From blue milk to Falcon rides: All about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge brings the far-away planet of Batuu inside the gates of Walt Disney World in Florida. There’s Chewbacca, the Millennium Falcon, Rise of the Resistance, Rey, a cantina, blue milk, a hideout where you can construct a lightsaber and so much more.
You can find the Star Wars planet of Batuu at both Disneyland and Disney World. The two versions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge share many elements, but they aren’t identical twins. Here’s an overview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge within Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World and a peek at what differs between this location and the Disneyland version, located in California, more than 2,100 miles (3,400km) away as the Millennium Falcon flies.
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Galaxy’s edge basics
Set in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Galaxy’s Edge has two entrances — one near Muppet Vision 3-D and one next to the Alien’s Swirling Saucer side of Toy Story Land.
It has roughly the same 14-acre footprint as its counterpart at Disneyland, and the two lands share these main key components: Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run (ride), Rise of the Resistance (ride), Oga’s Cantina (themed bar, kids allowed), Docking Bay 7 (serves food all day), Ronto Roasters (serves a limited, but quite a good menu), Savi’s Workshop (build a lightsaber), Droid Depot (build a droid), Milk Bar (blue and green “milk”) and other assorted shopping and snacking outlets.
Rides at Galaxy’s Edge
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
A cornerstone of Galaxy’s Edge at both parks is unquestionably the life-size Falcon, parked right outside the entrance to the ride that bears its name. For a die-hard Star Wars fan, seeing the Falcon for the first time is a moment to remember. If you’re going to go all teary-eyed living out your Star Wars dreams, this is probably where it’s going to happen first.
Regular waits for the ride often top out at around 60 to 90 minutes, which isn’t awful for a Disney ride. However, if you go to Hollywood Studios right at the park’s opening, you can likely cut your wait time down dramatically. Note that FastPass+ is no longer running and the new paid Genie+ and Lightning Lane services haven’t rolled out yet. Short of a VIP tour, your only option is to wait.
Once it’s your turn, you’ll be given ride instructions from a very lifelike Hondo. Hondo is quite impressive and leaves the animatronics of yesteryear firmly in the space dust.
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The Millennium Falcon is an interactive simulated flying ride, where what happens on the ride depends somewhat on your crew, with riders assigned positions randomly as they enter. There’s no doubt the two pilots are the most involved of all the positions, which also include gunners and engineers.
I prefer the right pilot seat (which controls movements up and down) to the left (which controls side to side), but both are fun. The enjoyment of this ride is greatly influenced both by your assigned position and who else is flying with you in the cockpit. Riding it with my young girls flying was a ton of fun — though we wrecked the Falcon from tip to tail.
(Oh, and we totally spotted a “Hidden Mickey” on the wall right before entering the ride part of the attraction, so Mickey has indeed made his way to Batuu.)
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
While Smugglers Run can be a lot of fun with the right crew, it is the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance that is the land’s main attraction. It’s not just a ride, it’s an almost 30-minute experience that takes you fully into the world of Star Wars in a way unlike any attraction before it.
The attraction has multiple components and more than one ride vehicle and location. You’ll encounter a legion of stormtroopers, bad guy Kylo Ren, a holographic Rey, a “real” BB-8, a “red hot” lightsaber and so much more.
In a major shift, Disney World appears to have abandoned (or at least indefinitely paused) the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance. The virtual queue was a true cornerstone of what made Rise one of the most incredible attractions at any Disney park. It was absolutely a bit of a crapshoot to score a boarding group. However, if you were lucky enough to snag one, you knew that you would have a relatively short wait in line.
Going forward, we expect the standby line to be about as legendary as the attraction itself. The wait times on Rise of the Resistance alone will likely drive many folks to purchase the new Genie+ or Lightning Lane services.
You can make reservations to build a lightsaber at Savi’s, visit the Droid Depot or enjoy a cool drink at Oga’s Cantina, space permitting. Waiting in line the old-fashioned way for these activities is sometimes permitted when space allows, but try and make a reservation 60 days in advance if you can.
To visit Oga’s, you can make dining reservations up to 60 days in advance of your visit on Disney’s website. Note that you aren’t going to enjoy a full meal at Oga’s, but you absolutely want to reserve a spot to check out the space and enjoy a snack and a drink.
You can also make reservations to construct a lightsaber at Savi’s or a droid at the Droid Depot, both of which are very cool experiences. Building a droid costs about $100 (£73) and lightsabers start around $220 (£161). You really do need to make reservations in advance for these experiences when possible due to capacity controls.
Buying Galaxy’s Edge merchandise
There are other shopping options on Batuu where items cost fewer “credits” (as they are called in this galaxy) than a crafted droid or lightsaber. There’s an entire marketplace where you can browse, buy and chat with shopkeepers.
A stuffed porg and Yoda have certainly followed us home from Batuu.
However, if you want traditional Disney and Star Wars-branded pins, T-shirts or other merchandise, you have to get those provisions after you leave Galaxy’s Edge in other areas of Hollywood Studios. The only items sold within the land are ones mimicking items that you would find on the real planet of Batuu, such as toy creatures, Jedi cloaks and bottles of soda shaped like thermal detonators.
Eating in Galaxy’s Edge
During normal times, the lunch line for Docking Bay 7, the only true quick-service restaurant in the land, can stretch out of the building. You’ll currently be restricted to mobile ordering, though we expect in-person ordering to return in the months ahead.
Here are our favourite food items in Galaxy’s Edge. Hint: The blue and green milk are not our favourite items, but can be worth trying once if you’re a Star Wars fan. Also note that this area isn’t the best place to eat if your crew is craving theme park staples such as burgers and fries.
I recommend the sausage wraps from Ronto’s for a quick and tasty bite. In fact, it is one of our favourite grab-and-go foods at Disney World. There’s also a new vegetarian version of the wrap that gets high marks. If you just want a snack, the red and purple popcorn isn’t bad, either. It’s a good idea to use mobile ordering to order in advance here, too.
Comparing Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World and Disneyland
Having visited both versions of Galaxy’s Edge, I felt like the Disney World version differed in subtle ways from Disneyland. The colouring and details of the two lands are not identical, even though the main elements remain constant.
For example, I found the colours at Disney World to be a bit brighter and more vibrant than at Disneyland. While I didn’t count tables and chairs, the Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World also appeared to offer more seating throughout than what was available in California.
Then there’s the issue of alcohol. It is served in both parks, but only within Oga’s Cantina at Disneyland. In fact, Oga’s is the only public spot in all of Disneyland where you can order an adult beverage.
At Disney World, you can purchase alcohol throughout the park, including at Docking Bay 7 in the form of a Takodana Quencher, made of berry rum, pineapple and kiwi, or a Gold Squadron lager. For those feeling a little braver, $14 gets you alcoholic blue or green milk at Disney World — with rum for the blue and tequila for the green.
Food items on Batuu vary a little too, though not in huge ways. For example, the ronto morning breakfast wrap ($12) comes with what seemed like an egg patty at Disney World, whereas the eggs were scrambled at Disneyland. I preferred the Disneyland version by a small margin, though both were solid choices. Here are our favourite Galaxy’s Edge food picks.
Even if the lands were 100% identical, the experience and functionality of the land in California vs. Florida will inherently differ because of climate. According to Best Places, Anaheim experiences precipitation on average 35 days per year while Orlando experiences more than three times that number, with 114 annual days with some precipitation. During the summer months, Florida afternoon storms are the norm at Disney World. The reality is that there are not a lot of built-in places to escape from showers on Batuu if you aren’t in one of the two attractions.
For example, the open-air Black Spire market is lovely, but the stores aren’t nearly large enough to hold many shoppers looking to wait out the rain, especially in the era of social distancing.
Even on a nice day, there’s not a ton of respite from the Orlando sun on Batuu. Disney does have some umbrella shades up, but pack your neck cooling towels and water bottles or try to plan an early or late-day visit during the summer months.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is similar enough at both Disney World and Disneyland that there’s no reason to visit both parks unless you are a true die-hard. Rise of the Resistance is a true marquee attraction. It’s breathtaking for Star Wars fans and is likely impressive even to a park-goer who isn’t normally into all things intergalactic.
Galaxy’s Edge as a whole is not only beautifully well done but also brought to life by a cast that owns their roles. From Kylo Ren’s patrol throughout the land and the First Order guards on the Rise of the Resistance attraction right down to the shopkeepers and cashiers in the marketplace, cast members stay in character.
Galaxy’s Edge is a Disney World must-visit. The suspension of the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance, however, significantly changes the strategy. Instead of hanging out in your hotel room trying to get a boarding group, there is no choice other than to wait in (a very long) line.
If I were making a wish list of future additions post-pandemic, I’d love to see the addition of a Star Wars parade, a scheduled show, more of the original trilogy’s characters and maybe an interactive themed play area for little kids. But, my wish list aside, there’s plenty to do in Galaxy’s Edge if you’ve ever wanted to experience a galaxy far, far away.
And, of course, with the Star Wars Hotel (which is really more of a multi-day experience) opening in 2022, we expect all things Star Wars at Disney World to only continue to improve and evolve.
To plan your adventure to the other side of the galaxy, here are some tips:
- Guide to visiting Disney World
- Best restaurants at Disney World
- Best times to visit Disney World
- How to save money at Disney World
- Everything we know about Disney’s Star Wars Hotel
Additional reporting by Edward Pizzarello.
Featured photo of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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