A Pedacito Of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge At Walt Disney World
Despite the scorching summer heat, I recently took a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, visiting the Hollywood Studios park for the first time in over six years.
As a former Florida resident who grew up in the state, I once considered myself an expert on the Most Magical Place on Earth, but my recent trip taught me that this Padawan has many new gems to uncover at Disney.
For those traveling to Central Florida for the first time in several years, the Walt Disney World Resort may look particularly different to you.
In anticipation of the parks’ 50th anniversary this October and in conjunction with the Disney Parks and Resorts team amping up offerings for visitors in the past decade, the amount of new food, rides, and attractions may surprise you.
For my trip, the key purpose was simple: finally visit Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I planned this quick getaway for weekdays only so that I could tackle the notoriously packed summer season with lesser crowds; I started my first park day on a Tuesday and wrapped up the visit by Thursday night.
Though the crowds thinned out by the end of the nights, be warned – even weekdays are finding some attractions with over two hour wait times.
I set an alarm early Tuesday morning in an attempt to snag a coveted “boarding pass” to access Galaxy’s Edge most interactive attraction, Rise of the Resistance. Luckily, those 6:45am alarms on my vacation paid off because by 7am, I had a boarding pass for Group 20 that day to ride the ever-immersive and technologically advanced new Star Wars attraction.
Spoiler Alert: the attraction is well worth an early rise, even on vacation. If you’re seeking an immersive jaunt through the Galaxy – with unexpected twists and turns that begin when you step foot in the queue – make securing a boarding pass a travel priority.
What about the food within this new Hollywood Studios land? I had heard in recent years that the menus at Disney World as a whole have become incredibly tasty and nuanced – and those rumors were correct.
While traveling through Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, I highly recommend stopping by the quick service dining location, Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. For a surprisingly healthy meal, I picked up the Fried Endorian Chicken Tip Yip with rice and roasted vegetables.
Bonus points to WDW for making food allergies – of which I have several –incredibly easy to navigate.
If you’re nervous about ordering a Green Milk at the milk stand, for example, just make your concern known; a fantastic cast member actually offered me a laminated sheet with ingredients without question for me to double check in order to sip my mysterious otherworldly beverage with zero complications.
One of my most surprising favorites at Galaxy’s Edge are the incredibly nuanced souvenirs. One aspect the Imagineers did well was integrating the language of the residents of Batuu into products we are used to seeing elsewhere in parks, like Coca-Cola products.
From the life-size lightsabers to the customized droids, the merchandise at Galaxy’s Edge is hidden throughout multiple stores throughout the land. So, if you want to find a magnet for your at-home collection, you may want to set aside extra time to navigate the many non-discrete stores scattered throughout the area.
As for those character interactions, despite my predictions, they’re not completely gone at this time. Though at a distance for now, the cast members outdo themselves to make magical moments for those walking through Galaxy’s Edge.
I caught a few Stormtroopers on patrol, even heckling me for taking photographs. (Apparently, I am more of a threat to the First Order than I would have thought for a short blonde traveler myself.) Other characters like Rey, Chewbacca, and even Kylo Ren can be seen on various stages, social distanced for a safe character encounter.
All-in-all, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge receives four Mickey ears out of five for this traveler. It’s well worth any seasoned Disney World visitor, especially those who have been craving new magic at the Walt Disney World Resort.
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