Live your adventure at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS®, part of WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort in Orlando. (© Disney © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Originally Published August 2019; Updated May 4, 2023
For the past 42 years, I’ve proudly worn Star Wars fandom on my sleeve. Not only was I one of the lucky millions who saw the original theatrical release of Star Wars, aka Episode IV — A New Hope, way back in 1977, but I’ve done the same for every installment in the decades since. Multiple times.
Along the way, I bought some action figures. (OK, lots of them.) Plus branded clothing. Definitely a few posters. Scores of comic books. And yes, I own a lightsaber. I even interviewed Mark Hamill. But in all that time, I never actually visited that fabled galaxy far, far away.
Until now — because Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has officially opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® at Walt Disney World® Resort. Read on to see what you can expect from this incredible new land, including details on attractions, merchandise, food and other features, and get ready to live your own Star Wars story the next time you’re in Orlando.
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Welcome to Black Spire Outpost
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is technically a theme park expansion, but from the moment you cross its threshold you’ll find yourself transported to Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu — one of the last stops before the fabled Outer Rim Territories.
Batuu will seem like home to anyone who’s ever dreamed of visiting the Star Wars galaxy. The look, feel and sounds are all authentic, as one would expect from Walt Disney Imagineering. Encounters with Resistance heroes, First Order villains, whimsical droids and other Black Spire Outpost denizens — not to mention the Millennium Falcon itself — only add to the immersion. (Keep an eye out for Rey, Kylo Ren and other famous faces as you explore the area.)
With so much detail packed into the new land, and so many twists and turns as you wind your way through the area, you can easily spend a full day taking it all in and still get the feeling you’ve probably missed something. All the more reason to come back again and again.
Speaking of immersion, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge gives fans the chance to do something of which they’ve long dreamed: fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. At Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, you and five other Star Warriors who are 38 inches (97cm) or taller get to ride in the Falcon’s cockpit, where you’ll take one of three crucial roles: pilot, engineer or gunner.
What really sets this attraction apart from most theme park rides is the interactive element, wherein your mission’s success (or lack thereof) is determined by your crew’s abilities. Whether you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type or prefer to let the Force guide you, be prepared to punch it.
Having tried all three of the ride’s roles, I’d say there are no bad seats in the house. Video-game experience can definitely help, particularly for pilots, but don’t worry if you don’t have any: You’ll get the hang of it. And even if your mission is less-than-successful, you’ll still have a blast.
In December 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuted its second attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The new experience recruits you and your group to the Resistance before placing you aboard a transport that’s been captured by a Star Destroyer. Not to get you too excited, but Walt Disney Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive Scott Trowbridge referred to the ride as “the most ambitious attraction we’ve ever done at Disney,” adding that it contains “everything that makes Star Wars, Star Wars, in one attraction experience.”
Between runs on the Falcon, joining the Resistance and visits to Black Spire Outpost’s shops and eateries (more on those in a bit), you can explore Batuu to its fullest with Star Wars: Datapad, a new feature on the Play Disney Parks app, available for free from the App Store and Google Play. The Datapad adds a heightened level of interactivity to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, giving you the ability to translate languages from across the galaxy, scan objects to discover their cargo, tune and decrypt encoded communications, and even hack into select devices, control panels and droids — no restraining bolt required.
These Are the Droids (and Lightsabers and Apparel and More) You’re Looking For
The first Star Wars comic book was released more than a month before the original film premiered, and the movie’s official novelization, Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, came out in November 1976. Which means fans have been collecting Star Wars longer than they’ve been watching it. Unsurprisingly, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge provides plenty of fresh ways to purchase even more must-have keepsakes.
Savi’s Workshop, where you can customize your own high-quality lightsaber, will appeal to Jedi and Sith alike. (Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance.) You’ll start by choosing one of four hilt themes — including Peace and Justice, Power and Control, Elemental Nature, and Protection and Defense — before selecting two different sleeves, an emitter, a pommel cap, and a set of activation plates and switches.
You can further customize your lightsaber with accessories from Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, which is run by its namesake Ithorian. While you’re picking up new bling for your lightsaber, take time to explore every nook and cranny — you never know what surprises you’ll discover.
Similar levels of customization are available at Droid Depot, where you can create BB- and R-Series astromech droids with lots of different options. For the BB-Series, select a dome, dome connection plate, body sphere and motivator. For the R-Series, choose a dome, body, center leg and set of side-legs. You’ll also be able to purchase additional accessories for even more customization. Like Savi’s Workshop, reservations are recommended and available up to 180 days before your visit.
And there’s still more Star Wars shopping to be enjoyed. Other retail venues at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge include Toydarian Toymaker, offering handcrafted toys and collectibles; Creature Stall, packed with plush dolls and other toys based on curious critters from around the galaxy; and Black Spire Outfitters, where you can dress for success with the latest Star Wars apparel. For a more specialized look, gear up at First Order Cargo or Resistance Supply to prove allegiance to your favorite sequel-trilogy faction.
Thanks to the high level of detail and interactivity, either with animatronics or Disney Cast Members who are dedicated to their roles as citizens of Batuu, each of these stores are attractions in their own right. Plus, the shops’ signs are in Aurebesh, aka the common tongue of the Star Wars galaxy, for extra immersion. Bust out the Star Wars: Datapad’s translation services if you have trouble determining which is which.
Wash It All Down With a Tall Glass of Blue Milk
With so much to experience, you’re sure to work up a Wookiee-sized appetite and thirst while exploring Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Fortunately, the new land offers several ways to sate both without having to step foot off Batuu.
From A New Hope to The Last Jedi, milk has played a key role in the Star Wars saga — and you can grab a glass of Luke Skywalker’s favorite beverage in blue and/or green from the appropriately named Milk Stand. Both are made with a plant-based dairy blend of coconut and rice milk, with fruity characteristics for the blue and citrus notes for the green. The standard editions are non-alcoholic, but adults can opt for Milk Coolers with Bacardi Rum (blue) and Corazon Blanco Tequila (green).
Of course, those in search of alcoholic concoctions from a galaxy far, far away might want to head directly to Oga’s Cantina, where you’ll feel at home amid bounty hunters, smugglers, rogue traders and other travelers. Enjoy out-of-this-world music while you sip and savor creations like the Jedi Mind Trick, Dagobah Slug Slinger, T-16 Skyhopper and many more. Nonalcoholic beverages are also available, as are light snacks.
For more substantial fare, duck into Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, a counter-service eatery serving Star Wars-themed dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or, swing by Ronto Roasters for a galaxy-famous Ronto Wrap. And for a light bite, pick up a batch of sweet-and-savory Outpost Mix from Kat Saka’s Kettle.
Once you’ve refueled and recharged, you’ll be ready for further adventures at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
More Ways to Feel the Force at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the newest way to celebrate your fandom at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but it’s not alone. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has been thrilling visitors since 1989, receiving numerous updates along the way. Longtime fans of Star Tours will likely recognize the DJ at Oga’s Cantina: He’s RX-24, who used to be this attraction’s pilot before C-3PO took over.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also home to Star Wars Launch Bay, a multisensory celebration of everything Star Wars. Here, you can explore The Cantina and themed galleries, hear directly from the saga’s creative minds courtesy of a short film at Launch Bay Theater, and even meet BB-8, Darth Vader and Chewbacca. While you’re there, stock up on more Star Wars gear at Launch Bay Cargo.
Then, start making plans to come back and do it all again. May the Force be with you!
The author’s best Kessel Run was 13.2 parsecs.
All images courtesy Walt Disney World Resort and © Disney © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
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