STAR WARS: GALAXY'S EDGE - A REVIEW OF BATUU (AUGUST 2019)
Okay, I swear I wasn’t originally planning on going back to Disney World until September.
But when my friends Matt and Ava invited me as their guest to the cast member preview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Right? Right. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve dropped everything and gone to WDW for less.
Oh, and if you missed them the first time around, you can see highlights on Instagram, saved under “disney 8/19”.
First things first.. the specifics:
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will officially open inside Hollywood Studios on August 29th, 2019. (Pro tip: that’s the same day as EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival starts, so if you’re not into either one of those things, you’re weird.. uh.. I mean.. you can probably run around Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom with incredibly short wait times!)
When you travel to Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll end up on a planet called Batuu, and more specifically, inside Black Spire Outpost. You’ll find an insane amount of awesomeness there - seriously.. it’s HUGE. Like, 14 acres huge.
There are 2 places to sit and grab something to eat/drink - Oga’s Cantina and Docking Bay 7, 3 smaller walk-up stands - the Milk Stand, Ronto Roasters, and Kat Saka’s Kettle, and all the awesome merch you could ever want, including places to build your own lightsaber and droid!
By the end of the year, there will be 2 rides inside Galaxy’s Edge - Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run (opening on August 29th) and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (opening on December 5th).
We had a 4 hour window to explore Batuu, and it was everything I ever hoped it would be. And that’s coming from someone who is still slightly (okay actually way more than slightly) bitter about the removal of the Osborne Lights (if you know, you know).
Once again, Disney has OUTDONE themselves with the theming. Not only is the land itself mindblowing, there are so many little areas to explore (and I felt like I could have stayed there for so much longer), the cast members are awesome (prepare yourself for a full, immersive experience!), you can find some of your favorite characters roaming around (we saw stormtroopers, Chewbacca, and Rey), and the Millennium Falcon is parked right in the middle of Batuu!
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
The number one question I got from y’all was something along the lines of.. “is it worth the upcoming insane wait times?”.. and you know I always keep it real with y’all, so.. here it is. Smuggler’s Run didn’t blow my doors off. It is definitely fun (and interactive!) and if you are a DIE HARD Star Wars fan who has always dreamed of getting inside the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, then it is an absolute MUST DO.
SCROLL PAST THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT RIDE SPOILERS!
The premise of the ride is that you’re going on a special mission for Hondo Ohnaka to pick up some cargo and deliver it to its destination. You’ll enter the ship, be sorted into teams of 6, and then further split into groups of pilots, gunners, and engineers (2 of each). Each person will have specific instructions throughout the flight, and your buttons and levers light up when you’re supposed to hit or pull them.
You’ll see where you’re going through the iconic front windows of the Millennium Falcon, and all 6 seats have a great view! Pilots sit up front, side by side, gunners sit behind each pilot (I was a gunner!), and engineers sit behind each gunner.
And yes, there is lightspeed.
It’s kind of like Mission: Space on steroids, and the cool thing about it is that it is actually responsive to what you’re doing (moving left or right, shooting lasers, etc.), unlike Mission: Space, which does the same thing every time whether you push your buttons or not.
Pro tip: Take a look at the cargo (at my feet in the photo below) before you enter the cockpit, and then again afterwards. For reference, this photo was taken after the ride was over. This is something I definitely wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been with a cast member who knew about it!
END OF SPOILERS!
If you are a casual fan, I would recommend trying to keep your wait time to around 60-90 minutes for it. Obviously, it’s impossible to predict what the wait times will actually be once it opens, but if you’re planning a trip before the end of the year, I would suggest doing your best to get a FastPass, going first thing in the morning, or getting in line right before the park closes. That will be your best bet to minimize wait times. That said, the line moves super quickly and the queue area is very impressive, so I never felt bored during our 45-ish minute wait.
The second ride (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance) is scheduled to open in December, and I have been told by a very reliable source that THAT is the one that will blow my doors off. But again, there is so much more to Galaxy’s Edge than just the ride, so no matter what the wait times are, you should definitely go explore!
Blue and Green Milk
This was by far the number two question I got from y’all, and before you write it off (because I was definitely weirded out by this at first, too), give it a chance!
The most important thing you need to know is that it is NOT. ACTUALLY. MILK. It is 100% dairy free (a plant-based blend of coconut and rice milk), so those of you who are vegan or have sensitivities are good to go.. yay! They’re an icy blend, so they’re super refreshing on a hot day, and they’re also both available with or without alcohol (blue has rum, green has tequila). The non-alcoholic versions are $8/each and the alcoholic versions are $14/each.
My friends both liked the blue milk best, and I thought I did too, at first sip, but by the time I finished, I actually think I preferred the green. They’re both lightly fruity and you could taste the coconut flavor more in the blue milk, whereas the green had a slightly stronger citrus taste.
This quick service stand doesn’t have a ton to choose from, but it’s a great place to grab something if you want to continue exploring while you eat, and I really enjoyed what I got!
We all got the specialty Ronto Wrap with sliced roasted pork, a grilled pork sausage, peppercorn sauce, and tangy slaw wrapped in pita bread. As you can see, it is served in a simple piece of parchment, so you can carry it in one hand. It’s a very big portion, and definitely filled me up!
As for drinks, I got the Sour Sarlacc (limeade with raspberry and spicy mango) and my friends split a Tatooine Sunset (iced tea and lemonade with melon and blueberry). I liked my Sour Sarlacc best because it was sweeter, but the Tatooine Sunset was also very light and refreshing! There’s also an alcoholic offering (the Coruscant Cooler - bourbon, maraschino liqueur, sweet vermouth, cranberry, and lime juice) as well as a specialty ale.
(Pro tip: they also have breakfast offerings, including a morning wrap with egg instead of slaw and overnight oats with dragon fruit and yogurt!)
We walked through Docking Bay 7 (but were already pretty stuffed from the Ronto Wraps!) and they had some interesting looking (and hearty!) offerings, including a chilled shrimp and noodle salad, which will probably be the first thing I try next time! We also didn’t make it by Kat Saka’s Kettle because the line was super long and we were running out of time. If you get a chance, grab some kettle corn and let me know how it is! It’s a sweet and savory blend, and it looked like everyone was really enjoying it.
Lightsaber Experience & Droid Depot
Before you read any further, you should know that both of these are quite expensive (in my opinion)! A custom lightsaber will cost around $200 and a custom droid will cost around $100.
We actually weren’t able to check out the lightsaber experience, because it was something you had to sign up for separately, and if you did, you were required to purchase it, which none of us were willing to do. It’s worth mentioning that the actual “experience” gets you a completely custom lightsaber, but if you don’t want the experience, you are also able to purchase “legacy” lightsabers at Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities. These are replicas of ones from your favorite characters, but you can’t mix and match handles with different colored blades. The handle you select will automatically come with the color it is supposed to have. And even if you don’t want to purchase one, you can simply ask to hold one! We all held Luke’s!
Now, for the Droid Depot. SUPER CUTE. I’ll admit, I almost caved, but I ended up leaving droid-less (and kinda sad about it, tbh). You can customize your little droid dude as well, including body, head, colors, and personality! You can choose an R-style body (like R2-D2) or a BB-style body (like BB-8). You can listen to all of the personality chips (they all have different beeps and sounds!) before you start, and then move down an assembly line to choose your body and head. The R-style droid has more options including parts, accessories, and different colored decals, but the BB-style droids are just so dang cute!
More Outpost Goodies
There are lots of other fun things to discover inside Black Spire Outpost - and it’s made to look like a seriously cool marketplace with multiple stalls to explore. You can find apparel, toys, knick-knacks, and creatures everywhere you look. Since I couldn’t buy that big wooden guy above, I ended up with a tiny stuffed Porg to sit on my shelf because OH EM GEE HOW CUTE IS HE? I love that he looks somewhat handmade and not like your typical stuffed toy.
Overall, it was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to go back and explore some more! Are you planning a trip to Batuu any time soon? I’ll be back in September and November, so I might just see you there!