So truth be told, I’m a Star Wars fan and I enjoy Walt Disney World. But never thought I would get to say I journeyed to a galaxy far, far away in Florida. Yes, I visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — Walt Disney World’s latest and most expansive Star Wars-themed land in Hollywood Studios. (There’s also a nearly identical one in California at Disneyland, but Orlando’s has more space.)
You’re headed to Batuu, specifically the Black Spire Outpost, where you’ll see a mix of Resistance and First Order upon arrival. Benches are covered by stone rocked formations. Garbage bins are heavily detailed receptacles with Star Wars characters on all sides. The detail feels as if you’re in one of the movies — especially when entering after being in Andy’s backyard aka Toy Story Land or from the Grand Boulevard.
And you’ll notice Tie Fighters, an X-Wing and a level of detail that is incredible. You’ll see hidden doors that lead to Cantinas, Savi’s Workshop, the Droid Depot, stores, and of course, the Millennium Falcon.
Black Spire Outpost has one ride, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. And yes, before you ask, it lets you pilot, operate a gunner or be an engineer on the Millennium Falcon with five of your closest friends (or soon to be). It’s truly one of the most immersive rides I have experienced.
The cockpit windows appear real, and the movements can be just as jumpy as I imagine they would be on the Falcon. It’s exhilarating. My only wish is that it was longer, but simply put, you’re stealing and smuggling cargo for pirate Hondo Ohnaka for a few minutes. And you’re borrowing the Falcon from everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca.
Be warned, there is no FastPass+, and wait times can run long. I waited 40 minutes with two friends. There’s also a single rider line.
The Imagineers at Disney worked hard on a waiting experience that’s filled with many hidden gems and extensive details, including a highly realistic animatronic of Hondo.
We all have that iconic moment of Luke Skywalker drinking Blue Milk, and now you can share that experience. You get your pick of blue or green milk, and the option to mix alcohol. It has a Slurpee, or smoothie-like taste, with a hint of coconut, and it’s enjoyable. Best of all, it’s available at stands throughout Batuu.
Typically at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, there are designated spaces for character meet-and-greets. But at Black Spire Outpost, the characters are roaming and fit into the storyline. They stay in character and don’t know what Disney is or answer questions about the park. You can, however, ask them about their own journey.
When I first walked into Black Spire Outpost, I saw Rey and just went up chatted. She noticed it was my birthday (thanks to a friendly Disney pin on my chest) and asked me how I celebrate. She also gave me insight into how to hide from Stormtroopers, which I take she learned from experience.
Talking to Rey and Chewbacca is pleasant, but you may not want to chat up the Stormtroopers. They will ask what your communicator — aka your phone — is transmitting. More importantly, if you tell them you’re part of the Resistance, they might take you for furthering questioning. And if you are lucky, you might find two Stormtroopers guarding Kylo Ren, and while he’s intimidating, he hopefully won’t use the Force on you.
This is just a taste of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but it is safe to say that it is the most impressive land yet — in size, immersion and detail. I really can’t underestimate the feeling of being on Black Spire Outpost. Through a combination of the world itself and Cast Members, you won’t feel as if you’re in Walt Disney World.
And it will only get better. It’s woven into the Star Wars storyline and will continue to grow as the stories continue to be told. Depending on the events of Episode 9, we could see rides and more characters throughout the land. In early December, Rise of the Resistance opens as the second ride. Like Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, it’s immersive and puts you in the middle of a battle. You’ll load into a car and be seated in a transporter of sorts. You can expect Rey, BB-8, Poe, Chewbacca, Finn, Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren to take part as well.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge fits right in after Episode 8, “The Last Jedi,” and before the events of Episode 9, or “The Rise Of Skywalker.” And yes, you guessed it — Black Spire Outpost will continue to evolve as time goes on and we’ll be there to report on it.
You can easily book a trip to Batuu, and maybe stop by the rest of Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom through Expedia, Kayak or TripAdvisor. They will help you select a hotel and travel that fit your budget. Plus, ShopDisney can help you get decked out with apparel.
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