Star Wars fans, get your lightsabers at the ready!
It’s been (light)years in the making, but Disney is finally opening its new Star Wars themed land at its Disneyland Park and I got a sneak preview of what those travelling to the galaxy far, far away can expect.
It doesn’t disappoint.
An obvious highlight is the Millennium Falcon ride (more on that later), while the Play Disney Parks app offers heaps of fun ways to interact with the land itself and live out your own adventure.
It really is a fully immersive experience including themed food, cast members you interact with, and even small extras such as droid tracks to look out for on the ground or background music composed by John Williams himself.
It was pretty overwhelming to discover for the first time as you’re thrown into the story on the planet of Batuu where smugglers, the Resistance and First Order co-exist.
Here are some of my favourite bits and the highlights not to miss if you go…
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers’ Run
The chance to fly the Millennium Falcon is any Star Wars fan’s dream and honestly, this ride delivers – it is SO much fun!
You are assigned one of three roles (pilot, gunner or engineer) and throughout the ride you’ll be given instructions to help you navigate the galaxy, complete your mission and making a few jumps to lightspeed along the way.
Your mission? Help smuggler Hondo Ohnaka to get his hands on some precious cargo…
There are six of you in the ship (two of each role) and I got to try both pilot and engineer which made for completely different experiences – both were really fun but pilot had to be my favourite.
Sat inside the cockpit, you’re immediately thrown into the four-and-a-half minute adventure and there’s a voiceover giving you instruction so you feel like you really are flying the ship.
But it’s not just the ride itself – even the queues and holding rooms are themed, and there are in-app games to play while you queue too.
Play Disney Parks App
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge won’t actually have that much in terms of rides; there’s the Millennium Falcon offering, and then an upcoming Rise of the Resistance ride which isn’t yet open.
But what’s quite special about the land is that you can interact with it using the Play Disney Parks app. By that, I mean you can ‘hack’ droids and machinery, scan codes to discover hidden secrets and take on missions, all from the app.
It’s really easy to use and there’s something really fun about working out the puzzles to unlock clues and searching for specific buildings or ships in order to find the codes.
One highlight for me was ‘hacking’ a droid which wreaked a little bit of havoc and led to a surprise storyline!
The food (and cocktails)
You won’t go hungry on Batuu – there are so many different food options.
Top of the list is their take on the famous Blue Milk which Luke Skywalker drinks – I was dubious that the blue colour might have been the best bit, but actually it’s a really tasty and refreshing coconut and pineapple type smoothie (it’s also gluten free and vegan friendly).
Looking for a snack?
Head to Kat Saka’s Kettle where you can pick up a bag of colourful popcorn, which offers a mix of sweet and savoury flavours.
(Personally I wasn’t the biggest fan of the spicier flavours but others seemed to like them).
As for cocktails, you need to head to Oga’s Cantina. Think cosy booths, a droid playing the role of DJ and heaps of Instagram-worthy drinks (I tried the Jabba Juice and it was delicious).
Throughout the land there are pretty cool trinkets to be found. For those looking to splurge, there’s Savi’s Workshop where you can hand build your own lightsaber to take home – there are over 120,000 possible combinations using all of the available pieces.
Know the droids you’re looking for?
Head to the Droid Depot where you can build you very own companion (and the best bit is, it can immediately begin interacting with the land!).
These experiences don’t come particularly cheap (handbuilt lightsabers are around $200) so if you’re on a budget then you may want to head to the Marketplace where there are fun souvenirs from plush Porgs and more Star Wars creatures, to themed clothing and cool handcrafted toys.
Book the trip
It’s worth noting that currently Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open at Disney’s California Adventure Park, but the same land (rides and all) will also open at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando later this year.
7 nights in California from £620pp: Seven nights in Los Angeles with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow direct to Los Angeles, 3 day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket with car hire included.
Price is per person and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Price is for flights departing 30 September 2019 and returning 07 October 2019 and does not include accommodation.
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