August 15, 2015. That was the date that Disney announced at their biennial D23 Expo that it was going to fulfill the fantasies of every Star Wars fan in the world. They were going to bring the universe George Lucas had created to life, and give us all the opportunity to become a part of the world of Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia, and allow us to finally live our adventure too. At the time the implications and details behind all of that were top secret, and for years speculation among fans became rampant. What would the rides be like? Could we drink Blue Milk? Would there be a Cantina? Can you become a Jedi? And most importantly can we fly the Millennium Falcon?
Finally on May 31, 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge finally opened and answered all those questions. And The Nerds of Color were fortunate enough to have had a chance to visit the planet of Batuu twice. So after two trips, a couple of glasses of blue and green milk, and four trips on the Falcon, we would love to humbly be your guides, as we walk you, our loyal readers through the highlights, sights, tastes, experiences, and tips we have to share to prepare you for your trip to a galaxy far, far away!
The land is so massive, that we will need two, count ’em two, articles to cover everything. This first part will cover intros to the land and linguistics while there, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Blue and Green Milk, Oga’s Cantina, and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.
Entering the Land
First off, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in a theme park. While Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has impressed, and will always continue to be impressive, it’s no where near as massive as Batuu. The experience feels almost completely isolated from the rest of the Disneyland park. You can’t see anything beyond the gorgeous rock formations the Imagineering team constructed high into the park’s inner-atmosphere.
Depending on where you’ll enter, you’ll either see the corner of the Blue Milk Stand and The First Order’s base, the Droid Depot, or the Resistance Base on the other side of the land (complete with massive X-Wing). The Resistance Base will be the future home of the Rise of the Resistance ride, and you’ll encounter some familiar faces near there (like Rey or Chewie). The First Order’s base includes a store, and a mini-stage show featuring everyone’s favorite hot-headed Sith, Kylo Ren.
The buildings and architecture of the Black Spire Outpost marketplace feel completely authentic and lived in within the Star Wars Universe. As you come through you’ll eventually see a lot of props of familiar vehicles like landspeeders, and even ships, both on rooftops and next to you on the ground.
One very important thing to note based on our first two experiences in the park (which we’ll dive deeper into): If Oga’s Cantina or Savi’s Lightsaber Workshop are on the top of the list for your visit, make sure you go straight to those first! The queues for each can get up to three hours long. I’ll dive into the procedures for both a bit later.
Greetings and Salutations
While there, you will be greeted by several cast members in costume, saying “Bright Suns” — the traditional Batuu greeting for “Good Morning” — as you, considered to be an Off-Worlder, pass them by. All of the cast members you see will play the part, never breaking character. And you can play along too. You can use the following greetings:
“Bright Suns” = Good Morning
“Rising Moons” = Good Evening
“Til the Spire” = Farewell
“Datapad” = Your phone
Saying “Ignite the Spark” will prompt a Resistance-themed response: “Light the Fire”
Saying “For the Order” to a First Order officer shows your support for The First Order
As you stroll around casually you’ll have the opportunity to use any number of these phrases with the cast members walking around, the servers at the cantina or restaurants, or the shop and stand cashiers.
The first stop we hit on our first visit to Galaxy’s Edge was Oga’s Cantina. The lines to get in are very long, and we were warned that this should be our first stop. We were among the final few to make it to the first run of the line before it was capped. It was eventually uncapped about an hour after we entered, and the stampede to fill in the line once un-capped was insane. That said the cast members handled the rush quite well, and all told we only waited an hour.
On our second visit, we discovered that the reservation system had changed. Instead there was a very long line to make a reservation with a cast member via an iPad. Only one member of a party was needed to make the reservation, and after giving our information, we were able to go about our day, until they texted us to head over for our time at the cantina. I believe this will be the latest and greatest reservation system going forward, so keep this in mind for your trip.
Now, as for Oga’s Cantina itself — Wow! It’s literally got the look and feel of a real in-world Star Wars cantina, like Mos Eisley. As soon as you enter in, you see DJ Rex (the bar’s animatronic DJ voiced by Star Tours alum, Paul Reubens) playing the traditional John Williams “cantina” music. Within the actual bar itself you’ll see a few props and animatronic figures in tanks, adding to the ambiance and in-world illusion of the setting.
The menu varies from $15-$79 drinks — However, the expensive drinks encompass a drink and collectible dining ware for you to keep. For instance, the $79 item is a Rancoor-tooth inspired dining ware beer flight set. Each glass is a tooth filled with craft beer brewed for the bar, and the flight itself is a wooden display case for the teeth. At $45 there’s the Yub Nub cocktail, complete with a souvenir stein depicting the Battle of Endor carved into the plaster. You order the drinks, and once you’re done, the cantina staff will bring you a freshly packaged, boxed, and wrapped set that comes with your drink. It’s like a Star Wars happy meal for adults.
There’s also quite a few non-alcoholic drinks, including a Porg-based drink called a Cave Dweller, that comes with its own souvenir Porg stein, and the Blue Bantha — essentially a non-frozen version of the Blue Milk they sell at the milk stand, but with a cookie.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
Currently, the only ride available at Galaxy’s Edge is Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, with another E-Ticket attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance coming later this year. That being said, Smuggler’s Run is a blast! Think of it as a better version of Star Tours, but you control your results in a video game/family game night-style experience.
As much hype as the Falcon has though, I definitely suggest saving this one for after the cantina/lightsaber workshop. It’s a great ride, but the wait times for it drop significantly after the first few eager guests have experienced it. While we went, the wait times would start out at a healthy 60 minutes, before dropping after an hour to about 15-35 minutes. Even faster (practically a walk-on when I went) was the Single Rider option. So plan accordingly.
That being said, when you go through a rather long queue, you’ll end up in a room with an animatronic version of Hondo Ohnaka, of Clone Wars and Rebels fame. As with all theme parks, he gives you a mission, and your party is led into a room where a cast member takes parties of six and gives each person a card. The cards will have a color on it, and will either say Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer (there will be two of each per party).
Once assigned your roles, you’ll be led into the Equipment Storage Area, where you’ll see a familiar Dejarik board. This waiting room represents a very cool Instagram opportunity, and that’s not a bad way to queue your guests into an area before entering the ride. One by one your group color will be called, and asked to line up according to your positions. Once the rules and controls of the ship are explained to you, your group will be led into the cockpit, where Hondo has one final message for you. Then you will take your seats.
Pilots: Take the front left and right seats. The left pilot steers the ship left and right, and is in charge of the boosters. The right pilot steers the ship up and down, and is in charge of the hyperdrive.
Gunners: Take the middle two seats, Their consoles are on the sides. They can set their controls to automatic or manual. Automatic means you press one red flashing button a bunch of times and eventually you hit some stuff. Manual means you have to press three red buttons: top, middle, and bottom. If using Manual, you have to use the monitor beside you to figure out which button to press to fire the top, middle, and bottom cannons.
Engineers: Take the back two seats. Their job is dependent on how much damage the pilots and gunners end up taking on the ship. Any time anything within the ship gets damaged, the engineers are told to press buttons to fix the damage.
While it all sounds pretty simple, the biggest draw is working together to complete the ride. The better you do, the better the results that are displayed at the end are. However, the biggest appeal and the most fun of the ride is honestly when everyone starts yelling at each other at the same time, like in every family game night in history. Additionally, another aspect that makes Smuggler’s Run so entertaining is that it’s a different experience every time, allowing for fully lasting appeal.
And let’s not forget, the best thing about it — you fly the Millennium Falcon!
Blue Milk and Green Milk
One of the most anticipated aspects of going to Galaxy’s Edge was also the prospect of trying Blue Milk and Green Milk. It’s something I’ve wanted to try ever since the first time I saw Aunt Beru pouring Luke a glass of Blue in A New Hope. And when the land was announced, they mentioned this would be coming to the park, in the same way Butterbeer came to Universal.
Oh wow, though, Butterbeer this is not. While there are many that consider Butterbeer a bit too sweet, it’s ultimately been a widely received hit for most, including myself (I’m a sucker for a good frozen or hot Butterbeer). Blue and Green Milk on the other hand, was hard to pallet. My group and I ordered a cup of Blue each, but I went nuts and also ordered the Green just so we could try it. And I can honestly say, none of us finished our cups. It was honestly not something we were able to stomach because it tasted gross.
What we expected was something akin to fruity cereal milk or a sorbet milkshake or smoothie. What we got was a slushy version of Maalox. The Blue tasted like a fruity antacid. The Green tasted like regular antacid. I don’t know what it is with Disney’s attempts at making the park’s signature drinks to compete with Butterbeer, but they just haven’t panned out. And for $8 a cup, I really wanted something that tasted… well… good. I suppose I need to try it once more to be sure, but judging on our group’s response to the drink, as well as the responses of others I’ve spoken to, I can only imagine we’re in good company. I have a feeling recipes will be changing soon.
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
One aspect of the park that did not disappoint was an unnamed shop right next to Smuggler’s Run: Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. While I realize this is just a gift shop, it’s actually one of the coolest surprises in the entire land — particularly if you want to go hunting for Easter eggs. The premise of the shop is that Dok-Ondar, a surly purveyor of the galaxy’s rarest items, is opening his doors for us off-world travelers to purchase such goods as Jedi and Sith Holocrons, costumes and jewelry seen in the films, rare and exotic Kyber Crystals, and replicas of the exact lightsabers used by our heroes in the films.
Adorning the walls of his shop are some of the coolest Easter eggs from the entire Star Wars canon: mounted heads of Rancors and other exotic beasts, the blasters of smugglers like Han, a stuffed Wampa overlooking the shop, a mini-Sarlacc pit, and more (so much more). And if you pick up the tie-in Galaxy’s Edge comic book, you’ll see that each item in the shop has a story.
Additionally, if you’re planning on purchasing a souvenir, you’ll find some pretty awesome items for decent prices. I, for example, ended up picking up a very nice, quality built replica of Rey’s lightsaber for $109. Legacy lightsabers generally range between $109 to $199 depending on how complex a saber. Rey’s, Obi Wan’s, and a Temple Guard lightsaber run for about $109. A single lightsaber for Maul or Asajj Ventress (you read that right — this shop has some deep cuts!) will cost $129. So if you wanted to make your Maul saber a dual-saber, you’re looking to buy two at $260 total. Asoka’s comes in a two-lightsaber set and retails for $200. That being said, my Rey saber was relatively worth it. Fully metal, with a lot of weight. And you can purchase a separate hilt stand for $24.
Now if you’ve instead chosen to build an awesome $200 custom lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop, right next door to Dok-Ondar’s, you may know that your lightsaber’s core is based on the Kyber Crystal you’ve selected to power it. But say you want to switch up the color of your saber. Dok’s is the place to purchase other crystals of various colors at $12.99 each (limit one per person). On the Jedi side, you have blue and green, which you can get from Savi’s as well, but Dok’s has the exclusive white, yellow, and purple crystals for purchase as well. On the Sith side, you have, well, red obviously. However, among the red is the fabled ultra rare Black Kyber Crystal. The cast members only put out a handful a day at random, and you have to hunt for them. I was very fortunate to find one, but it was only because I was chosen by the spirit of Darth Plagueis to receive it! When the Dark Side has chosen you, you gotta answer that call!
Naturally you can use your Kyber Crystals in your custom lightsabers, but you can also use them for Jedi and Sith holocrons ($49.99 each). Every Kyber Crystal you insert into a holocron will create new lights and sounds. However, even cooler than the lights changing, is that with each different crystal, the holocrons will tell different stories utilizing the original voice casts from the films and shows to depict facts and Easter eggs about Jedi and Sith history. It may seem like a steep price, but it’s actually well worth it given the different variations of stories it can do.
Because there’s so much to cover, we’ll be covering food, the shops at Black Spire Outpost, the Droid Depot, and Savi’s Lightsaber workshop in Part II of our Galaxy’s Edge visit later this week! Stay tuned nerds!