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Star Wars Galaxy's Edge - Disneyland - Theme Parks

Title: Star Wars Galaxy's Edge – Disneyland

Date: August 9, 2019

Platform: Theme Parks

Location: Anaheim, California

Credits: Review & Text: Chuck Paskovics; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Review | Discussion

Live out your own Star Wars story, fly the Millennium Falcon and explore a remote outpost where adventure awaits.

  

Review

Most Star Wars fans have been itching for a chance to visit Disney's new "Star Wars Land" since it was announced. On a recent visit to Anaheim, we finally had a chance to check it out. So... Here's a non-biased, no special treatment, no special passes, just a regular stand-in-line-at-the-front-gates-to-get-in review and look at Disney's newly-opened Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge park. We are hoping to let you know what it's like as a regular park visitor experiencing Galaxy's Edge for the first time. We made 3 trips into Black Spire Outpost throughout the day, each one offering a unique look at the immersive Star Wars outpost.

Overall, I have very few complaints with the experience and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I'm glad I went, and will likely go back again in the future. That being said, let's take a look at what you can expect!

Black Spire Outpost

Once the gates opened and the crowds entered the park, it was clear where the bulk of the crowd was headed from the get-go! Galaxy's Edge was where the streaming line of people were going! Our plan was to ride the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride first, hoping the line would be the shortest early in the day. This would also allow us to ride it again later if we wanted to give it a second go. When Disney Parks transitioned into Black Spire Outpost section, our hurry to the ride didn't give us much time to look around at all of the scenery. We jumped in line and learned we were at about a 20-30 minute wait time, so our plan worked. We were only outside for a few minutes before we entered the docking bay area (where the line winds through while you wait). I will detail our experience for the line and ride in the next section below.

After the ride ended, we were able to relax and go and explore Black Spire Outpost at a more leisurely rate. First thing you will notice as you look around is that this is meant to be a fully immersive experience. Everything is "outpost themed", with as little as possible "real earth-like things" muddying the experience. For example, one of the most noticeable things they had to keep 'real' was the legal regulations such as exit signs in the buildings. But, this in no way detracted from the experience since things like this are so embedded in our life we hardly notice them. Everything else, however, was treated as if you were in some remote outpost world. From the wall decor to the old, crumbling walls, everything had that used look-and-feel. All store vendors were in character as merchants, and the wares they were selling were all related to their booths. There wasn't a general merchandise store that had everything in one place. For example, if you wanted to collect the new The Black Series figures, you had to go to different stores to find the sets. The First Order Cargo shop had the The First Order set, while the Droid Depot set could be found at the Droid Depot shop.

With full immersion in effect, this brought up one of the biggest problems with the park. It was hard to find some of the less obvious stores, as there were very few signs indicating what was a store and what was just another fake door decoration. One of the main doors to the Droid Depot was a very unassuming door from the outside. If you didn't see it open (it closes automatically), it was easy to miss it. From the outside it just looks like another decoration in the park. You do eventually figure things out once you explore enough, but at first it is a bit confusing.

The crowd size was actually not bad at all. While I would not classify the crowd as 'sparse', I've been to many of the Disney parks over the years and it was on par with any of my other visits. It felt just right for what you might expect at any bustling outpost. With the 1:1 scale Millennium Falcon being the centerpiece in the park I was worried that it would be so crowded around it that it would be hard to take pictures or just simply being in the presence of the Millennium Falcon. The entrance to the Falcon ride is right next to the Falcon itself, so one might think that a long line might make that experience unenjoyable. However, this was not the case at all! They creatively split the line for the Falcon ride so that it doesn't go across the main courtyard area, which keeps the area around the Falcon relatively clear at all times. It was easy to take a picture without anyone around just about any time we visited throughout the day.

After the experience of hanging around the Falcon, one of the next highlights of the park exterior was the main Docking Bay 7 shopping bazaar. This area featured most of the stores set in small alcoves on either side as you walked through. Stores like Black Spire Outfitters, Toydarian Toymaker, Jewels of Bith, and Creature Stall were the main sites along this well-decorated bazaar. Some of the larger full-size shops like Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities and Savi's Workshop were located outside of the main bazaar throughout Black Spire Outpost. If you are looking to spend some money, you will not find a lack of stores to empty your wallet!

Unfortunately, my biggest disappointment was not being able to buy a shirt that I wanted. I only planned on picking up a few items from the park, one of them being a Galaxy's Edge t-shirt. I found 3 shirt designs that I liked. NONE of which I was able to buy! The first logo I liked was only available on a woman's style shirt, and the other two shirts were only available to DIsney annual pass-holders. I guess I can thank Disney for saving me $30, as I left the park without one of the items I intended on buying.

The rest of the outpost was well decorated and was generally a very positive experience to just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. It will be interesting to see how the line for the Falcon ride is affected once the Rise of the Resistance ride opens up. Hopefully, this will shorten the wait time for the Falcon ride.

My last comment about the park as a whole is that, while it felt like a Star Wars outpost, there were not enough 'characters' walking around to make it feel like a fully immersive Star Wars outpost. During our 3 separate trips to the outpost we only saw a few First Order stormtroopers, Kylo Ren, and Rey. It would be a huge boost if they sprinkled a few more random characters and aliens throughout the park (besides the vendors).

Check out our gallery below for a general look at the park as a whole. Or, you can continue on to our next section, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run!

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Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Currently, the only ride attraction at Galaxy's Edge is the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride. And, if you want to ride then you'd better be prepared to hurry to it first thing, or stand in line for 50+ minutes throughout the day. This was our first stop when the gates to the park opened. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. The gate crowd quickly became the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run crowd! Luckily, we arrived to just a 20-30 minute wait.

Our wait while standing in line near the Falcon gave us a chance to catch our breath and start taking in the sites of Galaxy's Edge. The area around the Falcon stayed relatively clear, so enjoying the presence of the Falcon without a huge crowd around it was easy. The layout of the main docking bay area is well thought out to allow such freedom to enjoy it.

Once the line moved past the Falcon and into the Docking Bay things moved along at a relatively nice pace. Everything around you was set up like the inner workings of a docking bay and excellently done. Taking in all the sites as you moved through the line does make the time pass, and gives you ample opportunity to take a few snaps along the way. As you snake your way through you even move up to an upper level, which allows a nice view of the top of the Falcon. The level of detail built into this massive 1:1 replica is impressive!

Once you finally make it though the innards of the docking bay you arrive at a waiting room where an animatronic Hondo starts your journey. He gives you some instructions and sets the story for your upcoming adventure. It's another nice show while you wait to move into the main waiting room for your trip in the cockpit. Once the scenario is set you are then moved into one last line while you wait to enter the main waiting room. This is the part that really stands out during your wait. You are given special color-coded "tickets" and then you enter the waiting room, which is designed like the interior of the Millennium Falcon common area. In here you are no longer in line and are invited to mill around and check out every detail while you wait your turn. It's a brilliant staging ground while you wait. It's not crowded at all since only a few 'teams' are allowed in at a time. You have about 5 minutes of 'free time' to explore, take pictures, or just relax before the ride. At this point, you feel like you are on the Falcon.

Based on where you were in line you are assigned one of six spots for the ride. Two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers. Sadly, we were given the two engineer spots. I would consider these to be the least desirable, but still not bad. Once we were buckled in and given a few last instructions by Hondo we were on our way! The ride is a motion simulation ride with the cockpit fully integrated with video as the windows to give the illusion of flying. It's extremely well done and most impressive, and every spot from pilots to engineers has a 'part' to play as we are directed to flip switches, push buttons, steer the ship, and destroy things with the guns. It's a fast paced experience and quite a lot of fun.

While we would liked to have tried the ride again in a different position, we never made it back for a second run. The wait times were just outside of what we were willing to commit to with so much else to see and do in the park, and there is not currently a Fast Pass option for this ride. However, if you are new to the ride then make the time to ride it at least once, it's a fantastic experience.

Make sure to take a photographic trip through the ride by checking out our gallery below. You can also jump to our next section in our review, Oga's Cantina...

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Oga's Cantina

Oga's Cantina is a treat, and should be at the top of your list when visiting Galaxy's Edge! One thing's for certain, however: MAKE RESERVATIONS! It's easy to do, and without them you're highly unlikely to be able to enjoy this attraction. There were quite a few people waiting outside for a chance to get in just in case someone else didn't show for their own reservation. There were even a few significant others that were griping sternly at their better half for NOT making a reservation.

You're told to arrive within 15 minutes of your reservation and wait in the designated line. Once they confirm your reservation you are handed entry tickets and then you wait for about 5 minutes. Then, they show you to either a booth (for larger parties), a table, or a spot at the bar. We were giving a table right by the main entrance, which wasn't the most desirable with all of the patrons going in and out constantly. After a short look around while we waited for a server, I realized that there were ample spots at the end of the bar. After asking if we could move we were told we could move around as we wished, as long as we didn't take any of the booths. So, we moved to the bar which was MUCH better. It felt much more like being in a Star Wars cantina.

The reservation system, and whatever other system they use to regulate the flow of customers in and out was very well handled. It wasn't over-crowded, and we never felt like we were in a packed environment.

Once we settled in at the bar we were handed a menu by the barkeep. There were plenty of drink choices, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, to choose from. The prices are what you would expect from a Disney Park venue. I ordered a Gammorrean Ale, while my wife ordered a non-alcoholic Hyperdrive drink.

The bar itself was full of Star Wars eye-candy, and every bit of the experience was dedicated to making you feel like you were in a remote cantina in a Galaxy far, far away! They even had some pretty amazing drink coasters that you can take with you. Overall, I would highly recommend making a stop at Oga's Cantina if you make the trek to Galaxy's Edge. Although they put a 45 minute limit on your stay, I'm pretty sure there's no way for them to actually keep track of that (unless you have been obviously standing at the bar for 3 hours!). We felt like we had plenty of time to enjoy our drinks, walk around and explore, and just generally take in the experience.

Check out our gallery below from our visit to the cantina, then jump down to our next section: Galaxy's Edge After Dark!

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Galaxy's Edge After Dark

For our third visit to Galaxy's Edge for the day we ventured back after dark. When the sun goes down, the park takes on a whole new look and feel! The mountains lit up in the distance give the outpost a richer depth, and all the lights around Black Spire Outpost make everything feel more alive. You don't see every detail in the cracks in the walls because of all the shadows on the fringe, which adds a bit more mystery to the environment. We spent our time in the evening exploring and taking in how much different it is to see Galaxy's Edge at night versus during the day.

The upcoming Rise of the Resistance ride might not be working yet, but the entrance to the ride is now lit up and completely worth checking out. From the turret emplacement to the tactical screen, you are going to want to explore this little area for some nice photo ops. I'm looking forward to seeing how they decorate the area that you stand in line for this ride once it opens next year.

Another nice area to visit after dark is the bazaar. Now all lit up, this feels even more like a trading outpost in a galaxy far, far away. This area was still hopping even late in the day.

When you make a visit to Galaxy's Edge, be sure to stop by late in the day. You might be tired and worn out by that time, but it will be worth your trek across the park one more time to experience the outpost after dark. It was also much cooler once the sun went down! You can check out some of our pictures in our gallery below.

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Overall Thoughts

As a Star Wars fan, it was great to have an entire wing of the park completely dedicated to our galaxy far, far away. Even though this was a new land, and not a 'known' land such as Tatooine, Hoth, or any other number of planets from the Star Wars saga, it still felt like Star Wars to us. I like the approach of creating a completely new world pulled from the Star Wars Universe. To me, this is no different than being introduced to the deep-space trading outpost on the Ring of Kafrene from Rogue One. It's new, different, yet familiar. It will be interesting to see if the powers that be decide to put Black Spire Outpost in any upcoming Star Wars shows, such as The Mandalorian or the new Cassian Andor series. Undoubtably, putting this location on screen would go a long way to legitimizing its look and feel.

While I think there are a few things they could do to knock it up a notch in detail, the static environment itself is top notch. It's the 'moving parts' environment they need to work on. There just wasn't enough characters walking around. A few aliens randomly walking around would really help, not just the few stormtroopers we saw.

My only other complaint is that I wasn't able to walk away with the one thing I wanted to get from Galaxy's Edge, which I thought was going to be a safe bet going to the park! The lack of T-shirt designs sporting the Black Spire Outpost/Galaxy's Edge logo was frustrating. And the two designs I really liked I couldn't even buy because they were for Disney annual pass holders only.

Aside from my few minor frustrations, I highly recommend making a trip to check out Galaxy's Edge. I'm looking forward to returning, hopefully during Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in 2020! Just make sure to make your reservations at the Oga's Cantina or Savi's Workshop!

Back To TopTips For Your Visit
  • MAKE RESERVATIONS! Your number one to-do if you plan on visiting the cantina or building a lightsaber.
  • Download the Disneyland App. This will be invaluable and the built-in real-time navigation map is amazing.
  • Arrive early and go straight to Galaxy's Edge if you want to ride the Falcon ride. This will be one of the shortest times you will wait.
  • Relax and explore. There's a TON to see and take in!
  • Don't get caught up in the merchandise. There's a ton to spend money on, go in with a game-plan, and window-shop the rest!
External Links:
Added: August 18, 2019
Category: Star Wars Experience
Reviewer: Chuck Paskovics
Score:
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