No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

November 20, 2019

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

There was one thing that I wanted to be certain that I checked out while I was in the Orlando area and that was the spectacular new addition to Walt Disney World, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The massive and intricate new addition to the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park was one that I had been excited about since I first heard it was coming and it opened just a couple of months ago to rave reviews.

I recall vividly that day when my twelve year old self, joined by my good friends Dee and John wre taken by my sister Michele to attend the opening day of the first Star Wars film at the old Eastwood Theater in Indianapolis. Joining the massive line for the initial showing and then the total awe and immersion that I felt on what was the first of many, many viewings of the film and all that followed in the franchise.

I literally grew up on Star Wars and like many of my generation, seeing the films marked a watershed moment in our lives. To say that I am a fan would be an understatement, which may surprise many because I have never really flaunted my Star Wars geekdom, like so many do, but I love it just the same. When Disney acquired the rights to all things Star Wars, I must admit that I had some trepidation as I was afraid it would become too Disneyfied, but the fact of the matter is, they have actually pulled back from that direction as George Lucas himself seemed to go creature crazy during his tenure at the helm of the franchise seemingly stuffing every movie with strange looking aliens that felt designed more to sell merchandise rather than move the story along.

The recent Star Wars trilogy, of which the final installment comes out this December, has been something of a welcome return to the roots of the Star Wars universe that I have really enjoyed.  I entered the park with a little of the same feeling of concern that perhaps Disney had made this new Star Wars land more like a theme park that would somehow detract from my Star Wars experience.

I am here to tell you that the exact opposite is true, the place is truly spectacular and a truly immersive experience. The Disney attention to detail and their designs that at once stay true to the Star Wars canon and expand upon it, is truly inspiring. I love every minute of it. In fact I loved just strolling around looking at the intimate details and love that went into every bit of the design.

The one major ride that is open is called Smuggler’s Run and is pretty cool. It was well worth the 50 minute wait and once inside you are assigned to one of six positions and job title aboard the Millenium Falcon and then tasked with performing that task as part of a smuggling mission. The time I rode it I was a gunner, which was pretty fun, though I think pilot is probably the best seat in the ride. It was crazy, feeling like you were actually riding aboard a space ship, but in reality it was much the same as other rides like the Harry Potter ride at Universal, etc.

For me, I just enjoyed checking out the lifesize replica of the Falcon and many other spaceships that are found around the place. All the Disney cast members are actually in character throughout as citizens of the remote planet of Batuu rather than Disney park employees. They greet you with “Bright Suns!” during the day or “Rising Moons!” in the evening. They may ask you to complete tasks on the sly or help you hide from the First Order if a few Stormtroopers are walking down the street.

The attention to detail is so impressive, the shopping opportunities at Black Spire Outpost is awesome and there is a Droid Depot where visitors can design and build their own remote controlled Droids, Other stores are designed so that they look like remote shopping outposts where everything on display above a certain level is fake, yet appears to be for sale and everything below that level is actual merchandise that visitors can purchase. They have some truly outstanding merchandise, well above the typical Disney offerings and a boon to Star Wars fanatics who could literally spend thousands on some of the most authentic items and costumes available. It is really cool.

I did not try a lot of the food offerings but I did have some yummy blue milk and I must say that the restaurant and food options all look authentic and appropriate to the theme. Even the coke bottles have a unique Star Wars shape that makes them collectible just as they are, I did have to get one of those. Overall I give the new addition two very enthusiastic thumbs up, and the good news is that there is more to come as the second major ride of the area has yet to open.

Of course, while that was the main attraction, there are plenty of other entertainment options in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, from the 3-D muppet film, to the Aerosmith Rocking Rollercoaster and more. I always have given this theme park something of a short shrift as it was always my least favorite of the four Disney theme parks, but not anymore. In fact the addition of Galaxy’s Edge has moved it into a solid second place behind Epcot.

I can’t wait to get back and to bring Kathy and experience the place with other friends. It is a wonderful, needed and welcome addition to what was already a solid group of entertainment options at Disney and is making me look very much forward to my next Disney experience. Get out and check it out if you get a chance, especially if you share my love for everything Star Wars.