It was an early morning in May. I had my Firefox browser open anticipating the release to be one of the first to secure a reservation for the soft opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. 90 minutes into the waiting period, I was able to get a reservation for my day off – a weekday in June. While I wouldn’t be there opening weekend, at least I can say I was one of the first to visit Disneyland’s new land since the opening of Toon Town. I’ve been following Galaxy’s Edge’s updates for the past few years. With each piece of breaking news, I was either optimistic or cynical. Great! A millennium falcon themed ride…oh crap, they’re only working with the sequel trilogy…awesome! they’re going to have a shady cantina….oh, only one attraction will be open for the 14+ acre land during opening. I became cautiously optimistic with each video review I’ve seen. On June 17, it was time for Unlimited Bound Works to visit Batuu.
The Road to Batuu
On an overcast day in June, we drove down the street into the Mickey and Friends parking structure two hours before our reservation start time. 5PM to 9PM was a good timeframe to see day and night at Galaxy’s Edge. Having a wealth of information and strategy in mind, we were ready to step into Star Wars Land. We checked into Star Wars Launch Bay to get our wristbands to get into Galaxy’s Edge. To buy some time, we ended up at Star Tours wherein we got the Jakuu / Crait combination. Coincidentally, the Crait sequence ends right in Batuu. A new adventure was around the corner!
Legends Live Forever
I liked seeing everyone’s bounds on my socials. I have not seen many people bound from the older expanded universe. These characters are considered part of “Star Wars Legends,” a branding mandated by Disney to separate from the new expanded universe that follows the sequel trilogy. J bounded as Corran Horn, an X Wing pilot who’s also a Jedi. I bounded as Mara Jade, best known as the Emperor’s Hand and Luke Skywalker’s wife.
There was a running joke from the Fandom Menace side of the Star Wars fandom if Legends fans would be kicked out. Surprise! No one cared if we were representing the old cannon. Bring your Dash Rendar’s, Revan’s, Mara Jade’s, Kyle Katarn’s, and more!
Batuu is a planet not featured in any of the main movies as of this posting. Batuu is the main setting of Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn Alliances” that goes back and forth between Galactic Civil War and the Clone Wars. Batuu’s timeline in the Galaxy’s Edge story takes place during the sequel trilogy. It is important to note that the sequel trilogy has been hit or miss with Star Wars fans. However, Batuu is very immersive. There’s a wooded area where the Resistance stakes out. There’s the main marketplace where Batuu travelers can buy things. You won’t find anything with Star Wars logos here (aside from the shopping bags). It’s as if you’re buying things in-universe!
Most shops are small, almost like alcoves. They’re not your typical Disneyland souvenir store. Space can be limited. I was looking forward to adopting a Loth kitty from the creature stall. However, the cat from Star Wars Rebels was sold out! The kitty can be found in the cage asleep and swishing it’s tail while spooning with a stuffed porg. Porgs are a many, splendid thing at the creature stall. Guess Disney…er…Batuu’s traders…didn’t estimate the power of cats.
Our favorite shop would be the antique store. There was a line to get in it because of the limited space. Here, you can find “antiques” from the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War. I ended up picking up an Imperial Navy Hat. Not quite 501st material, but I got ideas for Disneybounds. There’s a lot of easter eggs found at the antique store, so look up when you have the chance. Also, for those of us with Annual Passes, the working Battuese term for it is, “Galactic Reduction Card.”
Also, I really liked the “shows” the First Order had in the First Order area of Galaxy’s Edge. There’s no set time for them. These are a part of a weaving story that goes on throughout the day in Galaxy’s Edge. So keep an eye out!
You won’t find your selfie friendly Mickey Mouse ice cream, churros, or burger and fries here! Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has a ton of unique food themed to the ecosystem of Batuu and the Star Wars universe. Docking Bay 7 is your casual cafeteria style sit down restaurant. You have the Milk Stand to get a dose of non-dairy fruity flavored milk as seen in the movies. Ronto Roaster’s is the quick service stop to get a spicy sausage wrap. There are interesting hearty choices around the land. Best advice is to check out the official Disney website and app to see if you’re up for trying something a-typical from Disney parks.
We tried a few things:
Blue vs. Green Milk
Ronto Wrap…eating on a budget!
Oga’s Cantina provided alcoholic drinks (totally called it while reading Thrawn Alliances!). However, we did try to get a reservation for 8:15PM. Reservations are not guaranteed. By the time it was our turn, we heard from word of mouth that they ran out of drinks. Another experience for another time. Hoping that we can reserve a spot at the cantina on the app for our next visit in September.
We did Millennium Falcon’s Smugglers Run twice! The trick was not to line up as we were let in. We went during our last hour. We originally wanted to do this once, but we ended up just going one more time after our reservation was cancelled. I was skeptical with Smuggler’s Run. I did like the return of Hondo, a character from Clone Wars and Rebels. You don’t have to watch either series to appreciate him either. His animatronic looks pretty sweet! I was afraid that lines would never end because of the 6 person (times 8 working pots) capacity for a 2-3 minute ride. However, we were lucky and had a 15 minute wait each time. Even then, the queue feels like you’re at workstation and it smells like it too! You can see the details on the Falcon from up top! Also, while you’re waiting for your turn on the Falcon, you can take selfies at the hologram table!
I was pleasantly surprised by this elaborate video game. Our first run was with 20-somethings that were really into working as a team. We were engineers; we kinda had to learn the secret to getting a higher score. I liked that the scenery changed each time you went on the ride. If you went on a night like us, you get Batuu by night on the screen. The best way I can describe it’s a far more intense version of Midway Mania. I’m not sure if I’m ready to take the role of pilot. There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of dependency to get a high score on the pilot! Otherwise, it’s a fun ride and would do it over and over again.
And if people are raving about Smuggler’s Run, I can only imagine what people’s reactions would be once Rise of the Resistance opens.
Of course I liked it!
However, I think I would have been more hyped for it if Galaxy’s Edge took place during Galactic Civil War. I think I would have been more inclined to interact with cast members to discuss the shadows of the empire reaching across the galaxy. Also, I was wondering how the sequel trilogy would fare given that original trilogy merch outperforms sequel trilogy merch. I wish the interaction with cast members was more like Knotts’ Ghost Town Alive and there was more to interacting with the land outside the app. I didn’t bother with the Play Disney app, it would have drained my battery and subsequently, my portable battery. The Play Disney app seemed interesting wherein you can take the side of the First Order or the Resistance and “hack” various stuff and things in Batuu. Yet, I didn’t want to drain my battery.
I didn’t even have to book a lightsaber or build-a-droid appointment to fully enjoy the land. All I did was spend money on a hat, ronto wrap, and green milk. You can still enjoy Batuu without spending top dollar. Yes, I was said I couldn’t take a Loth kitty home, but I know Disney well enough that they’ll stock more of these guys…and perhaps bring some of the Tooka kitties?
I liked the marketplace section. It does feel like it’s from a Star Wars story. I was hoping for something familiar from the movies, but Batuu allows itself to create their identity in Star Wars lore. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Batuu in future Star Wars movies, comics, books, TV series, and more.
It will be interesting to see how Batuu can theme itself to the December holidays (Life Day?) and Halloweentime. I also wonder if there will be any special events in future years that can further expand the story of Galaxy’s Edge. For theme park fans, Galaxy’s Edge does warrant a visit. You don’t feel like you’re at Disneyland at all! For Star Wars fans, it’s worth a visit. Even if you’re not feeling the sequel trilogy, there’s still a lot of easter eggs that pay homage to previous movies.
And if you’re lucky, just remember, the firework–er—Oga’s Celebration is at 9:30PM. Best views are by the falcon.