SWGE Review

I just returned from a 5-day trip to the Disneyland resort and thought I’d share my thoughts about my visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! This is pretty comprehensive, so I’ve divided it into sections so you can find what is relevant for your future excursion. (SPOILERS BELOW.)

Check-in / Arrival


Our reservation was for 8am-12pm on Wednesday, June 5th. Due to logistics with handing off our younger children to my mom to watch, we didn’t arrive at the turnstiles until about 7:40am (if you want to get into the Cantina, you need to arrive much earlier - I’d guess at least 7am but maybe earlier). A cast member checked our reservation on our phone (no scan) as we arrived at the hub and directed us into Tomorrowland (everyone else was held there until park opening at 8am).

We had scoped out the Launch Bay on Tuesday so we’d know where to go, but that turned out to be unnecessary. We followed the crowd to the Launch Bay and cast members were ushering everyone to the correct entrance. We didn’t have to wait at all - we were directed to a check-in desk where our reservation was scanned, our IDs were checked (adults only - DS 7 and DD 5 were OK), we were each given wristbands, and were directed to a queuing area near Finding Nemo, where we joined the other two thousand (guess) people already in line.

A little before 8am, they began to march the massive throng past the Matterhorn, through Fantasyland, past Pinocchio, around the Big Thunder trail, and to the entrance to SWGE (I believe we entered from the Big Thunder side, not the Fantasyland side). At 8am they allowed us into the land. We were moving pretty continuously the entire time so although there were a lot of people in front of us, we didn’t feel like we were late to the party, so to speak.

We entered the land and were greeted by dozens of cast members lining the path and saying, “Bright Suns!” which is Galaxy’s Edge speak for “Good morning.” I was immediately struck by the scale of the land - everything was massive. The buildings, the rockwork, the starships - it was all huge and realistic. It felt like we had entered another galaxy.

As we continued into the land, cast members yelled instructions that if we wanted to go to the Cantina or MFSR, we should continue to the right. Everything else (Savi’s, Droid Depot, etc.) was to the left. We went around a corner and met up with the line for the Cantina. A good chunk of the group joined that line - maybe 10% of the crowd. Everyone else continued as an already-formed line to the Millennium Falcon attraction. Again, we moved continuously so although we were already “waiting,” it didn’t feel like we were missing anything.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run


When we arrived to the queue proper, we saw the Millennium Falcon itself parked out front. It was massive - maybe twice as big as I expected it would be. There was a small line for photo ops to the right of us with cast member photographers, but there was plenty of room to take your own photos. The marquis advertised a 25 minute stand-by wait, which ended up being fairly accurate. We exited the ride at 8:40am.

Queue, Pre-Show, and Play Disney App

The queue snaked through a building behind the Falcon with ground-level windows as well as an overlook so you could appreciate the fine details of the starship. My wife used her Disney Play app to play games with the kids, including interactive elements with the queue itself, such as a mission to find a certain crate, or to translate Aurebesh (Star Wars language) runes on a sign. The games were fun (I can’t stress enough how much the kids loved it), but the only complaint was that it was a huge drain on the battery - her phone was dead by the early afternoon when thankfully we had planned to go back to the hotel for a swim.

There was a pre-show featuring Hondo Ohnaka, a character in the Star Wars Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. He was the most life-like Audio-Animatronic I have ever seen - comparable to the shaman on Navi River Journey, although his motions were more human-like.

Next we were welcomed into the cargo bay of the Millennium Falcon and given our boarding assignments. The kids were given pilot cards - I assume this is common, because they later told us that children under 7 have to have an adult sitting behind them (also I’m sure they want children to have the best spot). DW and I were gunners, and an older couple were engineers. We were hoping to have a picture at the Dejarik table, but after just a moment, our boarding group (Brown) was called and we were taken into a hall just outside the cockpit door. (On our second ride we had enough time to get the money shot.)

The instructions happened really fast - both via a cast member as well as a video with Hondo (played by an actor in this version - not the animatronic). Short version: Left pilot controls side-to-side motion; right pilot controls vertical motion (using the standard forward=down; backward=up); gunners push a button to shoot stuff and engineers push a button to release a harpoon. We were trying to take in all the details around us while also listening, but failed. Luckily, we are savvy enough in theme parks, Star Wars, and video games that everything was intuitive. Before we knew it, the door opened and we were being ushered into the cockpit.

The Ride

The cockpit looked exactly like the cockpit from the movie other than the extra seats. We strapped in with regular lap seatbelts. Again the cast member repeated the instructions. Once the ride started, it was easy enough to fulfill our roles while watching the screen. If you were supposed to press a button, it was lit up in a bright green border light that was impossible to miss. Each person only had two or three relevant buttons (though there were dozens more that you could flip or push to your heart’s content), so it was easy to keep your hand on the button without looking.

Unlike reviews I had read, I found the ride fairly insensitive to our controls. It was enough that you could tell it was responding to you, but the route and events were virtually identical each time. Even with our kids as pilots (inept at video games at their ages), we made it through all right.

Our mission was to steal freight from a hover train. Yes, it was like a video game except that the simulated motion, stunning imagery, and realistic controls made it about 1000 times more fulfilling. For a few minutes, we were immersed in the Star Wars universe and riding in our favorite starship.

Motion Sickness

I was concerned about motion sickness because Star Tours makes me quite sick (though I usually still ride it once per trip). I don’t get sick on Soarin’ and FoP is somewhere in between. The first ride on SR in the gunner’s position did not make me sick except just a very vague queasiness, but nothing that prevented me from fully enjoying the ride. I would say it was worse than Soarin’ but better than FoP. Let’s rate it 2 out 5 barf bags with 1 as Soarin’ and 5 as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The second time through in the pilot’s seat was a little worse, but still in the 2-3 range, but after two times through I decided I was done with the ride for the day.

Ride Position Tips

I rode one more time as pilot. My wife and I could not both be pilots simultaneously because of the adult behind child rule. My son is 7 so he was able to sit behind me; my wife had to be the engineer behind DD 5. They assigned a single rider to our group, but he ditched us somehow (I don’t blame him! :joy:) so we had only four of us. My wife rode a third time just with DS so she could pilot as well.

I HIGHLY recommend riding as the right front pilot at least once. This is the position where you get to pull the light speed lever and enter hyperspace. I cannot adequately describe the elation that coursed through my body as I got to pull that lever. I felt like a schoolboy whose dreams had all come true. It may be tricky to arrange this if your party is smaller than 6 people or if your mix of children to adults doesn’t work out. Conversely, our children did not enjoy the pilot position because they couldn’t reach the controls. All the positions were fun - you won’t be disappointed if you / your children have a good attitude.

Review

In summary, we all LOVED the ride and think it is WAY better than Star Tours - like, not even close. So I disagree with @Len’s review but I respect his opinion and he makes good points that you should consider. :slight_smile: My kids both loved the ride as well and placed it in the top 3 rides of the entire trip, including both parks. I wouldn’t say the ride itself was in my top 3 or even 5, but the experience surely was. I can only compare it to riding Indiana Jones for the first time in 1995.

Marketplace


The marketplace is so fun to walk through. This area more than any other was immersive and really brought us into the galaxy. Just standing near Ronto Roasters watching the podracer engine was an experience. Each little shop had curios, toys, trinkets, apparel, etc. that you could spend hours browsing.

Docking Bay 7

Next door to the MF is Docking Bay 7, where we went for a light breakfast. We just wanted to sample a few things, so we got a breakfast platter with eggs, purple potato hash, pork sausage, and a Mustafar lava roll (cinnamon roll with oreo crumble and hot pink icing). Everything was themed to Star Wars so it looked exotic, but tasted familiar. We got a Moof juice to drink - it was a delicious blend of Simply Fruit Punch, Simply Orange with Pineapple, and Chipotle-Pineapple juice. I was a little worried about the chipotle, but it just gave the drink a little kick. It was very tropical and tasty. The kids (very picky) each were able to nibble something on the plate (eggs, cinnamon roll).

Droid Depot

Yes, I took DS to build a droid. I was able to accompany him during the whole process, and I ran across another builder who brought two guests.

First, we waited in line both outside the front door and inside about 10 minutes total to pay (about $100). Tip - you don’t have to wait in line to browse the accessories (although I imagine on a busy day they could have a queue for that as well). By the time you get to the front of the payment line, you need to have chosen whether you want an R-series (i.e., R2-D2) or a BB-series (BB-8) droid. They have a helpful display on the wall next to the line with all the different color pieces you will be choosing between.

After paying, we collected our desired parts in a basket from a conveyor belt - there are plenty of each piece so this portion took only 2-3 minutes. Then we went to an assembly table with multiple stations where we put everything together. There were several cast members assisting. One pointed out to us that we had gotten the wrong head, so we had to leave our basket at our station and go back to the conveyor to switch parts. After some quick and easy assembly (with one or two tips from the cast member), the droid was tested by a cast member before we were clear to take it from the store.

Apparently one common problem which we encountered was when the remote is paired with the droid, they sometimes cross signals and the wrong remote is paired, so they just switch remotes and it usually works. The whole process took maybe 20-25 minutes including the wait. Another person next to me had to switch out a part because the motor was faulty, but it didn’t take long to replace.

DS loves his BB droid. It’s fairly easy to control, it’s adorable, and it’s a fun toy in general. It’s a great souvenir for children of any age, and the young at heart.

Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities

We didn’t need to wait to get into Dok Ondar’s the first time we went in, but later there was a small line. You have to be lucky about timing with crowds this size. This is where you can find unique items such as the Jedi Holocron I bought (a little blue cube that lights up and gives wisdom - $50 plus I think $16 each if you want a kyber crystal, which is not necessary but it affects what your holocron says).

Milk Stand

We tried the blue and green milk, which is a delicious non-dairy fruit smoothie. It is the texture of frozen butterbeer - a little icier than a typical fruit smoothie, but easily drinkable. The blue was more berry flavored (delicious) and the green had a hint of melon that in my opinion was the dominant flavor, so I didn’t like as much. Both were great though and worth trying to see which you like. They are a little overpriced at $8 for a small plastic cup full, but still worth it for a true Star Wars fan (or anyone who needs a cool drink).

For Next Time

Due to my wife having a nursing baby that we needed to get back to, we didn’t want to wait in line for the Cantina this time and risk not getting on the ride (P.S. - they let me exit and re-enter the land so I could retrieve the nursing baby - I just had to let the cast member know and I did the transfer right at the border with Critter Country within view of the cast members standing guard.)

For the same reason (as well as the price), I also skipped Savi’s Workshop. That will definitely be on my list for next time.

Final Thoughts


Reservation Overlap

At 11am, we heard cries of “They’re coming!” from cast members. Moments later, a parade of new guests was brought into the land, this time from Critter Country, I believe. They were escorted to the Cantina / MF as we were earlier in the day. Immediately, the line for all attractions, experiences, restaurants, and stalls increased precipitously. This was our signal to finish what we were doing and leave. We wandered the land for a bit then left well before noon, so I don’t know what would have happened if we had overstayed our welcome.

General Impressions

Everything about the land was so detailed and immersive. You have to experience it to believe it. Everything was so big - lots of open spaces, tall spires, starships, and attraction buildings - the scope is grander than anything I have seen at Disney before. Seeing stormtroopers on patrol, interacting with guests with in-universe personas, was fantastic.

The land has a lot of detail that especially caters to fans of the broader universe (animated Rebels, Clone Wars, Resistance; sequel trilogy; novels, etc.), though fans of the classic trilogy will find plenty to admire and enjoy, the Millennium Falcon, a veritable wonder of the modern world, among them.

As I mentioned above, we loved SR but I do think most guests (especially non-SW fans) will get more out of their trip if they wait till Rise of the Resistance attraction opens later this year - the land needs a little more in the ride department (though I’m glad we didn’t have another ride to hit in our 4-hour block). We had already planned this trip before SWGE opening was announced, so our visit was a happy bonus (as were the 1-level crowds every day of our trip, other than CA where there were a couple of 3 days due to Grad Night).

Overall, I was blown away by my time there. I can’t wait to go back!

Here is a link to my Twitter with some pictures and videos:

15 Likes

What a great review! Thank you for taking the time to share so much detail! I love the Barf Bag Rating Scale LOL

2 Likes

I’m glad you had a good time (a little jealous but glad):grinning:

2 Likes

This made me lol. Thank you so much for the review and the details!

1 Like

There should be an annual award for best phrase coined — this wins

3 Likes

I would cry…I teared up just reading it.

3 Likes

I almost cried watching a stranger do it while I was an engineer in the back. We ended up riding several times & while I never got to do it, it was always cool to watch & that moment was always a moment when the cabin cheered.

5 Likes

Great review–thanks! Though, given all the reviews & videos I’ve seen, my wife is questioning if we even need to go! :wink:

3 Likes

Our daughter is 6 and was stressed about getting pilot bc she felt it would be too hard. When my husband went with the kids there were several times cast members never said anything to him & so he & our 7 yr old son were able to pilot while she was a gunner (behind). But both times that I went with the kids (we used rider switch because we also have a 2 yr old who wasn’t tall enough) they specifically asked how old both kids were & made sure they were sitting as you described above. She loved being the gunner though so I gave up being pilot to be engineer and made several people’s day as they took my place as pilot.

1 Like

This happened for my daughter with the engineer position on her very first time on the ride so she was frustrated & sad & it took a lot of convincing to get her to try it again.

1 Like

That’s good to know - my son was able to do the gunner position easily but he didn’t try engineer.

Thx for the review, looking forward to being there at New Year’s!

2 Likes

For my first and only ride i was lucky to be the front right pilot.
100% agree. Pulling that lever makes you scream. There is no way to NOT say “Whooooo!!”

2 Likes