Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Review

(Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens this week and it’s too big and too immersive to be contained in a single review. Our extensive coverage will be collected here.)

When you are in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it really does feel like you are being transported to a planet somewhere in the Star Wars galaxy. I had a chance to visit Disneyland’s newest expansion and I was blown away. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Review & Overview: Includes A Ton Of New Footage

Reminder: Starting tomorrow, we will be posting videos from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Please subscribe to the Ordinary Adventures YouTube channel to be alerted of those videos. The footage and photos in this piece were provided to us from Disney Parks.

batuu in galaxys edge

A Planet With History

This is not just another theme park land within Disneyland, like Adventureland or Tomorrowland. Galaxy’s Edge is a location within recognized Star Wars canon.

The planet Batuu used to be a remote outpost planet on the edge of the Outer Rim, one that was often used as the last stop before entering Wild Space. This was, of course, years before the introduction of hyperspace technology. The planet, and specifically the colony of Black Spire Outpost, is long-overlooked by most travelers and has become a port for smugglers, rogue traders, and adventurers who travel from the galactic frontier to unknown space.

Leading up to the opening of the land, comic books and novels have been released to establish stories that have taken on this planet. Black Spire Outpost and Dok Ondar were both mentioned in Solo: A Star Wars Story. In Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn: Alliances, Anakin Skywalker searched Batuu for a missing Padmé Amidala during the Clone Wars and had his first encounter with Commander Thrawn there. And there are many more stories being published to flesh out the Batuu adventures of Hondo Ohnaka (from the animated Star Wars shows) and Leia Organa’s top spy Vi Moradi, who chooses Batuu for the Resistance’s secret command post. And yes, guests may encounter Vi as they explore Black Spire Outpost.

star wars galaxys edge speeder

Where We Find Batuu Now

Visitors to Galaxy’s Edge will find Batuu 25-or-so years after the Battle of Yavin – specifically, between the events of  Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Black Spire Outpost has now become a safe haven for those looking to hide from the First Order during the sequel trilogy. This is being pitched as not someone else’s story that you wander into, but your personal adventure in Star Wars.

Of course, things aren’t peaceful for long. The First Order has occupied Black Spire Outpost, named for the giant petrified black trees that tower over it. This is where most of our adventure will take place (for now, at least). However, there is also an area out in the forest where the Resistance has set up a secret base in the ancient ruins. This will be the setting for a future adventure when the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride opens sometime later this year (as early as August or as late as October, if you listen to rumors). We’ll return to this neck of the woods (pun intended) soon enough.

What is clear immediately when walking around Batuu is how amazing the theming is. Everything feels like Star Wars. Everything feels lived-in and used, like there’s a genuine sense of history. There are even marks of blaster fire on the buildings! It’s not a clean-looking royal city like we saw in the prequels – this is the dirty Star Wars we have seen in the George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, and Rian Johnson films. The attention to detail is amazing. It’s just incredible to walk through and zero-in on all the little details, appreciating every nuance. One amazing touch among many: we walked through a square with hanging lights that used the domes of old R2-unit droids as the light covers.

You might even find a troop of First Order Stormtroopers on patrol. Kylo Ren might show up and make a grand entrance from his TIE Fighter. The costumed characters are much more interactive in Galaxy’s Edge than elsewhere. To meet Kylo Ren in other areas at Disneyland, you would have to visit him at his meeting greet at Launch Bay, in close quarters. Here you can sometimes see him walking through the land with his Stormtrooper patrol, investigating the rumors of Resistance presence on the planet. Even the Stormtroopers are much more interactive and seem to have a larger bank of questions and responses. You may even see First Order generals making their way around the area, questioning guests.

Once you’re done with exploring Black Spire Outpost, venture west through the forest towards the ruins. This is where the Resistance has begun setting up their new base of operations. It feels very secluded and there is a lot of land between the Black Spire Outpost and Resistance base to help tell the story, which is amazing to me because Disney could have used it for more shops or more rides. Instead, theming won out – that’s a good thing.

You can see an A-Wing and X-Wing, which make great photo ops. You might even find Rey or Chewbacca wandering around here, helping to set-up the new Resistance base. Again, it’s very cool to have encounters with these characters just in the middle of the park and not having to wait hours in a line at Launch Bay. I’m skeptical that it will be practical to do this on busy days, though.

Unlike other parts of the Disneyland resort, there is no music to be heard in the background, just ambient noises from the world. It’s like this way all over the land. You only hear John Williams’ new score in the entrances to the land, and inside the land itself. Galaxy’s Edge is also the first theme park land to be outfitted with Dolby Atmos speakers. Standing outside at night, you will hear spaceships fly by you overhead and while you can’t see them, you can certainly feel them.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Incredible

There does not exist another theme park land in the world with such immersive theming and detail. Galaxy’s Edge will transport you to the world of Star Wars and it’s simply incredible. The stores cater to both general audiences and hardcore fans equally in a way I’ve never seen before. The collectible merchandise being offered is insane and I am going to be so broke because of Batuu’s existence. Smoked Kaadu Ribs at Docking Bay 7 and the Ronto Wrap at Ronto’s Roasters are new Disneyland food classics in the making. Oga’s Cantina is a blast and all the sugary alcohol drinks are great.

As for the single ride, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run lets us explore that iconic ship in a way I never thought would be possible. Star Wars fans are going to freak out. I nearly cried! The ride itself is more of an immersive video game than a ride – it’s a lot of fun, but I don’t think it will blow anyone away. That said, I’m pretty sure Rise of the Resistance will do just that. Everything I’ve heard about that trackless dark ride sounds next-level, and we’ll be able to experience that later this year.

The Disney cast members who operate the establishments are all “citizens” of Batuu and remain in-character as you interact with them. They have customized their costumes through a mix of available options and have constructed backstories and vocabulary. If someone working a stand says “Bright Suns,” that is the Batuu equivalent of “good morning.” They ask for payment in credit,s but don’t worry, you can pay with your credit card. For some reason, credits translate into pennies exactly. Who would have thought?

I’m loving some of the interactions I’ve had with cast members thus far but I’m cynical that it will last. How long will these cast members and Disney entertain staying in-character and having interesting interplays with guests when there are so many huge lines? I hope they can make it work indefinitely.

While I loved the experience, it’s not perfect. I was disappointed by the Blue Milk beverage and I’m not sure if I’d ever get it again. If there is one thing missing from the otherwise immersive atmosphere, it is more droids, aliens and non-cashier citizens of Batuu. I hope that Disneyland eventually fills the Cantina and Black Spire Outpost with an abundance of streetmosphere characters who could bring a bit more Star Wars life into this spaceport.

And who knows? That might be in the eventual plans. This is only Batuu 1.0, and Disney has said that the planet of Batuu will evolve over the years and I can only see it improving.

This is just the start of our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coverage. More is on the way, including detailed looks at every food option and Oga’s Cantina, a glimpse at the many shops, and of course, our impressions of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Watch this space!

Review & New Footage: Disneyland’s ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ is Incredible – and the Closest We’ll Come to Being in ‘Star Wars’

Review: Disneyland’s ‘Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run’ Ride Let’s You Explore the Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Galaxy – and Then Pilot It

Review: Oga’s Cantina at ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ is a Dream Come True for ‘Star Wars’ Fans Who Like Their Booze

Review: ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ Food is Colorful, Offbeat, and Often Delicious

Review: ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ Shops Offer Awesome Merchandise for Casual Fans and Serious Collectors Alike

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