Galaxy’s Edge is the newest land in Hollywood Studios. You’ll be transported to Black Spire Outpost on the outer rim planet of Batuu. The land allows you to live out your own Star Wars Story so the locations you’ll visit are unique and never seen before on screen. If you’ve seen Solo: A Star Wars Story, you may remember references to Dok-Ondar and Black Spire. The land is so immersive I think it’s a good idea to be prepared for your visit by understanding the history of the village and the people who reside there. Most guests know to try the milk, build a lightsaber or a droid, visit Oga’s Cantina and fly the Millennium Falcon but there are a lot of things many don’t notice. If you’re big Star Wars fans like my family or a casual fan there is plenty for you to enjoy. I was lucky enough to spend some time there a few weeks ago so here are a few things I learned and lesser known facts.
· While Black Spire may not look familiar, you will still see plenty of familiar ships and characters. There are no tradtional character meet and greets so just be on the look-out. Chewbacca may be working on an X-wing or even the Falcon! Stormtroopers may stop you to ask a few questions and even patrol with Kylo Ren. You can spot Rey wandering or even met R2D2 in the Droid Depot. You can also take a photo in front of a First Order TIE echelon, some Landspeeders and once Rise of the Resistance opens in December Poe Dameron’s X-wing.
· You’re visiting sometime between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. General Organa sent Vi Moradi, one of her top spies, to the planet to gather support for the Resistance. You may run into Vi trying to stay out of the First Orders grasp!
· Batuu was once a busy spaceport but now is a place where travelers go to get lost or fall off the radar. Black Spire got its name from the towering petrified trees that serve as the backdrop to the village. The village is not populated with cast members but residents of Batuu. Each with their own history and opinions on the recent occupation of their village.
· On Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run you’ll be recruited by Hondo Ohnaka, a pirate turned ‘legitimate’ businessman seen on the animated series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Your mission is to deliver coaxium which is a large part of the plot in the film Solo: A Star Wars Story.
· At the Creature Stall located in the marketplace you may find some guests playing a game of Sabacc. This is the high stakes game where Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian.
· Spend some time in Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Like most places in Black Spire, the door is hidden and opens in true Star Wars fashion. There are relics from every Star Wars era and plenty of items to purchase. Look for a baby Sarlacc.
· Learn the language. Here are a few examples of phrases you may hear, or terms used by the locales:
"Bright suns" is like "Good morning" or “Good day”
"Rising moons" or "Bright stars" is like "Good evening" or “Good night”
"Goodbye" is "til the spires", "good journey", or "may the spires keep you"
Water fountains are "hydrators"
Restrooms are "refreshers"
If someone says, "Ignite the spark" you should say "Light the fire"
"Datapad" is "cell phone"
"Only the ancients know" is "I don't know".
· Use your senses. Listen to the audio playing all thru the park. In shops and refreshers, you’ll hear alien ads like a commercial for a Wookie hair product. You can even hear ships flying overhead, generators humming and conversations taking place in the apartments above. There are droid prints in the pavement and a Dianoga (the creature who was in the trash compactor in A New Hope) above the hydrators in the marketplace. Everything looks worn or lived in. It really gives to the history of Black Spire.
· Download the Play Disney Parks app on your Datapad. You can intercept transmissions, translate Aurbesh, scan encrypted cargo and hack into doors and droids. You can even take on jobs to help residents or join Hondo Ohnaka’s flight crew for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
· While on Amazon Music I stumbled across Oga’s Cantina: R3X’s Playlist #1. R3X is a former Starspeeder 3000 Star Tours pilot who now DJ’s at Oga’s. The soundtrack includes 18 original songs. You’ll hear a rendition of a familiar tune by the Modal Nodes from Mos Eisley but there is also a variety of otherworldly songs. It was cool to hear a couple of familiar tunes while I was hanging at the bar and I enjoy the soundtrack. They may not be to everyone’s taste, but it will make you feel like you are back in Black Spire.
· Take advantage of the Photo Pass Photographers. There is a Tiny Magic Shot, a Super Zoom Magic Shot video and of course magic shots with Porgs, a Kowakian monkey-lizard and ships flying in the background.
· Exchange your earthly cash for Batuuan Spira. For a minimum of $100 it’s like purchasing a Batuu gift card which can be scanned at checkout at any of the shops, plus it makes a cool souvenir.
· Spend some time following the Stormtroopers around. It’s quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Take your datapad out and record them, have a video chat with someone back home, wear a shirt that shows you either support the Resistance or the First Order and they will most likely call you out.
· Visit early in the morning when it’s less crowded and you’ll get some great holograms with minimal people in the background. Then visit again at night. The village is beautiful at night!
May the Spires keep you!
Melissa Lenox is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. She is a former entertainment cast member, loves Star Wars, Chip 'n Dale, dining at Walt Disney World and planning trips for others! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org"