A Guide to Galaxy's Edge
Disney World's Hollywood Studios Park loves to reel us nerds in
Two years ago, Disney World opened Galaxy's Edge to the delight and wonder of Star Wars fans all over the country. With my travel plans and the general state of the world with COVID-19 raging through it, I have only just gotten the chance to visit the attraction. I went into it rather wide-eyed and bushy-tailed but learned quickly that if you want to get the most out of the experience you have to be prepared.
First things first, download the free My Disney Experience App available for android and apple devices.
On this app, you can check out wait times and order contactless food all around the park. Most importantly to Galaxy's Edge, however, it is only the only way you can sign up for one of the two rides in the park: Rise of the Resistance.
There are only two times in the day you can sign up for it, 7 am and 1 pm, and trust me you want to do so early because in seconds the spots fill up completely. I was up at 6:55 am only to lose out a chance at the first boarding call because I clicked on it at 7:01 am. THAT IS HOW FAST THIS BABY GETS FILLED UP.
I ended up doing the 1 pm sign up and though I still had to wait 6 HOURS for the ride, I did get to finally experience it.
First Ride Review: Rise of the Resistance:
Pros first, this was definitely a uniquely interactive ride. The mechanics were also more fluid than older rides around the park so that made it flow and move in a way that was exhilarating and impressive. the best moment of the ride is how immersed you feel in the Star Wars Universe, a perk the entire park has really, but there is nothing like walking into an Imperial Starship Cruiser's deck bay and being met with the menacing and armed rows and rows of Storm Troopers.
That being said, the hype of this ride fell short in reality. For one thing, you are rushed through your experience. Secondly, the wait for the ride is unnecessarily extensive when this could function as all the other rides in the park do with a normal line and waiting time. Then you have to do a lot of waiting within the ride in far-too-close quarters to other riders.
The introduction to the ride as well as the ride itself are short-lived experiences so you are spending most of your time in line for this.
Some rides are worth that kind of maintenance but this sadly is not one of them. This ride sets up the story of the planet the park is in though so if you would like that insider knowledge then perhaps the ordeal of getting this ride is worth it. Just remember how hot Florida is when you are picking and choosing what rides to wait in line for.
Second Ride Review: Smuggler's Run:
I went on this ride twice despite the long wait times because it is just that good. The waiting time is passed taking pictures on all the cool areas every few feet forward within the line itself. There are consoles with buttons to play with, giant space-age doors to stand in front of, piles of little robotic knickknacks strewn around in a typical lived-in Star Wars style.
Once the ride begins, the animatronics are fun, not at all clunky, and when you get to that waiting room with the most famous couch featured above, you can't help but get a giddy feeling. Basically, the goal of the ride is to smuggle something upon the Millenium Falcon. You can play the pilot, the gunner, or the engineer. TIP: If you get assigned a role you are not interested in simply ask the employee to be a part of the next group with the specific role you want. It is that easy!
I played as both engineer and pilot and let me tell you, getting to ignite the hyperdrive on the Millenium Falcon as the right-side pilot was the best experience of the park.
Coming into the console for the Millenium Falcon is also a fun experience within itself but I will say there are not a lot of photo opportunities since the ride takes off rather quickly plus it is generally in the dark.
Overall Park Review:
There is something special about getting to follow in the footsteps of various droid track marks as you walk through this park. In terms of practicality, since everything is brand new this part of the park has the nicest bathrooms, water stations, and definitely the best food (pricey but worth it). You can also get yourself some blue milk as well as alcoholic beverages that are Star Wars themed. TIP: If you are traveling with someone under 21 years of age they will not serve you alcohol. When picking up an order best to not have them hanging around.
Aesthetically is where the real magic kicks in though. the Florida park did not have that many of the character actors around and due to COVID-19restrictions they were limited to their stages but it was awesome to see the Storm Troopers and Chewbacca around. I personally got to annoy one of the Storm Troopers with my lightsaber so that was priceless.
This was a very expensive birthday present. The make-your-own Lightsaber option within the park was a wonderful experience. When coming into the park, the shop where this takes place is kind of tucked away. Luckily, there is a nice big sign outside the door for setting yourself a time slot to come in and build your lightsaber.
I could have just gotten lucky with the right employee or everyone in the store is just this nice but when my time came to build my lightsaber the person helping me gave a lot of detail about each option down to explaining the pearl-inlay of the lightsaber I ended up choosing. TIP: There are not any lockers within the park big enough to hold the blade part of the lightsabers so be prepared to carry them with you everywhere you go.
There were some that came with their own carrying cases but as those were more expensive I just ended up holding my baby which was fine by me.
There was also an option to custom build your own droid at the Droid Depot shop which was also expensive so if you are coming for the full experience be prepared to dish out at least $500.00. There was lots of beautiful jewelry, toys, and clothing within all the little shops so you could definitely get your fill of nostalgia.
Though it is located outside Galaxy's Edge, the Star Tours ride is still a fantastic must-see spot within Disney World's Hollywood Studios Park. The ride has been updated with six different tour scenarios so it is never the same experience twice.
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10
Any Star Wars fan, whether just getting started or a lifelong member of the Galaxy Far Far Away will find something to get excited about in Galaxy's Edge. There are some drawbacks, but the overall experience is one of joy and excitement.
For those worried about COVID-19, most everyone had their masks and they were required within rides even in just the lines. Of course, that is not a guarantee but compared to other areas in Florida it felt relatively active in its protective procedures.
It is a risk to enjoy anything these days but I would recommend the park at whatever time you feel comfortable if you are a fan of the Star Wars Universe.
About the author
I love to write fiction stories of the supernatural, romance, high fantasy, or science fiction variety. A bit of a baby, a bit of a rolling stone, just doing my best to avoid getting arrested. @ziggyer5 on the instagram.