Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Disney World Review – Worth Visiting?
At the end of May Disney opened up Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park in Anaheim. Or should I say they opened up the land and one of its two attractions (Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run) while the other “flagship” attraction Rise of the Resistance will not open until January at that park.
I have now visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland twice and had the opportunity to visit the East Coast version at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World this past week (where it was BRUTALLY hot!). I highly suggest reading the review linked to above for more detailed information given how similar the lands are, however I’ll be providing my full and honest Disney Hollywood Studios Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge review here.
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Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Disney’s Hollywood Studios Honest Review
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is located towards the back of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in an area that once housed many different attractions. The Lights, Motors, Action! stunt show once took up a portion of this land as did the Studio Tram Tour. Unlike Disneyland’s version of SWGE which has three entrances, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios the land can be reached either from Grand Avenue next to Muppet Vision 3D or from Toy Story Land. The area housing Disneyland’s third entrance is blocked off in Batuu East.
My Experience Getting Into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
I had the pleasure of visiting Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during a passholder preview. My window was from 9am – 1pm and during that time I managed to visit all of the land including the shops, Oga’s Cantina and Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run.
Walt Disney World Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Honest Review – The Ride(s)
Just like at Disneyland, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is opening with only one attraction. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run opened with the land, while Rise of the Resistance will open on December 5, 2019 in Florida. On one hand it is good that there is something else coming, but on the other hand it is sorely missed. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run wasn’t ever made to carry a land the size of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and it shows.
Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run Ride Review
If you are unaware, Millenium Falcon Smuggler’s Run is an interactive simulator ride that puts you and five others in the cockpit to fly a smuggling mission aboard the famous ship. During the flight you will perform one of three functions:
- Pilots: One pilot controls horizontal while the other controls vertical movements.
- Gunners: Each controls one of the Falcon’s guns to shoot an enemies
- Engineer: Fixes the ship when it is damaged and provides logistical support for the mission
In my Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Disneyland review I said the following about Smuggler’s Run:
“The truth is Smuggler’s Run can both be “just alright” and spectacular at the same time. It really depends on how much fun you are having with the controls and more importantly how much fun people in your group are having.”
This still holds true, although admittedly after 10 rides across 3 visits to I can say that Smuggler’s Run feels a bit boring now. The ride doesn’t change much and I have most often found myself in a cockpit with groups that either are way too serious, or way too lax. Either scenario sucks some of the fun out of the ride in my experience.
On one of last rides, the feelings of boredom led me to ponder the fact that perhaps I don’t like Smuggler’s Run quite as much as I like Star Tours. Don’t get me wrong. The first time I waited in that queue and walked into the Millennium Falcon chess room and cockpit it was magical. The 10th time, not so much.
So why do I think some people might like Star Tours better? It has much more variability. I have ridden every single installation of Star Tours this year as part of my family Disney around the world trip where we visited all 6 Disney Resorts and 12 theme park in 6 weeks. It was amazing, but it also led me to realize that Star Tours stays fresh because the ride is different every time. Smuggler’s Run has the potential to add other missions later and I hope that happens.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Disney World Review – Black Spire Outpost
The heart of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu. This galactic outpost is full of shops, experiences and even some characters designed to make it feel like a living breathing place. While this is occasionally achieved, I still feel the need for more characters is evident.
Aside from the lack of “life” outside of other theme park guests, Batuu in Florida looks and feels a lot like Batuu in Disneyland. You will find the same marketplace with the same shops, you can also build a lightsaber or droid and of course don’t forget to enjoy the music and a drink at Oga’s.
Upcharge Experiences/ Reservation Required
Among the most popular things to do on Batuu are the interactive experiences which will cost you money and which also may require a reservation.
- Oga’s Cantina: Drinks from $7-$42
- Savi’s Workshop: Build your own lightsaber for $200
- Droid Workshop: Build your own droid for $100 and up
Admittedly the droid building is the least popular option on both coasts, however if you want to visit Oga’s or to build a lightsaber, make sure to make reservations because standby isn’t always an option.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Disney World Review – Oga’s Cantina
While I didn’t get a chance to build a Droid or Lightsaber on my visit to Batuu East, I did thankfully get a chance to visit Oga’s Cantina for a refreshing Blurrgfire (Lemonade, Pomegranate Juice & Habanero Lime). Oga’s is very strict about their reservation policy, but occasionally they allow a few people to enter the line as standby. Since I didn’t have a reservation, I waited across from the entrance and luckily got in when they opened the line to 5 people!
Like in Disneyland, Oga’s Cantina is a fun and lively experience. Admittedly I am not a huge bar person and therefore probably don’t enjoy Oga’s quite as much as others (it is loud and crowded like most bars), however I cannot deny the awesomeness that is DJ Rex and admittedly this place feels like a cantina out of the Star Wars universe. (As it should!) It is definitely a must visit and worth the ~$7 for a non-alcoholic drink or you can of course pay up and get alcohol too.
Food & Drink
Like in Anaheim, you’ll find most of the same food offerings in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Ronto wraps can be had as can all of the food at Docking Bay 7. Florida’s version adds plastic “demo food” though which is a nice touch and made me feel like I was in Japan.
Perhaps the biggest change at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Florida is the ability to get alcohol outside of Oga’s. Disneyland is mostly a dry park (Oga’s is the only public place you can get alcohol), but Hollywood Studios has no such restrictions. This means you can get your Blue & Green milk in the form of “Coolers” that come pre-spiked and Docking Bay 7 even has boozy drinks too.
Not As Immersive As Hoped
Like in Anaheim, Florida’s version of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge does have entertainment in the form of live characters roaming around. On my visit to Batuu East I encountered a fair number of Stormtroopers. Kylon Ren also made a brief appearance as did a First Order Commander. I also ran into Chewbacca over in the Resistance area. He was fixing a ship which I thought was a nice touch. I didn’t see Rey nor did I see any shows, although I do believe they occasionally happen.
My main complaint about Batuu on either coast is that it doesn’t feel as alive as we were promised. Droids don’t roam around. Parked ships have sound effects, but we never see their engines fire up. Cast members talk in their own lingo, but there aren’t enough real characters roaming around. This can all be fixed and I hope it is. Batuu feels sort of real, but if you look closely in some areas it is more like a movie set than a highly immersive experience.
Comparing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Anaheim & Orlando
While both versions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are very very similar and have the same shops/experiences, they are not complete clones of each other. To start, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Florida is bigger. Not much of course, but certain areas in the Disneyland version feel small and squeezed due to the railroad. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios these areas (the entrance to Rise of the Resistance is the main one) feel much bigger.
Star Wars Galaxy Edge Differences
Here are some other changes I noticed between the Anaheim and Orlando versions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge:
- Florida’s version has a different color scheme top to bottom. The rock work is painted differently as are the buildings. I tend to prefer the Florida colors better.
- Disneyland’s 3rd entrance is located in Black Spire Outpost near the resistance shop and ship. This area feels much more open in Disneyland because of the entrance. It is more closed off in Walt Disney World. I actually like this area a lot and think it being closed off is slightly more fun.
- The forest seems more lush and developed in Orlando compared to Anaheim. It is also bigger and wider than Disneyland’s version. The climate probably plays a factor.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios decided to add unthemed pine picnic tables to various areas around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I’m sure they are temporary, but they look TERRIBLE and really do not belong.
- Florida added a stage to the area below the marketplace (pictured above). I have now been informed this is only temporary which is good since it breaks up the area.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Disney World Review – Criticisms
As I said in my Disneyland Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge review, “The absence of Rise of the Resistance looms large over this land, but it is still deeply enjoyable.” I think this still holds true, although I will take it a step further now and say the success of Galaxy’s Edge depends on the success of Rise of the Resistance.
Rise is supposed to be the most technologically advanced Disney ride ever created and I do believe it will be a game-changer. If this does indeed happen then Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be a huge success. If for some reason Rise doesn’t live up to what has been promised, then Disney will have a land on its hands that is too big and without enough included activities.
Should You Visit Now?
Just like when I reviewed Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Anaheim back in June my advice is the same. If you are planning to visit Walt Disney World for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and have your trip planned already then you should enjoy it! If not, then plan a trip for AFTER Rise of the Resistance opens. What is there now just isn’t good enough to justify a visit given how soon Rise is opening. With all of that said, I can’t stress enough that you will enjoy your first visit with or without Rise. I suspect though having both rides open will provide a much better experience.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Disney World Review Bottom Line
In the days after the enormous media hype following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge everyone was praising the land without any criticism. I was one of the first and only bloggers at the time to add some perspective on what we were actually getting. Since then it has become popular to complain and criticize Disney, but I don’t think that is fair either.
What we have in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Disney’s attempt at something new and special. They spent A LOT of money, but didn’t have an unlimited budget and it shows. I think the final product once it matures a bit and with all of the rides will be a winner. For now though I’m just a little bored of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge after three visits on both coasts.
I’m heading back to Disneyland soon, so I’ll probably give Smuggler’s Run another ride, but I just wish it wouldn’t be a repeat of the same thing I have done every single other time.
Have you been to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World? Is the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version of “Star Wars Land” your favorite or did you prefer Disneyland’s? Share your story in the comments!