Incoming Transmission from Batuu (and the World of Disney)

As tempting as it was to try and write this slightly in character, I’ve been sick these last several days so I’ll try and lessen it, especially for those of you who read this blog and aren’t particularly into Star Wars (That said, if anyone is here from my old SWTOR blog, a Rising Moons/Bright Suns to you depending on where you may be in the universe!). I’m also probably going to bring up a bit other facets of my trip to Disney World, but the focus is absolutely going to be in the brand new area– Galaxy’s Edge where you can visit Batuu and get a feeling of full immersion in the Star Wars Universe.

I wouldn’t really call myself the biggest Star Wars fan, but I like it enough to still enjoy several aspects of it. What I found myself most excited for was using the new Datapad mode through the Play Disney app once we arrived in Batuu. I absolutely adored collecting things in SWTOR so being in this immersive world where we can scan things and do jobs and quests and collect things? Completely up my alley.

While I wouldn’t mind my face not just being a black silhouette, there’s still some fun outfits. As hard as I tried though, I wasn’t able to do everything. I will say as much fun as I had with the Datapad, there were a few… issues I ran into with it. Less about the app itself, but oversights with having this type of connectivity and immersion.

For one, there isn’t a lot of seating. This isn’t really too surprising– besides for immersion reasons, it helps keep people moving and to be honest, it never felt incredibly crowded outside the shops a bit. Because of this though, people essentially make their own seats, whether it be the sides of plants or most commonly, the various crates lingering around. Which wouldn’t be so much of an issue if most of the crates weren’t used for the Datapad game. Various crates of all sizes have a QR code like this, either vertically like below or horizontally:

There were many times I ended up passing by areas missing them because people were covering them– whether leaning on it or with their legs while they sat down on it. While some people knew about the app (or recognized it after seeing multiple people playing and having them ask people to move), most had no idea and didn’t realize they were blocking anything. And sometimes people need to sit and nobody really wants to interrupt someone who just wants to take some photos, but there were times I ended up just waiting around for 5-10 minutes for someone to be done to finally scan something for two seconds. Some can even be facing inward which, at least for me, weren’t always easy to reach.

In the end, I managed to get 9/15 Outfits, 3/8 Weapons, 7/11 pieces of Cargo, 12/20 Parts & Scraps, 2/4 The Interior Star Maps, 3/3 New Territories Star Maps, 1/4 The Slice Star Map, 0/2 Trailing Sectors Star Maps, 1/3 Western Reaches Star Map, 2/4 Unknown Regions Star Maps, 8/8 Vehicle Schematics, 0/1 Schematics Data (though, I swear I had this?*), 4/8 Droid Data Memories, 4/5 Dok’s Den Dealings Transmissions, 0/3 Kase Double-Cross Transmissions, 0/2 A Strange Feeling Transmissions, 0/3 A Lifelong Companion Transmissions, 1/3 Debts to Oga Transmissions, 0/3 Life in the Outpost Transmissions, 1/3 Dhoran’s Mistake Transmissions, 1/3 DJ R-3X Transmissions, 1/2 Droid Problems, 1/2 Resistance Operatives Transmissions, 2/4 First Order Comms Transmissions, 0/1 OTS Recruitment Transmission, and 0/1 Monkey Lizard Sighting Transmission. As for titles, I have 23/40 unlocked. I probably won’t unlock all the First Order ones, but I have 2/5 of them thus far. I really want to get the Galactic Explorer title. I also don’t see myself earning Bankrupt or a few others unless something with the requirements change.

*I believe this is the Credits Skimmer. I never really figured out how to utilize it properly. But maybe it just doesn’t show up properly while out of the park.

While you have full control over the crates (barring… anyone sitting on and/or blocking them), the transmissions I had a lot of trouble with. I found my phone just did not seem to pick them up often and they would be gone fairly quickly (like it’d be there and gone within the next refresh even if I didn’t move). Hacking seemed to work the best, but some just… worked in awkward ways (For example, I found I had nothing to hack in the Cantina despite a few things requiring DJ R-3X to be). It felt like I had to walk in circles to really get it to work. Speaking of the Cantina though, we actually went in for breakfast as I just… had to try the Moogan Tea:

It was amazing. I actually got a second one to go. We also had some Batuu Bits which were really tasty. I’d love to go again for dinner, though, hopefully we can actually sit next time… Fingers crossed they will have the new dishes that their other location has too.

Moving on, the thing I had the most trouble with was actually the translating. The automatic rarely actually picked up anything I was near (and I needed to hold my phone up in front of it when it was) while it was also near impossible to really do so manually without holding up traffic. I don’t really know a better way to do it, but I ended up making no progress on it because of that. It would translate fine when it actually worked– the problem was just getting it to pick up what I needed.

The jobs were definitely the most fun and for the most part, worked the smoothest. I did almost every job with the exception of some of the First Order jobs– I only did the ones that would get me an item over just credits. I never received more jobs on a different day (though, I could repeat the ones I did), but I’m hoping more may be added in the future.

The exception to “working smoothly” though is “Flight Crew Wanted”, a big multi-step job that requires you accomplishing certain things while in the queue (normal queue– not fast pass and not single rider’s) for Smuggler’s Run. As much as I enjoyed the right (well, sort of– we’ll get to that), this is where I found some of the biggest oversights are for the Datapad mini-game. The job involves helping out Hondo Ohnaka and starts off wanting you to scan crates you will see along the line. There are a lot of crates and occasionally, you’ll be asked questions about where they go. How many crates you scan and how many questions you answer correctly determines what the characters will say about you and how well your performance was.

The biggest issue is that this is a moving line. If the line is moving incredibly slow and it’s a huge line, well, maybe it’ll work out, but unfortunately for health-related reasons, I actually can’t stand for long periods of time. If the line is moving that slowly, I wouldn’t even be able to stand in it. If the line is moving at a fair pace, you can’t scan fast enough and you end up blocking the line so I can either get separated from my party or end up just letting people pass me. It’s incredibly hard to balance and even when we tried to, it just became too much as we kept seeing more and more crates and even ones we missed due to not looking around enough.

Next, you’ll be memorizing various different IDs and then answer questions asked about it. I’m not sure how many you have to do in order to have “done enough”– but one surely was too little. You have a good amount of time to do this at least and this is probably the step you can work on the most as it really doesn’t require a specific area to be in to take care of something. You just need to be after the crates and before the look-out deck… which is where the next problematic step comes. You’ll be going past four large windows above the Millenium Falcon and again, depending on the line queue, this isn’t exactly the easiest to do. You will be asked questions about the ship and need to answer accurately in order to pass.

Once that is done, it’s time for the actual ride part and your performance matters. Whatever credits you earn from the ride will get you those credits in your datapad and even an achievement based off how much you can earn. At most, if you do everything perfectly, you can earn 13,000 credits, the amount going down based on your performance and how much damage the ship takes. And that is what brings us to our biggest oversight– each “party” for the game consists of six people. And not everyone is likely to want to do the ride just like you. There’s two pilots, two engineers, and two gunners. While you can see if someone may want a different pass than you (Someone is our group had been engineer before so I traded them my gunner pass as I didn’t want to be engineer), you can’t really do anything about having different ideas in mind for what you want to do. In general, there’s essentially these groups of people:

  • People who want to do everything perfectly
  • People who want to fail completely
  • People who just want to enjoy the ride for the heck of it
  • People who are just there for someone else

The other half of our party mentioned having an issue as one of the pilots was a little kid. A similar situation happened with a friend. There will be kids on this ride. That is absolutely expected. And while I absolutely believe some kids can do a great job, there are also plenty of kids who do not care in the slightest or are only there because their parent/guardian wants to be on the ride. And I genuinely worry slightly on the kids part because someone will absolutely get annoyed and take it out on their party members and that’s kind of the problem with these group teamwork things, especially if you do not know enough people to make a full party.

When we go to Disney, we have anywhere from 2-5 people usually. Not enough for a full group and one of those people would absolutely not go on it due to motion sickness. It ended up being three of us going on the ride with three people we didn’t know. My husband and our friend ended up being in the pilot seats with me as an engineer while our newly met crew members would be the two gunners and the other engineer.

In the end, while I managed to keep my side of the ship at 100%, the other engineer didn’t do as well with 15% damage done halfway through and even more by the end of it. My husband also messed up with the breaks at one point.

The ride is incredibly reflex intensive and the thing is, and unfortunately this is the other big oversight with it, the best chance you have at doing your best is not actually watching the ride at all. Maybe I could’ve done it regardless, but in the end, I had rarely watched any of the ride screen as I was too busy focusing on my buttons. You mainly just have to hit the buttons lit up and switch the appropriate switches as indicated. It’s very easy to read (likely due to the range of ages), but it’s also easy to get caught up in the screen or forget exactly where a button is if you’re not looking at it. And if you’re looking at the buttons, you’re missing what’s going on around you as you’re no longer looking out the window, but at your control panel.

I saw so little of the ride itself because I was so focused on doing well and not letting my crew down which I suppose our other Engineer didn’t care as much about. We had earned about 11,800 Credits, but due to damages, ended up losing over 3,000 in repairs.

I actually hadn’t even known we would get them in the Datapad at the time of going on the ride– I just am a perfectionist, but this made me even more disappointed we failed. Especially considering how well we did.

And does this encourage people to go on the ride again? Yes, absolutely, but heck, it’s encouraged by being one of the best ways to earn credits too and when you have a full schedule or not a lot of time, while going on Smuggler’s Run over and over again for an entire day/week sounds fun, it’s not always plausible– not to mention the team situation again. And honestly, I wouldn’t even mind trying a “failure” run where I just… don’t do anything the entire time, but I’d want to actually do a perfect run first. Since the ride varies based off when you “fail” or succeed, I really want to see both paths definitely, but it feels like it’ll be a while before doing either.

Smuggler’s Run was actually one of the last things we found time to do because of a very busy schedule and just trying to find a good time where the line wasn’t too crazy. There is no fast pass for it (and I’m not sure if there is one planned) and to be honest, as it currently stands, I would assume that would take me away from my crate checking and everything involved in the Datapad job so I’m not sure I’d get a fast pass even if I could.

As for the ride just… on its own merits, it was fun and reminded me of essentially a smaller party version of Star Tours– it moves very similar, but obviously, it’s much more interactive.

I had hoped to go on the ride again, if only for another chance at scanning things and a perfect score, but we just didn’t manage to make it back unfortunately. I’m still bummed about it.

Moving onto things I did BESIDES the Datapad minigame, for one, my husband and I both made Droids! Mine is this cute BB Unit who I still have yet to think of a name of. We even got the bag for it too:

I also got a personality chip for it and some stickers so I hope to style it up a bit at some point (mostly using the pink to cover up the black maybe…). My husband made an R6-Unit:

I kind of wish more could’ve mixed and matched, but I’m not really surprised they couldn’t. I hope we’ll see more ways to customize our droid in the future.

We also stopped by Savi’s Workshop for some very important business.

I had gone the Elemental Nature route which also gave me this lovely pin:

There were some pieces I liked from the Protection & Defense type, but in the end, Elemental Nature just kind of fit me more. Though, I wish they still kept the original coloring over the silver for the whale bone:

The Lightsaber experience was honestly really great and if you really want to feel part of the world, it gives a huge boost to that feeling. It’s very special. That said, if you are a bit shy like me, try not to get the very center station or one of two at the ends– those are interacted with the most, though, they will go around and check with everyone :)

While I definitely love my droid and the “power up” moment is cute, it doesn’t really come close to everything that happens over at Savi’s.

We also made sure to stop by the markets and I picked up these lovely handmade plushies:

This adorable Mouse Droid (plus a lovely droid group photo):

(The top opens and the wheels move so it’s fun to just… move it about and have it old some things :) Plus the lanyard to wear it around your next)

And a Holocron, currently with the purple crystal I had gotten with my lightsaber: :)

I also got white and green Kyber crystals. I sure hope they add pink ones.

As for food, I already spoke about the Cantina earlier, but we did our best to try everything at least once. Kat Saka’s Kettle was worth it for the Mouse Droid, but honestly, the popcorn just… wasn’t that great. It was kind of chewy in an almost stale-like way and I don’t know if we just got a bad batch or what, but it just… was not enjoyable.

We, of course, had to try the Blue Milk and Green Milk over at the Milk Stand. Both were enjoyable, but my husband and I both preferred the Blue Milk. I think my only complaint is I would’ve loved a less “smoothie-like” version– just actual milk or even a milkshake. Something more creamy, essentially. We wanted to get the special Milk container, but due to lack of time, we didn’t get the chance.

For breakfast, we had Ronto Roasters and got the Ronto Morning Wrap and Ronto Wrap (which seemed to be a combination of it and the Endorian Chicken Wrap at the time we went, but now seem to be more different things). Despite generally not being much of an egg person, I loved the Ronto Morning Wrap. It was perfect and the Grilled Pork Sausage was amazing. I’d absolutely get it again.

We got Docking Bay 7 Food for lunch (though, my mother had the breakfast and said it was great so I definitely want to try the Bright Suns Breakfast Platter next time we go). I had gotten the Endorian Tip Yip with mashed potatoes while my husband got the Felucian Garden Spread. I really enjoyed mine, though, if I picked, I’d say I liked my Ronto Morning Wrap more. While my husband liked his and I enjoyed my taste of it, it was a lot spicier than expected which took away from the flavor.

To go with our lunch, we also tried the [non-alcoholic] drinks and desserts! The drinks seemed to have been changed a bit since we last went, but both we had were great. As for the desserts, I got the Batuu-bon and my husband got the Oi-Oi Puff. We shared a bit though and both were really great. My husband can’t decide which he liked more, but I preferred my Batuu-bon.

Next time we go, I’d love to try the Batuuan Roast and/or the Smoked Kaadu Ribs. I’ve heard the macaroni and cheese is good too.

And of course, we’re not here to just talk about what we did, I have some pictures of the sights too :)

The entire area has such high rocks and is set up in such a way that it genuinely does feel like its own planet/city. Even if it’s a bit awkward walking through Toy Story Land to get to it. And all kinds of familiar and new characters will just be walking around. And who knows, maybe you’ll run into a cool spy and have cool spy conversations like the person writing this did :P

Moving on to the rest of Disney, it was honestly a bit of a mixed trip. In a way, it was less crowded than we expected despite some areas still being rather packed and I ended up being sick two days before we left and the day of. We normally go around this time for the cooler weather, but this year, it was about 90 the entire time, which sure I guess is to be expected when on a planet with three suns and also in Florida but usually it’s closer to 70-80 or so when we go. In the end, I quickly got hit with heat stroke which just kind of murdered me ahead of time for our trip. I’m not going to go into my health issues, but for several reasons, I do very very poorly with heat and with all the construction and things being moved back for the new gondolas, I was not doing well.

Because of that, a lot of our plans got cut a bit. We did our usual Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian where we had been hoping to stay before things ended up not working out:

I had gotten Zanzibar Chai as my tea and absolutely loved it. While I love all the courses, I will admit the scones and sandwiches are my favorite courses. We had planned to do the tea tasting they now have in Epcot at the England Pavilion, but due to me getting sick that day, we ended up having to cancel. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to go next year.

Due to the issues with our hotel stay, what we ended up doing was staying in a Polynesian Bungalow for a night (which was really nice, honestly):

The view was so pretty and we even got our own little private pool. While the Polynesian isn’t necessarily my favorite hotel, it at least has nice room service and I still love passing this every time we enter the hotel:

And then switching to a room at Saratoga Springs for the rest of our stay (in which I finally got to accomplish my dream of a two floor hotel room like in Home Alone 2…):

Despite the size of it, the beds were not as comfy unfortunately and the pillows were… incredibly flat :( Which made sleeping a bit difficult. The room also wasn’t particularly close to a bus stop which meant a decent trek in the morning (and the room was one of the last due to the size) to not be late and an exhausting trek back after already walking all through the park.

While we hoped to do our usual “taste” around the world part of the Food Festival, due to lack of time, it just… did not fully work out. Because of this, we tried to focus on just our absolute favorites (and even then, still tried to narrow it down) for things we’ve had before and prioritized new things we hadn’t tried. I didn’t get many pictures because, again, time was just hard and honestly, I never want to plan a trip with so much overlapping again, but we did get a few pictures of some desserts plus the lovely Boba Milk Tea from China.

Panna Cotta isn’t usually my thing, but that one was pretty interesting. I liked the left-most cheesecake of the sampler best. And of course I had to do the cheese crawl– the cheesecake for finishing was really good too. And China always has an amazing Bubble Tea lately to be honest.

The only things I didn’t get to try were the Cheese Plate and Popcorn at the new Apple Orchard booth :/ Someone ordered the last just before me and I’m still pretty bummed about it. It was our last day so not much I could do about it.

On the bright side, we FINALLY got to do one of the “special events” at the Food Festival. Because my husband and I don’t drink alcohol, it’s really hard to justify the prices of most of the events as alcohol is always included, but the Parisian Breakfast was one of the more reasonably priced events despite also giving alcohol. To be honest, I was worried we would miss it– there was a hurricane passing through and it was pouring like crazy. We ended up being completely soaked (and being super wet on the freezing cold bus was not fun) and then essentially had to book it from the entrance to Epcot all the way to the World Showcase and to Paris. Maybe if I was less out of breath and stressed out I could’ve tried explaining in French, but thankfully I eventually managed to get out that we had reservations (There has been people who had tried to come in for food and to be out of the rain who had not) and thankfully, they still sat us despite being about an hour late.

They were so nice and it was really good. Also lots of cheese which is always great. I absolutely loved the Hot Chocolate especially– I prefer my hot chocolate more light and creamy than really rich so this was literally perfect and I wish I had the recipe for it. I drank so many cups. And while part of it was so we wouldn’t get pneumonia, it was also because it was genuinely super tasty.

One other new thing we finally got to do was check out the Na’vi River Journey ride and Pandora in general over at Animal Kingdom. We rarely go to Animal Kingdom as it doesn’t have a lot of indoor areas and I kind of need that with my heat issues, but a lot has been added since we’d last been there. I had managed to get fast passes for the ride as I kept hearing good things about it and I have to admit, while the land wasn’t as amazing as Batuu, Pandora was still pretty cool:

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for the ride. It was pretty and sure, the Animatronic was impressive and very fluid, but it was just very… boring. Even most dark boat rides I’ve been on, there’s usually at least some… speeding up or amusing things to look at or some nice song or even a tiny drop, but this was literally just meandering around in a river in the dark and seeing some of the sights which, like I said, isn’t necessarily bad– I don’t regret going on it, but I don’t understand the hype and I would never go out of my way to do it again (and honestly, I’m not sure I would do it again even if I didn’t have to go out of my way).

On the bright side, we ended up eating at really lovely place– Tiffins. I loved the decor of it and while it was expensive, all the food was amazing. The drinks were really creative too. And that place alone may finally get my family to give Animal Kingdom another shot. And who doesn’t like seeing cute animals?

We also finally tried out the Frozen Ride which wasn’t too bad, but I do miss the old Norway boat ride. I really liked how the area for the line was decorated though.

In the end, we only went on about four rides total– besides the three mentioned above, we also went on Test Track again with our friend as it was his first time in Disney. I hope Disney will one day add an option to like… 3D-Print these over just getting it on a card.

Regardless, we at least got a lot of the big important things done. I just really hope our next trip goes much smoother. And with that, I just have one last thing to say: Til the Spires :P