June 16, 2019

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Visit Planet Batuu on your next holiday

Space travel may be beyond the reach of most of us, but not when you visit Disney’s newest multi-million-dollar attraction, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Ardent Star Wars fan, Roderick Eime, travels to a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars themed attractions have been a part of Disneyland for more than 20 years, but this all-new, 5.5 Hectare, intricately-detailed, precinct within the main Disneyland theme park is a whole new level of ‘out of this world’. Based on the far Outer Rim planet of Batuu, it is named the Black Spire Outpost after the two massive pinnacles that overshadow the complex where the Millenium Falcon is parked.

Conceived in 2014, soon after Disney acquired Lucasfilm outright, work on Galaxy’s Edge began in 2016 and opened to the public amid great fanfare in May 2019.

Of course, the legions of Star Wars fans were out in force for the opening and soon reports began circulating about the many experiences, merchandise, food and characters contained within the 50,000 square metres of custom rockwork and plaster.

As a long time fan of the famous trilogies, the first thing I noticed was that this is not a location recognisable from any of the movies. Insiders tell me that much of what we see here at the Black Spire Outpost will be revealed in the next - and last - instalment of the 40-year saga, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

Be prepared for random ID checks (Richard Harbaugh/Disney Parks)

That said, random photo-opp appearances are made by well-remembered characters. Chewbacca, the giant furry Wookiee from Kashyyyk is mobbed by adoring fans when he lopes into the Souk-like marketplace. Out in the plaza, two patrolling Stormtroopers conduct random ID checks on unsuspecting guests while Rey twirls her fighting staff for amazed onlookers.

To me, an unabashed sci-fi nerd with remnants of my childhood imagination still intact, it was the intricate detail of the entire set that impressed me most. Every nook and cranny is themed including the light fittings, water bubblers, trash cans, washrooms and Disney staff who, quite accurately, are called ‘cast members’ with whom you don't just chat, but interact. Each has their own back story and role in this unfolding drama into which you have landed.

Kylo Ren arrives in his mysterious starfighter (Richard Harbaugh/Disney Parks)

As I wandered the the expansive set, it was astonishing to stand beside full-size replicas of such iconic vehicles as A-Wing and X-Wing Starfighters, Luke’s Tatooine speeder and, of course, the massive Millennium Falcon. But there is one hyperspace starfighter that will have fans doing a double-take. Just what is that strange ship parked across the way? My research revealed it to be a First Order TIE Echelon and it now plays its own part in the Black Spire performance as a set piece for the arrival of Kylo Ren as he searches for a resistance spy that could be you!

Okay, so now you have found yourself in this alternate universe, what is there to do?

  • Embark on an immersive virtual mission aboard the Millennium Falcon where you and five co-pilots must capture valuable cargo to aid the resistance
  • Travel on the interactive virtual reality ride, Rise of the Resistance, which will be open by September 2019.
  • Shop for Star Wars souvenirs and soft toys like Kowakian Monkey-Lizards and Porgs in the marketplace or obtain rare collectors’ objects like legacy lightsabers or rare kyber crystals from Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities. You’ll have to barter with Dok-Ondar too if you want a deal.
  • Enjoy themed food like Mustafarian Lava Rolls, Smoked Kaadu Ribs or Fried Endorian Tip-yip at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. The famous Batuu blue and green frozen milk is available outside at a special dispensery.
  • Over-21s can enjoy special alcoholic beverages at Oga’s Cantina.
  • Build your own custom radio-controlled Astromech Droid Unit in the Droid Depot. There are nearly 280,000 possible combinations for constructing an R-series or BB-series astromech droid using all the available pieces.
Savi's Workshop, where you can build your own custom lightsabre (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)

  • Construct your own personalised lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop where there are more than 120,000 possible combinations to ensure yours is a true one-of-kind weapon.
  • Explore the minute details of the Black Spire Outpost and see if you can find such ‘easter eggs’ as a Dianoga nicknamed “Tiny”, the character depicted in the Toydarian Toymaker shop sign, a stuffed wampa or a tiny version of Han Solo's Mobquet M-68 landspeeder. There are many of these hidden all around the outpost and the junk depot is a great place to start.
  • Install the smartphone app which will give you special abilities to interact with objects and installations within the attraction.

A twin theme park is also under construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. It will be open from September 2019.

Getting There:

Virgin Australia Holidays has released Star Wars packages for Australians planning their trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort California. For more information, visit: www.virginaustralia.com/starwars

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