Tonight Disneyland officially opened Galaxy’s Edge, their new Star Wars themed “land”. Galaxy’s Edge contains the planet of Batuu, a way station on the edge of wild space where the Black Spire outpost exists. It’s an ancient place but also thoroughly Star Wars, where smugglers, the First Order, and the Rebellion all inhabit their own corners and are frequently at odds.
I was lucky enough to spend ten hours exploring Batuu over the last week. Let me tell you as someone who grew up loving Star Wars (I was 8 when the first movie released), this is the real deal. The Disney Imagineers went to extreme efforts to make Batuu more immersive than anything Disney has ever made before. When you visit Batuu, you are not in a subdivision of Disneyland. You are transported to the galaxy far, far away. It’s amazing. The architecture, the droids, the little panels on the walls, the sounds, the Millennium Falcon, and all the little details completely suck you in. I’ll be covering this further and tomorrow, I’ll be featured in an extended interview on the Rebel Force Radio podcast all about it, but just for now, here are a few things I’ve done in Batuu:
I’ve watched and cheered on Chewbacca as he repaired an X-Wing right in front of me.
I’ve drunk blue milk.
I’ve hung out on the Millennium Falcon
I’ve piloted the Millennium Falcon numerous times. By the way, pulling back on the throttle to kick the Falcon into hyperspace is a life-altering experience.
I’ve been hassled by stormtroopers for wearing a Rebel patch on my coat.
I’ve sent Chewbacca off on a rampage, presumably to kill stormtroopers.
I’ve explored the shops and back alleys of Batuu.
I’ve built a droid. (Of course I installed a rebel personality chip.)
I've been approached … by a guy … about a lightsaber.
Best of all, I’ve lived in Star Wars. That really is the only way to describe it. Batuu is so realistic that it becomes real. The sounds of the area are that of a spaceport. When you hear a ship rumble across the city, you instinctively look up, only to be convinced it is just out of your line of sight.
Best of all is the cast members, which in this case are citizens of Batuu. When one sweeper approached and saw trash on the ground, he asked me if it was mine. When I said “no”, he smiled and said, “Good. I can sell this for credits” before sweeping it up and moving along. When I discovered a rebel weapons cache and a bunch of artifacts from the original trilogy, another Batuu citizen asked if I knew what “all that old junk” is.
At one point I witnessed a rebel operative enlist a 10-ish-year-old boy into the rebellion and had him posted as a lookout for stormtroopers as she was sabotaging land speeders. It's real. It's so real that when you leave Batuu and find yourself back in Disneyland, it's jarring. If Star Wars is your thing, Batuu is definitely going to be your thing.
It’s amazing and I feel like I’m just getting started in my explorations. If you go, make sure to check your cynicism at the door and instead dive in and enjoy the ride.
Also, I have contacts with a rebel cell currently sneaking into Batuu that has set up an Instagram Account to smuggle out photos and comment on the state of the unjust First Order occupation. If you like this sort of thing, subscribe to the “Batuu_Rebel” account on Instagram. The cell is still getting established, but I expect it is going to get quite active in the near future.