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(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

I con­sid­er myself to be a mid-lev­el Star Wars fan. I’ve seen all the movies, but I’m not famil­iar with the oth­er medi­ums in the Star Wars fran­chise. Still, since I saw the first movie as a kid, I’ve loved the adven­ture, tri­umph, humor, and even the per­il of the Star Wars uni­verse. I also love Dis­ney­land, and that it allows us to escape the every­day world and live (even for a lit­tle while) in a world of fan­ta­sy and imag­i­na­tion. But, when Dis­ney announced it was build­ing a Star Wars-themed land, I did­n’t know how I felt about that. Of course, I always thought it would be cool to be in a Star Wars movie – what 70s-era kid did­n’t at one time or anoth­er? I was­n’t sure if a Star Wars land inside Dis­ney­land would work. And I also was­n’t sure if I was enough of a Star Wars fan to appre­ci­ate it.

But, it does. And I am.

Check it out:

Step­ping into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is like step­ping into a Star Wars movie — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Dis­ney Imag­i­neer­ing not only cre­at­ed a place where you can escape the every­day world and live in a world of fan­ta­sy and imag­i­na­tion, but also live your own Star Wars adventure.

“No mat­ter how you feel about Star Wars, no mat­ter how much you know about Star Wars, there’s a place for you here,” promis­es Cory Rouse, Cre­ative Direc­tor for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Dis­ney Imagineering.

When you enter the land, it can be a bit over­whelm­ing. Sights, sounds, and smells are all com­ing at once (under­scored, of course, by icon­ic John Williams music). It’s cool. It’s beau­ti­ful. It’s amaz­ing… Wait. Is that actu­al­ly the Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con? It’s fun. It’s even a lit­tle scary at times. The land offers lay­ers of expe­ri­ences that every­one can appre­ci­ate, from the Star Wars rook­ie to the superfan.

Be on the look­out! Kylo Ren and the First Order have infil­trat­ed Black Spire Out­post — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

There are two things you need to know before expe­ri­enc­ing Galaxy’s Edge; the rest can (and should) be dis­cov­ered when you’re there.

1. The land actu­al­ly has a name: Black Spire Out­post. It’s locat­ed on the remote plan­et of Batuu at the out­er rim of the galaxy. The loca­tion plays an impor­tant part in the land’s immer­sive and inter­ac­tive storytelling.

2. “Bright Suns” is hel­lo dur­ing the day and “Ris­ing Moons” is hel­lo at night. You’ll hear it a lot; the inhab­i­tants of Batuu are extreme­ly friendly.

“Long ago, [Black Spire Out­post] was a trad­ing port, a cross­roads,” explains Mar­garet Ker­ri­son, Man­ag­ing Sto­ry Edi­tor for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Dis­ney Imag­i­neer­ing. “With the advent of hyper­space, this plan­et was bypassed so it attract­ed shadier char­ac­ters like rogue adven­tur­ers, traders, smug­glers, and scoundrels – basi­cal­ly the more inter­est­ing and col­or­ful char­ac­ters of the galaxy.”

Because these sketchy out­liers live in Black Spire Out­post, inter­ac­tions with the inhab­i­tants (aka cast mem­bers in Dis­ney speak) are more com­plex than usu­al. If you ask (and I rec­om­mend you do), they will tell you their back­sto­ry, and if they think you share their views, they might even con­fide if they are loy­al to the First Order (in Star Wars = bad guys) or if they sup­port the Resis­tance (in Star Wars = good guys). Some­thing as sim­ple as chat­ting with a few mer­chants in the Black Spire Mar­ket­place can expo­nen­tial­ly enrich your Galaxy’s Edge expe­ri­ence.

Every mer­chant in the bustling Black Spire Mar­ket­place has a sto­ry to tell — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

There are also two inter­ac­tive retail expe­ri­ences that immerse you in the sto­ry even fur­ther (though they’re on the pricey side, so tell your kids to start saving).

Any­one in need of a trusty droid side­kick (and real­ly, who isn’t?) should head to Droid Depot. Here, you can choose the com­po­nents to build your very own BB unit (like BB‑8) or R‑series droid (like R2-D2). You can even select the Astromech chip that dic­tates its sounds and per­son­al­i­ty and decide if it has a Resis­tance or First Order affil­i­a­tion. Once acti­vat­ed, your remote-con­trolled bud­dy can inter­act with oth­er droids as well as with ele­ments in the land through Blue­tooth tech­nol­o­gy. This is con­sid­ered a pre­mi­um expe­ri­ence and costs about $100, but Droid Depot also car­ries droid-themed mer­chan­dise that won’t break the bank.

Build your own droid at Droid Depot — © Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

The sec­ond pre­mi­um expe­ri­ence – and like­ly a buck­et list item if you’re a big Star Wars fan – is craft­ing a hand built lightsaber at Sav­i’s Work­shop (about $200).

“Of all the expe­ri­ences we devel­oped here, this is the one that checks every box,” says Brad Schoeneberg, Direc­tor, Mer­chan­dise Strat­e­gy and New Park Expe­ri­ences Devel­op­ment. “It’s hard to shake the mem­o­ry of the first time you saw Luke Sky­walk­er use his green lightsaber…to be able to bring that to life…is a treasure.”

The bespoke lightsaber-build­ing process is seri­ous busi­ness, so this expe­ri­ence requires an appoint­ment. In Sav­i’s, they only let 14 peo­ple build lightsabers at a time and each per­son can only have a max of one guest with them to watch/video (so for exam­ple, both par­ents can’t go in with one kid, but if two kids in a fam­i­ly did it, then both par­ents can go in).

At Savi's Workshop, guests will customize and craft their own lightsabers - Photo by Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

In this exclu­sive expe­ri­ence, guests will feel like a Jedi as they build these ele­gant weapons from a more civ­i­lized age — ©Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

“Star Wars is all about choic­es, not just the choic­es you make but the choic­es of things you leave behind,” Schoeneberg says. “The result of those choic­es is the lightsaber you walk out of Sav­i’s with.”

The choic­es, from the type of lightsaber – Peace & Jus­tice, Pow­er & Con­trol, Ele­men­tal Nature, or Pro­tec­tion & Defense – to the col­or of the Kyber crys­tal that pro­vides its pow­er, will dic­tate the final product.

Once you’ve chat­ted with a cou­ple of scoundrels in Black Spire Mar­ket­place and you’ve built a droid (and maybe even a lightsaber). What next? The ride, of course! The land will have two anchor attrac­tions, Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con: Smug­gler’s Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resis­tance. Rise of the Resis­tance is sched­uled to open lat­er this year and promis­es to be an epic con­flict between the Resis­tance and the First Order, but with Smug­gler’s Run, fans get to check some­thing else off their Star Wars buck­et list: pilot­ing the Mil­len­ni­um Falcon.

The cock­pit of the Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con: THE buck­et list expe­ri­ence — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

This attrac­tion relies on team­work as each of the six peo­ple in the cock­pit has a spe­cif­ic respon­si­bil­i­ty dur­ing the mis­sion. Rid­ers are assigned a job as they enter – pilot, engi­neer, or gun­ner (Note: After receiv­ing your assign­ment, you can explore the Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con, which is pret­ty amaz­ing). Your job deter­mines your seat, so I’m guess­ing pilot will con­sis­tent­ly be hot tick­ets (there are two) since they not only get to sit in the front row and steer but also jump the ship to light­speed, which is obvi­ous­ly extreme­ly cool. The two gun­ners sit in the sec­ond row and shoot at who­ev­er is shoot­ing at us – also extreme­ly cool. The third row is the engi­neers. They’re respon­si­ble for fix­ing every­thing that the oth­er four break (I was an engi­neer and my crew broke a lot of stuff). This might not be the sex­i­est job, but since your crew is docked for dam­ages, they will be thank­ful if the engi­neers did a good job.

Easter Egg Alert: Behind the a holochess table inside the Millennium Falcon is the helmet Luke used to first reach out with the Force - Photo courtesy of Jacob Friedman

East­er Egg Alert: Behind the a holochess table inside the Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con is the hel­met Luke used to first reach out with the Force — Pho­to cour­tesy of Jacob Friedman

Fun Fact: To build the Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (the first time a full-size 100% com­plete Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con has ever been built), Imag­i­neers select­ed the best pieces from every dif­fer­ent iter­a­tion, so the ship in Black Spire Out­post is the quin­tes­sen­tial Mil­len­ni­um Fal­con and will be the mod­el for future films.

The food in Galaxy’s Edge is on the exot­ic side. For some, that might be great news, but pick­i­er eaters might want to eat before they catch their trans­port to Batuu.

The drinks, however, are out of this world.

The first notable thing about the drinks is that for the first time in Dis­ney­land park (except for the mem­bers-only Club 33), alco­hol is avail­able – and Oga’s Can­ti­na is exact­ly the sort of place you’d expect to find it. After all, no self-respect­ing remote out­post inhab­it­ed by smug­glers and scoundrels would be com­plete with­out a can­ti­na, right? The can­ti­na we all know and love from the first Star Wars movie is clear­ly ref­er­enced here, so anoth­er Star Wars buck­et list item checked.

For the first time inside Disneyland park, alcoholic beverages can be found at Oga's Cantina - Photo by Kent Phillips/Disney Parks

Out of this world drinks avail­able only at Dis­ney­land’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — From left to right: The Out­er Rim, Bespin Fizz, Yub Nub, and Fuzzy Tauntaun. ©Kent Phillips/Disney Parks

In the morn­ing, Oga serves a mean Bloody Ran­cor (vod­ka, chile liqueur, and spicy Bloody Mary mix) and a spiked cof­fee called the Spi­ran Caf with cof­fee, orange mar­malade, rum, vanil­la whipped cream, and cit­rus zest. Non-alco­holic options include Black Spire Brew (cof­fee with hon­ey, faler­num, pas­sion fruit, and cit­rus) and Moogan Tea (tea, choco­late milk, vanil­la, and cin­na­mon). Lat­er in the day, DJ R‑3X (in a new job after his acci­dent-prone stint as a Star Tours pilot) spins tunes as the inter­galac­tic cock­tails (and mock­tails) flow. These include the Yub Nub (pineap­ple rum, spiced rum, cit­rus juices, and pas­sion fruit) and the Fuzzy Tauntaun (peach vod­ka, peach schnapps, tan­ger­ine-orange juice, and “buzz” foam). Non-alco­holic con­coc­tions on the menu include Jab­ba Juice (orange juice with pineap­ple, kiwi, can­taloupe, and blue­ber­ry pop­ping pearls) and Hyper­drive (Punch it!) made with Pow­er­Ade moun­tain berry blast, white cran­ber­ry juice, black cher­ry puree, and sprite.

While we’re check­ing items off our buck­et list, Ker­ri­son says that drink­ing the blue milk we saw in “A New Hope” was #1 on the list of things fans want­ed to expe­ri­ence, so there was no way Imag­i­neers weren’t going to make that hap­pen. The blue milk, which can also be found at Oga’s in the Blue Ban­tha non-alco­holic drink, is a frozen plant-based com­bi­na­tion of rice and coconut milks with a trop­i­cal fla­vor. The milk stand also serves the green milk from “The Last Jedi” – the same frozen rice-coconut milk mix, but with cit­rus and flo­ral notes. My per­son­al pref­er­ence is blue, but either fla­vor is a refresh­ing sweet treat on a hot Batuu day (and both are def­i­nite­ly insta-worthy).

Toast to Galaxy’s Edge with blue or green Milk. To The Spires! © Jacob Friedman

Hungry?

There are two places to eat in Black Spire Out­post. Dock­ing Bay 7 Food and Car­go and the Black Spire Mar­ket­place. Mobile order­ing for both is avail­able through the Dis­ney­land app (and also for the milk stand).

At Dock­ing Bay 7 Food and Car­go, the land’s sto­ry­line deter­mined that the menu would be farm-to-table com­fort food since the remote plan­et has a fair­ly small rur­al com­mu­ni­ty who has passed down recipes through gen­er­a­tions. Because of that, you will find things like Braised Shaak Roast (beef pot roast with pas­ta, kale, and mush­rooms), “Fried Endo­ri­an Tip-yip” (AKA fried chick­en with veg­etable-pota­to mash and herb gravy) and “Smoked Kaadu Ribs” (sticky pork ribs with blue­ber­ry corn muf­fin and cab­bage slaw). There are also two plant-based options: Itho­ri­an Gar­den Loaf, a plant-based “meat­loaf” with veg­etable-pota­to mash and mush­room sauce and the Felu­cian Gar­den Spread, a plant-based “kef­ta” with herb hum­mus, toma­to-cucum­ber rel­ish, and pita bread). The kids’ menu at Dock­ing Bay 7 (age 9 and under) includes a small­er por­tion of Tip-yip with mac & cheese and veg­eta­bles, “Yob­shrimp Noo­dle Sal­ad” (shrimp, noo­dle veg­eta­bles, and sweet orange dress­ing), and “A Taste of Tako­dana” (black bean hum­mus, chilled dip­ping veg­eta­bles, and mul­ti-grain crisps). So, yeah, super picky kids might want to eat before or after vis­it­ing the land – or maybe just have some blue milk.

A par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­u­lar item in Galaxy’s Edge is the Ron­to Wrap, the spe­cial­ty of the house at Ron­to Roast­ers. This grilled pork sausage and shred­ded roast pork sand­wich is served in pita bread and topped with tangy slaw and a slight­ly spicy pep­per­corn sauce.

The specialty of the house at Ronto Roasters is the Ronto Wrap - Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

The Ron­to Wrap — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

Next door, Kat Saka’s Ket­tle pops up col­or­ful Out­post Mix, a com­bi­na­tion of sweet, spicy, salty, and even fruity-fla­vored popcorn.

Sweet, Spicy, and colorful popcorn make up Kat Saka's Outpost mix - Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Sweet, Spicy, and Col­or­ful at Kat Saka’s Out­post — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

There are also shops in Black Spire Out­post Mar­ket­place that are worth check­ing out:

The marketplace of Black Spire Outpost offers authentic Star Wars creations - Photo by Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

The mar­ket­place of Black Spire Out­post offers authen­tic Star Wars cre­ations — © Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

·      The Toy­dar­i­an Toy­mak­er – This mar­ket­place stall sells hand­craft­ed toys, instru­ments, and games that were made by Zaba­ka, a Toy­dar­i­an like the winged junk deal­er from “The Phan­tom Men­ace.” Zaba­ka also makes dolls of Star Wars heroes and vil­lains based on sto­ries she’s heard from around the galaxy.

The Toydarian Toymaker stall sells artisan-style plush characters, wood and tin toys, and musical instruments - Photo by Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

© Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

·      The Crea­ture Stall – This stal­l’s pro­pri­etor, an Amani alien named Bina, finds space crit­ters from across the Star Wars uni­verse. Here, ani­mal lovers can adopt exot­ic inter­plan­e­tary crea­tures like a cack­ling Kowakian Mon­key-Lizard (Jab­ba the Hut­t’s pet) or an adorable chirp­ing Porg.

Looking for a Kowakian Monkey-Lizard? Black Spire Marketplace is where to find them! - Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Bring home your own Kowakian Mon­key-Lizard! Black Spire Mar­ket­place is where to find them! — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

·      Black Spire Out­fit­ters – This shop is where you go if you real­ly want to get into char­ac­ter and have your own adven­ture. The authen­tic Star Wars tunics, sleeves, belts, and robes were re-cre­at­ed from orig­i­nal pat­terns in the Lucas­Film archives.

The clothing in Black Spire Outfitters was created using the original patterns from the LucasFilm archives - Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Choose your Star Wars garb — © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

In addi­tion, Resis­tance loy­al­ists can stock up on gear at Resis­tance Sup­ply at the Resis­tance hid­den com­mand post across from the X‑Wing Fight­er (where Rise of the Resis­tance will be locat­ed), while those pledg­ing alle­giance to the First Order should check out First Order Car­go next to a nev­er- before-seen First Order TIE ech­e­lon ship.

At night, the First Order TIE Echelon Fighter looks even more ominous. Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman

At night, the First Order TIE Ech­e­lon Fight­er looks even more omi­nous. © Saman­tha Davis-Friedman

That brings us to the Play Dis­ney Parks app, the land’s most tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced lay­er. The Play Dis­ney Parks app was intro­duced a few years ago and can be played in Dis­ney’s Cal­i­for­nia and Flori­da parks, but with Galaxy’s Edge, Imag­i­neers have raised the bar on the app’s inter­ac­tive components.

“We know peo­ple have been pre­tend­ing to play Star Wars for over 40 years,” says Anisha Desh­mane, cre­ative pro­duc­er for the Star Wars; Galaxy’s Edge Data Pad Expe­ri­ence and Play Dis­ney Parks. “But we want­ed to give peo­ple who come to Batuu a way to play for real.”

It works like this:

When you enter Galaxy’s Edge, your phone turns into an in-sto­ry, immer­sive Star Wars Data Pad. Char­ac­ters like Zaba­ka at the toy store and DJ R‑3X in the can­ti­na also have Dat­a­pads, so you can engage with them to uncov­er cool sto­ry­telling moments you can’t find any oth­er way. Your Dat­a­pad also has four tools:

  1. Hack into devices and droids, includ­ing the X‑Wing and the Mil­len­ni­um Falcon
  2. Scan crates in the space­port – you might find some inter­est­ing arti­facts inside
  3. Trans­late the Aurabesh writ­ing into Eng­lish to under­stand what the signs say
  4. Tune into the land’s anten­nas to eaves­drop on communications
Your Data pad can translate the Aurabesh writing into English to understand what the signs say. Photo by Joshua Friedman

Your Data Pad can trans­late the Aurabesh writ­ing into Eng­lish to under­stand what the signs say — © Joshua Friedman

Accord­ing to Desh­mane, there is also a whole land-wide expe­ri­ence called Out­post Con­trol, which is a brand new expe­ri­ence that’s nev­er been done in a Dis­ney park. When First Order arrived in Black Spire Out­post, they installed a sur­veil­lance sys­tem on many of the door con­trol pan­els, but the Resis­tance wants to stay under the radar, so you can help the First Order install their sur­veil­lance sys­tem or help the Resis­tance by installing defenses.

Through Outpost Control, you can help the First Order install their surveillance system or help the Resistance by installing defenses. Photo by Joshua Friedman

Through Out­post Con­trol, you can help the First Order install their sur­veil­lance sys­tem or help the Resis­tance by installing defens­es — © Joshua Friedman

“This is an expe­ri­ence that every­one in the land is play­ing simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. It’s com­plete­ly organ­ic and changes every time you play,” Desh­mane explains. “Things you do and choic­es you make are what cre­ate your Star Wars sto­ry, so every­one will have their own unique experience.”

Amaz­ing­ly, even after all this expla­na­tion, there is still so much more to see, do, taste, and dis­cov­er, so the best advice is don’t try to do every­thing on the first visit.

Bright Suns, Ris­ing Moons, and may the Force be with you!

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