I am not a Star Wars fan at all. I’ve never seen the movies, nor have I ever wanted to, and the only reason I know even the smallest details about the Star Wars universe is because I have a little boy who is a huge fan and is trying (without much luck) to teach me the basics. So when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was originally announced for the US Disney Parks, I could not have been more uninterested. I do however love the opportunity to try something new at the Disney parks, and after seeing the pictures and hearing the reviews of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, I was excited to go to a preview of the land in Walt Disney World to see what all the fuss was about. This is my Walt Disney World guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the non Star Wars fan so you can make the most of the land (without really having to know a thing about Star Wars!)
A Guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the non Star Wars fan
A general overview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opened to the public on August 29th 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and we were lucky enough to attend a preview beforehand. My real enthusiasm for getting to attend the preview was that I knew my Star Wars loving kids would be excited to visit, although I was pretty lukewarm on the day and my only real excitement was getting to try a new ride that had great reviews.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is located at the back of Hollywood Studios, and the first thing I noticed as we entered was that, from inside the land, you cannot hear or see anything from the rest of the park. You can’t hear the screams from Tower of Terror, or the noise from Slinky Dog Dash, even though the coaster is right next door.
This means it’s very easy to become completely immersed in the land, and almost forget that you’re in a theme park. Walt Disney Imagineering have done an amazing job with the incredible detail of the land; there is so much to look at, and even for someone that has no idea what Batuu is supposed to look like, I was really impressed with how much work had gone into making this land as real to Star Wars fans as possible.
Rise of the Resistance
The long awaited Rise of the Resistance opened at Walt Disney World on December 5th 2019. This ride has since been hailed as one of the best rides in all of Central Florida, although right now getting to actually experience the attraction is a bit of a lottery!
Rise of the Resistance is currently using a Virtual Queue system to avoid lengthy stand by lines. The Virtual Queue becomes available via the My Disney Experience app once you enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and you must be in the park, with your ticket scanned, in order to access the Virtual Queue). The Virtual Queue is currently opening with the park at 7AM, and from this time anyone inside the park with their ticket scanned can access the Virtual Queue.
Once you open the app you are invited to join the Virtual Queue and if successful, you will be given a Boarding Group. You may be given Boarding Group 10 with the person next to you being given Boarding Group 99 – or not being given one at all if the Virtual Queue fills up too quickly. This makes it a complete lottery system, although currently if you are at the park for opening, chances are you will get a Boarding Group.
The Boarding Groups are then called throughout the day, and once your Boarding Group is called you will have a two hour window to make it to the ride. This means you don’t need to stay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios; you can go to another park or back to your resort to wait if you wish, although the earlier your Boarding Group is, the greater the chance that you will be called sooner rather than later.
There are lots of Point of View videos out there on YouTube if you want to get an idea for the ride, but I think it’s best experienced yourself in person with few spoilers. Just be sure to get to the park at least 30 minutes before park opening for the best possible chance to get on to the attraction!
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The first ride to open in Galaxy’s Edge was Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. This ride has a 38 inch height requirement so it’s a true family attraction that most kids toddler age and above will be able to ride. It’s been described as a cross between Star Tours at Hollywood Studios (because it’s a simulator attraction) and Mission Space at Epcot (due to its interactive nature).
The ride requires guests to take on the role of a pilot, gunner or engineer to man the Millennium Falcon; each cockpit holds six guests (two in each role) and although everyone is assigned a role, you can trade with your fellow riders.
The pilots sit at the front of the ship and are responsible for flying the ship, with the gunners sitting behind them firing missiles to defend the ship, and the engineers at the back to repair any damage the ship sustains. The pilot role is the most intense since you sit right in front of the screen and seem to have the most impact on how the ride goes.
A little warning with this: if your child is sensitive or doesn’t do well with pressure, then this probably isn’t the role for them – Harrison was assigned this role on our first ride and although he was excited initially, he quickly became nervous when Cast Members commented on how important his role was and he realized he was “flying” the ship. He ended up really disliking the ride and it wasn’t until we convinced him to try the role of gunner on our next ride that he ended up loving the ride.
If that ride where he was the pilot had been his only shot, he probably would have come away not enjoying the ride at all, so this is something to bear in mind. The gunner and engineer roles have less to do and seem to have less of an impact, so these might be better for those who don’t want to be as involved.
As someone that has never played a video game and really doesn’t like interactive games, I ended up liking this ride a lot. I honestly had no idea what was happening, who the characters or any of the places they were talking about were, but the ride itself was fun and the interactive aspect meant the ride was a little different every time. We were lucky enough to ride it a few times so I’m probably good for a while, but if we went back and the line was less than 60 minutes I would probably wait to ride it again. There is a single rider line that will probably cut down the wait a little, and as of opening, FastPasses will not be available. Until FastPass is available, it’s unclear whether rider swap will be available.
The best places to eat at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
There are several different places to get food in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The main quick service location is called Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, and if you’re a fan of the food at Pandora in Animal Kingdom, you’ll love the menu here. You won’t find burgers and fries on the menu, but you will find things like Smoked Kaadu Ribs, Yobshrimp Noodle Salad, and Braised Shaak Roast. I have no idea what the significance of these names is, I just know that I couldn’t pronounce any of them and point to what I wanted on the menu.
I decided to try the Felucian Garden Spread, which is their vegan option, and the dish features plant based kefta served with hummus, tomato cucumber relish and a pita. This was very, very good, with plenty of flavor, but I did think the portion was a little on the small side. The kids menu is also a little out there, and picky kids might struggle to find something they like (Harrison laughed when I read the menu to him…) but Grayson tried the Fried Endorian Yip-tip, which is basically cripsy chicken with mac and cheese and veggies. He loved it and ate every bite, so this is probably a safe bet. There is a breakfast menu if you’re at the park early, but I think the breakfast menu at Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land offers better options.
We also tried eating at Ronto Roasters, which has a small menu featuring snack items and a few drinks. I tried the Ronto Wrap, which is roasted pork and a spicy sausage with peppercorn sauce and tangy slaw wrapped in a pita. I don’t normally like hot dogs but this was very, very good and a filling portion. Next to Ronto Roasters is Kat Saka’s Kettle, which serves a colorful blend of sweet and spicy popcorn; I thought this sounded awful so I skipped it, but the popcorn does look very pretty!
You can also hit the Milk Stand where you can find the famous Blue Milk; they also serve Green Milk and a souvneir novelty drink vessel. We sampled both the blue and green milks and let’s just say they must be an acquired taste – they tasted a little like someone has mixed fruit punch with milk and I thought the result was pretty terrible. The line for the Milk Stand was consistently long however, so it seems that Star Wars fans are super excited to try this out.
Finally, there is Oga’s Cantina. This requires a separate reservation that can currently be made online, and if you do grab a spot, know that your time is limited to 45 minutes and there is a two drink minimum per person. This is essentially a very well themed bar (it reminded me of Trader Sam’s Grotto at the Polynesian Village Resort) and although kids are of course welcome, the set up isn’t super family friendly. There are only a few tables so everyone else has to stand, and the bar and other tables are really too high for kids to reach. My kids were bored quickly and there wasn’t really much space for them to play or do anything to keep them entertained, so we only stayed about 30 minutes.
The bar is very well themed; even to someone who knows nothing about Star Wars I appreciated the detail and the Cast Members really got into their roles. The drinks menu had some really different drinks on there, and we enjoyed trying some of them out. I ordered the Fuzzy Tauntaun, and the bartender warned me that the foam on top was a little tingly. I had no idea what she meant until I took a sip – the foam was indeed tingly and almost completely numbed my mouth for a minute or two, which was actually a fun effect. The drink itself was tropical and fruity, perfect for a hot day.
Grayson requested a “blue drink” and since we definitely weren’t trying the blue milk again, the bartender suggested the Hyperdrive (Punch it!) (that’s actually the name) from the non-alcoholic menu. This is Powerade with white cranberry juice, black cherry puree and Sprite. Grayson loved the color (at age three, he doesn’t get many blue drinks!) and liked the drink, although I thought it was very sweet.
Another item we tried was something I originally thought was a drink, but turned out to be more like a jello shot. The Rodian Ration is listed on the menu as a “provision” and it comes in what looks like a petri dish. With vodka, sour apple liqueur, Sprite and green apple popping pearls, the flavors are pretty good, it does just feel like a large jello shot.
If your time in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is limited, I probably wouldn’t use it at Docking Bay 7 unless there is a menu item you really want to try. I would instead take some time to visit Oga’s Cantina to see what it’s like and try a fun drink, and then stop by Ronto Roster’s for a Ronto Wrap instead.
The merchandise at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
As a non Star Wars fan, there was very little chance that I would be buying anything from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – and I almost got away with buying nothing! I did get a pin for the kids to keep and picked up a reusable bag as well, and the kids were each allowed to pick out a toy. There was no shortage of other merchandise that a Star Wars fan would love but if you’re not a fan, you’re probably not going to be interested. If you do want a small keepsake to remember your trip, there are reasonably priced things like pins and magnets.
There were a couple of things that are actually pretty cool: you can build a custom lightsaber and a create a custom droid. Whilst these options are super pricey, they are unique to the land and I can imagine that being able to create these things is really exciting for a Star Wars fan. Savi’s Workshop requires a reservation so there are no last minute decisions to build a $200 lightsaber, but the experience is sure to be a memorable one. Custom droids can be created next door at the Droid Depot, where you can make your own little R2-D2 or BB8 (I’m learning names!) My kids would have loved to do this and it’ll probably be something I treat them to one day, but for now they got to watch others pick out various body parts to make their own droid. Again, this looks like a fun and unique experience that I can imagine a Star Wars fan would really love to do.
So is it worth it to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the non Star Wars fan?
In my opinion, yes. Even if you’re like me and you don’t know anything about the stories or the characters or essentially anything about Star Wars, there are still so many things to enjoy about the land. The detail of the land is incredibly impressive, even to someone who doesn’t know what the Star Wars universe should look like, and it really is easy to forget that you’re in a theme park and really throw yourself into the experience.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is a really fun ride, and it’s great to be able to interact and change the outcome of the ride depending on the role you choose and how you and your team perform. Once Rise of the Resistance opens at the end of the year, we’ll definitely be heading back to check that out too.
The food options are great for adventurous eaters, perhaps not so great for picky eaters, but there are a lot of options. Oga’s Cantina is great for a fun atmosphere and some unique drinks, although not a great place to hang out with young kids. The merchandise options are plentiful, and even if you don’t want to spend too much on a big souvenir, there are some fun options to remember your trip that are reasonably priced.
Overall, I really think Walt Disney Imagineering outdid themselves here, and even someone who knows nothing about Star Wars will be able to enjoy themselves.