How Disney World's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Compares to Disneyland's Version

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Dedication Moment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo via Walt Disney World)
Brooke McDonald
by Brooke McDonald
Last updated: 4:14 PM ET, Wed August 28, 2019

The Disney Star Wars Experience

The Force is finally getting stronger in the eastern half of the country. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the ambitious expansion that opened at Disneyland on May 31 of this year opens at Walt Disney World on August 29. Disneyland's version has already shown that the 14-acre land delivers an unprecedented level of detail and immersion, but now that all eyes are on Florida, everyone wants to know how the two stack up.

In most cases, trying to decipher the physical differences between the two lands is like a game of Spot the Difference. There are plenty of them, but none are significant enough to impact your visit much in either direction. Logistics are another story-there are quite a few components unique to Walt Disney World that will change the way guests approach their experience. Read on to see how Walt Disney World's Galaxy's Edge compares to Disneyland's version.

The Biggest Visual Variations Are the Color Schemes

Traveling from one park to the next, the most striking difference is the overall color scheme. At Disneyland, rocks and buildings are pale and whitewashed and stand out against Southern California's (mostly) blue sky.

Disney World's Colors Are Bright and Bold

Imagineers went with a heavier hand when creating the color scheme for Florida's Batuu, which takes a beating from daily summer thunderstorms and blazing, bleaching sunlight.

The Indoor Palate Varies as Well

The colors variations travel indoors too. At Disneyland's Ronto Roasters, note the pale blue of the podracer engine-turned-roaster.

Differences Are Subtle, But There Are Plenty to Spot

Now see how many differences you can spot in Florida. Not only is the overall color scheme darker and more saturated, but Imagineers have even managed to sneak in a different symbol on each of the engines.

You Can Secure Key Experiences 180 Days in Advance

It's common knowledge that a Walt Disney World vacation generally requires more advanced planning than a trip to Disneyland. Advance dining reservations can be booked 180 days in advance, and FastPasses 60 days ahead of your arrival. Fortunately for families who need to know how their Galaxy's Edge visit will factor into the rest of their heavily scheduled Walt Disney World vacation, you're now able to book three of the most popular experiences, Savi's Workshop-Handbuilt Lightsabers, Droid Depot, and Oga's Cantina, 180 days before your Walt Disney World visit.

Magic Bands in Florida Mean Your Reputation Really Can Follow You

When California's Disneyland opened, you may have heard the warnings that you better not bang up the Millennium Falcon on Smuggler's Run or spend time fraternizing with the First Order, or you could hear about it when you head to Oga's Cantina or elsewhere in the land. So far, that hasn't really happened, probably because the only way to really track guests is through the Play Disney Parks app with Bluetooth on. At Walt Disney World, most guests wear MagicBands, making it far easier to track your adventures through Galaxy's Edge.

Disney World Has Fewer Entries and Exits

While the lands are largely carbon copies of each other, one major distinction is that Disneyland has three entries and exits, via Critter Country, Frontierland and Fantasyland. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, guests will enter and exit via Toy Story Land or Grand Avenue. Wherever you choose to enter Batuu, take note of the striking transitions from one land's theming to the next. Here, the subway tiles of Grand Avenue give way to Batuu's striking rock formations.

The Space and Flow of the Lands Could Feel Different

Though both 14-acre lands occupy the same amount of space, there are parts of Disney World's land that feel more open and spacious, particularly in the Resistance Forest. Disneyland's version is a long and winding path toward the Critter Country exit while Disney Word's is more of a vast, open space (which may come in handy when the hordes converge on Rise of the Resistance, the land's second attraction which opens December 5).

The Ships Are in Different Places

You won't find the impressive resistance ships in the same spots at Walt Disney World that they occupy at Disneyland. In California, the X-Wing and A-Wing are along the same side of the path, while at Disney World, they flank two sides of the sprawling open space of Resistance Forest. This may help crowd flow with two focal points further apart to divert attention. The position of the X-Wing at Disney World also makes good storytelling sense. It backs up to Rise of the Resistance, where, after we got a sneak peek yesterday, we now know Poe's X-Wing is concealed not far from this one.

Vegetarians Get Fewer Choices in Florida

Docking Bay 7, the main dining location in Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland, includes two excellent vegetarian dishes, one for lunch, the Felucian Garden Spread, and one for dinner, the Ithorian Garden Loaf. The Felucian Garden Spread has proven so popular at Disneyland that Disney World has opted to serve it for both meals, leaving vegetarians with only one solid meal choice in Florida's Galaxy's Edge.

The Milk Stand Is A Must-Try

Whichever Galaxy's Edge location you visit, hitting up the Milk Stand should be on your to-do list. How can you not sample this most iconic of Stars Wars beverages?

In Florida You Can Get Your Milk Spiked

Those who could use an adult beverage while exploring Black Spire Outpost can enjoy one on the go at Florida's Galaxy's Edge. At Disneyland, the only place you can get alcohol is in Oga's Cantina, where you're only allowed two drinks-and you only get 45 minutes to drink them. Galaxy's Edge in Florida offers alcoholic drink options at Docking Bay 7, Ronto Roasters, Oga's Cantina, and the Milk Stand, where you can plus your Blue Milk with rum, and Green Milk with tequila.

Rise of the Resistance Will Change Everything - And Disney World Gets It First

There's been a bit of back-and-forth jealousy between the two resorts: Disneyland got Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge first, but Disney World gets first dibs on what Disney promises will be the most epic attraction ever created: Rise of the Resistance. Opening December 5 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Rise of the Resistance is Disney's most ambitious ride ever created and will feature a whopping four different ride systems. The ride opens at Disneyland on January 17.

Visiting Oga's Cantina Is a Must

Sure, you can get a beer at Ronto Roasters or stroll into the land with one after stopping off at Baseline Tap just outside one of the Galaxy's Edge entrances, but if there's one paid experience you can't miss during your time on Batuu, it has to be a visit to Oga's Cantina. Sip exotic intergalactic cocktails like the Fuzzy Tauntaun or the Bespin Fizz (or opt for non-alcoholic options like the Blue Bantha or the Cliff Dweller in a souvenir Porg mug) while DJ Rex drops some epic beats.

The Cantina Snacks Are Better in Florida

Overall, we think Galaxy's Edge could use a few more snack options (read: Batuu's answer to Mickey pretzels and churros). Batuu Bits, an intergalactic pub mix served at Oga's Cantina, is one of only a few snack items in the land. At Disney World, they've been bulked up a bit with a spiced chermoula dip-making the snack feel like a better deal for our 8 credits (that's Batuuese for dollars).

Get Ready, Because Souvenir Mugs Are Going to Be A Thing Here Too

With merchandise demand like we've been seeing for Galaxy's Edge thus far, let's just say if you see something you like, you better buy it. In the past few days, we've found the same souvenir mugs at Oga's Cantina in both parks. But we also confirmed with the food and beverage team that, as at Trader Sam's, the mugs will keep changing (right now we're on the first edition of both), so there's no telling when one edition will run out and we'll be on to the next one.

And No Doubt Souvenir Popcorn Buckets Will Be All the Rage

Whether you love or hate the Fruit Loops-meets-something-spicy popcorn served at Kat Saka's Kettle, if you're a sucker for souvenir merch, you'll want the mouse droid popcorn bucket. Last we checked, it was crossed off the menu at Disneyland but is definitely available at time of writing at Walt Disney World.

These Are the Droids You're Looking For

Building your own droid at Droid Depot is another experience you can book 180 days in advance of your trip to Florida's Galaxy Edge. Build your own BB- or R-series astromech droid, which you can program with several choices of personalities that will interact with the land.

Spend Two Days and Nights in A Galaxy Far, Far Away Without Ever Breaking Character

Once you enter Galaxy's Edge, so complete is the immersion that you truly forget you're at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Soon, you'll be able to take it a step further with a two-day, two-night stay aboard Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Disney is dubbing this not a hotel, but an "experience," with guests blasting off into space to their out-of-this-world home away from home, the Halcyon. There's no breaking of character or experience on this journey, which includes a "port adventure" to Batuu, just like on a real seaward cruise. So, Disney World will immerse guests into the world of Star Wars just a bit more than Disneyland once Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser opens.

Flying the Millennium Falcon is Never the Same Experience Twice

Everything about Florida's Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, the first of the two main attractions to open at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, is virtually identical to its Disneyland counterpart, from the queue to the ride itself. With three different roles to play, pilot, gunner or engineer, and six different spots to sit in, plus a ride that relies on the performance of the riders to determine its outcome, the possibilities are virtually endless. We expect Magic Bands to enhance this experience a bit in Florida though by allowing your band to track your performance (and potentially alert Hondo Ohnaka and the citizens of Black Spire Outpost to how you did).

The Land at Night Is Lit Differently in Florida

Galaxy's Edge transforms at night thanks to gorgeous, dramatic lighting. The Millennium Falcon with its backdrop of rock is definitely the most impressive photo op at night, and you'll find that things look different at Walt Disney World than Disneyland. We're assuming the lighting scheme takes the differing building and rock colors into account and puts them in their best light, so to speak.

You Can Get Your Very Own $25,000 Droid in Florida Too

If you were worried you might not get the chance to drop $25k on your own personal full-sized astromech droid, customized to your every preference, rest assured you can lighten your wallet at Disney World too.

You'll Find Some Different Merch in the Marketplace

We just visited both Florida's and California's lands within 48 hours and noted quite a few variations in merchandise, but that could have more to do with stock levels (and weather-more on that next) than a concerted effort to differentiate merch.

Monkey Lizards, Yes. Sweatshirts, No.

At the Creature Stall, we found Kowakian Monkey Lizards aplenty, while the blue ones were sold out in California. Meanwhile, sweatshirts we spotted at Jewels of Bith in California were nowhere to be found in Florida.

There Are More Umbrellas in Florida

ICYMI, Florida is HOT. Yes, SoCal can get hot, but Florida feels a whole lot hotter with the humidity. Mercifully, there are several more umbrellas in Florida to sneak shelter from sun and rain beneath (and they look the part too).

TravelPulse experienced both parks in the same week - how do they compare?

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