I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 3: Flying the Millennium Falcon

On our way over to the Millennium Falcon ride, we took a bunch of photos and played with the Disney play app. We also found, thanks to the discovery of other friends, a fantastic view of the Falcon. To the left of the Falcon is a raised area where Docking Bay 7 is located and it just so happens to be a great place to take photos and selfies with the Falcon looking stunning in the background. Really, there are no bad places to take photos the Falcon, but this was particularly nice.

Photos taken, it was off to pilot her ourselves! At 9:45 a.m. we got in line with what said was a 30 minute wait, but we were heading into the cockpit around 10 a.m. The line is amazing, and we flew through it, much to our disappointment, as it’s filled with all sorts of things to do using your datapad, but also tons of photo ops and details.

The first part of the line has you walking behind the Falcon and you’re going to want to take photos, but there’s an even better place, if you wait just a little bit further. The line slowly ramps up to the second floor, and at one point you are standing behind and ABOVE the Falcon and we all stopped to take photos as you can see not only the Falcon and Battu, but also Big Thunder in the background as well. You get a sense of just how well everything was made to blend together as the black spires seem perfectly normal next to the rusty rocks of Big Thunder. It’s a really beautiful moment that made us all oh and ah, and we were sorry we had to hurry along. It’s the one time we all remarked we’d actually would have liked to wait longer, just to have more time for that.

You quickly enter a room where the famous pirate, Hondo Ohnaka, is there explaining what you’re doing there and why you get to fly the Falcon. Hondo is originally from the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons and it was incredible to see him in 3D. They did an absolutely fantastic job of bringing him to life. If you haven’t watched either cartoon series, I really recommend them. They’re part of the official Star Wars canon, and they’re not just for kids. Chewie also makes an appearance during the briefing, too, and there’s something deeply touching hearing his Wookiee voice right before you enter the Falcon.

After the presentation a CM gives you your color coded card with position assignments: Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer. The CM hands them out as a first come, first serve basis, so whoever is in the front of your group will be the pilots, followed by the gunners, and then engineers. You are totally free to swap with other members of your group. My group, or crew, as we called ourselves, naturally sorted ourselves into pilots, gunners, and engineer, and working as a team REALLY makes a huge difference when flying the ship. When everyone does their job well, it shows in the story lines and action.

You then enter a hallway that takes you to the Falcon and walking into it I started to cry. I was ON the Millennium Falcon and it’s just what I dreamed of. It looks, feels and sounds just like the movies. There’s porg nests, and exposed panels, and blinking lights, the “kissing room,” and the holochess table RIGHT THERE. There were only two downsides. One is you’re there with other people waiting to enter their cockpits so it was a little crowded and not always easy to take photos. And two, we really weren’t there for very long. A few quick shots, and then our group (coded by color) was called and we headed into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.

We didn’t take as many photos inside the cockpit as I’d have liked. They want you to start the ride, but next time I think I’ll take a moment to really get a couple of shots because it’s insanely amazing in there! It’s THE MILLENNIUM FALCON COCKPIT and it’s just as detailed as you see in the movies.

I won’t go into detail about the ride, but will say this: If it’s flashing or turns green, press it or move it. One member of my crew took a video of our first flight, and it’s several minutes of us all screaming and laughing and having an absolute blast. Being the pilot lets you see the screen the whole time as you have to watch it to determine where to fly.

On my second trip I was a gunner, and while you can hold the button down to continuously fire so you can watch the screen, you miss other buttons lighting up at you, and pressing, or not pressing, those buttons can make a difference to your mission. I liked being the pilot first so I could see what happens, and then I wasn’t as worried as watching the second time as gunner, but I recommend riding it and trying all the positions.

At the end, each position and seat has their own score based on how well they did, and you can use the buttons to toggle the screen to see more info on your performance. This is where you really want to have that app going as once we left the exit, some of us (but not all, as the app was kind of tetchy all morning) got notifications from Hondo either rewarding or removing credits. Fly well, earn credits. Fly badly and…well, let’s just say some people OWED Hondo credits at the end, lol.

It’s absolutely incredible and we only got one of the various assignments/missions you can get, so I cannot WAIT to ride it when all of those are available. Having had so much fun, we hit the refreshers (and discovered another easter egg: a Dianoga hiding in one of the tanks!) and then we jumped back in line for another flight. At a five minute wait time we flew on through. We didn’t fly the Falcon quite as well this time, though there was even more laughter than the first flight, and it showed as we exited the cockpit. I won’t spoil anything, but you’ll KNOW if you flew well or not. Also, going the second or third hour into our reservation seemed to be the best time as most people, upon entering Galaxy’s Edge at the start of their reservation, headed there first. So wait, if you can, to fly.

The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride was even more than I could have hoped for. I love that no matter how many times you ride it, it will ALWAYS be different, and you get a chance each time to improve your flying, shooting, and/or engineering skills. Just like the giddy little kid I turn into when I ride Star Tours, this is one ride I will never get tired of experiencing for the sheer joy of getting to board and fly the Millennium Falcon and immerse myself in the Star Wars universe.

Stay tuned for Part 4: Food and shopping!

I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 2: The Falcon, Disney Play App, Batuuan Spira & Star Wars Cokes

After the Cantina my friends and I decided to head to the Droid Depot to get a Batuuan Spira, the gift card in the shape of the local currency. On the way there…well, we got a little distracted. We turned the corner and got our first look at the Millennium Falcon, and yeah, I totally teared up. We headed over to take a closer look and she’s everything you could hope for and more. I kept saying, “It’s the freaking Falcon!” because it was all I could do to wrap my brain around the fact that the ship I’ve loved since 1977 is there, right in front of me, as real as can be. She’s beautiful, and what’s great is there are so many places to take photos of her, including inside the Smuggler’s Run ride.

There was a short line to take photos with a photographer in front of the Falcon, and we got our first official photo and experience with a Battuan/Disney photographer (scan specialist.) Even if you have an annual pass, I suggest taking the photopass card (image data card) the scan specialist offers. It’s themed for Batuu/Black Spire Outpost and another cheap souvenir from your time on Batuu.

Refocusing on our mission to get Batuuan Spira (Galaxy’s Edge themed gift cards) we headed back towards the Droid Depot. On our way, we stopped for a restroom (refresher) break. Like everything else there, even the bathrooms were themed.

We got distracted again by all the panels that interact with the Disney Play app. There’s a section of the Disney Play app that is only accessible when you’re in Batuu. Once you leave, you can see it, but it doesn’t work. Using various aspects of the app, you can earn credits, costumes for your profile, gear, accept and perform jobs, and various other things. None of us expected to get so caught up using it, and we all wanted a trip to Batuu where we did nothing but run around the outpost hacking, scanning, translating, etc., because we were having so much fun. It led us to find all sorts of little details (hey there Boba Fett’s jetpack) and added an other layer to our experience.

Noemi, our Batuuan line manager, had a great tip for us regarding the app. She highly recommended each person in your group bring at least one, ideally two, chargers per phone, as you will use it a lot! It’s recommended you keep the app open when you fly the Millennium Falcon, as you earn (or lose) credits depending on how you do. It’s a great addition to the experience, but keeping the app open and accessing it, as well as our cameras, on a regular basis had one phone dying by 11 a.m. and the rest of ours running pretty low. So bring an extra charger or two as the last thing you want is your phone dying, and we didn’t see any fuelrod locations in Galaxy’s Edge.

We also saw Kylo Ren and First Order Stormtroopers walking around, interacting with guests. It was so fun to see them outside of Launch Bay and they were really having conversations and interacting with so many people. Highly entertaining to watch and worth taking a moment or several just to follow them and see what they do, particularly with kids in costumes.

Back on track, we FINALLY headed into the Droid Depot. Our first experience in a shop, it’s all things Droid, with one room full merchandise, not to mention a $25,000 customizable R2-D2 that actually interacted with us on a later visit to the shop. The other room also has merchandise, but the big attraction is the droid building workshop. Conveyor belts everywhere move droid parts all around the room. While none of us got in line to build a droid, we stopped a bit just to watch, and look at some of the parts and it’s amazing. I had zero intentions of building a droid, but after learning that, at certain bluetooth capable locations, they not only interact throughout Black Spire Outpost, they also can interact at the parks and resorts, I really want one now! One person said they had two droids in their car and the droids chatted with each other the whole drive home!

The Force was with us as we got some of the last remaining Batuuan Spira (gift cards) at that location. From what I understand, they restock these for each reservation group, but people have reported them being sold out for the day, so if you want to get one, get it early. It has a $100 minimum purchase balance, but you can add more, plus they are not only refillable, but you can use them anywhere in the parks and resorts, just like a regular Disney gift card. But these are hardly regular looking. Small, sculpted, metal, and heavy, you feel like you’re holding a real coin or currency! It’s such a small (though not necessarily cheap) thing, but again, another thing that added to our experience and atmosphere of being on another world.

After changing our currency, right outside the Droid Depot was a drink location that sold the new Star Wars redesigned Cokes. Much like other merchandise in Batuu, there was a limit to how many you could get, and in this case you could only get three. They’re much bigger than I thought they’d be, and kind of hard to drink out of since they’re so round (and roll if you drop them), but the detailing is great, and another fairly cheap souvenir. Note that these were cheaper at the drink location, than at other food places, so something to keep in mind. We took a few more photos around this area before heading back over to the Falcon to finally experience Smuggler’s Run.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Flying the Falcon!

I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 1: Traveling to Batuu and Oga’s Cantina

Hey there, beautiful. She’s even more gorgeous in person. And yeah, I totally cried.

Today I got to visit Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and it was everything I hoped for and more. Born in the year of Star Wars, and almost named Leia by my mom, Star Wars has always been a HUGE part of my life. I can’t remember when I first watched Star Wars: A New Hope. In my world it just always was. I saw all the other movies in the theaters, dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween more times than I can count, carried an Ewoks cartoon lunch box to school, watched all the cartoons, read a lot of the books and comics, went to the conventions, cosplayed, collected all kinds of merchandise, and generally have loved Star Wars forever.

So when Disney announced we were getting an entire Star Wars themed land I nearly cried from happiness. I kept joking with friends that once I got in, just forward my mail as I won’t want to ever leave. Fast forward years later and today I finally got to visit that land, and it not only met, but exceeded my expectations, and I didn’t even get to do/see/eat/experience everything.

There were 5 of us going and had a reservation time at 8 a.m. Knowing from other people’s experiences that we should get there early, we arranged to meet so we could go through the gates at 6 a.m. Your primary reservation holder needs to have both the email reservation code so they can confirm you have an early morning time, and everyone in your party must have a valid Disneyland ticket to enter. Once through, we were directed by awesome Cast Members (CMs) working dark and early to the Launch Bay to pick up our wrist bands that would give us entry into Galaxy’s Edge (GE.)

The line at Launch Bay was fast and smooth. You need to have your ID handy so the CM can check your name against who is listed on the reservation, but it’s a quick process and we were done before we knew it. When we got our wristband the CM also gave us a special map/brochure for Galaxy’s Edge so be sure to ask for one before you leave. Our group was directed to head towards the Rose Tavern in Fantasyland as that would be where we would be led into GE. We were stopped just between the Galactic Grill and Submarines, and right before the Matterhorn with a bunch of others, until about 7 a.m., at which time we all made our way into Fantasyland towards the Rose Tavern and in front of closed gates.

Waiting in Fantasyland for the gate to open

While we waited , my friends and I figured out our plan of attack. We knew that Oga’s Cantina fills up FAST, and that the themed gift cards we wanted to purchase, as they look like local currency and are only available at the Droid Depot, tended to sell out quickly, so we decided to hit the Droid Depot first, change our money to the “local currency” and then get in line for the Cantina immediately afterwards. Around about 7:45 they opened the gates and led us to the Big Thunder entrance, all the while directing us to raise our hands with the wristbands high so the CMs could see them. About 10 minutes before 8 a.m. we were in.

Pictures don’t do it justice. It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s highly detailed. I didn’t know where to look first. You’re not in a land. You’re off world and it’s magical. A lot of it looked based on the incredible artwork of Ralph McQuarrie and it felt like stepping into one of the movies. The level of detail is stunning.

There were CMs lining the walkway which ended up directing us past the Droid Depo and into First Order territory. We quickly decided to change up our plan as we already saw a long line forming for Oga’s Cantina, and it ended up being the right decision as our group was the last in the line before they cut it off and people were stuck making reservations for a later time. We were all given a Cantina card to be handed in once we reached the entrance. Because we were at the end, there was a Cast Member behind us making sure the line kept moving and keeping everything in order. This was our first interaction with a citizen of Batuu and I cannot recommend enough talking to all the citizens/CMs about their life there at Black Spire Outpost.

When you enter Galaxy’s Edge you’re not on Earth, you are on the planet Batuu and everyone there behaves as such. They have their own lingo, and great stories to tell, and their own ways of doing things. It’s a truly immersive experience and one I cannot recommend taking part in enough if you really want to get the most out of your experience at Galaxy’s Edge. I’m VERY introverted and usually shy away from any character interactions and the like as I always feel weird conversing, but it was so easy to talk to the people of Batuu because you were doing just that: talking to people. It’s just that they happen to live on a different planet and the Star Wars movies are their history.

Some guests are going so far as to create their own characters to be when they visit, kind of like Dungeons & Dragons, and I can totally see how that would make the experience even more fun. I’d heard a little about all this so when I was trying to figure out what to wear, I decided to dress as an “off worlder” or smuggler type to blend in with the experience a bit more. It was totally worth it from the reactions and interactions I got and I highly recommend it. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get a new wardrobe. 😉

One of the MANY panels you can hack using the Disney Play app

Noemi, our Cantina line CM, couldn’t have been more wonderful and helpful, and I’m so sorry I didn’t get a photo (or image capture, as they call it on Batuu.) She helped us figure out how to use the Disney Play App Datapad feature on our phones to hack panels, and gave us all sorts of tips for navigating future visits. For example: Savi’s workshop, the place where you can build your own lightsabers, fills up in a blink, so if that’s something you want to do, she recommended getting your wristband as early as you can, ask a CM what entrance you’ll be using to enter Galaxy’s Edge, and be in the front of the line before you head to GE. Once you get in, run, don’t walk to Savi’s. Oga’s and Savi’s are the first to fill up in the time slots so get there early!

We lined up around 7:55 a.m. and were inside the Cantina by 8:10 a.m. so getting there early really paid off. The Cantina is a U shape and we passed DJ R3X as they lead us to one end of the U at the bar. It’s not very big, but that just made it more intimate. It’s loud with R3X playing all sorts of Star Wars inspired music, including at one point THE Mos Eisley Cantina song we all know and love, it’s colorful, it’s detailed, and it’s wonderful. If you want to experience the Cantina, go there first. It’s a fantastic way to start your trip to Batuu off right with great theming, music, atmosphere, Batuu bartenders, and very tasty drinks. You can order a maximum of 2 drinks per person and have 45 minutes to hang out there.

Between all of us we got the Cliff Dweller with the Porg mug, the Blue Bantha with a bantha sugar cookie, a Bloody Rancor, a Bespin Fizz, a Yub Nub with a mug, and a Mustafarian Lava roll. All the drinks had a great flavor and wonderful presentation, especially the Bespin Fizz. If you have a group, I really recommend everyone getting something different and then sharing. It’s fun way to experience all the drinks, and they really are an experience!

The lava roll was good, a themed cinnamon roll with chocolate cookie crumbles and red icing. The bantha sugar cookie that came on top of the Blue Bantha was really tasty, much like a very chocolaty Girl Scout Samoa cookie on top of a sugar cookie. We were able to wander around and take lots of photos and some of the bartenders chatted with us about their life at Black Spire Outpost.

When we were ready to leave, those of use who got the souvenir mugs with our drinks were handed fresh ones in boxes. Oh and take the coasters! There’s several designs, and we ran into another guest who had a stack of them just from asking a bartender if he could have some extras. I’m all about the free souvenirs, and these are really fun ones. The Cantina was such a great way to start the day and really set the mood for the rest of the morning and the rest of our time there.

Having the best time at Oga’s Cantina!

More on our adventures to come in part 2!