Opened in the fall of 2019 at Walt Disney World, just months before the worldwide success of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many Disney fans who have not yet had a chance to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in the studios of Hollywood.
I made my first trip to this very distant galaxy last month and am pleased to report that it was as impressive and immersive as it was advertised. There is so much to see, do and taste all over the Batuu planet, and if it’s your first trip, it can be both exciting and overwhelming.
Here are some tips that should help you if you are planning your first trip to Galaxy’s Edge.
1) See the map
As someone who has all four WDW theme park maps basically memorized, I was surprised that the Galaxy’s Edge was extremely difficult to navigate. Once you get down to the city center with the shops and restaurants, there are several paths that intersect and make it very easy to turn around. Add in the fact that signage is found in Aurebesh (which may be the most common language in the galaxy, but not here on Earth), and that it’s pretty hard to find what you’re looking for.
Keep checking your map (on paper or on the phone) for the rest of your time in Batuu to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Fans will want to take the time to tour all the nooks and crannies, explore all the hidden details and capture all the best photographs. And if you really have a hard time, the citizens of Batuu (cast members) are always ready to help you!
2) Expect crowds
I visited it one day when the audience level of Hollywood studios was 1. However, the whole Galaxy’s Edge seemed more like a 7 or 8. Like the newest land, it’s the place everyone wants to be, even all if you don’t experience the attractions.
My perspective might be skewed, as they were still using the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue at the time of my visit. I think there were a lot of people waiting for their boarding group to be called, while now the queue waiting for Rise of Resistance can eat up some of these crowds. But either way, be prepared for a crowd of people all over the earth.
3) Decide when to mount the resistance rise
If you can commit to arriving at Hollywood Studios at least an hour before the park’s official opening, so you’re one of the first people on the turnstiles, it’s probably worth letting go of Rise of Resistance.
Otherwise, you’d better be served earlier by riding some other headliners, like Slinky Dog Dash and Runaway Railway, while the rest rush to Rise. You can then continue to check the Lines app throughout the day to see the published and (more accurate) estimated timeouts and go there when the line has run out.
4) Keep your eyes and ears open on the smugglers ’career
Before experimenting with Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, I was very nervous about it. Not because I’m afraid of attractions or I have movement problems, but because I had heard how interactive the attraction was and was terrified, it would be what would succeed the mission. I’m not a video gamer; and if you didn’t know what to do ??
I don’t need to have worried at all. Regardless of the role assigned to you within your pilot crew (pilot, gunner, or engineer), you will have guidance at all times. The buttons you need to press will flash when it’s time, while Hondo Ohnaka’s voice will also give you instructions. There are many things that happen during the flight, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, you will be able to fulfill your role without dropping the rest of your equipment.
5) Make the droid or lightsaber last
I saw so many people crawling memories of Droid Depot and Savi’s Workshop all day and I was infinitely grateful to have made my husband’s lightsaber reservation at the end of the night. In fact, we got a reservation for 5 minutes after the park’s official closing time. This meant that not only did we have to carry the lightsaber all day, but we actually had extra time in the park.
Also, participating in Savi’s Workshop at night gave it an even more mysterious quality and we got amazing photos around Galaxy’s Edge after its lightsaber was full. This is what I call win-win-win!
6) Be prepared to stop at Oga’s
Visiting a galactic canteen is a must for most Star Wars fans. After a long day in the heat, I was especially thrilled to book the Oga in the afternoon to get air conditioning, cold drinks and rest. Two out of three are not bad, but unfortunately I didn’t realize that most of Oga’s bookings were only in the living room, either at the bar or at the high tables, which doesn’t mean rest your feet.
There are a few stands around the canteen, but they are reserved for larger parties. Standing also meant being very related to other parties, no masks, which made me nervous. It’s still an amazing experience – the atmosphere, attention to detail and drinks were amazing, but if you have a smaller group, get ready to put up with it.
7) Visit during the day and night
Galaxy’s Edge is a completely different experience in light and dark, so be sure to visit both day and night. In fact, he preferred Batuu at night. The lighting is stunning, it’s much less crowded, much less hot (basically no shade) and everyone shows off their lightsabers.
However, you will get better photos of the architecture and small details throughout the day, as well as better selfies. So, even if it’s only a few minutes, take a moment to say both “Bright Suns” (good morning) and “Rising Moons” (good night) in Batuu.
Galaxy’s Edge is an incredibly immersive experience for all Walt Disney World fans, whether you’re a George Lucas band or you don’t know what a porg is. Armed with these tips (and maybe your own lightsaber), you’re sure to have a fantastic first trip.
What tips do you have for the first time in Batuu? Let us know in the comments.