What Can Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Learn from Avengers Campus?

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been met with mixed reviews since it first welcomed guests at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019. The land has been celebrated for having one of the best attractions Disney has ever made in Rise of the Resistance. But, common complaints center around Galaxy’s Edge missing marketed features and lacking any ties to the original films. It doesn’t feel like Star Wars.

Meanwhile, Avengers Campus opened at Disney California Adventure in 2021. It has been mostly praised despite missing its E-ticket attraction that’s reportedly still on hold. The best aspect of Avengers Campus are the character interactions, which feel like they can happen at any moment.

Imagine our surprise when Captain America randomly walked up behind us late one night and said “Good evening.”

Captain America at Disney California Adventure.
Captain America at Disney California Adventure.

Familiar characters being able to roam freely around Avengers Campus – many without a published schedule – make the land feel alive. It feels like something out of the Marvel world.

Avengers Campus blurs the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guests are still able to meet fan-favorite characters even if it doesn’t thematically make sense. Iron Man still regularly meets guests despite, spoiler alert, not being in the films these days. Characters from Disney+ shows often make their debuts shortly after their episode goes live. Avengers Campus feels like an evolving, living land that places the guest directly into the Marvel world.

Loki at Disney California Adventure
Loki at Disney California Adventure

Compare that to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

The land has more attractions than Avengers Campus (two to one), and has some seriously awesome areas with rich landscaping, rockwork, and ships that look like they’re straight out of the movies. So, what’s missing?

Disney decided to theme Galaxy’s Edge to a new planet, Batuu, that isn’t from the movies. They hoped guests would make their own Star Wars story through innovative tech that unfortunately never debuted. That decision could be forgiven if Galaxy’s Edge was teeming with character interactions. It’s not.

Batuu was supposed to be filled with characters (aliens, creatures, droids, etc). The concepts suggested Batuu would feel like an actual city in the Star Wars universe, where even the “locals” would make guests feel like they were in a galaxy far, far away. That idea was cut (likely for budget reasons) and the result is a land that feels a bit deserted.

The lone area where this idea mostly pans out is at the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and its premium two-night experience.

It’s also worth noting that character encounters in Galaxy’s Edge are mostly limited to the new trilogy of films (Rey, Kylo Ren) and the more recent inclusion of the Mandalorian. There’s no Luke, Han or Darth Vader. Disney placed Galaxy’s Edge in a narrow window of time in the Star Wars universe, and the land suffers for it.

Complaints aside, we do have to show some love for the Stormtroopers.

Stormtrooper at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Stormtrooper at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

There isn’t enough kinetic energy in Galaxy’s Edge. The land feels static and even empty, with spaces that were clearly designed for some sort of character entertainment sitting unused. The stunt shows in Avengers Campus go a long way in making the land feel alive and vibrant. The wealth of characters in Avengers Campus make up for many of the land’s shortcomings.

Disney’s decision to stage Galaxy’s Edge on Batuu in a very specific timeline has proven to be a mistake. That mistake is even more visible when Avengers Campus bucks those rules and opts for fun over theming. Avengers Campus embraces the idea that Marvel fans want to see beloved characters.

Avengers Campus isn’t perfect. But, it has what Galaxy’s Edge lacks – a personality and a closer connection to what fans love.

Keep visiting NotesFromNeverland.com for the latest Disney news and information.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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