Lets start things off by being real with each other, it’s not a Galaxy so far far away anymore. In fact, it’s probably more like stepping into another world than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Pandora combined.
For those of you that are already confused, let me back up a bit. This past week, I was lucky enough to have a great roommate Ellie, who had an extra ticket to Disney’s newest attraction. Not only is this attraction in Hollywood Studios going to contain two new major rides once it is fully completed, but it is an entire new realm with new foods, sights, sounds, and stories.
When you enter the underpass, you suddenly leave the world of Hollywoodland and enter Batuu, where traders and smugglers run free! When you first enter this new world, the first thing I at least noticed was the sound. It wasn’t like your usual Disney park atmosphere, there was no lingering background music. Instead there was sound effects. Sounds of ships passing overhead and porgs rumbling around literally make the city come to life around you. It’s so life-like!
At first I was a little deceived by the layout of the land. You are met by a wide open area and the tell tale spires of Batuu along with two broken down ships. To your left you can see where Rise of the Resistance Ride will soon stand when it is completed and to the right is a path. My first thought was, “is that basically it?”, and “this literally is the size of Pandora yet its suppose to be a full land.” Boy was I wrong.
As soon as you take a right down the path your mind will be blown. THE PLACE IS HUGE. There are various shopping outlets, food stands, droid shops, a dining option, a bar, literally everything you could imagine. It could honestly be a stand alone park with it’s size and just how much it had to offer. Plus of course the Millennium Falcon ride resided in this half as well (Along with a scale replica, porg infestation included).
Now, here are the key points I took away from my short excursion through the land.
It may be pricy, but buy a soda! They are in specialized bottles exclusive to Galaxy’s Edge and they’re a pretty cool keepsake!
Don’t be afraid to dress up! Disneybounders and full out Cosplayers were everywhere! But make sure to keep your eyes peeled because some REAL characters from the movies may be stirring up trouble around the premises as well!
Try the Blue Milk! At a stand towards the back of the land near a lot of First Order propaganda, you can find both Blue and Green Milk! Sorry for the kids, but this milk is strictly for the adult traders in the party. Blue Milk is a mixed berry drink mixed with rum whereas the Green Milk is citrus flavors mixed with Tequila! Now many of you may be thinking, well it’s just another cocktail so what? WELL LET ME TELL YOU. It’s not. In fact, I don’t even think I’ll be able to give this drink justice by attempting to explain. The texture is somewhere between a smoothie and a slushie, but like no other drink concoction I’ve ever had before. First of all it tasted amazing (had the Blue Milk), and the texture was thick but so so SO good. Literally guys try it.
Check out the cool hand-stitched looking merchandise they have that look like porgs, Rey, Jaba the Hut, etc.; They’re too cute! ALSO GET A PORG TO PUT ON YOUR SHOULDER CAUSE WHO DOESN’T WANT A BABY PORG.
Take in the detail. Every little piece of this land has been thought out. From its little props to giant replicas. We even saw Imagineers walking around writing down some finishing touches before opening day. Listen to the sounds of the ships and close your eyes to feel it rumbleoverhead. Look out for the little Easter eggs of new games and challenges to come. ASK THE CAST MEMBERS THEIR STORY. Each Cast Member has created a new identity for this role and each have unique backstories as to how they ended up on Batuu! Plus take all the photos!
Lastly, the Millennium Falcon, Smuggler’s Run ride. Honestly, the wait queue itself was already pretty cool. You felt like you were really walking through the interior of the ship and the Cast Members certainly weren’t lying when they said it had a porg infestation! Just take a listen for yourself!
I think the preshow is what took the cake for me though. The preshow prior to being divided up for the actual ride holds Disney’s newest (and by far most expensive) AI robot. Many when not told that it is in fact a robot, believes someone is up there in costume! He was truly incredible with his fluid and life like motions!
There were only two things I noted in terms of issues when it came to the ride itself. One was after the preshow, guests are given key cards depending on party size with a color designation and a role. The colors vary but there are six roles that can be selected for the ride. Two Pilots, Two Gunners, and Two Engineers, must join forces in the Millennium Falcon to steer, blast, and execute one of the largest heists known to smugglers! Now before I dive into the ride itself, let me get back to the issue that arose during my time with my color card.
I was with a group of four so we were paired with another random party of two to combine into a party of six to fill a simulator. We were all given roles and brown color cards. The Cast Members then told us we were free to roam around until our color was called. The cabin we were allowed to roam in was pretty cool, it had some amazing photo ops and once again made you truly feel like you were inside the ship! But that was when the slight struggles started to occur. Guests were too focused on their pictures and would not hear when the Cast Members would call their names to board their simulator. This then delayed the ride process and gave more time for other Cast Members to allow more guests to enter the room and receive color cards.
After waiting for a little while, we were confused as to why our color hadn’t been called yet, that was when I overheard another party of six behind our group say that they had Brown color cards, but came in long after us. I knew this was going to be an issue. When brown was called, two parties of six showed up in front of the Cast Member and we had to explain that we were here first. Luckily, the other group was pleasant and did not start any fuss, but could you imagine if that EVER occurred on opening day? Or with groups that were not Cast Members? Or if it was between guests who had waited 5+ hours in line. Chaos would ensue.
My only advice with that is that the Cast Members need to know at all times what colors they have already given out to guests waiting their turns to board, and wait for that party to be FULLY boarded before handing out the same color to a new party.
Now lets get back to the ride itself. Once you enter the room you suddenly feel like you’re stepping into Han Solo’s and Chewy’s shoes (just minus their height in my case). You are met by three rows of two seats in each row, facing that well known wide Millennium Falcon window.
The two Pilots sit in the front row and steer the ship. One side is responsible for the ship moving up and down during the simulation, while the other is responsible for going left and right as well as putting the ship into hyper speed.
Pick your pilots wisely guys or else it’ll be a bumpy ride!
The gunners are responsible for blasting enemy ships from both the left and the right side, seated directly behind the pilots.
Lastly, the Engineers extracted the cargo that we were stealing and were in charge of keeping the ship in one piece! They were seated in the back.
The only thing I didn’t like about my job as a gunner was that my literal only job was to press a button that was on the wall next to me repeatedly the entire time. That was it. I wish the button was at least on a control panel in front of me. The simulation itself blew me away, you felt every crash and bang depending on the pilots’ flight skills. I just wish the other two roles had more jobs like the pilots did.
One cool feature I learned that everyone can take away from this would be the fact that each ride is unique. Different story lines play out depending on the guests’ skill levels. Skilled repeat pilots will have alternate endings to those who crash the ship on their first try. We were even told the ride will soon identify you and know if you have rode the ride in the past and adapt the storyline based on your previous journeys. Creepy but cool right? You can also gain money from future trading games that will be held around the land based on how well your group does in the ride. You can also go into debt. So good luck with that one.
Overall I hope to have more time in the future to FULLY explore every nook and cranny that Galaxy’s Edge has to offer! But for now I hope you all enjoyed my ‘brief’ explanation of what I got to experience!