Galaxy's Edge Review (Spoilers)

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clmayfield

Member
I promised this to someone else, but I went ahead and blew out a long review of Galaxy's Edge. If this is not in the right place, feel free to move.

What an odd thing to review a Disney Park. Disneyland and Disneyworld are such well known entities, that it hardly seems to be worth the trouble and yet Galaxy’s Edge is something entirely knew that is worth commenting on.

How Galaxy’s Edge Fits in with the Rest of Disneyland

My family has been coming to Disneyland every year for the past 7 years and we know every nook and cranny of the Park. Sure, they make some changes here and there. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea became Finding Nemo. The Tower of Terror became Guardians of the Galaxy Breakout. California Screaming became the Incredicoaster.

Disney made such incremental changes year after year that it never altered our family’s protocol of arriving to the park an hour early, rushing to Space Mountain and grabbing Fast Passes to other rides to maximize our morning and leaving the park for some R&R around noon when the crowds hit and wait time soared. The opening of Galaxy’s Edge changed all of this. Space Mountain no longer reigns as the King Kong of Disneyland rides and Tomorrowland is no longer the land with the most to offer. Which is not to say that Galaxy’s Edge clearly exceeds Tomorrowland in entertainment value.

My family is now confronted with a choice as to how to start the day. Galaxy’s Edge or Tomorrowland. That is a good thing and creates variety, but it also means that we might not all agree with the plan for the day… so that is a challenge. We can either hit Space Mountain, Star Tours, Indiana Jones, and perhaps Matterhorn or start with Galaxy’s Edge and move back to Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn, and eventually come back to Tomorrowland, or, if the park is busy, hit Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Overall, Galaxy’s Edge will fundamentally alter the way that you approach a day at Disneyland.

Entering Galaxy’s Edge for the First Time


Disney has done a phenomenal job of transitioning from the rest of the Park to Galaxy’s Edge. As you enter the fictional planet of Batuu, the scenery slowly changes, a score that sounds like it could have been written by John Williams plays lightly in the background blended with alien nature sounds. I could write on and on about this, but it is one of those things that cannot be completely described. It would be like trying to describe the color blue. I know what it is, but I can’t put it into words.

There are three entrances to Galaxy’s Edge, but while I was there, they closed two entrances and forced everyone around Critter Country for the first hour, which is the best, albeit least efficient way to enter the Land. The first hint of recognition is an X-Wing fighter with a blue color scheme. Whether you relate to the Original Trilogy or the New Trilogy, you feel instantly at home. A smile came to my face at the familiarity.

Everything nails the Star Wars aesthetic. The Black Spire Outpost, the city where Galaxy’s Edge takes place, looks like it was designed around the natural habitat and feels like it has existed there for years. Having spent a lot of time lovingly weathering Star Wars props and costumes, I can feel how much work went into making Black Spire look “lived in.” The place has a rough feel like Mos Eisley, but with a rockier terrain more reminiscent of a Jedha without sand or an Ahch-To without water, but really unlike any previous Star Wars terrains.

If you arrive early in the morning, as you walk through Batuu, you will see First Order Stormtroopers with rifles patrolling battlements that blend into the scenery. In the middle of Galaxy’s Edge, music does not play, but you can hear space craft entering and exiting from time to time. I am torn as to whether this was the right move. I got goosebumps when I rounded the corner to see the full scale replica of the Millennium Falcon. My first time watching Star Wars in the theater, we arrived late… and I remember walking into the theater as the Millennium Falcon makes its first appearance. I was in awe and have been hooked ever since, so to see a full scale replica up close was an incredible experience. And frankly, after going there three consecutive days, I still can’t help but to gawk at it every time it is in view. I think hearing the Star Wars theme would be in order in this location… but I can see how that was a tough call.

Falcon at Day.jpg


Sightseeing on Batuu

My first time into Galaxy’s Edge, I stood in line for over an hour to ride, or rather play, Smuggler’s Run, currently the only ride in Galaxy’s Edge based on a mission in the Millennium Falcon. More on Smuggler’s Run later. In some ways, that is a shame. I really wanted to wander around and take things in. I enjoy travel, and one of my favorite things to do when I travel is to see the local culture… to people watch, to pop in and out of shops and restaurants and see what the locals buy and sell and eat. Disney again knocked it out of the park by setting up little themed shops in a bazaar inside Black Spire.

There was a pet shop (The Creature Stall), a tourist nick knack shop, a clothing shop (Black Spire Outfitters), kiosks selling various random wares from Sabaac decks to primitive looking misters to keep cool. The shops themselves were organized very organically. Even if you don’t buy anything, wandering through the shops was an incredible experience. Even the public restrooms were a curiosity. The mirrors looked dusty and centuries old and the fixtures were properly aged and weathered despite being in use for less than 3 months.

Loot.jpg


For Star Wars buffs, there is the Droid Depot where you can build smaller astromech or protocol droids that you could wander into and there is also the Dok-Ondar’s Den that had various realistic lightsaber hilts, sith and jedi holocrons, kyber crystals, Dejarik figurines (from the holochess game in ANH and TFA) and other relics and curios. These items are priced higher than the wares found elsewhere in the Park, but are great for window shopping or a splurge.

At Dok Ondar's.jpg


After several trips, I decided to buy a brown robe, a couple of mynocks, that they boxed in a something that looked like it was designed to hold pets. The shop owner advised me that I should keep these away from wires and cables as they like to gnaw on them, but if I had a few spare wires, I could put them in their cage for feeding. When he handed me the receipt he told me, “Here are their adoption papers.” The entire experience is designed to feel like a particular place, including the greetings (Bright Suns for “Good Morning” and Rising Moons for “Good Evening”).

Mynocks.jpg


Refreshments

One of the things I got the biggest kick out of was buying a Diet Coke in a thermal detonator shaped container. It looked like it was made out of metal, but after purchasing it, I discovered it was made out of plastic with an incredible paint job to look weathered. The words “Diet Coke” are written in Aurebesh on the bottle.

In addition to beverages, there is a shop where you can buy galactic popcorn that comes in a souvenir MSE-6 Service Repair Droid (also known as a Mouse Droid) container.

You can also buy something like street tacos, green and blue milk (sweetened almond milk slushies), and various other eats in Docking Bay 7, which is operated by the First Order.

Savi’s Workshop

I have to mention Savi’s workshop… but I did not get the chance to visit. To go inside, you pay $200 per participant to build a lightsaber out of kyber crystals, bodies, pommels, emitters, etc., that they have in the shop. I really wanted to visit, but my wife argued convincingly otherwise. Basically, I have various lightsabers, hilts and unfinished kits in my house. The last thing I need in my life is another lightsaber. Of course, there are a lot of things I don’t need that I buy anyway. What kept me away from these lightsabers is that the hilts are slightly larger than typical lightsabers that I own. I tend to collect replicas. The “Legends” series of hilts are sold in Dok-Ondar’s at pretty reasonable prices (replicas of Darth Vader, Graflex, Kylo Ren sabers and others). I would have purchased a finished hilt if I hadn’t already owned a few. They range in price from around $130 to $160… not too shabby, and were reasonably accurate. They were also selling some cool hilt stands that I almost purchased that were reasonably priced at $29.

Given enough time, I might spend some time at Savi’s at my next visit… but it will be more for the experience than the finished product.

Smuggler’s Run (The Millennium Falcon Ride)

I rode Smuggler’s Run with my kids probably eight times or so over the 3 days that I was there. The wait for the line was consistently 45 – 80 minutes long except for the very beginning of the day (if you are one of the first in line) and the end of the day (after 10:30pm) when the lines die down as people leave the park. What we quickly discovered was that single rider was the way to maximize the number of visits. Frankly, they were way too easy on the Single Rider line, often pairing family members together. I went with at least one person from my family in the Single Rider line seven of the eight times I rode the ride and they only split me up from my family twice. They need to crack down on this and specifically split up families to discourage this… but I don’t set Disney policy. If the Stand By line for the ride is 60 minutes, the Single Rider line is typically 20 minutes or less. I don’t know why they chose 6 as the magic number of people per ride… this is what they did with the Cars ride in California Adventure Park that typically features long waits and relies heavily on the Single Rider line as there aren’t a lot of 6 person teams.

Falcon Hold.jpg


The one disadvantage of using the Single Rider line is that they tend to assign you the “Engineer” role on the crew. This is the least exhilarating crew responsibility, but still pretty fun.

The scenario is pretty simple, Hondo Ohnaka, a smuggling kingpin brings your crew together to steal some Coaxium from an Imperial train. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is the plot at the middle of Solo: A Star Wars Movie. So not a lot of points for creativity… but while the scenario may be simple, it certainly lends itself to action.

Just to cover crew responsibilities, there are 6 slots on a crew: 2 pilots, 2 gunners, and 2 engineers. The left pilot covers the horizontal Falcon controls. The right pilot covers the Falcon elevation controls as well as the jump to Light Speed. The Gunners and the Engineers are pretty much the same on the left and right hand side. The Gunner has the choice of setting guns to automatic or manual at the beginning of the ride. Auto means you can hold the button down and the lasers will fire. Manual means that you will need to spam the button the whole ride. The 2 options seemed pretty similar to me and auto is less work. The engineer just needs to flip the switches as they light up. What is fun is that as the Falcon get smashed up during the ride, air leaks and a mist of smoke sprays out at you, which you “fix” when you hit the right buttons. I didn’t even realize this the first couple of times, but after a while, it actually became more fun to fix what the pilots break.

If you have a choice of any position, I would prefer left pilot, then right pilot. The other positions are all about equal in the fun department.

How your crew performs impacts the outcome of the ride. My first-time riding, I was the right pilot with a bunch of back seat drivers screaming at me to jump to light speed or to go up or down. By the end of my trip, I was there shouting commands and giving high fives. It does have the effect of bringing a group of strangers together… or in some cases, pulling them apart if you have a bad pilot with an experienced crew.

In the end, the more damage done to the Falcon, the more Hondo takes away from your cut to pay for repairs to the Falcon. Your first couple of times, you don’t get a sense of how well the crew did, but after several rides, you get a sense of how well your crew performs on each ride. If you perform particularly poorly, as you leave, the lights in the halls of the Falcon will flicker on and off, and you will hear calls for a medical crew as you leave. I never had an outright fail despite some poor runs, but it might be possible.

Overall, this is a great ride. The wait will always be long just by the way it is designed. But the wait for the ride is pretty cool. In the normal line, you will travel by the full scale Falcon at ground level and as an overlook. As you wait to enter the cockpit of the Falcon, you walk through the Main Hold that features a Dejarik (Holochess) board and corridors that look precisely like the interior of the Falcon. Without the ride, the wait is practically worth the wait. How many times it is worth the wait will be up to you. My younger son tired of it pretty quickly. After eight times, I was still in awe of all of the detailed design of the hold, the corridors, and the cockpit.

Ola’s Cantina

At the time of this writing, you can reserve a time in Ola’s Cantina starting two weeks in advance of your trip with some slots opening up at 7am for that day. There is a chance to get in on Standby, but it is pretty dicey. Reserving space was somewhat complicated… I never managed to do it directly from the app on my phone, opting instead to find space on the website… either from my phone or on my laptop. I asked for a lunch time slot, and an 11:15 time came up, which I booked… but it turned out to be 11:15PM. So I went back at midnight, which was actually a really cool experience.

Ola's Cantina.jpg


I was expecting this to be a dining experience, but the eats were mostly partially edible bar snacks (the Batuu bits). There is a different menu at breakfast versus later in the day. And to clear things up, this is definitely a bar. I ordered an “Outer Rim,” which was barely palatable… but worth it for the experience. There is no live band… they went with a robot DJ. The music sounded like some form of galactic techno, which fit the place pretty well. After a couple of songs, they played the Cantina Song from ANH, which really got my juices going. The interior is straight out of Mos Eisley.

No matter how the drinks tasted, the juice was worth the squeeze. Definitely try to reserve a time slot if available. You will need to put $40 down to reserve your slot and your card will be charged if you don’t show up.

The App – Datapad

There is an app intended to expand your enjoyment of Galaxy’s Edge. It is available as part of the Play Disney App and the particular app for GE is called “Datapad.” You can use it to interact with different elements of the Park… I downloaded the app and found that it quickly sapped my battery and kept my nose buried in my phone… which is precisely the thing I don’t want to do when I am with my family in Disney.

I think the intent is to create some more interaction with the Park a la The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with the wands or even something similar to Westworld where good interactions via the phone lead to real world character scenarios. If I had 3 days dedicated to Galaxy’s Edge by myself, I would have gotten more into it. With 3 days divided between my family and 2 parks, I decided the app wasn’t worth the concentration I was paying it and I stopped using it midway through the first day. There were just too many details to see with my head out of my phone. And if I stayed on the app, I would need to stop to charge my phone multiple times a day.

Is Galaxy’s Edge Great for Families?

This all leads to a question that I was asking myself… who is Galaxy’s Edge for? I read an article that pointed out that the park seemed designed for wealthy single Star Wars geeks. Certainly, $200 to build a lightsaber per “child” on top of the price of tickets is expensive. The fact that I would have to pay $600 for me and my kids to build a lightsaber was a consideration in my decision not to visit Savi’s.

Falcon at Night.jpg


Also… there is one “ride” in all of Galaxy’s Edge with another coming in six months. This is not your typical Disney “Land” in that respect. As an adult who collects and builds Star Wars items, I loved it. I could really spend another week there just looking at fine details that I missed spending maybe a third of a three day trip in the land with kids in tow. Frankly, my kids didn’t care about such details and while they like Star Wars, they don’t love it like I do. With only one ride, at some point, I felt like I was dragging my kids through a World War II Museum. A really good World War II Museum. Probably a world class World War II Museum. But at the end of the day, a museum.

Mechanic's Pit.jpg


If you have kids who love Star Wars, it will be fun. Otherwise, like me, you are going to need to plan to spend a lot of your day in other parts of the Park to supplement their experience in order to earn some “daddy time” in Galaxy’s Edge sightseeing.
 

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Darth Fetty

Sr Member
I ordered an “Outer Rim,”...

I just felt the need to quote that.

Great review. Really enjoyed reading it.

However, near the end, what you wrote highlighted something that probably explains why I have little interest in visiting Galaxy's Edge myself. It seems to be far more a museum than something that really lets you live a Star Wars experience through stuff like rides or games (exceptions being the one Falcon ride and the expensive build-a-lightsaber activity). I can imagine if I were to take my nephew and niece, they would get bored pretty quickly.

It's clearly an excellent museum as you mentioned, but also an exorbitantly expensive museum where one of the primary things to do is shopping. Add this to the fact that it is also based on the ST era (I want the circle dish on the Falcon!) and it just isn't appealing enough for me to want to visit, especially as I live in the DC area where most museums are free.

I can enjoy these articles and seeing the pictures however. This is the first time I saw a photo of the cantina, and it looks fantastic!
 

clmayfield

Member
There is definitely not as much to do as in the other lands at the moment. They have the app, which is supposed to layer on the experience, but I was so busy texting Hondo Onakha trying to complete a mission on the app, I missed a great overhead view of the Millennium Falcon while waiting in line, so the phone went back into my pocket never to come out again (except to secure fast passes for other parts of the park). I think they were trying to make the park more of a West World type scenario with missions delivered by cast members. But with the sheer number of people, I think that is impossible.

It is a great experience for a Star Wars lover. The Cantina was a real hoot. For people unfamiliar with Star Wars and small children... they are not going to want to spend more than a couple of hours there.

Honestly, although the Millennium Falcon ride was fun (you not only see the Falcon up close, but get to spend time in the hold); to someone unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe, I don't think that ride is any better than, say, Space Mountain. The Star Wars tie in makes the ride.

For many folks here, it is a dream come true. For someone with like yourself with young kids looking for a family activity, set your expectations accordingly.
 

Psab keel

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm glad you enjoyed it and the detail put into it is impressive but I doubt I would ever go see it if it's mostly just shopping. I don't collect any of the merchadise. I thought there would be more interaction with the cast and more rides.
 

NeoRutty

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I was thinking last night... if the Mandalorian is a HUGE hit, and the kids fall in love with the IG-88 type character....

Screen-Shot-2018-12-25-at-9.18.46-AM.png



This is gonna be a pretty grim experience....


Ola's Cantina.jpg


image.jpg
 

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clmayfield

Member
There could have been more interaction with the cast that just didn't happen... I think you are expected to chat them up, and I was too busy trying to maximize my Disney experience. The fact that they have only one ride is disappointing... but honestly, I enjoy just walking down Main Street Disney and looking at all of the shops frozen in time. I don't buy things, I just enjoy the fact that the shops are there. I also enjoy hanging out in the French Quarter in New Orleans for a similar reason. The shops in GE are cool and very well done.

People looking to DO something in Galaxy's Edge will likely be disappointed, which is why I did the review. I don't think it is for everyone. My kids are 11 and 12. If they were 5 and 6 (the year we first went to Disneyland), we would likely have spent very little time in Galaxy's Edge. As it was, we spent less than half of our time at Galaxy's Edge. I would say we spent between 30% and 40% of our time there. My kids are also not as into Star Wars as I am. They don't hate it, they just don't love it.
 

NeoRutty

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I was watching a review where they kept saying something about only having "4 hours".... I couldn't figure what he was talking about... Sounded like he was saying you were only allowed 4 hours - it was a long video and I didn't want to search back to figure what he was on about (cuz the vid was mostly complaining - Star Wars fan... I know right? :rolleyes:)

Is there a time limit? How would that be enforced?
 

JoeG

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
There was a time limit of 4 hours when it first opened. You had special wristbands and when it was your time to depart, they announced it as if you had to catch a transport back to your homeworld. If you tried to overstay, you were escorted out by cast members aka First Order Stormtroopers. That limit has been lifted now, though.

Its all explained here - Here's How You'll Be Told to 'Move Along' at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
 

p51

Sr Member
So, for those who have been there and have no agenda either way, are the rumors true that nobody is showing up due to the cost?
 

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dbuck

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I had a friend post this the other day.... total failure if you read some of the reviews......It was packed.

It’s still very early, the main ride isn’t open yet, there isn’t much for the kids yet, and to be honest the Falcon ride doesn’t need to have anything done to ‘ride’ it.....people have scored better totally hands free than they have when they ‘tried’....and you spend your time not looking at the ride when pushing buttons that are to your side, so to me a bit of a fail. Reminds me a bit of the space mission thing in Florida where you ‘could’ use the controls, but you didn’t change anything. As it stands, you actually get a longer Falcon experience if you crash it around a bit more.
But it’s very very cool, and it can be updated in the future as well.
The land will improve with time, too. Think back to how empty the California park was when it opened, how little there was to do, a lot of walking between the few rides, today it’s a heck of a place.
 

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