Home » Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Has a Hidden Attraction Right Under Guests’ Noses

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Has a Hidden Attraction Right Under Guests’ Noses

Star Wars Datapad in front of X-Wing

…and you don’t even have to wait in line to enjoy it.

Disney has made some impressive strides in the last years in incorporating “free exploration” experiences into their lands, particularly by using the Play Disney Parks app. The ultra-immersive atmosphere at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios) provided the perfect springboard to take this concept to new heights.

Star Wars Datapad is a game within the Play Disney Parks app that guests can use to enhance exploration within the Black Spire Outpost (the land’s in-world location on planet Batuu). While a phone game doesn’t sound very impressive compared to Disney’s other offerings, Star Wars Datapad is somewhat unique in that its features allow guests to actually interact with various elements in the land—like droids that come alive, ships that power up, and even giving cast members cues about what your experiences in the land have been like. Before Galaxy’s Edge opened, we theorized that the land sounded like a live action version of an MMORPG, like Star Wars Galaxies or Star Wars: The Old Republic. This ended up being true—a trip to Galaxy’s Edge is like stepping into a live action video game.

Star Wars Datapad enhances this experience by giving guests more opportunities to experience the land—even to participate in “side quests” and build a reputation with key factions in the outpost like the Resistance, the First Order, and Scoundrels who are just out to make money. Indeed, there’s so much connected to this little app, that you might say it’s like a hidden attraction unto itself.

Curious? Here’s our ultimate guide to everything you need to know about Star Wars: Datapad.

The Basics:  Hack, Scan, Tune, Translate

Star Wars Datapad in front of X-Wing

Image: Disney

Accessing Star Wars Datapad is easy: simply download the Play Disney Parks app. Once you’re signed in, click on the park you’re in (Disneyland or Disney’s Hollywood Studios), then locate the icon for Star Wars Datapad in the Galaxy’s Edge section. It doesn’t matter if you select “Star Wars Datapad” or “Flight Crew Wanted” for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run—both actions take you to the same place. You will need to make sure that Bluetooth is turned on to use most of the app’s functionality. You can honestly leave your Wi-Fi off, and it will work just fine.

Once you’ve clicked through the app’s short tutorial, you can start exploring its features. On a basic level, the app offers four important functions for interacting with elements in the park:


Hack interface screen

Screenshot: Jett Farrell-Vega

Hacking is probably the feature you will use the most. Technically, in the Star Wars universe, this is called “Slicing”, but as we’ve learned from the ever-changing menu names at Docking Bay 7, Disney parks visitors can only handle so much lingo.

Depending on where you are standing within the Black Spire Outpost, selecting the Hack tool may pull up a number of terminals, door panels, ships, droids, and vehicles nearby that can be hacked. To hack the chosen item, you’ll need to complete a quick puzzle—basically complete a digital wiring grid by connecting colored “wires” between squares without crossing lines. These start out pretty easy but get harder the more experienced you become. When you reach the higher levels like “Expert Slicer” or “Master Slicer”, you’ll have to work quick as some of your lines will self-destruct if you don’t complete the hack fast enough. On rare occasion, the puzzle may have other elements included.

Within the app, successful hacks have all sorts of effects. They can reveal hidden schematics and earn you items within the game, or they can provide opportunities to install shifty-technology for your chosen faction. For the Resistance or First Order, this can mean installing defenses or surveillance, depending on where you are. If you fancy yourself something of a scoundrel, it can mean installing a credit skimmer if you earned one for completing a less-than-legal job (like a true skimmer, you can come back later and see how many in-game credits you nabbed through your lack of scruples).

Outside of the game, hacks have tangible effects on many objects within Galaxy’s Edge. Droids may power up and make sounds. Vehicles may start or ships power up. You can even hack a water fountain in the marketplace courtyard which can trigger a dianoga eye to appear. In short, hack everything you can find, outdoors and indoors.


Mom and kids scanning crates with Datapad app

Image: Disney

The second most common feature you’ll probably use is Scan. This allows you to scan certain crates throughout the land (via a cleverly disguised QR code) to see what contents are hidden inside. Often, these are oddities like Loth Cat Chow or macrobinoculars, but some crates hide special contents. These can either be items valuable to the factions on Batuu, or they might be something you’re required to find for a job (more on those later). In these cases, you’ll have to break through extra security measures by solving a puzzle like arranging pieces on a tangram shape puzzle or picking a digital lock. Your profile tab keeps track of all the items you’ve found through scans in the outpost so far.

A minor note to consider with scanning: be courteous of your fellow guests. Some crates can be a challenge to get to when guests block them. We’ve ran into a few occasions where crate piles became the go-to photo spot for queues of wandering visitors. In these cases, either move on and come back later, or just wait in the line like everyone else and ignore their baffled stares when you start quickly scanning crates.


Stormtrooper looking down over outpost

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

Tune is quite another fun little feature, though you may not have quite as many opportunities to use it as Hack or Scan. It allows you to Tune into transmissions and communications sent from antennas throughout the Black Spire Outpost. Most of these are physical antennas throughout the land, but some are more difficult to spot than others. In short, always keep your eyes open if something looks like a transmission device.

Like the other features, tuning frequencies involves some quick puzzle-solving. First, you’ll have to use a scanner to locate where the frequency is at by physically turning until you’re pointing the right direction (the app gets confused sometimes, so this isn’t always pointed right at the antenna). Then, you’ll need to tilt your phone—er, Datapad—up and down until you locate the frequency. Depending on if you tuned into something extra juicy, you may have to crack extra puzzles, like lining up frequency pieces to form continuous lines or selecting icons at appropriate times during a scan. Some of the transmission transcripts are quite entertaining, and you can uncover full conversations over time that are stored in your profile.


Translate interface in Datapad app

Screenshot: Jett Farrell-Vega

If you’re a code-breaker or language buff, you’ll probably like Datapad’s translate feature, which allows you to translate Aurebesh writing (aka Star Wars alphabet) automatically or by manually entering characters. Opportunities abound for both throughout Galaxy’s Edge, and you can even use the manual translator at home.

Most of the opportunities to translate things will require manual entry. This can be a little slow, but you get the hang of it as you go, and the app even has the option to change fonts to match different styles of Aurebesh. The automatic feature works in a few different places throughout the land, and on rare occasion, it can even be used to translate alien dialogue in locations like Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities or Oga’s Cantina.

Jobs – Building a reputation

Hacking puzzle in datapad app by terminal

Image: Disney

While the Hack, Scan, Tune, and Translate features are neat in their own right, they would get dull quickly without some sense of purpose within Galaxy’s Edge. This is where the jobs tab kicks in.

The jobs feature within Star Wars Datapad acts a bit like missions within an open world video game. For those unfamiliar, think gig economy jobs like Uber, Lyft, or Instacart—they’re mini-jobs you can do within Black Spire Outpost to earn credits (Star Wars money) and reputation or to help a chosen faction like The Resistance, the First Order, and Scoundrels.

The jobs interface is a bit wonky at times (it doesn’t always keep track of jobs that are active, for example), but the basic idea is that you can click a job to strike up a chat conversation with a character in Galaxy’s Edge—a clever use of chat-bots. These can be local nobodies or more well-known characters like Rose Tico, Hondo Ohnaka, or Vi Moradi, Leia’s top spy. If you accept the job, you’re given a quest to fulfill within the land using one of Datapad’s four features—usually hack or scan.

The tab next to “Jobs” offers a Map you can use to know where to go within the land. These jobs can range from installing surveillance in enemy sections or finding a missing equipment hidden in crates, like a mysterious jetpack that keeps disappearing. One job even involves Hondo trying to locate a lost password. The circumstances behind some of the tasks are quite amusing, but be careful who you work for. If you switch factions by working for the opposite side, you can earn a title as a Turncoat (this is hard to avoid if you’re also doing scoundrel jobs).

When you complete a job, you’ll pick up your chat with the job-giver and earn a reward. This can be piles of credits, in-game items for your collection, skimmers that can be used for hacking certain terminals, and reputation points. The jobs are a great way to explore the outpost, as they really do take you everywhere and provide focus for your wandering.

Collections, Titles, and Trading

Profile screen from datapad app with outfit, stats, and more

Screenshot: Jett Farrell-Vega

One cool feature of Star Wars Datapad is that it can keep track of your achievements in the park over multiple trips. This includes building an ongoing collection of items, outfits, trinkets, and titles within your Profile. Some of these are connected to how much you use a particular skill—like if you’re hacking things like crazy, you could become a Master Slicer, increasing the difficulty of future hacks. Other items and titles come from completing certain jobs. You can also gain titles for how you performed on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run (from worst to best, these are Shipping Crew, Hot Shot, Marauder, and Pirate).

I don’t pay much attention to Achievements in video games, but some of the items in the Profile section really do get you genuinely curious what it would take to achieve a certain title or find an item. The mysterious “Black Spire Outpost Expert” is a good example. There are also some items clearly linked to Rise of the Resistance, the land’s second attraction (opening imminently at the time of this writing).

Flight Crews Wanted – A job for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

Green milk in front of Millennium Falcon

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

There is one unique job within Star Wars Datapad that stands out from the rest because it’s designed to be completed in the queue for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Picking up the “Flight Crews Wanted” job for Hondo Ohnaka kicks off a series of mini-games to interview you as a potential smuggler for Ohnaka Shipping Solutions (read our guide to the absurdly-fascinating life of Hondo Ohnaka to learn just how he came into this unlikely partnership with Chewbacca).

For the first mission, you’ll be scanning some crates to help Hondo’s crew with inventory. Ironically, this is the hardest job to actually do because it begins outside, and the queue for Smuggler’s Run moves quite quickly. You have to be right next to the crates for the scans to work, and we usually end up passing them too fast so we don’t gum up the line. Your best bet for fulfilling this part of the job would be to fire up the game well before you enter the queue, then step out of the line to scan some of the crates. You may end up waiting a little longer, but this is the best option for completionists.

The second portion of your interview takes place inside the Maintenance Hangar. For this part, Hondo tests your memory to see if you can adequately maintain a false identity—specifically by remembering obscure details on a false ID card. Hondo gives you a little time to memorize the card then asks specific questions about the false identity. If you miss any, he trolls you with unabashed disappointment.

Man and girl scanning crates with datapad

Image: Disney

While everyone can approach this game a little differently, I found if I worked the details into a title or sentence, I could remember them easier—like “Lady Tak Vrbither the Tall of Nar Shadaa, the hairless, red-eyed Klatooinian telepath.” The main things you have to watch for are little tricks Hondo tries to pull, like making sure you got spellings correct (by giving you three super-similar options) or asking questions about things the Fake ID doesn’t have (like hair color for a bald alien). There is, technically, a way to basically cheat your way through this game, but for the sake of fun, I won’t reveal it.

Finally, the third portion of the game begins once you can actually see the Millennium Falcon. Now, I got really confused by this section, because it’s easy to logically assume you shouldn’t start it until you’re in the next room after the Maintenance Hangar—WRONG. You can start this game as soon as you are on the ramp next to the windows that look out over the Falcon, and it will actually help your progress if you start this early. The game identifies this ramp as the left side of the Falcon viewed from the Millennium Falcon overlook.

For this game, you’re basically helping Hondo complete diagnostics on the ship by identifying specific parts on the actual ship. This could include locating red plates, counting vents, and clarifying how certain pieces of the ship look. It’s important that you update the game as you go to accurately identify where you are in relation to the Millennium Falcon. The easiest way to do this is to start the part for the “left side” on the ramp at the end of the Maintenance Hangar, then switch to “behind the Falcon” just before you enter the Millennium Falcon overlook. Finally, you can switch to the right side of the ship when you’re about 3/4ths of the way down the part of the line closest to the Falcon. It’s a little confusing, but the diagnostic game is quite fun as it allows you to really take in the insane amount of detail on the ship.

When the job is complete, Hondo will let you know if he thinks you are smuggler material or not. If you complete everything, you get a special achievement for your collection.

A few more tips…

Tie Echelon at night in Galaxy's Edge

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega (@mykingdomforamouse Instagram)

Star Wars Datapad is a blast, but there are a few things to keep in mind that will maximize your experience. For one thing, keep an eye on your phone battery. Disney’s apps are real battery hogs, and Play Disney Parks is no different. To preserve battery, only use the park’s Wi-Fi when you need it—the Datapad game relies on Bluetooth for its functionality, not Wi-Fi or data. It would also be smart to carry a power pack for your phone (I’ve been happy with the previous model of this one). Be aware there are no Fuel Rod stations inside Galaxy’s Edge.

As for getting the most out of the game, use your eyes! Always be looking around. The outpost is full of interactive features that are only accessed by using Datapad. Keep an eye out for panels, towers, droids, ships, and vehicles, and watch those items if you hack them—sometimes, they will respond with lights or motion. Also be aware that you can re-do jobs to earn even more credits. Finally, be patient. The app is still a little buggy at times and can crash from time to time. If this happens, just restart it and try again.

What might the future hold for Star Wars Datapad?

Equipment screen - Datapad app

Screenshot: Jett Farrell-Vega

Star Wars Datapad is a very cool step forward in fostering free-exploration fun at Disney parks. We are very excited to see where the app might go in the future. There has already been talk of expansion packs for new jobs and features that guests may be able to purchase in the future, and it also seems likely that Disney might offer some special merchandise like pins that can only be purchased if you’ve made certain achievements in Star Wars Datapad.

It will also be very interesting to see how Datapad affects cast member interactions. There is already some level of this taking place in the park (Oga’s Cantina servers know if you’ve done well or poorly on Smuggler’s Run thanks to your Magic Band, for example), but it would be really neat if completing Datapad missions opened up opportunities for missions where you get to interact with more cast members and characters.

In short, Star Wars Datapad is really like a whole hidden attraction in Galaxy’s Edge, and you’re definitely missing out if you don’t at give it a try. Have you tried Star Wars Datapad yet? What was your favorite feature?