Yesterday morning, I walked into a new land at Walt Disney World. It always amazes me and catches me a bit off guard when I get to do that. The newness of it all, getting to enjoy the results of years of planning and thought that went into converting space from one use to another; the whole thing is simply amazing.
I stepped into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge here in WDW having not been to the Disneyland edition. Yes, I had seen the pictures and watched the videos of Disneyland’s Galaxy Edge, but, as with most things in life, you can’t fully comprehend the magnitude of something until you experience it for yourself. Goodness gracious me. It’s so good.
Understand that I am a Star Wars nut. I love the movies, and the original trilogy is my favorite. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is everything that I love most from those treasured films.
I am a fan of practical effects. CGI has its place, but I have always loved the tangible, practical effects and props of the original Star Wars films. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has practical elements in droves. From the buttons, switches, and sliders that you must actually move and press on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, to the droids lined up outside of the Droid Factory, the movies have come to life, and you get to play a part.
Everything in Galaxy’s Edge is gritty, laser-blasted, and time-worn. It has a past. There are ships that you know from the movies, and now they’re right there in front of you. You even have the chance to grab a drink at Oga’s Cantina, and it’s like you’ve walked into a familiar yet all-new space at the same time. There are practical details all around you, and you’ll use up your phone’s battery just trying to capture it all.
During our time in the land, my husband pointed out the different levels that guests can traverse while in Galaxy’s Edge. Those elevated overlooks and pathways added greatly to my experience. There are layers and levels at work in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge unlike anything we’ve seen in a Disney park before (apart from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland). Yes, Pandora – The World of Avatar has amazing levels and makes incredible use of perspective; take Pandora’s nature and apply it to a space opera, and you’ve got Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. There are steps, winding walkways, and ramps, and, everywhere you turn, there is activity: Chewie could be hiding out of sight from a couple of passing Stormtroopers, Rey could be ducking into the market in an attempt to avoid First Order entanglement, cast members could be hiding their efforts to aid the Resistance as the opposition comes by to question them. There’s so much happening here at all times. Guests stand leisurely on an overlook taking in the view of the Falcon. The sounds of cargo ships coming and going overhead and the smells coming from Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 are also additional layers. All of the senses are employed in Galaxy’s Edge.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you probably have a favorite character. Who doesn’t? After all, that’s who a good story is all about: the characters. The cast members here in Galaxy’s Edge are characters who have stories, too, and, just like the ramps and steps and overlooks add layers to the physical space in Galaxy’s Edge, the back stories that the cast members have also add layers to the experience. Ask them where they’re from, and enjoy their responses. You can see it in their eyes: they are so excited have the chance to share their stories with you.
You may be worried about the crowds that will likely descend upon Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this month once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open to the public. I get that, trust me. Central Florida heat and a whole bunch of people can be a rough combination. But, if you have the chance to come and see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for yourself, please do. Drink water, wear sunscreen, get a good night’s sleep beforehand, and come. If you have an opportunity to step into this new story and experience just a part of it, it’ll be vacation time very well spent.
If you get the chance to visit Batuu, whether it’s this year or three years from now, savor and enjoy the moment that’s been created for you as you travel to a galaxy far, far away. ‘Til the Spire!