One of the cool benefits of being a Disney Passholder is that sometimes Disney gives you early access to new rides before the general public. Last weekend, Disney opened up Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios to Passholders, and we jumped on the chance to take in this new land before they opened it up to everyone. So sit back and enjoy your virtual visit to Galaxy’s Edge.
With Galaxy’s Edge Disney has taken everything they’ve learned about theme parks and turned it up to 11. Once you walk thru the tunnel that brings you to Black Spire Outpost, you no longer feel like you are in Hollywood Studios. You can’t see any of the other parts of the park from inside Galaxy’s Edge, and that goes a long way towards making the experience feel truly immersive.
In addition to the various hardware and set decorations, the Disney cast members are fully acting the part, from giving you their Baatu greetings and sayings, to their acting out of different stories that are going on any given day. Kylo Ren and Stormtroopers will work their way thru the crowd and intimidate visitors who look like they are sympathetic to the resistance. At different points, I saw the actress playing Rey walk around the Millennium Falcon, carrying out a preflight inspection. These types of interactions might seem trivial, but they go a long way towards having the experience transcend the park itself, especially for kids.
On Smugglers Run: We rode the ride 3 times, each time getting the Engineer role. Engineer isn’t the most exciting role in the simulation, as you have to keep an eye on your panel and turn off any buttons that light up during the flight, so you aren’t always able to watch the screen. Gunner seems like the easiest of the jobs, as it didn’t look like any targeting was part of the job, just firing the guns. Pilot seems like the hardest, and in each of our 3 flights, the pilots did have the hardest time not damaging the Falcon.
The one disappointment I had with the ride is that the story itself is the same for each rider, time after time. Unlike Star Tours, where the experience is a mixture of smaller experiences mashed together – ensuring that every time you ride is slightly different, Smugglers Run was essentially the same ride each time. If you collect more Coaxium, it seems like you get a bit longer of a ride than if you only collect 1, but the general story is the same. Of course, this could just be the first story they are rolling out while the bugs are worked out, and they could easily alter the ride in the future, since that part is just software and story telling.
The action in the cockpit is intense, and you can find yourself at odds with your own crew members in the heat of the mission. Just remember it’s only a simulation.
We ate at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo had a great selection of Star Wars themed meals. I had the Smoked Kaadu Ribs. My daughter had the Shark Roast (Pot Roast). Both were excellent.
After dinner we tried the Blue and Green milk. Neither was terrible, but neither was great either. I think we both liked the flavor of the blue milk slightly better than the green. We had the non alcohol versions, for what it’s worth.
The Droid Factory was very cool. Even if you aren’t planning on creating and purchasing your own droid, I recommend doing a walk thru, just to see the real life R2-D2 and the K2SO. I did see several kids who had made their own droids playing with them in the land, and they were having a blast. The cost of the custom droid isn’t cheap, but it is a very nice toy that will be truly one of a kind.
We didn’t have reservations for the Cantina, so I can’t comment on that area.
Of course, Galaxy’s Edge is launching with only one ride, Smugglers Run. Rise of the Resistance won’t be launching until Dec. 5th in Hollywood Studios, and in early 2020 in Disneyland. Even with the one ride operational, we were able to spend a good 4 hours in the land, and still didn’t see everything we wanted. Rise of The Resistance will only make the land more enjoyable, and we can’t wait for it to open.