Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA
Happy Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Is Open To Everyone Day! Today is the first day that guests can visit Batuu without a special reservation, and thusfar, crowds have been… fine. Other than an initial rush in the morning by the “first!” people that prompted a Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run queue time approaching four hours, the scene at Galaxy’s Edge has been surprisingly unremarkable, with balanced out wait times for the Falcon closer to an hour or less. The virtual queue into the land was engaged earlier in the day, but actually reverted to open access in the later afternoon. Thus far, it hasn’t been the nightmare that some have envisioned—which is great! Whether this is the result of most people still staying away because they expect crowds or Disney’s own superb operations management or a combination of both is not completely clear yet, but hey, at least no one had to wait ten hours at this new attraction!
Of course, I’m sure Disney Twitter will and has still found ways to spin negatives. But you know what? If you’re looking for problems, you’re always going to find them. Just enjoy the amazing work that has been crafted for your theme park visiting enjoyment!
To that end, today, we continue our more in-depth tour of Batuu with a look at its stores and souvenir experiences that make Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge more than just a two-ride attraction. This follows up our look at the land’s dining options and a close-up at Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
To no one’s surprise, Galaxy’s Edge is acutely designed to persuade guests to surrender as much of their Galactic Credits as they can, through a variety of souvenir shops and themed commercial attractions. Disney made a big public splash early on with their announcements of a Lightsaber experience that nets a souvenir lightsaber for $200 and a droid building experience for $100. But even the “regular” stores are deeply immersive and richly detailed. So lets take a tour through the various places where guests of Galaxy’s Edge can buy things. As you’ll see, they haven’t nicknamed it “Broketuu” for nothing!
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
Pessimists may label any Disney store that requires a queue to enter as another example of Disney’s rampant greed, but they’d be missing the point that a place like Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is an attraction worth visiting in and of itself, regardless of if one purchases anything. Located near the center of Black Spire Outpost, Dok-Ondar’s can be found across the way from Ronto Roasters and adjacent to Savi’s Lightsaber Workshop. Just beyond Dok-Ondar’s is Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. And immediately next to the circular Den is a particularly dark rock spire—the actual Black Spire that this whole place is named after.
This grand store is operated by one Dok-Ondar, an Ithorian collector of various rarities and artifacts. Dok is one of the view Black Spire purveyors who actually can be seen on site. He’s behind a cage near the cashier’s counter, supervising operations and pouring over his records and shipments. The audio-animatronic is impressively smooth and occasionally mutters various somethings to himself in his native language. All the employees here seem to enjoy the Ithorian’s presence and rave about what a great boss he is—except when they ask for things like a raise, or benefits, or any conditions-improving request. Other than that, everything’s great!
Of course, the interiors of Dok-Ondar’s is a treasure upon itself. Richly layered with artifacts throughout the galaxy, it’s almost Star Wars’ version of Taneleer Tivian, aka Marvel’s The Collector, found at Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! Unlike that attraction’s queue, which is for looking only, Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities contains a combination of goods that can be purchased and Easter eggs to be found.
The store’s primary purpose is selling wares of both Jedi and Sith origin. Indeed, Dok-Ondar’s is a companion piece to Savi’s Lightsaber Workshop, selling kyber crystals and accessories that can accent and modify guests’ custom-constructed lightsabers. There are other gifts here as well—miniature busts of infamous Sith lords of the past, paintings, Jedi and Sith holocrons, trinkets, non-custom but stunt-quality lightsabers, Jedi wardrobe, and more. It’s an almost-overwhelming merchandise mart of all nerdy things Star Wars.
The theming is pretty impressive too. There are so many items hung on the walls or tucked behind corners that contain both obscure and overt references to various parts of Star Wars mythology. And there are also a few surprises to non-Star Wars memorabilia too. Doubtless by now, you’ve already heard of the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones, hidden away on an upper level and visible only from a certain, specific angle. But there are other interesting keepsakes at Dok-Ondars… a baby Sarlaac specimen in a tank, a gold bust of Yoda, and a gold bust of… Jar Jar Binks? And certainly other surprises. It’s worth it just to stroll through and try to find something different and interesting that hasn’t been spotted before!
Over on the eastern side of the Black Spire Outpost, near the Frontierland and Fantasyland entrances into the land, Droid Depot offers guests the chance to construct miniature and customized versions of their favorite R- and BB- model droids. That’s in the style of R2-D2 and BB-8, for more casual Star Wars fans. Guests who just want to look around can try the exit doors that open through an annex, but those who wish to build their own droid should expect to wait in a line stretching outside and around toward Savi’s Lightsaber Workshop.
Inside, guests pay first before beginning their experience. The cost is $99.99 for either the R- or BB- model droid. There is no Annual Passholder discount, and tax is added on top of the price. Guests head over to a conveyor belt that contains a cornucopia of droid parts to select from. Various color domes and accessories are present, and guests can mix and match to their own aesthetic desires. An R-unit requires a dome, two legs, and a base, and a little foot. A BB-unit requires an actuator, a body, and a two-part head component.. There are also extra accessories available, such as a personality chip, that lends different characteristics to one’s droid.
After picking one parts from the conveyor belt, guests then head over to an assembly bay where the parts are unwrapped and put together. The R-unit requires a bit of a mechanical assembly, but a power screwdriver is available for this purpose. A BB-unit can be assembled entirely by hand and literally rolls around freely like BB-8. After assembly—which is guided by a Droid Depot assistant, guests can then activate the droid, which pairs it with its complementary remote control and also programs its interactive features within Batuu.
Each droid comes with a preset personality, and a First Order droid will be more comfortable in Black Spire Outpost but less confident in the wilderness outpost where the Resistance base is located, and vice versa for a Resistance droid. The neat thing about these guys, aside from being miniature recreations of iconic Star Wars characters, is that they can actually interact in their setting with other droids and certain props in the land. Unfortunately, though the droids are remote controlled, they are prohibited from actually being operated on the ground. This is silly, since that’s sort of the whole point of them (it would be like prohibiting wand use at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), but on the other hand, there is a practical safety reason for the ban. In large crowds, one would hate to have a droid either trip a guest or be trampled by one. So instead, Disney encourages guests to carry their droids and engage the interactive features that way. Maybe place it in a babybjorn? Sorry… BB-bjorn?
The rest of the Droid Depot is pretty detailed too. Look above, and a conveyor line drags various other droid parts around the space, similar to the queue of Star Tours. The interiors is a grungy, industrialized, technological looking mini-factory space, and it’s convincingly immersive.
For those wishing to purchase other, non-custom droid items, there are plenty of souvenirs on the shelves as well. Clothing, Bluetooth speakers, droid accessories, and more are available. Go to the cashier’s booth in the droid-making space, and (subject to availability), guests can also purchase a Batuu Spira, the official currency of these parts. This is basically a fancy gift card with a minimum $100 loading to purchase. The card is metal and very well made, and it works off-planet and for any Disney purchase elsewhere as well. So basically, it’s a cool, free souvenir for those willing put $100 up front. It’s well worth the investment, since guests will undoubtedly use that $100 subsequently in Black Spire Outpost, or elsewhere in the park, or at California Adventure, or on a future visit, or perhaps online shopping. The only problem is that it tends to sell out fast. Supplies are limited—though regularly restocked.
And for those with a larger cache of credits, a full-size functioning replica of R2-D2 is also available for order. Thus far, Disney has sold at least three of these units. They’ll set one back a cool 25,000 credits (dollars), though!
The other souvenir store that doubles as an immersive and interactive experience is Savi’s Workshop—Handbuilt Lightsabers, Disney’s answer to Universal’s Ollivander’s Wand Shop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here, guests can engage in a sacred ceremony to construct their very own lightsaber—all at a cool cool cost of 199.99 credits (again, no discounts, plus tax). Now, the uninitiated might cry out at the Disney greed of charging $200 for a toy, but these are not the typical extending play lightsabers guests can get at Star Trader or Toys-R-Us. These are stunt-quality lightsabers with metal handles that whir, hum, and crackle when used, and they are strong enough for fencing use despite the fact that they have actual light tubes. Online, lightsabers of similar caliber run for a similar three digit figure, with especially fancy and even more customizable versions (multiple colors, different sound effects and even music speakers) going for more. So ultimately, although a $200 lightsaber is much pricier than a $25 - $50 wand at Ollivander’s, the build and quality is somewhat commensurate.
Savi’s Workshop can be found between Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and Droid Depot. It doesn’t exactly stand out. There’s no signage or elaborate branding—just a simple banner with an abstract lightsaber icon outside and some lettering that translates to “Savi and Sons Salvage”—and a decent line (it seems $200 has not deterred many guests from filling up the wait list for Savi’s. Like Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s will likely employ some form of virtual queue for guests to minimize physical wait times, and it also means that those arriving later in the day may not be able to get a reservation time to build a lightsaber. Now that the reservation system into the land has expired, Disney is taking virtual reservations to same-day visitors. Note that this reservation requires the $200 deposit up front, and there are no refunds or cancellations available. Miss the time slot, and you forfeit those credits!
Storyline-wise, Savi’s Workshop is run by Savi and his followers, called the Gatherers, and conducted in secret within the heart of the First Order settlement in Black Spire Outpost. It seems that Savi and his crew are Jedi admirers who want to bring back Jedi culture to the galaxy, but that isn’t exactly an ideal that’s compatible with the First Order. So they operate in secret, disguised as a junkyard, accessible only to those who know the password to enter. Fun fact: Savi and Lor San Tekka—doomed Church of the Force member who died early in The Force Awakens at the hands of Kylo Ren—actually knew each other, and they shared similar Jedi-admiring ideals.
There are other fun details in the area too. Outside the shop, in the little courtyard where guests wait, there’s a Wishing Tee with colorful ribbons tied to it. It is part of a Batuu custom. Citizens write their wishes on the ribbons and tie them to the tree, and over time, as the winds and the weather wears them away, the wishes come true. It’s a cool bit of mythology subtly advanced by the design of Galaxy’s Edge and woven through all different types of attractions—not just the rides, but restaurants and shops.
So… unfortunately, I can’t quite bring myself to shell out $200 for a lightsaber, and I don’t have any friends who could bring me in as a guest (or friends at all, as Jim insists), so we don’t have interior shots of Savi’s. You’ll just have to settle for this video from Attractions Magazine instead, which explains what happens and provides a glimpse of the detail that can be found inside:
First Order Cargo vs Resistance Supply
If theatrical, storyline-laden experiences are a bit too much, Batuu has more traditional store and shops too. Over in Black Spire Outpost, next to a life-size TIE Echelon assault shuttle, First Order Cargo offers a variety of First Order memorabilia and souvenirs. Hydro flasks, magnets, T-shirts, helmets, key chains, and more are available for those who pledge their allegiance to Kylo Ren and his followers.
On the outskirts of town, in the Resistance camp that is currently relatively quiet (at least until Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens), Resistance Supply offers similar memorabilia to those who favor the light. Conveniently, these stands are more mobile in nature, able to be packed up and removed quickly if First Order troops approach, prompting a quick evacuation. Resistance Supply also offers some trail mix packs for snacking, to those who need a bit of nourishment, as well as pins, art pieces, and apparel.
Fortunately, Annual Passholder discounts do apply at First Order Cargo and Resistance Supply. Only the customizable droids and lightsabers at Droid Depot and Savi’s do not accept the AP discount.
The Market at Black Spire Outpost
And then we come upon the gem of the Black Spire Outpost—at least in my opinion. The Market is a bustling medina-like avenue stretching from the edge of the Resistance camp over to Ronto Roasters and the heart of Black Spire Outpost, containing individual stalls selling different types of collectibles and souvenirs. The Walt Disney Imagineers took great inspiration from places like Marrakesh, Morocco and Istanbul, Turkey for this commercial corridor, and it shows in the details, the space, and fixtures, and the architecture.
One of the things I love from a commercial standpoint is that each shop is unique in what it offers, and it sells wares that are not found elsewhere in Batuu or Disneyland Park (well, mostly—there are some items that are also currently being sold at Star Wars: Launch Bay in Tomorrowland). This reminds me of how shops used to operate throughout most of Disneyland, where a store on Main Street sold different souvenirs than one in New Orleans Square, including items that could not be found outside the park. The bustling marketplace feel really evokes that unique and charming Middle Eastern feel, reminding me of my own travels in Morocco and even of the Arabian Coast area in Tokyo Disney Sea—another locale where place-making generates an impressively charming and immersive atmosphere.
Even if one doesn’t further empty his or her wallet here, though, simply wandering the outdoor hallway and admiring the details and theming is treasure enough. The trellises and canvases that run overhead match similar structures in the medinas of places like Marrakesh and Fes, where the summer sun can raise temperatures well into the triple digits, and shade is of utmost importance. The light fixtures are also elaborate and intricate, showing great inspiration from an Islamic aesthetic.
Here, too, backstory abounds. One might notice a carver’s station on the right when entering under the grand archway. This booth is home to a figure known as Archex, a Resistance agent and sympathizer formerly a part of the First Order, when he was a Stormtrooper named Cardinal. Disguised as an artisan, he bides his spare time whittling wood and carving elaborate sculptures, some of which are on display in the Market.
Some speeders can also be found along the way, and one particular drinking fountain contains a surprising Easter Egg from A New Hope! Hope you enjoy Death Star garbage monsters in your drinking fountain water!
There is plenty here to tempt one’s wallet as well, though. The Creature Stall is probably the most overt about this. Here, guests can purchase a small Tauntaun or miniature Wama, or a Porg, or a Kowakian monkey-lizard (seen in Jabba’s lair in Return of the Jedi), or small Rathtars, or a Tatooine Rock Tart. There are a host of creatures to “adopt.” They’ll set you back 50 credits or so, though. That’s the asking price of proprietor, Bina, who runs the shops. She’s not available to negotiate, so her merchants will only accept the ticketed price.
Jewels of Bith is more of a generic souvenir store and offers magnets, T-shirts, key chains, spray bottles (for those days when all three of Batuu’s suns are blazing hot), and other memorabilia. It’s got its own selection of wares for guests to buy.
Accross the way, the Toydarian Toymaker offers some truly adorable plush recreations of some of Star Wars’ most famous figures. Rather than be realistic, these are fabricated from the perspective of artisans who have heard about these faraway galactic heroes but have never seen them. As a result, they carry more of a home-made, artisan aesthetic. The same goes for some of the wood-carved figures and toys on sale here, as well as a Dejarik board that guests can purchase and play on the go.
Lastly, Black Spire Outfitters offers Jedi and Sith robes for fans to purchase. Here again, an odd Disney rule gets in its own way, as guests 14 and older are not allowed to actually wear the same robes that the park sells, as a result of Disneyland’s costume policy. We’re not sure if time will soften the rule—there’s no confusion caused in Hogsmeade when Harry Potter fans wear their robes at Universal—but for now, that is the policy (though from what I’ve heard, it’s being enforced with various strictness).
Black Spire Outfitters
I’m dumb and completely spaced on photographing the space. So just picture robes and stuff on racks.
Jewels of Bith
And that does it for this extended look at all the ways Batuu will try to deprive you of your hard-earned credits. There are plenty of irresistible goods that are sure to tempt guests, but even for the most frugal Galaxy’s Edge visitor, the sheer ambiance and architecture and enveloping details of the various stores and streets are sure to provide a memorable and absolutely stunning trip through Batuu and the Black Spire Outpost.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open without reservation to all guests with a valid Disneyland ticket. On busy days, the land will move to a virtual queue that essentially functions like a FastPass into the land. Guests will need to use the Disneyland App for the most convenient way to enroll, but there are various booths scattered throughout the park for guests to reserve a same-day slot into the land for those who prefer to eschew technology.
Until near the end of August, the park is blocked out to all Annual Passholders except Signature and Signature Plus during the weekends and to all except the above two plus Deluxe during weekdays. That should help with crowd management. Sunday, August 25, will be the first weekend date that Deluxe passholders will be able to attend. Tuesday, September 3 will be the first day Disneyland Park is not blocked out to anyone. I’d expect attendance spikes on those days.
We’ve got a few more updates from Batuu planned, plus coverage once Rise of the Resistance opens later this year. It’s the Summer of Star Wars the Disneyland Resort—a culmination of nearly three years of construction and even more of design and planning, so we’re not done with our Galaxy’s Edge coverage yet. But hopefully, what’s been offered thusfar proves helpful for when you eventually make your way on planet!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.