Get to Know Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
Okay, Disney Vacation Club fans, the moment that you’ve anticipated has finally arrived. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is officially open to the public at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. From now on, all of your Walt Disney World visits will involve a trip to Black Spire Outpost. Let’s get you all caught up on everything you need to know about Batuu, the fictional world that you’ll visit at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Theming
When Imagineers learned that they’d get to construct an entire themed land based on Star Wars, they meticulously planned out every detail. For this reason, the theming at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the best ever at a Disney theme park, and I include Pandora – The World of Avatar in that.
Once you walk past Star Tours and under a bridge, you’ll enter a whole new world at Hollywood Studios. You’ve left the park behind and touched down on the planet of Batuu, where you’re a traveler visiting Black Spire Outpost.
Your destination is something of a combat zone. The premise here is that members of The Resistance have holed up here for years, recognizing that The First Order is reluctant to visit a place so close to Wild Space, the most dangerous part of the galaxy. However, that situation has changed in recent months.
For some unknown reason, The First Order has suddenly shown up in force at the local base, which had previously been largely ignored. Their arrival has wreaked havoc with the political situation at Black Spire Outpost, forcing residents and travelers alike to pick sides in this battle.
When you enter this themed land, you’ll discover that Disney has baked this awkward political balance into the design. One side of Batuu is where The First Order has set up shop. The other is where you’re most likely to find members of The Resistance. And Black Spire Outpost, the town, sits in the middle of the two, where uneasy citizens worry about the future.
The Batuu Language
Sometimes, you’ll blend into the action so much that you might forget, but you’re visiting an alien planet when you enter Galaxy’s Edge. The residents of Batuu speak in their own language, which sounds eerily similar to Earth’s English. However, the idioms of Black Spire Outpost are quite different.
For example, you shouldn’t say “Good morning!” when you’re on Batuu. Instead, you should greet cast members and other guests with a proclamation of, “Bright suns!” At night, you’ll say, “Rising moons!” instead.
Using little phrases like “’Till the Spire!” (“good-bye”), “Only the Ancients Know” (“I have no idea”), and “Ignite the Spark!” (“I’m with The Resistance”) will enrich your visit. Feel free to ask the locals for a few other phrases. They love when travelers from other worlds take an interest in their culture.
The Attractions of Galaxy’s Edge
When any new Disney themed land opens, the main draws are the attractions. While everyone loves the theming, shops, and restaurants, the rides are certainly what interests most guests.
At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll eventually find two high-quality attractions, but one of them isn’t open yet. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will debut on December 5th at Hollywood Studios, and Disneyland will get it roughly six weeks later.
For now, the only option is Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which is, by all counts, superlative. This ride allows Star Wars fans to live out the dreams that they’ve had since 1977, presuming that they were alive then. Yes, people get to fly the Millennium Falcon!
Imagineers have constructed a full-sized recreation of the Millennium Falcon, which doubles as the major landmark at Galaxy’s Edge. Close to the starship is the ride building that hosts the attraction. Here, you’ll find an incredibly realistic Audio-Animatronic of a famous alien from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Hondo Ohnaka.
This entrepreneur engages in quite a few black market business dealings, one of which involves everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca. The late Han Solo’s furry co-pilot has allowed Ohnaka to borrow the Millennium Falcon to pull a few, well, robberies. Ohnaka splits the loot with The Resistance, which badly needs the money to survive.
The backstory of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is nuanced, but the ride itself will feel familiar to any DVC member. It’s a combination of Star Tours and Soarin’, with some gaming elements thrown in for good measure. Riders select one of three job tasks – pilot, engineer, or gunner – and then enter a six-person cockpit.
During the ride, you attempt to steal coaxium by flying the Millennium Falcon to a foreign planet. The First Order will attempt to thwart your efforts, and so the gunners must shoot down any bad guys.
Meanwhile, the engineers perform maintenance repairs to damaged parts of the ship. It’s an interactive, immersive, team-oriented attraction that scores you at the end. So, you’ll never get tired of trying to master Smugglers Run.
The Restaurants at Galaxy’s Edge
Park officials worried about traffic patterns at Galaxy’s Edge. So, they decided not to add a Table Service restaurant in this themed land. Having one would run the risk of increased crowding in an already-overflowing area.
For this reason, counter service restaurants are what you’ll find at Black Spire Outpost. These places maintain the theming that it’s not a place where anyone sits out in public for long. Spies are everywhere, and many locals don’t want to get seen hanging out with the wrong element.
The Quick Service restaurants on Batuu are Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. The roast joint features an animatronic droid turning a spit. Presumably, he’s prepping the food for someone’s meal. And I should mention that none of the dishes here are ones that you know. That’s by design.
At Ronto Roasters, you’ll eat Ronto, a creature from Tatooine that tastes like pork or sausage. They also sell a kind of turkey jerky, even though turkeys aren’t a thing on Batuu. Plus, as you’ve likely heard, many of the places at Black Spire Outpost serve alcohol, a substantial change for Disney theme parks.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo comes with much more elaborate theming. The chef here is Strono Tuggs, although the locals call him Cookie. He’s a former imperial chef who now plies his trade in an area directly below his transport ship.
Guests who dine at Galaxy’s Edge are most likely to choose Cookie’s menu because it’s larger. Ronto Roasters really sells only two main entrees at this point, while Docking Bay 7 offers six. The most recognizable of them are Smoked Kaadu Ribs (sticky pork ribs) and Braised Shaak Roast (pot roast).
You can eat and drink other interesting items while you’re at Black Spire Outpost, though. The Milk Stand serves Green Milk and Blue Milk, two drinks represented in both the original Star Wars trilogy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Meanwhile, Kat Saka’s Kettle cooks a salty treat somewhere between kettle corn and sweet popcorn.
A Special Note about Oga’s Cantina
The real star of Star Wars dining is more of a bar. Oga’s Cantina honors the unforgettable intergalactic bar from Star Wars. It’s a nightclub that’s somehow open first thing in the morning and available for children, which makes you wonder about the laws of Black Spire Outpost and drinking habits of its residents.
Oga’s Cantina serves smoking drinks that will dazzle you long before you start to sip them. Disney has really taken some chances with the drinking menu here, which includes some beverages that will legitimately make your mouth numb. The cantina comes with a two-drink minimum currently, but the libations are secondary to the setting, in my opinion.
This place is a nightclub complete with DJ. In fact, the DJ is R3X, everyone’s favorite failed pilot from the original Star Tours. After almost killing an entire ship of strangers, R3X correctly chose to change professions and now spins the latest intergalactic hits at Black Spire Outpost.
Oga’s Cantina is wildly popular, so much so that park officials have had to take special steps. To guarantee a seat at this nightclub, you’ll need to book a reservation. While you can theoretically enter the bar on less crowded park days, the safest play is to schedule a time for your next trip.
Please understand that it’s not easy to do right now, though. I couldn’t book Oga’s Cantina for my Halloween trip, and I only found two times available for my January 2020 visit. The competition is fierce to drink at this bar!
Fans of Star Wars are going to empty their bank accounts here. Disney executives realize this and have cleverly designed a series of stores to fit any budget.
You’ll find basic retailers like First Order Cargo and Resistance Supply. The former sells products related to the First Order, one of which is a life-like Stormtrooper costume. The latter features products that celebrate the heroes of the original rebellion and the current resistance movement. You’ll even find some of Rey’s outfits available for sale here.
In the central part of Black Spire Outpost, you’ll encounter a few stalls akin to bazaars. These places sell one specific type of product, although they feature dozens of variations of it.
Fans of aliens can find a new friend at Bina’s Creature Stall, while hoarders will love all of the merchandise available at Toydarian Toyshop. Finally, anyone seeking trinkets should visit The Jewels of Bith for that unforgettable shiny bauble, although it seems to sell hats and t-shirts more than anything else.
Those of you with larger vacation budgets will want to spend time at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. It’s upscale in nature, which means you may get sticker shock at some of the prices. However, even those of you on a tight budget will want to walk through the store. Imagineers have adorned the walls with memorable items from Star Wars lore.
A Special Note about Savi’s Workshop and Droid Depot
The two most expensive retailers at Black Spire Outpost are Savi’s Workship and Mubo’s Droid Depot. The explanation is that these stores offer more than just goods for purchase. It’s the retailer equivalent of dinner and a show.
When you shop at the Droid Depot, you get to build your own unique droid. You’ll select the style, the parts, and then bring your creation to life. The process takes about 10 minutes to gain a pet robot for life. And the cost is relatively reasonable at $99. For comparison, I paid $199 for a BB-8 Sphero a few years ago.
Coincidentally, that’s the cost for the Savi’s Workshop experience. I’m not sure whether it’s better to call this place a store or an attraction. It’s a 20-minute presentation wherein cast members enlighten guests in how to wield The Force.
Along the way, you’ll build a personalized lightsaber of the highest quality. It’s an unforgettable experience that has quickly become one of the most popular things to do at Galaxy’s Edge. And the same is true of Droid Depot.
For this reason, you’ll need to book reservations for these two experiences as well. In my experience, Droid Depot is the easiest one to get, Oga’s Cantina is the hardest, and Savi’s Workshop skews toward the Oga’s Cantina side. I struggled to get reservations for drinkin’ and lightsaberin’, but I found several available reservations for Droid Depot. As always, your experience may be totally different.
The other thing to know about Galaxy’s Edge is only applicable during its earliest days. Disney reserves the right to limit access to the new themed land on crowded days. When this happens, you’ll need to pull up My Disney Experience and join a Boarding Party, the equivalent of getting a Star Wars Land FastPass. The app will alert you when you’re allowed to enter the land.
Of course, DVC members can avoid this situation from now through November 2nd. When you stay at an official Disney resort, you’re entitled to Extra, Extra Magic Hours. This amenity entitles you to entry at Hollywood Studios at 6 a.m., three hours before everyone else can visit. Use this window to visit Oga’s Cantina, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Savi’s Workshop while the crowds are light! It’s great to be a DVC member, isn’t it?