My first impressions from Monday June 3, 2019:
- My first stop was Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. This is the only attraction in the land right now. The second one Rise of the Resistance will not be opening for several months. As you approach the spaceport you are greeted by a large scale Millennium Falcon. You enter to the left and work your way through a massive queue. There are three queues, single rider, FastPass and Standby. For my first flight I did the standby queue. There are some switchbacks and extended queue space outside then you head into the building and up a series of ramps and switchbacks. There are some windows to look out over the Falcon and into Black Spire Outpost and beyond. Most of the sight lines are really good, but there are a couple instances were you can see the Fantasyland Theatre tent and other backstage buildings. Maybe trees will grow eventually. Big Thunder is also visible but looks ok over the trees. The queue is a good hike and there are three preshow stops. First up two groups are created. Then let into the next room where you meet Hondo Ohnaka and fills you in on your mission. You then are divided into groups of 6 and given boarding passes. You move into the ship and an open waiting area where you can take pictures and look around. Your color boarding pass is called and your group of six is led into a series of corridors and into the cockpit. The queue is extremely well done. The overall layout with the two story approach and view outside was great. The Hondo figure was impressive. The open last room to explore were nice changes from the traditional queues.
- Attraction Experience - The ride itself is a flight simulator with some limited interactively. There are three jobs with two people being assigned each. Pilot, Gunner and Engineer. Over the course of three flights I was able to be a gunner and engineering. Never made it into the pilot seat. The engineer role was fairly limited and being in the back of the cockpit it was the least immersive and engaging. The gunner role featured more interactivity. The pilot role had the best views and most control over the experience. A bad set of pilots means a very very bumpy flight. I thought the gunner experience was substantially better than the engineer and from what I hear the pilot is another leap forward. Looking back at my experience I enjoyed it but not sure where I would rank it overall. The first experience was loud, bumpy and felt fragmented. By the third it was more enjoyable. But I do not see myself wanting to ride over and over and over again. It will be interesting to see how this evolves and I would like to try the pilot role for comparison. The ride tech and adaptive nature of it is great. With the three experiences I was able to see how the pilots being good allowed us to go further/do more. Also there seemed to be additional sequences you can experience based on ride delays, etc. So while 80% of your experience may be the same there are some variables that come into play.
- I tried to use the app to interact and it was not a smooth experience. There seems to still be some quirks and the app seems buggy and really heavy in terms of a footprint.
- I enjoyed walking through the Marketplace and around Black Spire Outpost. The level of detail around ever tune was noticeable. I look forward to going back to spend more time exploring. I am not a big merchandise or food person but I did visit all the establishments except the Cantina. The personalities of the shop owners and backstories really come through and it was great to see the attention to detail. There was a very large assortment of merchandise with unique merchandise in most of the locations. The land feels very isolated from Disneyland. One you cross the old berm you are in the Star Wars universe. I did not even hear the Disneyland Railroad or Mark Twain. I did find the choice of no background music interesting. There are sounds, but no music.
- As I walked around the land the one thing that stood out to me was the large number of cast members. I am sure there are more because it is new but once normal operations settle in next year it will be interesting to see their numbers. There will still be a large demand because of the layout and number of locations throughout. All that we interacted with were really into their parts and enjoying the new land.
- Overall I thought this first voyage to Batuu was great. The reservation system made for minimal waits and the 4 hours felt like an adequate length of time. If I had to assign a grade at this point I would say incomplete. The land is still a work in progress. The signature attraction has not opened yet and there was little in the way of entertainment. Plus the droids have not populated the land. The immersion and detail of the environments created were great. Near the top of what Disney has done. I would rank it right up there with Tokyo DisneySea in terms of execution on the theme and detail. Cars Land and Pandora both have elements of this but this is beyond those in terms of scope and scale. The Smugglers Run attraction was ok but not a home run for me.