening to these potential improvements can lead to building a better Batuu!
Looking back, I can confidently say that Batuu creates its own Star Wars world that captures every little bit of Star Wars magic that makes guests want to return again. But the guests may want to return even more if Batuu’s features were expanded upon and made more immersive. Until then, let’s go explore the edge of the galaxy….