It's time for part two of our Galaxy's Edge Overview with Chris. Today we'll be concentrating on the merchandising, merchandising, merchandising of Galaxy's Edge.
Let's head in and take a look at the Marketplace, Savi's Workshop, Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and the Droid Depot.
If you missed part one of the update, you can check it out here.
Written by Chris Moghtaderi
The marketplace turned out to be one of my favorite locations on Batuu. With the help of forced perspective, the building appears quite looming as you enter the land from the west but is beautiful and picturesque at night.
While many of the shops in the marketplace are functional places to buy merchandise, some are just decorative locations. These may be used for cast or app interactions at a later date but stood without cast members at the time of our visit.
If you watched the video above, you can see the integration of the shops into the scenery. This was a much better experience than the merch booths as you enter/exit the land on the western entrance. As cool as the shops were, they did fall flat on one level, carrying a hodgepodge of merchandise (with the exception of the costume shop). It would have been nice to see them more purposefully or thematically grouped like the Mad Hatter’s in Disneyland.
As you spend time in the land, be sure to look all around, including up and down. A couple of the little Easter Eggs in this area include miniatures acting out scenes like the battle of Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader from Episode IV and the Escape of the Millennium Falcon into the asteroid field from Episode V.
Plus and Minus
+ The integration of the shops into the area is so well done along with the level of care to all the details makes this part of the land unique.
+The picturesque view of the marketplace at night is quite a sight.
- The shops could have been more purposefully or thematically divided.
Savi’s workshop is meant to look like nothing special on the outside but on the inside, it is something more. This is where a group known as the “Gatherers” work to find unusual parts and pieces collected from the far reaches of the galaxy and bring them here, where you can construct your very own one of a kind lightsaber. Cast members (the “Gatherers”) will not admit that you can build a lightsaber here so you have to ask about getting your hands on some “scrap.”
Once you’ve entered this area and request to collect scrap (at a cost of $200) you have the opportunity (if you get a timeslot) to enter the workshop and begin this experience. First you will need to pick the style of lightsaber you would like to construct.
There are 4 types of lightsabers:
Because you have to choose your lightsaber prior to entering the workshop, I recommend going online and seeing the style pieces prior to arrival, so you have an idea of what pieces you may get and how you want the final product to look. In the waiting area, you will likely interact with some of the Gatherers who are there to answer most of your questions.
The workshop is small, holding 14 workstations with room for one guest per builder. An oval workbench is in the center of the room with various decorative pieces and plenty of Easter Eggs along the walls of the room. This large workbench is where the 14 workstations are located. Your next step in this process will to select your Kyber Crystal. You will have four options, Blue, Violet, Green, and Red. A brief presentation takes you through the various colors and their history and some of the wielders of that color. Once you’ve selected your Kyber Crystal, you will place it on the table and begin the construction process. After a ceremony where you activate your lightsaber for the first time, you will hear a brief word of encouragement from a Jedi ghost.
The workshop is very well themed and quite a unique and fun experience. Cast members play the part well when it comes to the “secrecy” of the workshop. While I enjoyed the concept of the hidden nature of the workshop my wife did not. From her perspective, which is quite valid, she felt frustration when trying to meet up with us there. Since she didn’t know the name of the location or had access to the map, she asked cast members about the “lightsaber building workshop” to which many cast members stayed in character, not divulging its secrecy.
Plus and Minus
+ The experience is magical and immersive and the materials used to create the lightsaber are sturdy.
- The price is a bit high and if you have multiple kids, this experience can get expensive.
- While the cast members tried, the level of acting required is higher than most other attractions. Some of the lines were delivered quite awkwardly and their dialogue was pretty rough. Some lines were a bit cheesy.
- While the materials are study they are still not quite as sturdy as comparably priced battle-ready lightsabers. This includes the replicas sold on Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities which are actually cheaper.
Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
Located just next to Savi’s workshop is Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. This store is packed with various merchandise from Kyber Crystals, to holocrons, to replica lightsabers. As you walk in you are greeted with an Easter Egg (you can see this in the extra photos) that I will leave you to figure out with a small hint: Emperor Palpatine.
The store is a circular room packed with merchandise and Easter Eggs ranging from a bust of Yoda’s head, and stuffed creatures from various episodes. You will also find Dok Ondar himself overlooking his entire collection. One such item is an ancient human relic from Biblical times, once recovered by Indiana Jones himself. If you look closely, you will find it in the pictures.
Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is the place where you can buy replica lightsabers, including Kylo Ren’s (pictured below), Obi Wan Kenobi’s, Luke Skywalker’s, Rey’s, Darth Vader’s, The Temple Guard’s, Darth Maul’s, Asajj Ventress’s, Ahsoka Tano’s, and Mace Windu’s.
They managed the crowd by only allowing a certain number of people in at a time. Even with this crowd management, it was packed pretty tightly and uncomfortably busy at first. Eventually, the crowd subsided and it was much more manageable.
Plus and Minus
+ This is one of the best shops with plenty of Easter Eggs
+ Fun and appropriate merchandise.
- The space is small and doesn’t allow for a large crowd at a time. I have a feeling that this shop may be overly packed when Star Wars Land no longer requires reservations.
The Droid depot is the spot to build your BB or R unit style droid for just under $100. Again, keep a close eye out for Easter Eggs (such as the medical droid from Episode 5). Get here quickly as the line can get long if this is an experience you want to participate in.
Some of Easter Eggs include a Buzz Lightyear BB-8, a BB-8 and R-2 Unit sporting each other’s colors, and of course, a dismembered C-3PO, red arm and all. The moving conveyer overhead as well as the conveyer where droid parts are picked for construction, offer a wonderful energy to the space.
Additionally, if you are feeling like you want to mortgage your house, or sell your firstborn, there is a life-sized R2-D2 unit that will set you back $25,000 + and $800 delivery fee (sorry, no passholder discounts on this one). As of our visit on June 11, the shop had sold 3 of these units
As a side note, the droids that you build here cannot be used in the park with their remotes. You are allowed to carry the unit around however which is something you will likely want to do. These droids will interact with the scenery and other droids they may encounter in the park. It is also my understanding that the personality chips in these droids will affect these interactions. There are three personality types:
1.Rebellion (not sure why the Rebellion symbol was used instead of the Resistance)
Plus and Minus
+ The theming, again, is fantastic.
+ The Easter Eggs here require a little more attention and thought.
- While we didn’t participate in the experience, we had heard that the lines were quite long.
- This was another spot that we felt Disney underestimated popularity and the small number of workstations will cause long waits.
Hey Park Journey family, if you are anything like me, you have been excited (and maybe even a little skeptical) about the opening of Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge.
As a long-time Star Wars fan, I won’t apologize for saying that I have been a little underwhelmed and even a bit frustrated by Disney’s Star Wars movie releases. I will also say, as a long-time Disneyland fan, that I’ve been a bit jaded by some of the decisions regarding the park including ticket prices and domestic reinvestment.
That being said, I wanted to take a look at the $1 Billion land myself. So sit back, strap in because “traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dustin’ crops, boy!”
Written by Chris Moghtaderi
“Batuu was once a thriving stop for traders and travelers before advancements in lightspeed technology. Now its lush forests and majestic mountain regions are known only to those who dare to venture this far into the Outer Rim. At the infamous Black Spire Outpost, smugglers and rogues peddle their wares among the towering remains of petrified trees while the locals cook up exotic dishes and spin tales of ancient settlers long forgotten. Recently, the struggle between the First Order and the Resistance has made its way to this remote locale, once a haven for those hoping to avoid entanglements with the First Order.”
There are three entrances into Batuu and both our reservations brought us in through the same location. The Western most entrance (where we entered) is between Hungry Bear Restaurant and the Rivers of America. The other two entrances are located on the North side of Big Thunder Mountain. In my opinion, the two entrances by Big Thunder are smooth enough although not gradual. Contrast that with the entrance by Hungry Bear which is much longer and provides a more rich experience. We used the other two as exits and right before exiting, I doubled back to experience what it would feel like entering the land through this route.
As we entered Batuu, we were greeted by the sights and sounds of the planet. For some distance this consisted of path lights, mature trees and music/sound effects. As we continued further, we couldn’t help but feel that we were no longer in Disneyland but somewhere completely different. When I walk into Disneyland, under the train and down Mainstreet USA, I can’t help but sense that I have left the real world behind and entered into one of imagination. This is the same feeling I experienced when walking into Batuu from the western entrance. As I continued further, I began to compare this land to Animal Kingdom Park in Florida because of the path designs and foliage used. Maybe it was just me, but there seemed to be quite a few similarities. Let us know if I’m way off base on this or if this is your experience as well.
As you get closer to Black Spire Outpost, signs of civilization begin to appear. On your right, you will first encounter both an A-Wing and X-Wing pictured below. The X-Wing doubles as a stage area and there is a short presentation which is described later in the “Characters” section. There are some other stage areas across the land that gave us the impression that more of these short immersive presentations were bound to be added later on.
To the left is the ride entrance to Rise of the Resistance which will open during Phase 2. As you continue further, you will come across booths where you can grab merchandise on the way in or out. This was the first real disappointment as these shops felt like a distraction from the overall experience. I get it, merchandise is a big part of Disney’s revenue, but as you will see later, the execution of this versus the Marketplace is night and day and I would have loved to have seen that level of integration here. It was quite anti-climactic.
The detail that went into the design of the land is spectacular. From the pathways and lights to the life-size Millennium Falcon, the overall feel is otherworldly.
Plus and Minus
+ The transition from Disneyland to Batuu was quite magical much like passing through Mainstreet USA.
- The merch booths appeared very out of place and really detracted from the overall experience.
While the land offers no meet and greets, Characters roam the land and interact freely with the guests. Every hour, there is a show (really just an announcement of the beginning of an interaction period) where the First Order begins searching for Resistance fighters. Kylo Ren and Storm Troopers will question you regarding your data pad (cell phone), your allegiance, and the last known whereabouts of the Resistance members including Rey herself. Rey and resistance members will also wander the area and interact with guests. They will hide from the First Order, asking guests to stall for them or to help them hide. Rey will run around with kids and “sneak” around the land to spy on the First Order.
As mentioned earlier, there is small stage area around the X-Wing near the western entrance. There a Pilot and Chewbacca work to get the X-Wing airborne again. This short presentation with lights and sound effects are just a small added experience that helps make this land feel more immersive.
Storm Troopers are more than willing to stop for the occasional selfie. In the case of the photo below, the Trooper actually helped my daughter angle the camera just right. She was quite excited about the opportunity.
Overall, the character experience is quite fun and this type of interaction takes a page out of the classic Disney Book. Big Thunder Ranch, where part of Star Wars Land now sits, used to be a location where characters would come out and interact with guests in this fashion. They would take photos but their primary purpose was to play.
Plus and Minus
+ The interactions brought back memories of Big Thunder Ranch and some of the character experiences that my kids had years ago.
- We only saw Rey and the Resistance fighters a few times. Seeing a few more characters like other resistance members or Storm Troopers out interacting would have greatly added to the feel of immersion.
Food and Drink
Kat Saka’s Kettle (No Discounts):
-Ronto’s Roasters (AP/DVC Discounts):
-Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo (AP/DVC Discounts):
Quick notes on the food locations. You may have heard that Ronto’s Roasters has the best food item, the Ronto Wrap. I have to say that I absolutely agree with this statement. At Docking Bay 7, we tried the Braised Shaak Roast and it was pretty good. The Yobshrimp Noodle Salad was a bit bland. The other items were alright but nothing special.
Here you can try both blue milk from Episode IV and green milk from Episode VIII. The “milk” is a mix of rice milk and coconut milk, so it is Vegan friendly. I personally enjoyed the blue milk a bit more but half our group enjoyed the green milk. Try them both and let us know your thoughts.
Overall, our experience was quite positive. There are definitely a few flaws with the area such as the maximum occupancy of some of the more popular shops. Disney did a fantastic job at crowd control but I am curious to see how this plays out once reservations are no longer required. Rumor has it that time slots will still be assigned to guests entering the area to keep traffic flow moving, while just a rumor, it sounds like it may be a good idea for a while.
While the area was fun, our kids got a bit bored after a few hours. The land is definitely designed for fans and I would say even more so for older kids. But unless you are willing to shell out a few hundred dollars for your kids to build lightsabers and droids, the allure wears off on them quickly. I, on the other hand, could have spent hours just exploring the details.
Stay tuned for updates over the next couple of weeks as we continue to highlight Galaxy's Edge including the Marketplace, Oga's Cantina and of course Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run.
Time for a quick look at the latest (and probably last for awhile) attraction coming to Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure.
The Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind looks like it's getting some final touches and should be ready to greet guests soon.
Will be nice to see an attraction in this area again. Check it out!!
Pictures by Christopher Moghtaderi