Mystery shop - Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge | attractionsmanagement.com
GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
Mystery shop
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Does Disney’s multi-billion dollar addition live up to the hype? Tom Anstey paid a visit to a galaxy far, far away to find out more…

By Tom Anstey | Published in Attractions Management 2020 issue 1


I’ve been eager to visit Galaxy’s Edge since it first opened in May last year, so I came in with very high expectations.

The new Star Wars attraction, reported to have cost around US$2bn to build, is a dream come true for fans of the franchise. Like Universal’s Harry Potter experiences, the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu offers a chance to explore a real-world made from a beloved IP . Unlike Harry Potter, this isn’t a recreation, this is a completely new Star Wars experience.

There are two nearly identical versions of the land – one at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and the other at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. My visit was to Hollywood Studios.

A cinematic experience
Entering from the side closest to the Hollywood Studios entrance, you walk through a large tunnel. As you advance through the tunnel, the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Studios fades away. Rounding the corner, you are greeted by the iconic X-Wing as the centrepiece of an alien vista. Welcome to “the last stop before reaching uncharted Wild Space” – the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu.

When I visited, Rise of the Resistance hadn’t opened yet. The entrance to the ride is on the left-hand side as you enter. As it stood, the area had a few merchandise stands and closed drink stands but remained relatively quiet apart from visitors to the land pausing to take a selfie with the X-Wing.

Galaxy’s Edge acts as an invitation to explore. There isn’t one single way round, you make the choice of where you want to go. The majority of signs are in Aurebesh – the language of the Galactic Empire – which is amazing in terms of immersion and exploration, but a challenge in terms of navigation.

The Marketplace
My first stop was at the Marketplace – a retail area on the outside – an engrossing and immersive experience on the inside.

Retail experiences probably make up a good 50 per cent – alongside rides and dining – of what’s on offer in Galaxy’s Edge. Featuring “vendors showcasing wares from across the galaxy”, nothing on sale at the Marketplace looks like it wouldn’t belong on an alien planet. The first store I entered was an animal store (selling soft toys and animal figures). In the middle of the store was a cage featuring an animatronic Loth cat, while on the shelves were purchasable animals including porgs, tauntans, wampas and more.

A running theme is that everything on sale felt hugely overpriced. A porg soft toy, for example, would set you back US$44.99, while a kowakian figure was a whopping US$69.99.

The next vendor sold handmade toys that looked as though they had been hand made ‘on-planet’, while the Black Spire Outfitters offered Star Wars clothing. Anyone older than 15 cannot wear their Jedi robes in the park with the official line from Disney being they think cosplayers will be mistaken for actual cast members.

Fine dining
Dining is an experience which can often be overlooked in terms of the overall picture of a themed attraction but that was not the case for Galaxy’s Edge.

The snack stand in the market was a prime example of attention to detail and making no elements seem out of place. It still sold brands such as coke but the logos had been artfully translated into Aurebesh, making it recognisable and alien at the same time.

With the lack of English signposting, I completely missed the Ogoa’s cantina, which is a lounge/bar, but I did see Ronto Roasters, a fast food joint which came with a giant towering wheel being used to cook alien meat, and Docking Bay 7, which is where I chose to get a taste of the Black Spire Outpost.

Right in the heart of the action, the restaurant, as its name suggests, looks like a converted spaceship hangar, with everything from the menu to the bowl I was served my food in creating a story behind my dining experience.

Of the several options available I went for the Endorian Fried Chicken Tip Yip (fried chicken and mashed potatoes in gravy). The presentation was excellent and for fast food, it was good quality, though at US$20 for a meal and a drink, it felt slightly overpriced.

The main event
After eating, I went to the star attraction – the famous Millennium Falcon, which is home to Smuggler’s Run – a simulator offering guests the chance to fly the famous spaceship.

The queue for the ride was more than two-and-a-half hours, so I opted for the single rider queue to speed things up. The wait was still around an hour.

After spending quite some time engrossed in Galaxy’s Edge, I found myself standing on a flight of stairs next to a fire exit, waiting to ride the big new attraction. There were some games available on the Disney app but not enough to keep someone entertained for that long.

The experience offers three different roles – pilot, gunner and engineer. In the final boarding area – which brings you inside of the Falcon – groups of six are given their role. I was handed the role of pilot. Single riders are assigned empty slots in odd-numbered group. I was sent into the waiting area and told to have a look around. It was only after a minute or so of looking, that I realised there was actually a boarding queue here with groups of six standing together to go on the ride. After a little confusion, I found the group I’d been added to and headed for the cockpit of the Falcon.

Queuing aside, the ride experience – a four-and-a-half-minute interactive “smuggling mission” – is phenomenal. There were two people working together for each of the three roles. As the pilot, I was in charge of flying up and down, while my co-pilot was flying left and right. We also had moments during the ride where we had to press certain buttons and pull certain levers to, for example, go into hyperspace.

This is probably the closest anyone will ever get to flying the Millennium Falcon for real. It really feels like you are in control and that your actions matter. If you fail to turn or pull up, you will bump into things, if you don’t destroy an enemy ship, you’re going to take damage and feel the impact. At the end of the experience, you get a score based on flying, shooting and repairs, breaking down how well each rider did in their role.

The Dark Side
Venturing on, I came across an area occupied by the evil First Order. Of course, there was a store, kitted out to look like a military depot. Prices varied, with a top of the line stormtrooper helmet costing in excess of US$500.

Parked in this area is one of the First Order’s TIE Echelon starships, which in Star Wars canon are used for troop and cargo transport. The area also acts as a live action stage, where Kylo Ren arrives on Batuu in order to track down Rey.

More Retailtainment
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities was one of the best examples of retail meeting entertainment. Doubling as a Star Wars museum, this “junk store” is filled with treasures and iconic objects from across the entire franchise. A large tank features a baby dianoga – better known as the trash compactor monster from the original Star Wars film. Other items on display include an array of helmets, a stuffed Wampa and even an easter egg in the form of the Arc of the Covenant from George Lucas’ Indiana Jones for really eagle-eyed visitors.

Among the purchasable items visitors can get their hands on are impressive-looking holocron cubes for both the light and dark side.

Nearing the end of my exploration of Black Spire Outpost, I came across the Droid Depot. In this store, guests can purchase and build their own unique droid, with more than 280,000 ways to create an R-series or BB-series using all the available pieces. It features a conveyor belt with different parts that guests use to build their droid before selecting a personality circuit and taking it to an activation centre.

A sense of wonder
The mystery of Galaxy’s Edge is both a compliment and a criticism. Unless you are thorough in your exploration, you can very easily miss something.

Savi’s Lightsabres for example – an experience where you assemble your own lightsaber – is hidden in the land for a reason. In the story of Galaxy’s Edge, the Resistance don’t want the First Order to know of its existence. Sadly however this meant I too was unaware and missed it.

Navigation can be improved by deciphering the Aurebesh language, which can be translated using the Star Wars: Datapad app but if you haven’t done your research in advance, there’s a good chance you won’t know that this is on offer. I downloaded the app on the day, but couldn’t get to grips with it (I seemed to be stuck in the Disney Play part rather than the Datapad part) and quickly dropped it in order to focus on the land rather than my phone.

Conclusions
Simply put, this is the best immersive visitor experience I have ever seen. Harry Potter was going to be hard to top but Disney has succeeded with their attention to detail in creating this masterpiece.

The value for money is the only thing that lets it down. Considering the US$100 per person price tag alone to enter the park, you’re looking at an expensive day to live out a full Star Wars fantasy. It may have been a costly project but pricing out a park ticket, buying a meal, getting my own lightsabre, building a droid and investing in jedi clothing – what I would characterise as the “full” experience – would have cost in excess of US$600. Indeed, there are more than 700 unique items for sale through the land. I dread to think what the combined total of all that would be.

Of course, spending is optional once you’re inside Galaxy’s Edge and even without spending a penny, you can still have a great time. With the land however set out largely as a retailtainment experience, you will probably want to splash the cash when you get there.

The addition of The Rise of the Resistance has certainly added to Galaxy’s Edge. The ride was a couple of weeks from launch when I visited, but reports suggest the queuing experience is much more engaging than Smuggler’s Run. If you’re a Star Wars fan with a nice bit of change in your pocket, I highly recommend visiting Galaxy’s Edge. You definitely won’t be left disappointed.

Galaxy’s Edge offers endless photo opportunities for fans
Retail is presented as an experience within the immersive land
Even the selection of food on sale has been themed to have a Star Wars feel to it
Rise of the Resistance was a later addition to the land
A life-size replica of the Millennium Falcon is one of Galaxy’s Edge’s star attractions
The land depicts the presence of both the First Order and Resistance
COMPANY PROFILES
Antonio Zamperla Spa

Founded in 1966, the Antonio Zamperla SPA is privately owned by Mr Alberto Zamperla. Located in Vi [more...]
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Red Raion and Leolandia announce partnership
Red Raion, the CGI studio specialised in media-based attractions, has announced its partnership with the popular Italian theme park Leolandia. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

24-25 Nov 2021

Scotland’s National Tourism Industry Conference

EICC, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

2021 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2020 issue 1


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021
Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Mystery shop
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Does Disney’s multi-billion dollar addition live up to the hype? Tom Anstey paid a visit to a galaxy far, far away to find out more…

By Tom Anstey | Published in Attractions Management 2020 issue 1


I’ve been eager to visit Galaxy’s Edge since it first opened in May last year, so I came in with very high expectations.

The new Star Wars attraction, reported to have cost around US$2bn to build, is a dream come true for fans of the franchise. Like Universal’s Harry Potter experiences, the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu offers a chance to explore a real-world made from a beloved IP . Unlike Harry Potter, this isn’t a recreation, this is a completely new Star Wars experience.

There are two nearly identical versions of the land – one at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and the other at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. My visit was to Hollywood Studios.

A cinematic experience
Entering from the side closest to the Hollywood Studios entrance, you walk through a large tunnel. As you advance through the tunnel, the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Studios fades away. Rounding the corner, you are greeted by the iconic X-Wing as the centrepiece of an alien vista. Welcome to “the last stop before reaching uncharted Wild Space” – the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu.

When I visited, Rise of the Resistance hadn’t opened yet. The entrance to the ride is on the left-hand side as you enter. As it stood, the area had a few merchandise stands and closed drink stands but remained relatively quiet apart from visitors to the land pausing to take a selfie with the X-Wing.

Galaxy’s Edge acts as an invitation to explore. There isn’t one single way round, you make the choice of where you want to go. The majority of signs are in Aurebesh – the language of the Galactic Empire – which is amazing in terms of immersion and exploration, but a challenge in terms of navigation.

The Marketplace
My first stop was at the Marketplace – a retail area on the outside – an engrossing and immersive experience on the inside.

Retail experiences probably make up a good 50 per cent – alongside rides and dining – of what’s on offer in Galaxy’s Edge. Featuring “vendors showcasing wares from across the galaxy”, nothing on sale at the Marketplace looks like it wouldn’t belong on an alien planet. The first store I entered was an animal store (selling soft toys and animal figures). In the middle of the store was a cage featuring an animatronic Loth cat, while on the shelves were purchasable animals including porgs, tauntans, wampas and more.

A running theme is that everything on sale felt hugely overpriced. A porg soft toy, for example, would set you back US$44.99, while a kowakian figure was a whopping US$69.99.

The next vendor sold handmade toys that looked as though they had been hand made ‘on-planet’, while the Black Spire Outfitters offered Star Wars clothing. Anyone older than 15 cannot wear their Jedi robes in the park with the official line from Disney being they think cosplayers will be mistaken for actual cast members.

Fine dining
Dining is an experience which can often be overlooked in terms of the overall picture of a themed attraction but that was not the case for Galaxy’s Edge.

The snack stand in the market was a prime example of attention to detail and making no elements seem out of place. It still sold brands such as coke but the logos had been artfully translated into Aurebesh, making it recognisable and alien at the same time.

With the lack of English signposting, I completely missed the Ogoa’s cantina, which is a lounge/bar, but I did see Ronto Roasters, a fast food joint which came with a giant towering wheel being used to cook alien meat, and Docking Bay 7, which is where I chose to get a taste of the Black Spire Outpost.

Right in the heart of the action, the restaurant, as its name suggests, looks like a converted spaceship hangar, with everything from the menu to the bowl I was served my food in creating a story behind my dining experience.

Of the several options available I went for the Endorian Fried Chicken Tip Yip (fried chicken and mashed potatoes in gravy). The presentation was excellent and for fast food, it was good quality, though at US$20 for a meal and a drink, it felt slightly overpriced.

The main event
After eating, I went to the star attraction – the famous Millennium Falcon, which is home to Smuggler’s Run – a simulator offering guests the chance to fly the famous spaceship.

The queue for the ride was more than two-and-a-half hours, so I opted for the single rider queue to speed things up. The wait was still around an hour.

After spending quite some time engrossed in Galaxy’s Edge, I found myself standing on a flight of stairs next to a fire exit, waiting to ride the big new attraction. There were some games available on the Disney app but not enough to keep someone entertained for that long.

The experience offers three different roles – pilot, gunner and engineer. In the final boarding area – which brings you inside of the Falcon – groups of six are given their role. I was handed the role of pilot. Single riders are assigned empty slots in odd-numbered group. I was sent into the waiting area and told to have a look around. It was only after a minute or so of looking, that I realised there was actually a boarding queue here with groups of six standing together to go on the ride. After a little confusion, I found the group I’d been added to and headed for the cockpit of the Falcon.

Queuing aside, the ride experience – a four-and-a-half-minute interactive “smuggling mission” – is phenomenal. There were two people working together for each of the three roles. As the pilot, I was in charge of flying up and down, while my co-pilot was flying left and right. We also had moments during the ride where we had to press certain buttons and pull certain levers to, for example, go into hyperspace.

This is probably the closest anyone will ever get to flying the Millennium Falcon for real. It really feels like you are in control and that your actions matter. If you fail to turn or pull up, you will bump into things, if you don’t destroy an enemy ship, you’re going to take damage and feel the impact. At the end of the experience, you get a score based on flying, shooting and repairs, breaking down how well each rider did in their role.

The Dark Side
Venturing on, I came across an area occupied by the evil First Order. Of course, there was a store, kitted out to look like a military depot. Prices varied, with a top of the line stormtrooper helmet costing in excess of US$500.

Parked in this area is one of the First Order’s TIE Echelon starships, which in Star Wars canon are used for troop and cargo transport. The area also acts as a live action stage, where Kylo Ren arrives on Batuu in order to track down Rey.

More Retailtainment
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities was one of the best examples of retail meeting entertainment. Doubling as a Star Wars museum, this “junk store” is filled with treasures and iconic objects from across the entire franchise. A large tank features a baby dianoga – better known as the trash compactor monster from the original Star Wars film. Other items on display include an array of helmets, a stuffed Wampa and even an easter egg in the form of the Arc of the Covenant from George Lucas’ Indiana Jones for really eagle-eyed visitors.

Among the purchasable items visitors can get their hands on are impressive-looking holocron cubes for both the light and dark side.

Nearing the end of my exploration of Black Spire Outpost, I came across the Droid Depot. In this store, guests can purchase and build their own unique droid, with more than 280,000 ways to create an R-series or BB-series using all the available pieces. It features a conveyor belt with different parts that guests use to build their droid before selecting a personality circuit and taking it to an activation centre.

A sense of wonder
The mystery of Galaxy’s Edge is both a compliment and a criticism. Unless you are thorough in your exploration, you can very easily miss something.

Savi’s Lightsabres for example – an experience where you assemble your own lightsaber – is hidden in the land for a reason. In the story of Galaxy’s Edge, the Resistance don’t want the First Order to know of its existence. Sadly however this meant I too was unaware and missed it.

Navigation can be improved by deciphering the Aurebesh language, which can be translated using the Star Wars: Datapad app but if you haven’t done your research in advance, there’s a good chance you won’t know that this is on offer. I downloaded the app on the day, but couldn’t get to grips with it (I seemed to be stuck in the Disney Play part rather than the Datapad part) and quickly dropped it in order to focus on the land rather than my phone.

Conclusions
Simply put, this is the best immersive visitor experience I have ever seen. Harry Potter was going to be hard to top but Disney has succeeded with their attention to detail in creating this masterpiece.

The value for money is the only thing that lets it down. Considering the US$100 per person price tag alone to enter the park, you’re looking at an expensive day to live out a full Star Wars fantasy. It may have been a costly project but pricing out a park ticket, buying a meal, getting my own lightsabre, building a droid and investing in jedi clothing – what I would characterise as the “full” experience – would have cost in excess of US$600. Indeed, there are more than 700 unique items for sale through the land. I dread to think what the combined total of all that would be.

Of course, spending is optional once you’re inside Galaxy’s Edge and even without spending a penny, you can still have a great time. With the land however set out largely as a retailtainment experience, you will probably want to splash the cash when you get there.

The addition of The Rise of the Resistance has certainly added to Galaxy’s Edge. The ride was a couple of weeks from launch when I visited, but reports suggest the queuing experience is much more engaging than Smuggler’s Run. If you’re a Star Wars fan with a nice bit of change in your pocket, I highly recommend visiting Galaxy’s Edge. You definitely won’t be left disappointed.

Galaxy’s Edge offers endless photo opportunities for fans
Retail is presented as an experience within the immersive land
Even the selection of food on sale has been themed to have a Star Wars feel to it
Rise of the Resistance was a later addition to the land
A life-size replica of the Millennium Falcon is one of Galaxy’s Edge’s star attractions
The land depicts the presence of both the First Order and Resistance
LATEST NEWS
UK Budget 2021: Business rates cut by half for health clubs, leisure and hospitality
Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will receive a 50 per cent cut in business rates over the next year.
Winners of first-ever Surf Park Awards revealed
Australian surf park operator URBNSurf and wave generating specialist Wavegarden are among the winners of the inaugural Surf Park Awards.
Little Amal, a puppet of a refugee girl, has walked 5,000km across Europe
A puppet of a refugee girl has 'walked' across Europe on a 5,000km (3,100m) journey, with the help of eleven puppeteers and is now nearing the end of her journey from Syria to the UK.
Eden Project Qingdao reaches construction milestone
Construction work on the Eden Project Qingdao visitor attraction in China has reached a major milestone.
World’s first UNESCO digital trail launches in Scotland
Scotland's Unesco World Heritage Sites are being brought together through the world’s first ever UNESCO digital trail.
Jakob Wahl appointed IAAPA's chief operating officer
Jakob Wahl has been named executive VP and chief operating officer of global attractions industry body IAAPA.
World Food Center Experience will be ‘Silicon Valley’ of food
Plans for the World Food Center Experience in Ede, Netherlands, have been given the final green light by the Provincial Executive of Gelderland.
Creative legends behind iconic Spider-Man ride team to give talk at IAAPA Expo
The creative geniuses behind the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man darkride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure park in Orlando, Florida will offer their insights into the creative process behind the iconic attraction.
Europa Park extends winter opening for the first time as part of Hallowinter celebration
For the first time in its history, Europa-Park has announced it will remain open between Halloween and the start of its winter schedule as part of a ‘HALLOWinter’ offering.
V&A renames childhood museum as part of £13m redevelopment
Construction work has begun on a £13m redevelopment project which will look to transform the V&A Museum of Childhood into the UK’s "premier national museum" entirely dedicated to children.
Tokyo's Harry Potter studio tour will have Fantastic Beasts universe
The Harry Potter studio tour attraction, planned for the Japanese capital city Tokyo, will span a total of 322,000sq ft when it opens to the public in 2023.
Jacksonville Zoo reveals US$50m masterplan
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida, US has launched a fundraising campaign to fund an ambitious US$50m redevelopment and redesign project.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
Antonio Zamperla Spa

Founded in 1966, the Antonio Zamperla SPA is privately owned by Mr Alberto Zamperla. Located in Vi [more...]
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Red Raion and Leolandia announce partnership
Red Raion, the CGI studio specialised in media-based attractions, has announced its partnership with the popular Italian theme park Leolandia. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

24-25 Nov 2021

Scotland’s National Tourism Industry Conference

EICC, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS