A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there is the planet of Batuu, inhabited by various humanoids, Wookies, and other aliens at the Black Spire Outpost. The area is under the "protection" of the First Order, but you'll find many pledging allegiances to the Rebel Alliance. Which side do you choose?
This is Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the new Star Wars themed land that just opened up at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California on May 31, 2019. Just as a reminder, while Galaxy's Edge is now open, you'll still need a reservation to get in until June 23. After that, it'll be a free-for-all.
Honestly, with the reservation system that Disneyland put in place, everything in Galaxy's Edge went as smoothly as possible, and it was not as chaotic as I thought it would be. If you have a reservation, you would need to check-in at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland, up to two hours before your 4-hour reservation block. The cast members were very helpful and the check-in process was very streamlined. We got there exactly at 6 pm (we had reservations for 8pm-12am), got in line, and it only took no less than 20 minutes to get to the check-in computer, have our QR code scanned with proper IDs and tickets, and then our wristbands that admit entry. The cast members should tell you which entrance you can go through (Critter Country), though we weren't told any information on this upon receiving our wristbands.
After getting our wristbands, we had time to kill, so we rode Star Tours to get even more hyped for Galaxy's Edge. However, if you want to be among the first into Galaxy's Edge during your time block, you'll want to start lining up at least an hour or two before you're allowed in.
And then you forget you're in Disneyland at all
We got to the entrance about five minutes prior since we trekked from Tomorrowland to Big Thunder Mountain before they told us where to go. The initial crowd to get into Galaxy's Edge was like a can of sardines, but once you got inside the land and the crowd began dispersing so everyone can go their own ways, it became fairly mellow.
Once you enter Batuu's Black Spire Outpost, you'll forget all about Earth and Disneyland. This is the most immersive experience possible.
As you walk along the entrance path, you'll be surrounded by beautiful trees with sounds from the expansive wildlife that can only be found in Batuu. Just past the trees, you'll get a peek at a modified X-Wing, a ship famously aligned with the Rebel Alliance. Chewbacca may even be walking along the side with a humanoid friend telling you to keep moving.
Savi's Workshop gives you Jedi powers
Past the Rebel ships, the start of the marketplace will become visible. Here, you'll find a large selection of unique trinkets, toys, creatures, clothing, and even some tasty grub at the Ronto Roasters or Kat Saka's Kettle. I headed immediately towards Savi's Workshop — Handbuilt Lightsabers. The line snaked around near the walls, but fortunately, we got there before it was cut off for the rest of the night. If you want a lightsaber or custom droid, it's recommended to get in line for these ASAP, as they only allow so many people in at a time and each session takes around 20 minutes (at least Savi's did), and they can only take in so many people for the reservation block or day (once it opens up to everyone).
For Savi's Workshop, you need to pay for your ticket before you're allowed inside. The experience and lightsaber cost $199 before tax, and there are no Annual Passholder discounts. When you get your colored ticket, they will give you an estimated time to report back for each color group. With that in mind, you're free to explore the rest of Batuu until you need to come back. If you think about it, the system is fairly streamlined, just like the rest of the reservation system for entry into the land.
Take a shot at the Smuggler's Run
While waiting for my spot for Savi's Workshop, we decided we want to go on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run. Since it was only about an hour and a half into our reservation block at that point, the wait time was a little less than an hour. We also went again as we neared the end of our reservation block (standby was 15 minutes, so the best time to go is towards the end of your time).
As you weave through Ohnaka Transport Solutions, you'll find various boxes of cargo, scrap metal, tables of cards, and other miscellaneous bits from ships. As you get closer to getting into the cockpit, there's a fantastic view of the top of the Millennium Falcon, so you can see every last bit of detail and texture on the "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy." And right before you get assigned to your group of six, Hondo Ohnaka, the Weequay pirate himself, greets you. He'll introduce himself, and give you the task of helping him smuggle some goods with the Millennium Falcon that he's borrowing from Chewie himself. Don't worry, you'll be awarded space credits, depending on how well you do, though he gets most of the cut, of course.
Everyone in your group is assigned a role (Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer) through the use of colored cards to determine groups, and the job is on the card with a description of what that person is supposed to do. Pilots will navigate the ship (left pilot does horizontal movement and right does vertical, along with "punching it" into hyperspace), Gunners must defend the ship from incoming enemies, and Engineers help repair the ship and also fire the harpoons that latch onto the target cargo ships.
The enjoyment of Smuggler's Run is determined by your role. Piloting can be quite challenging and requires good reflexes, while Engineering is simple and just requires you to push some buttons when they flash. Gunners will need to push the buttons at the right time to fire, and I'm sure that some aiming is required as well (as long as the pilots get into the correct positioning), but I'm not entirely sure since I did not get the opportunity to be a gunner, unfortunately. To me, gunner also seems like the most fun role.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is a must-do while you're in Batuu. The entire cockpit of the ship is meticulously crafted, down to every last bit of detail. The action takes place on a huge video screen in the front (think Star Tours), but everything looks quite real and it's one of the most immersive rides at the park. Communicating with your group is also important if you want to actually do well, but it's not necessary—just the experience itself is enough for some people. Hondo docks credits from you depending on how badly damaged the ship is, and once you exit the cockpit, the clever touches like flashing lights and sound effects of fried wires really pull it all together.
Outer Rim noms
There was still some time before I was allowed into Savi's Workshop, so we needed some food. Ronto Roasters is one of the quick-serve food areas in the Black Spire Outpost, and it's perfect for a quick bite.
We grabbed a delicious Ronto Wrap (roasted pork, grilled pork sausage, peppercorn sauce, and tangy slaw wrapped in a Pita) when we needed to refuel, and it was quite tasty. I washed that wrap down with a Tatooine Sunset (Gold Peak Unsweetened Tea, Odwalla Lemonade with Melon and Blueberry), which was a perfect blend, and it was only lightly sweet and not overwhelming at all. My husband also got the Meiloorun Juice (Barrilitos Aguas Frescas Pineapple, Simply Lemonade with Blueberry, White Cranberry Juice, Lemon Juice, and Desert Pear), which was much sweeter with a dash of sour.
Once we were done eating roasted meats, we headed back to Savi's Workshop to wait for my appointment with the other visitors of Batuu.
The lightsaber building experience is one of the coolest parts of Galaxy's Edge. Once you get inside, you're assigned to a workstation, and then Savi will pull you into a narrative. While there have been greats in the past, such as Rey, Luke Skywalker, Mace Windu, Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi, the time has come for you to forge your own path. The Gatherers have kept the workshop hidden from the likes of the First Order, and they are passing on their knowledge of the Force and the ancient ways of the Jedi on to you. The lightsaber that you build is customized just for you, as you are part of the next generation of Force wielders.
In Savi's Workshop, you'll have your own workstation, and guests that are in your group (that haven't bought their own lightsaber) are welcome to come in and watch you build. You can choose between four styles of lightsabers (Power and Control, Peace and Justice, Elemental Nature, and Protection and Defense), which all have their own unique lightsaber parts that you can choose. The entire process takes about 20 minutes total, but it makes you truly feel like you're in the Star Wars universe.
To make the entire Galaxy's Edge experience as immersive as it can be, the cast members have been trained to remain in character at all times, and they play their parts perfectly.
When you ask the workers near Savi's Workshop if this is the place to buy a lightsaber, they'll hush you and respond with, "you mean buy scrap metal?" They've also never heard of Disneyland, they're not familiar with Earth, and they'll think that Mickey Mouse is an odd name for a beloved family character. Stormtroopers will randomly roam around Black Spire Outpost, along with other recognizable characters, and interrogate you on which side you pledge allegiance to, though this seems to be more of a daytime thing, as I didn't see many during our nighttime excursion.
Again, once you get into Galaxy's Edge's Batuu and Black Spire Outpost, then you will forget about Earth and Disneyland. The land is so incredibly detailed with the buildings, props, inhabitants, shops, goods, and atmosphere that everything else just disappears. Disney has truly outdone themselves with Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
Our time went by fast, and even though we got four hours to explore Batuu and Black Spire Outpost, it wasn't enough to do everything we wanted. We didn't have enough time to check out Oga's Cantina for drinks, and the Milk Stand for the Blue and Green Milks were closed by the time we finished with the other stuff. But thanks to the reservation system, we didn't feel too rushed with the things we managed to check out, and we definitely will be coming back to see everything else that we missed on the first go.
It's quite jarring once you're done and leave Batuu to go back to Earth and Disneyland. I can't wait to visit Batuu once again. If you're able to get in, then it's an experience that cannot be missed.
Check out my photo gallery below for more pictures of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge!
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.