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Ten Hours in Batuu

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.

The New Galaxy's Edge Soundtrack

This one pushes all of my buttons.

As an annual passholder, I've enjoyed watching Star Wars grow out of the Disneyland backlot over the last year. The new Star Wars themed land will be called Galaxy's Edge and, thanks to Josh Gad (long story), I spent some quality time with the primary Galaxy's Edge designers. If you are curious, I explain the story and the details in this episode of Rebel Force Radio.

This week Disney announced that John Williams is creating new and original Star Wars themes just for the new park. They even posted a video showcasing the new music with some very recent flybys through the area under construction. Disney says the California iteration of Galaxy's Edge is supposed to open this summer.

Every time I watch the below video, my inner eight-year-old flips out.

The Disneyland Star Wars Experience

I spent part of today at the Disney D23 convention where they've got an entire section devoted to the Star Wars Experience at Disneyland. I spoke with lots of Imagineers and learned a lot of information. The Saturday sessions will disclose a lot more about this expansion and I'll write up what I learned more afterward but I thought you may want to start out by looking at pictures of this remarkable model. These images are lightboxed so clicking on them will blow them up. Enjoy.

January 26 Disneyland Meetup

Adam Christianson and I get together every few months for a nerd dinner. We are both Disneyland fans and we've been talking about meeting there one day forever. We are finally getting serious about it and we decided to invite anyone else to join us that is willing to brave a Saturday crowd and shell up the admission costs. So if you are in the Orange County area on January 26 (the Saturday before Macworld) and so inclined, head over to DisneyMacGeeks.com and sign up. It doesn't look like a very big turnout but it will be fun anyway. We'll take a picture in front of the castle, have a big meal, and share a few laughs.

So how deep are my roots at Disneyland you ask? This deep.

Skipper MacSparky

Skipper MacSparky