Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Honest Review
After the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 rumors of a “Star Wars Land” started circling immediately. Then, in August of 2015 Disney made every fan out there weep when they announced that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge would be coming to both Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
As many of you know I have visited every single Disney resort multiple times including having revisited every resort and park (Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai) within the last 2 months. I did that for a new Disney project I am working on, but it also gives me a great fresh perspective on what Disney has to offer and how Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge fits within that.
Disney is touting SWGE as the best they have ever built. Is this true? I decided to go as a normal fan who paid to see. I didn’t ask for nor was I given media access so I saw the land for the first time the same way you will. Here is my Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge honest review.
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As of Friday 5/31 Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open to the public…..sort of. In order to visit between 5/31 and 6/23 you need a reservation. I was able to snag one back in early May which allowed me to visit from 5-9pm on opening day. If you don’t have one then you’ll have to wait until June 24, 2019 or book a Disney owned hotel such as the Disneyland Hotel where they will provide you with a reservation.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland is 14 acres and sits on land previously occupied by backstage buildings, the Rivers of America and Big Thunder Mountain Ranch. By chopping off the top of the river, rerouting the railroad and demolishing some buildings they were left with an impressive chunk of land. Considering the rest of Disneyland is only 85 acres, SWGE at 14 acres represents a HUGE expansion.
Getting Into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
I have to start by commending Disney on how they have organized the reservation system for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I had a 5-9pm reservation and was able to check-in at their location in Tomorrowland with minimal wait. If you do check-in make sure to check your wristband since I was given one for a past time! It was quickly fixed, but I’m glad I caught it before going out to the rest of the park.
After getting my wristband sorted out I headed over to the Hungry Bear Restaurant on the other side of the park to wait for my time to enter. I got there a bit early and ended up being one of the first in my group of 1,000+ people which was advantageous. We were lead into SWGE in stages with the group being walked slowly along until 5pm when we were allowed to explore the planet of Batuu.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Honest Review – The Ride(s)
As I mentioned before, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is supposed to have two “E-ticket” attractions. While both rides (Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run) are headline attractions, RotR is thought by many to be the groundbreaking ride of the land. With it not being open, the only ride to enjoy right now is Smuggler’s Run.
Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run Review
The most iconic part of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the full size replica of the Millennium Falcon that resides outside of the attraction. While you won’t technically go inside of the model, you will get to go inside of the ship! The Smuggler’s Run experience starts with an interactive queue that winds along the backside of the Falcon before eventually heading inside the ship where you have a few minutes to wander and even take photos in the iconic space.
Just before reaching the Falcon’s Chess Room area you will be grouped with up to 5 other people who will join you on your adventure. The group of six consists of 2 pilots, 2 gunners and 2 engineers. Let me describe their duties below:
- 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
When you boil it down, Smuggler’s Run is a simulator ride turned video game. This will lead to comparisons with Star Tours, but I feel both attractions have their place. 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.
I ended up getting to ride the attraction 4 times during my reservation window. This allowed me to be an Engineer, Gunner and to sit in both pilot positions. Since I was there by myself I always had to join others. Some rides were simply more fun with some groups getting more into it while others were more serious.
To sum up my honest review, I loved the ride but it’s not perfect. Check out more photos of the ride and the queue.
Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run Ride Photos
Black Spire Outpost
Smuggler’s Run is located within Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu. This outpost is full of residents, cantinas, ships, stormtroopers, restaurants and shops. It is a living breathing place (all castmembers have a backstory and are residents of Batuu) and is truly one of Imagineering’s finest accomplishments. With that said, it is all designed to cost you money.
Among the biggest lines of the day in Galaxy’s Edge were the following:
- Oga’s Cantina 1-2 hour waits: Drinks from $7-$42
- Savi’s Workshop 2+ hour waits: Build your own lightsaber for $200
- Droid Workshop 45-60 min waits: Build your own droid for $100 and up
and then there are a ton of other shops that sell everything from Star Wars universe pets to propaganda posters about joining the First Order. But as you can see it all costs money. Casual fans might just ride the one ride and not be impressed that the rest costs $$$$. Star Wars fans should prepare to spend.
Note: I plan to try Droid building and Oga’s Cantina with my family, so I’ll relate whether they were worth it after my next visit to Batuu on June 12.
More Shop & Merch Photos
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Criticisms
As I mentioned at the start I have visited every single Disney park (14 of them) and resort (6 of them) in the past two months. I have seen everything that Disney has to offer when it comes to theming and this is above and beyond anything they or anyone else has ever done. It is a true masterpiece of theming, but it isn’t perfect.
I myself am a big Star Wars fan. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t have collectibles or advertise it everywhere, but I have seen the past 6-7 movies on opening weekend and almost always get tears in my eyes when the iconic Star Wars music comes on at the beginning of the movie. As that person I was deeply satisfied on many levels, but I don’t think everyone will be.
The truth is that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is HUGE at 14 acres, but for now contains only one ride. Compare that to Fantasyland which has 12+ attractions in a similar footprint. The absence of Rise of the Resistance looms large over this land, but it is still deeply enjoyable.
More Photos of Black Spire Outpost
My Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Bottom Line Advice
As a Star Wars fan Galaxy’s Edge did everything I wanted it to do. The detail is simply STUNNING and Smuggler’s Run is a great family friendly ride. With that said, here is my deeply honest advice for the average person in order to avoid disappointment.
- Visit now (after June 23) if: You already have plans to go or you have an annual pass and it won’t cost you extra
- Visit later if: You are anyone else
I suspect many people won’t be paying for $200 lightsabers, $42 drinks or even the expensive merchandise throughout the land, so they’ll need those “free” rides to make this worth it. After June 24 you’ll also likely have to deal with hoards of people trying to see it, so waiting until later when you can experience the complete land (with even more crowds) may be beneficial.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Honest Review – Final Thoughts
To close, if it sounds like I am being negative about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge then you have it all wrong. I do think it is a homerun, but it isn’t finished and I’m not sure how the expensive prices and lack of free things to do will go over with the “normies”. Even fans who revisit after having dropped hundreds of dollars on merchandise and custom droids on their first visit may feel just a little let down until it all opens.
I’ll be back on Batuu with my wife and daughter on June 12 and will write a follow up honest review based on being there a second time and visiting with a child to see how that changes my thoughts.
Miles to Memories isn’t primarily a Disney site, so I won’t be publishing a strategy for Galaxy’s Edge here (although look for that kind of stuff with my new Disney project coming soon), so for now if you want even more Galaxy’s Edge coverage from someone I trust, checkout what Trips with Tykes has to say.
Have you been to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu? Let me know what you think below!