Back in July, I had the opportunity to visit Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and one of the highlights of my trip was visiting the Droid Depot.
The entire Galaxy’s Edge portion of the park is highly immersive. Everything from the food to the cast members to the ambient sounds you hear as you stroll through Batuu is carefully crafted to make you feel like you are in another world. Other than the distant peak of Big Thunder Mountain, you are generally cut off from the rest of the park and feel like you’re in an entirely different world. I couldn’t have been happier during the entire 10 hours I spent in the section of the park (read more here: Galaxy’s Edge Makes Dreams Come True), but the Droid Depot in particular offered another level of immersion that went above and beyond my expectations. And you get to walk away with an awesome high quality souvenir that’ll entertain you for a long time after you’ve left Batuu. How cool is that?
How Droid Depot Works
When you enter the Droid Depot, you are immediately hit with a sense of strangely organized chaos. There are life-size droids placed around the room and eager cast members ready to guide you to the conveyor belt where you can select your pieces to build your new friend. It’s welcoming and exciting right off the bat.
You can choose an R series or BB series unit and then you just pick the pieces indicated at the bottom of your basket. It’s fairly simple to spot which pieces go with which unit as they pass by you on the colorful conveyor belt. The belt is crowded with pieces, sure, but you won’t be walking away with an R head for a BB body. Just follow the pictures and you’ll be good to go! It’s not that difficult.
The hardest part? Picking your color scheme! I went with red and black for BB-808 (named after the area code of where I live, Hawaii), though I was tempted to go full rainbow as that’s sort of on-brand for me. You can mix and match and truly create a droid that fits you and your aesthetic needs. Apparently, my aesthetic needs on this particular day slanted a bit goth. But the colors spanned the rainbow, so mix and match until you’ve hit that perfect aesthetic theme for your new friend.
Once you are done agonizing over which color scheme works for you, you’re guided over to the assembly portion of the Droid Depot. Just like the basket you use to gather pieces for your droid, the assembly station has clearly printed instructions that help you put your new friend together.
Yes, that’s me using an electric screwdriver in the above video, but don’t worry! It’s really not complicated to piece these things together and the droid building crew is happy to help you with your struggles. I had a bit of a difficult time putting the two halves of the lower ball of BB-808 together and a helpful builder came by to pop it into place. Kids could build one easily with minimal assistance, so it can definitely be a full family affair. It’s recommended for ages 3+, and at least one person who enters the depot has to be over the age of 14.
There’s supposedly a limit of two people who can enter the build area, but it didn’t seem too strictly enforced when the crowd was light. I had a party of three with me, and it was no problem. When things pick up, however, I can see enforcement getting a bit more strict. The space is tiny and a bit chaotic (again, in a strangely organized way, but chaotic nonetheless).
Warning: Once you leave the Depot, you can’t roll your droid around Galaxy’s Edge for obvious safety reasons. But you can carry them around in their carrier and enjoy them interacting with the land and other droids. You are also allowed to take them out of the case for photo opportunities, which I took full advantage of. He became a part of my travel party after that.
Droid Depot vs Savi’s Workshop
Unlike Savi’s Workshop, where you can build custom lightsabers, demand is lower at the Droid Depot and you don’t have to book a reservation in advance. There was absolutely no wait at all when I arrived midday just a couple of weeks after Galaxy’s Edge was fully open to the public.
The droids are also half the cost of the lightsabers, so if you are looking for an awesome experience without destroying your bank account, this is a good choice for you. The lightsabers will set you back almost $200 whereas the droid is only $100, and that $100 gives you a functional little droid that talks and rolls around and interacts with the world around you. It’s worth the cost, to me.
Many people believe the lightsabers are also worth it and I won’t argue with their priorities, but I’m enjoying rolling BB-808 around my apartment (and annoying my cat (don’t worry, he’s fine)) more than I would enjoy having a largely decorative lightsaber, but your mileage may vary! Choose the experience that’s best for you. Heck, do both if your budget allows!
Purchase a Batuuan Spira before heading to the Droid Depot (ask a cast member where these are currently sold). This is essentially a gift card with a $100 minimum, but you’re left with a fairly cool little souvenir once you’ve used it. Since the droid is also $100, this is basically getting a free souvenir with your droid.
Conclusion: Get A Droid Best Friend; It’s Worth It
I don’t regret the $100 I spent on BB-808 in the slightest. Everything about the experience was worth the cost. The regular BB-8 toys are only a little less on Amazon and you don’t get the customization or the experience of building it yourself.
It’s the best souvenir I could imagine from my trip and I’ll be talking about my time in the Droid Depot for a long time to come.
For help booking a trip to Disneyland so you can create your own droid buddy, check out our friends over at Storybook World Travel. They can help you with your Walt Disney World experience as well once their Galaxy’s Edge opens later in August.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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