We had the pleasure of getting to preview the new Star Wars Galaxy's Edge area of Disney's Hollywood Studios, before it opens to the public, and we saw some amazing things as well as some room for improvement.
The first thing that you will notice when you enter the new area, is that the theming is impeccable. It's truly amazing and every square inch Black Spire outpost is themed to the 100th degree. You really feel like you have been transported into another world. Another thing that we experienced, is that you forget that you are in a Disney park. Disney is virtually scrubbed from the new land. You will not find any Disney signage, logos, and we were hard pressed to find any hidden mickey's either.
- The interactivity is amazing. Don't be surprised if you are confronted by Stormtoopers, Kylo Ren, Rey, Chewbacca or a host of other Star Wars characters. My son was sporting his brand new Rebel pilot helmet and was quickly surrounded by Kylo and two Stormtroopers. It was an awesome experience for him and for those watching. We also watched as Stormtroopers chased Rey and others through the paths of the Black Spire Outpost.
- The themeing and creative design is off the charts. It's on the same level as Pandora, but on a larger scale. Truly amazing, and even if you are not a Star Wars fan you are sure to appreciate the awesome details at Galaxy's Edge.
- The size of the area really surprised us. It's a lot larger area than Pandora and Toy Story Land, but it is not lacking in detail. We found ourselves getting a little lost and turned around in the new land. From the large winding entrance, to the market place, there are plenty places to get lost ... in a good way.
- A lot of photo opportunities. Not only are there a good number of PhotoPass photographers roaming around Black Spire, there are also an unlimited number of photo spots to grab some great images of you and your family or friends.
- The Smugglers Run Millennium Falcon ride, is the current highlight, until the "Rise of the Resistance" ride opens in December. Smugglers Run is a great ride with a lot of interactivity, good story, and once again, ridiculous levels of themeing. We were able to ride as the pilot, gunner, and engineer. The pilot is probably the most fun, but each position has it's challenges and different level of fun.
- Blue milk is great!
Cons (room for improvement)
- The market area was very congested with the limited crowd that we witnessed with the annual passholder preview. I can only imagine that it will be even worse when it opens to the public. The shops are very tiny and are set up to look like a market, which is great, but lends itself to some crowd issues.
- The merchandise is fun and very Star War centric, but if you are looking for anything with "Walt Disney World" or "Galaxy's Edge" on it, you are not going to find it, unless you search Tatooine Traders or the Muppet merchandise areas of Hollywood Studios. This is likely due to the fact that they really want you to be transported to Batu and removed from Disney, but we still found this a little surprising. The shops were very well themed and cool to look through, but we could not help but feel it was missing that one large shop where you could grab all of your "Galaxy's Edge" merchandise.
- While Smugglers Run is a great ride and can stand on its own, it would have been great to have both attractions completed for the public opening.
- Milk stand trouble. While we were able to try the blue milk, and it's delicious, the kids were not able to try any of the milk, due to the non-alcoholic machines breaking. I'm sure this will be fixed for the grand opening, but had to put it into the report.
While we did not get to try Oga's cantina and did not eat at Ronto's Roasters, the food smelled great and the line for Oga's was not tremendously bad.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience and Star Wars Galaxy's Edge is sure to be a hit with Star Wars fans and will even non-Star Wars fans. The land is huge and has a lot to see and do. When "Rise of the Resistance" opens, it's sure to be a big time crowd-pleaser for Disney and will put Disney's Hollywood Studios back on the map.
Below area some of the sights, as seen by Sorcerer Radio.