Thursday, July 11, 2019

first time batuu visitors

so before galaxy's edge at disneyland opened to the general public, they announced that for the first few weeks, parkgoers would need to make a (free) timed reservation in order to get in.  or, you could stay at one of the three resort hotels and that would get you a timeslot during your stay.  knowing how difficult it can be to get through for anything disneyland related, we went ahead and booked a night at the paradise pier hotel for the last weekend of the reservation period.

and then when the system finally opened for making the reservations without a hotel stay, the old lady jumped right on and was able to score us a spot on a saturday evening.  yay!

of course, when the day finally arrived we hit a bunch of traffic and didn't get into the park until about 15 minutes after our slot opened up.  we were a little concerned about losing some time out of the four hours we were given, but as it turned out, the check-in process went pretty quickly since most folks were already inside.  we had to make our way to the star wars launch bay building inside tomorrowland, show the email confirmation with the bar code along with our IDs, get our wristbands and then have them activated before leaving the building and heading across the park to the entrance to galaxy's edge.


we hoofed it over there as fast as we could and got our first glimpse at batuu live and in person at last.


the first thing we did after soaking in the awesomeness of it all was to head over to the milk stand to try out the famed blue and green milks.  the bean described the blue one as "melted dole whip," while the green one had floral notes (which is totally the old lady's jam) and tasted like dirt to me.  blech.  but they were pretty.


we wandered around to get the lay of the land, and marveled at how immersive the new land was.  much like when cars land opened, while in galaxy's edge you really feel like you've been dropped in the middle of the movie and almost forget you're at disneyland.  the imagineers really did an amazing job with the details here.




i decided to pick up one of the special batuu-themed coke bottles, and it was super cute.  and tasted a lot better than blue and green milk.


the lines to build a custom light saber, enter the cantina or build a droid were all really long.


while we really wanted to see it all we knew we still had another chance to do everything when we returned for our hotel stay the following week.  and so we decided to get in line for smuggler's run aboard the millennium falcon.  the queue was fun to walk through, and the line wasn't too long.




looking out the window, the only bit of disneyland that was visible was the top of thunder mountain off in the distance.


 once we got inside, we were greeted by this pretty lifelike audio animatronic character.


and a little further in we received our assignments - each crew member could either be a pilot, a gunner or an engineer.  we were handed these cards that outlined our duties.



when our team was called up, we headed on into the cockpit and took our positions.



it was really fun to experience something totally new, where we had no idea what to expect.  and when we got out of there, it seemed like a lot of people had either left or were holed up in the cantina or one of the other attractions.  and the wait to build a custom droid looked pretty doable, so we went for it.  as we got in line, a cast member came over to show us a list of pieces that had already sold out for the day:


the old lady and her special friend had decided to take the plunge and cough up the $100 to make a droid to take home, but i hadn't committed yet.  and so while the bean patiently stood in line with us, she had no idea whether or not she was going to be able to join in the fun.


it actually took a little longer than we'd anticipated to finally get in the door, and even when we got inside there was still a pretty lengthy wait to get checked in and start building.  but there was plenty to look at in the meantime, like this wall of droid parts:



and it was really cool to look around and see everything in there.


i finally decided that it would have sucked to make her wait that whole time and not let her build one for us to take home.  and so when we finally got to the front of the line, she was super excited to see me whip out the card and pay for one.


the cast member handed us this basket to use as we selected the parts for our droid, and we'd decided on an R2 unit while the old lady and her special friend opted for a BB.


there are marked "stalls" for the droid builder and an assistant to stand in front of the conveyor belt where you pick out the required pieces as outlined on the bottom of our basket.


once you have everything in your basket, you move over to an opening at the building station.  this is where you actually assemble your droid using the tools at your station.



when you're done with the assembly, you push the "alert tech" button and a cast member comes over to help you test out your droid and make sure it's in working order.



once your droid passes the test and you get your tutorial on how to use the remote, everything gets packed up in a special box and you're instructed to name your droid and keep it in the box until you get home.  after all, it would get pretty crazy with hundreds of droids running amok around the parks.  the kids did take theirs out for a family portrait (which i didn't realize until now turned out all dark and fuzzy, oops).


we stopped at the black spire outpost to grab some snacks and browse through the shops, but by then another group of folks with the next reservation timeslot had arrived and it was really crowded.


and knowing we'd be back the following week with our reservation right at park opening, we knew we'd get to take more pictures and fully enjoy the land.  we left galaxy's edge and grabbed some dinner in the park before heading home to play with our droids.


bad news:  poor steviedog hates/is afraid of the droids.  both of them.  he ran around alternating between barking at them and running scared from them, and so now it's fun to use them to torture him with them when we get bored.  hahahahahaha.

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