As a lover of all things Star Wars, there are few things as special to my inner fan than the first time I walked into Galaxy’s Edge. Nursing my quickly melting cup of blue milk while watching Kylo Ren descend the ramp of the First Order TIE Echelon was definitely a “pinch me” moment. Trying to find relief from Batuu’s three blazing suns by seeking out a shady spot under the Millenium Falcon was certainly not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Say what you will about Disney’s involvement in the Star Wars universe, but there is great pleasure in being able to sail with pirates through the Caribbean seas and fly with (definitely not) pirates through the Corellian skies all in the same day. Disney has always had one main idea in mind – magic – and the magic of stepping past the edge of the galaxy into Black Spire Outpost is no different.
A Fluid Experience
One of the best features of Galaxy’s Edge is its ability to morph into whatever the traveler is looking for. The family decked out head to toe in Star Wars t-shirts, hats, bags, and Mickey ears will get to take all the photos they can dream up out in front of the Resistance X-wings. The traveling couple who curated their perfect Batuu outfits to fit right in with the mechanics at Ohnaka Transport Solutions can grab a drink at the cantina before heading to Savi’s workshop to build their own lightsabers. And for those who know nothing about Star Wars and are just looking for a bite to eat before rushing off to their next FastPass at Toy Story Mania, travelers will find delicious and exciting palette offerings at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo (but also mac and cheese for the kids) that takes mobile ordering to get you in, out, and on your way.
Cash or Credits?
As a traveler looking to build your own story in Black Spire Outpost, there certainly is the large Tauntaun in the room to address first, “What parts of your story will you be able to curate without pulling out your wallet first?”. Disney Parks are first and foremost a business, and the full experience of Galaxy’s Edge is no different. It is, however, comforting to know that Batuu immersion is not entirely at the other side of a paywall. While money may not be required to enjoy some of the best things Galaxy’s Edge has to offer (beyond standard park entry of course), it will often require time and planning.
Below is a general breakdown of the different experiences offered inside Galaxy’s Edge. In addition to this list, there are a number of merchandise locations throughout the land, none of which currently require any additional reservations.
Due to the incredible popularity of the experiences in Galaxy’s Edge, and specifically the Rise of the Resistance attraction, digital reservations are required for many of the different experiences. Recent changes in accordance with Covid-19 precautions have also necessitated further planning than in the past.
While there are no additional charges to experience Rise of the Resistance, it does require that you acquire a digital boarding pass for all members of your traveling party. In the past, this looked like a sea of eager guests waiting at the entrance to the park at 5 AM to nab a boarding group on the My Disney Experience app. With the newly reopened parks, guests can join a boarding group at 10 AM or 2 PM.
A personal favorite experience, and one that doesn’t necessarily require a lot of additional payment is the atmosphere inside Oga’s Cantina. It does, however, require a reservation. DJ R-3X plays some great tunes (Batuu Boogie is my jam) and the bartenders serve up some fantastic drinks both for grown-ups and kids.
While none of the non-alcoholic drinks I could find were served in the exciting fizzy-bubble style, once one amazing bartender once met my request for “fun water” so I could feel super hip and cool in my own story. The drinks can get a bit pricey, even without alcohol included, but if the land isn’t too busy, you can sometimes pop inside just to hear a couple jams.
The two main “pay to play” experiences at Galaxy’s Edge are building your own droid at the Droid Depot and visiting Savi’s Workshop to build your own lightsaber. Designing your own personalized BB or R-unit droid will run you $99.99 plus tax, and the guided experience of constructing your very own lightsaber will cost $199.99 plus tax. You can bring one guest with you when you build your own lightsaber. If these experiences are part of your trip to Batuu, you’re sure to bring home wonderful memories in addition to your amazing new treasures.
Nostalgia vs. “The Now”
While Batuu is ready to provide whatever level of experience you’re looking to have, it is important to note what Galaxy’s Edge was NOT designed to do. When the land first opened in 2019, some die-hard fans expressed disappointment with the experience, stating that it lacked the nostalgia factor they were looking for and was too focused on the new sequel trilogy storylines as opposed to those of the original trilogy and prequel trilogy timelines. It is true that some people expected Black Spire Outpost to be a 24/7 ongoing Star Wars Celebration, but that’s certainly not what it was designed to do, either by Lucasfilm or the Walt Disney Imagineers.
Batuu and Black Spire Outpost that we step into exists explicitly between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The First Order, under the command of Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is searching for the scavenger Rey, and the Resistance is looking for new recruits while they rebuild from their losses at the Battle of Crait.
If you’re looking for inconsistencies, you’re going to find them. Why is Kylo re-masked and in his outfit from The Force Awakens? Why is Rey in her grey outfit from The Last Jedi, but sporting 3 buns in her hair? Accept it for what it is, but don’t take it too seriously.
If you’re looking for the touches of nostalgia, they can indeed be found, but rather than plastered on the wall like a movie poster, they’re found in the treasures kept at Dok-Ondar’s or in the handmade toys sold in the marketplace. Travelers to Batuu experience nostalgia the same way as those who live there, in the stories and small details, not in flashy or grand memorials.
New Tech for an Old World
As Star Wars is a world that is heavily immersed in “tech”, it is only fitting that Galaxy’s Edge allows you the opportunity to interact with the environment to enhance your own story while visiting there. The ride design of Smuggler’s Run lets you literally pull the lever to send the Millenium Falcon traveling through lightspeed on your way across the galaxy.
Grab a Jedi or Sith holocron and a few kyber crystals from Dok-Ondar’s to hear the voices of the past come to life in your hands. Or try out the Datapad experience in the Play Disney Parks app, which allows you to play games and interact with the scenery in queues and other various places throughout the land (though maybe bring some extra power to charge your phone because the app is notorious for battery-sucking). The tech experience, just like so many other aspects of the land, is ready to be curated as much or as little as you want.
Make it Yours, Make it Fun
For the self-proclaimed Star Wars nerds, there’s an easter egg around every corner just waiting to put a little smirk on your face and a twinkle in your eye. Becoming fluent in Aurebesh, or at least really good at using the decoder, will show you a whole other layer to the land with fun callbacks and a more fully immersive experience. Look for the small details put there by the ones who love Star Wars just as much as you do, and let yourself live your own story on Batuu.
When all is said and done, I have to say that one of my favorite things to do in Galaxy’s Edge is just sit and watch. The seating outside Docking Bay 7, just across from Dok-Ondar’s is a prime location. From there, it’s usually easy to find a nice table to sip a drink at and just enjoy the exciting world that you’re visiting. Vi Moradi might run by – two First Order Stormtroopers chasing her tail pretty far behind. Rey and Chewbacca could come through, looking to recruit more members to the cause. Perhaps a First Order officer will be combing through travelers, looking for anyone who might be funneling intel to the Resistance.
Enjoy watching all generations, old and young, coming together to love something as wonderful as Star Wars. Count the number of little Reys with messy buns and light-up sneakers who definitely needed a nap 2 hours ago. See how many “Casual Han Solos” you can find who have the giddy eyes of a child inside the weathered body of a nostalgic adult. That is what Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is all about – finding the same joy on the faces of those around you that also lives inside of you.