The newest land at Disney World is Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge located in Hollywood Studios. This is by far the most immersive land Disney has ever created. When you walk in to this land you leave Disney World and enter the planet Batuu (See this land in photos here)
This is your guide for understanding, getting the most out of, and touring this amazing land of Batuu.
Not only is this land visually spectacular and detailed, it is also literally the most immersive land that Disney has ever built.
When you are in the land Cast Members are no longer "Cast Members" at Disney World. They are residents of the planet Batuu. And they will talk to you accordingly. So if you ask them about where to find Minnie Ears or how they like working at Disney World, be prepared for them to respond as a resident of Batuu.
For example, on my very first ride on the Millenium Falcon the Cast Member asked if anyone had ever piloted a ship before. I excitedly responded, "Yes! I did at Disneyland!" to which he said, "What's Disneyland? It sounds weird."
I suggest you let yourself get fully in to the fun. Interact with Cast Members, and have fun with their commitment to their character.
You'll also notice that their vocabulary is slightly different. First time visitors might be surprised when a photopass photographer says they'll "take your scan" rather than take your photo. Here is a quick reference to differing vocabulary:
Aside from just conversation with Cast Members, you'll find the writing in Batuu to be different than the writing here on Earth.
The language you see on signage is written in Aurebesh. While the letter symbols are similar to our alphabet, some of the signs around the land might take an extra glance. Disney provides the letter guide above in the park map so that you can decipher text throughout the land.
Many of the signs are written in English as well. Or, you can download the Disney Play app on your phone. Not only are there games that you can play throughout the land (and in line for the ride), but you can also use the app to decipher signs you find around the land.
If you want to experience some of the extras that the land has to offer, you might want to consider making advanced reservations.
With the popularity of the land, Disney has decided to open advanced reservations for 3 stops in Batuu.
Oga's Cantina is a lounge that serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well a couple of small bite food options. This stop is both unique and fun, and a must do for big Star Wars fans. You'll have your choice of several amazing and fun drink concoctions, and you'll listen to the DJ stylings of DJ Rex.
While this location is open to all ages, be aware that it is in fact a lounge. It is 90% standing room, alcohol is served, it gets loud, and no strollers are allowed. So if you plan on bringing your little ones just be prepared.
You can make advanced reservations for Oga's Cantina on Disney's website.
Here you'll be able to build and take home your very own droid. Aside from just building, there will be various options to actually bring your own droid to life.
You'll chose between a BB series or an R series droid. Then the fun begins. You'll be given a basket to collect your parts, and a blueprint to put your droid together. You'll select your droid parts as they move by on a conveyer belt.
Droids are $99 plus tax, and additional personality chips and accessories can also be purchased for an additional fee.
This has been an extremely popular shop, and so Disney has allowed guests to make reservations. If you are interested in building a droid you can make reservations here (note that your entire party will NOT be able to join you while you build your droid. You can bring one guest only).
Read more details on Droid Depot, including my review of the build here.
Have you ever wanted to build your own light saber? Here is your chance.
You'll be able to build your own, and chose Light or Dark side. You'll also be able to chose Peace Justice (modeled after Jedi from the Republic era); Power Control (a nod to the Sith); Elemental Nature (harnessing air, earth, fire, and water); and Defense (shrouded in mystery).
This unique and interactive building process is unlike anything else. Lightsabers cost $199 plus tax. This shop is extremely popular, and reservations for this experience are highly recommended. You can make reservations here (note that your entire party will NOT be able to join you while you build your lightsaber. You can bring one guest only).
Get all of the details and my full review on the build here.
There are two rides in the land. The first is Millenium Falcon Smugglers Run.
This ride is located in Galaxy's Edge, and it put guests in the drivers seat of the famed star ship. Guests who are riding this attraction will be given "flight crew" roles on the ship. You are either a pilot, gunner or engineer on the ride.
This ride is a lot of fun, but younger kids may not be able to or want to ride. There is a height requirement of 38", and the seats on the ride are spaced out. So if your child gets scared you wont be able to comfort them. Note that rider switch is an option if you have smaller kids.
Fastpass is an option for Smugglers Run. This ride is a "tier 1" ride (along with Slinky Dog Dash). That means that you can pick either Smugglers Run or Slinky Dog for your initial fastpass, but you cannot pick both on any one day. For more information on Fastpass see the full article here.
If the lines are long, I recommend taking advantage of single rider. That line moves incredibly quickly, but note that you will miss an incredible queue and animatronic.
The second ride in Galaxy's Edge is Rise of the Resistance. This ride puts guests in the middle of a battle between The Resistance and The First Order.
Guests are recruited to join Rey and General Organa at a secret base. Along the way they are captured by the first order, and must escape and save the base. All while staying a step ahead of Kylo Ren.
For a full overview of this ride (including height requirements, fastpass, ride video and more) see my full article on Rise of the Resistance.
Like any new land or attraction at Disney World, your best bets for touring the land with the least amount of people is to tour either first thing in the morning, or later in the evening.
FastPass options currently do NOT include any of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge rides. So your best bet is to try to rope drop these rides, and save your tier 1 FastPass for Toy Story Land (ideally Slinky Dog Dash if you can get it).
*If and when FastPass becomes available for the Star Wars rides I will update this post with new touring suggestions*
With the opening of Rise of the Resistance, Disney has decided to use a virtual boarding pass system for this ride to cut down on crowds and wait times. This boarding pass is essentially a virtual line for the ride. You get your boarding pass and are called when it is your turn to ride. You have either one or two hours to get to the ride once you are called (the amount of time you have to return will be given to you when your group is called to ride.)
To get a boarding pass you must enter the park and then open the My Disney Experience App. On the home page of the app you will see information on getting a boarding pass for the ride.
Note that boarding passes have been filling up quickly. Since this system has started the boarding passes have been gone by the first hour of park opening. So arrive EARLY.
Cast Members have been letting guests in to the park early, but boarding passes don't actually open up until the park is officially open. This means that it doesn't matter if you walk in to the park when Cast Members let everyone in approximately 30 minutes before opening, or if you waltz in right as the park opens. Everyone can open the app and grab a boarding pass at the same time.
There is no way to guarantee your ride time. But to make sure you get the soonest possible boarding pass have your My Disney Experience app open and ready to go when the park opens.
If you do arrive to the parks later in the morning, you might still have a chance to ride. Disney has been offering overflow boarding passes. Basically these are extra boarding pass groups created in case there are so many no-shows to their boarding pass (and yes it happens. People grab boarding passes hoping to use them, but then don't show up at their scheduled time). If you get an overflow boarding pass you are not guaranteed a ride on Rise of the Resistance. But if there is space available, you will be notified and able to ride.
Because of the boarding pass system, touring Hollywood Studios is a completely different thing at the moment. Crowds at the park are extremely high first thing in the morning. You can no longer beat the lines by showing up early and hitting popular rides.
I don't recommend a set touring plan or schedule for this park while the boarding pass system is in use. Instead I have suggestions on how to manage your time based on what you want to do. Here are some suggestions on how to manage your day based on various priorities:
Boarding Pass and Slinky Dog Dash or Smuggler Run
If you are looking to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance and then ride Slinky Dog Dash or Smugglers Run, you will need to arrive AT LEAST 30-60 minutes prior to park opening.
Cast Members will start letting guests in the park about 30 minutes before the park opens. You will then be moved down Hollywood Boulevard where you will wait to enter the lands. If you aren't at the front of this pack, the wait times will be long even minutes after park opening.
I suggest grabbing your boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance as you are walking to Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land. The queue for this ride has been jumping to an hour within minutes of park opening. So arriving early is important if you want to ride but couldn't grab a FastPass.
I would then move over to Smugglers Run in Galaxy's Edge. You can either jump in the standby queue, or this ride has a single rider option. Just note that the single rider option does close if too many guests are using it. So using single rider first thing in the morning is your best bet.
Boarding Pass and Other Toy Story Land Rides
If you were able to get a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash and would rather start your morning doing the other rides in Toy Story Land, I suggest again arriving at least 30-60 minutes prior to park opening.
Head to the front of the pack that has been moved down Hollywood Boulevard. When Toy Story Land opens I would start with Toy Story Mania, as the line for this ride is almost always longer than Alien Swirling Saucers.
I would then move to the line for Woody and Bo character meet. This line can get extremely long, so it's best to do it early if it's on your agenda. They are located right next to Toy Story Mania, so you should be able to hop right over there after you exit.
Next I would hit Alien Swirling Saucers, and then meet Jessie (who you can find right outside that ride), and then Buzz Lightyear (you'll find him by the entrance to Toy Story Land).
Boarding Pass and Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Rollercoaster
If you are interested in hitting the classic Hollywood Studios rides Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Rollercoaster, I would again suggest you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to park opening. Grab your boarding passes as you walk towards the rides.
If you are not opposed to riding as a single rider, I would suggest starting with Tower of Terror with your entire group. Once you finish that ride head over to Rock'n'Rollercoaster and hit the single rider line for a shorter wait time.
If you don't want to do single rider, do Rock'n'Rollercoaster first (as this line tends to be longer than Tower of Terror). Once you do this ride you can head over to Tower of Terror.
Boarding Passes and Character Meets or Shows
If your priorities are meeting characters or seeing shows, you'll be happy to hear that this is going to be the easiest way to tour Hollywood Studios while the boarding pass system is in place.
There are a lot of fun characters at this park, including Star Wars meets, Disney Junior characters, Toy Story characters, Mike and Sully, and more. There are no FastPass, but in my experience (and we are character people in my house) the waits are usually never more than 30 minutes even on a busy day.
If you are interested in seeing shows, I suggest you take full advantage of FastPass for all of the shows that grab your interest. You will most likely have no issues getting FastPass, and if you do standby is always an option.
Here are other things to note about boarding passes:
If you are starting later in the day, and would like to end with Galaxy's Edge I would suggest the following:
*Note that Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run offers a single rider option. You’ll miss the amazing queue and animatronic, but your wait will be next to nothing
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See you at the parks,