Batuu is just as immersive as expected
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is, without a doubt, the most insanely immersive land Disney has ever made. It is such a captivating place that you could spend hours there and completely forget that it is tucked into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Entering Batuu is an experience unlike any other available at Disney parks. You could perhaps liken it to entering Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, but there’s something far more subtle to the realism of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Especially if you are a die-hard Star Wars fan, Batuu feels insanely real. My husband and I are both longtime players of Star Wars MMORPG video games—we were active in Star Wars Galaxies and still regularly play Star Wars: The Old Republic. I had speculated sometime back in an article that Galaxy’s Edge sounded like a live action version of one of these games. I was absolutely right.
Every detail reinforces immersion in Galaxy’s Edge. If not for the fact that cast members wear name badges, you would quickly forget they are Disney employees. Sure, there are tourists everywhere, and you couldn’t take five steps without tripping over a YouTuber or Instagram influencer hurriedly producing content, but it didn’t matter. Similar to a Renaissance Festival, the crowds were sprinkled with both cast members and Disneybounders wearing Star Wars-inspired garb. Stormtroopers occasionally marched through in pairs, casually accosting anyone who caught their eye. The crowds just sort of melted away into the story. Everything is extremely alive. Small panels light up when guests use the datapad app. That starfighter you thought was a simple prop replica might suddenly power-up and start releasing steam. The whole place is magically, stunningly real.
You find yourself wanting to know more about the story
A Disney representative described Batuu as something like experiencing the movie “Groundhog Day” in Star Wars. Your visit to Galaxy’s Edge takes place on a specific day in the Star Wars canon timeline, somewhere between The Last Jedi and Rise of the Skywalker. There are no repeat stage shows like in other parts of the park. Specific events take place at specific times of the day.
We knew we wanted to visit Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, so we ended up at the end of that line very quickly upon visiting the park. My husband quickly procured a thermal detonator shaped-soda (which he accidentally dropped at one point, urging shouts of “HE’S HOLDING A THERMAL DETONATOR!” from nearby fans), but we ended up spending a good 2 hours in that line. From our vantage point beginning on the outskirts of the land’s Resistance base, we got to see elements of the story play out several times. Stormtrooper patrols became a regular occurrence. We quickly learned how to pick out Vi Moradi, Leia’s (excuse me… General Organa’s) Chief Spy thanks to her blue hair.
We watched Rey walk through the crowd at least five times. The first two, I didn’t even realize she was a character—I thought she was just another guest. There were so many Rey Disneybounders that we started to joke that they were clearly decoys, like the Queen of Naboo’s handmaidens. Once we realized it was the real Rey, we kept an eye on her, and on occasion, she would pull people from the crowd and take them on small missions for the Resistance. One of the sweetest moments of the day was watching Rey stop to chat with a twenty-something woman. When the girl recognized her, she clasped her hands to her mouth and started crying for joy that her hero was talking to her. She was all smiles as Rey took a picture with her before taking her on a mission.
Little vignettes like this continue throughout the day. We watched cast members cart weird containers through the park as part of “shipments” or others act super-sketchy like they were on spy missions. Chewie and a mechanic asked for help from passerbys to fix a malfunctioning antenna at one point. My husband even witnessed stormtroopers arresting Vi Moradi only for her to reappear later. How did she escape? What did they want with her? What are the rules of neutrality on Batuu? If you pay attention to your surroundings, you really start getting caught up in the story.
There is so much to do because EVERYTHING is an attraction
One of the biggest gripes detractors had when Galaxy’s Edge was announced was that there wouldn’t be enough to do—after all, the land was only opening with one of its two flagship attractions.
This line of thinking could not be more wrong. The reason why is that Galaxy’s Edge defies the traditional structure of how we expect a theme park land to work. We assume lands are supposed to be a setting to hold attractions. Shopping and dining are secondary concerns, but rides are all fans really care about.
Smuggler’s Run is a great attraction, but the real draw of Galaxy’s Edge is that the whole blasted place is pure Disney magic. If you are willing to let yourself get lost in the world of Batuu, you could spend hours there. Shopping, dining, exploration, and cast member interactions all become attractions unto themselves. During our long wait for Dok Ondar’s Den, we took turns exploring. You can burn so much time just wandering around taking it all in. Everything adds to the atmosphere, from popcorn buckets that look like mouse droids to creature carriers for “pets” guests can purchase. We didn’t even touch the park’s upcharge experiences, like the ultra-immersive Savi’s Lightsaber workshop or the Droid Depot, and we still had plenty to do to occupy our time.
By the way, while we didn’t get to try Batuu’s food offerings yet, the blue and green milk are well worth your investment. The line moves extremely fast, and we opted to try one of each. My husband preferred the blue milk for its remarkable creaminess, berry-like flavor (from dragonfruit puree), and almost imperceptible fruit chunks. While it was very tasty, I actually loved the subtlety of the green milk. I don’t like drinks that are too sweet, and while I could have done without the smoothie-like element, the green milk was still wonderfully creamy with an extremely subtle fruit flavor. The latter felt more like “Star-Wars-milk” to me and will definitely be my go-to order on future visits. However, I can definitely see why most people prefer the blue. Supposedly, you can get a better deal on blue and green milk from Oga’s Cantina, by the way.