By John Magee
This past Saturday I was able to attend a special preview of Disney World’s Star Wars Galaxy's Edge, overall it was a fun if ultimately anti-climactic experience.
To get to Galaxy's Edge I first had to walk through the main Hollywood Studios park, after walking through an archway the classical Hollywood buildings were replaced with giant rock walls with a large futuristic looking tower seemingly appearing out of nowhere.
My first impression was one of awe, it really felt like I had been transported to another world. The atmosphere was something I couldn't quite describe but felt completely Star Wars. The first real experience I had was at the shops, there was a large enclosed space that looked as though it could have been plucked straight from a Star Wars movie.
This is also where I had my first disappointment, the shops here didn't have much to offer. The toys were cute, and a wooden storm trooper doll meant to be a real toy in the star wars universe felt right at home, the other teams just seemed lackluster. While some of these toys were only available at Galaxy's Edge it felt like they could have been from any “Star Wars” themed shop. This fact by itself isn't surprising, it's not as though Disney could offer actual alien merchandise or make things from Star Wars real but the wonderfully done world building at the entrance of the park does such a great job pulling you in it makes it that much more jarring to be brought back to reality.
But I'm not that attached to merchandise anyway so I quickly moved on hoping to see the next experience Galaxy's Edge offered me, which was "Roaster's" a quick service food stop which again offered great world building. At the center of the service area was a starship engine pointed down cooking the corpse of some giant alien creature being slowly turned by a droid. Sadly I can't speak much to the food options here as I'm quite a picky eater and none of the food seemed to match my tastes.
If you are bringing young children or a picky eater like myself I'd recommend to pass through "Roasters" for the view, but there won't be much else for you there. After this it was time for my reservation for Oga's Cantina. Keep in mind that even with a reservation you will need to wait in line to get into this bar. They offer drinks that are both alcoholic and non alcoholic, I ordered the Hyperdrive, a non alcoholic fruity drink that starts blue and slowly turns purple thanks to the cranberry juice at the top.
I did enjoy the drink however they had already run out of what I had intended to order as well as 2 other drinks. Considering I got to the cantina at 1:00 pm it seems like Disney wasn't expecting some drinks to be as popular as they were, hopefully they can use the park testings as a metric of what they need to keep in more supply.
I find myself repeating how great the atmosphere in the park was and Oga's Cantina is no exception, there was a droid DJ, and plenty of strange alien decorations to make you feel like you really were in an intergalactic cantina.
My last experience for the day was the long anticipated Millennium Falcon ride, the wait time was only 50 minutes which for a brand new Disney ride was a nice surprise. The ride itself involves 6 people entering the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and and going on a heist to steal coaxium.
There are 3 roles for two people each, the pilots who actually fly the ship, the gunners who have to shoot obstacles in front of them, and the engineers who repair the ship. When I went on the ride I was an engineer, my role of fixing the ship was to press buttons as they lit up...I think.
There isn't any real information given for the engineers on what to do so I just took a guess that hitting the buttons was supposed to be it. While it was cool to be in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, to be blunt, it mostly just felt like I was watching someone else have a really cool experience. Which I imagine isn't what Disney had in mind for their ride. While I imagine the ride must be pretty cool for the pilots, after having waited an hour and been on the actual ride, that is the closest I got, imagining it. ‘
Unless you're in a group of 6 with people who don't mind letting you have the cool job be prepared to live out the fantasy of being C-3PO, standing around the back of the Falcon, possibly helping. ‘
My overall thoughts on Galaxy's Edge is that this is a beautifully designed if slightly empty new land for Hollywood Studios. If you are already going to the park, then I certainly recommend walking through the new area and seeing the sights. If the Millennium Falcon has a short wait time then it could be worth it to roll the dice and hope for a piloting job. However if you are planning a trip to Disney World just for the purpose of visiting Galaxy's Edge, I recommend waiting until their second ride is finished and perhaps other experiences are made available.