When I was six years old, Boba Fett was my holy grail.
Fett – the mostly silent bounty hunter who first made an appearance in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Holiday Special – wasn’t available in any store.
You had to buy four Star Wars figures, clip off the proof of purchase on the cardboard and send them to Minnesota.
Fett – with his rocket-launcher backpack and armor – was a cool character design and he was something rare in the Star Wars universe. Even after his relatively minor role in “The Empire Strikes Back”, he remained a favorite.
Today, the Star Wars collection of my youth is now a thing of long ago and far away. My son has a fairly large collection of figures that he only rarely plays with and I – as I sit here at my desk – am under the surveillance of 40 to 50 of the characters.
During moments of stress, I find myself picking up one of the old toys, absent-mindedly holding it while I think or meditate or whatever it is I do when the world seems a little too close to crashing in around me.
And so I get the fascination with going to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and wanting a collectible, a memento, a talisman. Or just a toy.
I understand the urge to want to go to the Disney Droid Depot and build your own little buddy or go to Savi’s Workshop and build your own lightsaber.
What is Galaxy’s Edge like as a Star Wars fan?
It’s like coming home.
For instance, it’s similar in a strange way to going to London and England. I was raised on English children’s stories in books and adapted – quite frequently by Disney – into movies. And so, when I set foot in London for the first time, it did not feel foreign.
In Black Spire Outpost at Batuu, the Walt Disney World Imagineers have built an immersive experience that is completely, totally Star Wars.
It just feels comfortable and correct. From the market to Oga’s Cantina to the life-sized Falcon, it feels authentic.
What’s the best collectible you can get in the park?
I think the first and foremost goal is the lightsaber. It’s the iconic piece of Star Wars memorabilia. And it’s the ultimate signal – like a wand in Harry Potter – that you’re special, chosen by the Force – or the fact that you have a credit card with sufficient space – to be a space samurai.
But that’s me. I’ve always wanted to be a special boy.
There are several entry points into the Star Wars universe that welcomes subsets of Star Wars fans.
Some people are really into the ships and want tech manuals that can explain the advantages of an X-Wing versus the much-derided A-Wing and far more obscure Star War vessels.
For some, the entry point is the Dark Side. They’re attracted to the dark mythos of the Sith and the power that comes from embracing your anger.
But for others, it’s the droids.
There are encyclopedias dedicated to the hierarchy and functionality of Star Wars droids.
For example, astromechs are built to service spacecraft – like the R-Series droid or the BB-series droids.
I want to say here that I am not a droid expert. Of course, I like the droids as characters, but I’m not mechanically inclined and never really wonder more about them than their place in the story.
Is droid building fun?
Yes. But it certainly depends on how much you put into the droid-building experience. As much as I like Star Wars and as much as I love Galaxy’s Edge, there’s always a part of me that holds back.
I could never be a cosplayer because even though I think it’s cool, I can’t fully commit and that last bit of commitment is key.
Still, the one criticism I have of Galaxy’s Edge is that I want more. I want an entire Star Wars park with dozens of rides and activities. And I want shows featuring characters from each era of Star Wars.
The Star Wars hotel, AKA the Galactic Starcruiser, gives more of that but so far I haven’t been able to put together the extra $6,000 to add onto the regular cost of our Disney vacation.
So, I would recommend doing everything in Black Spire Outpost that’s currently available, including droid building.
What kind of droid can you build at Disney?
At the time of this writing, you can build two types of astromech droids. This includes the BB series – the rolling ball droids like BB-8 who helped battle the First Order in the sequel trilogy – or the R-Series – three-legged guys like R2D2 who have been with the series since the beginning.
Currently, they don’t have options to build my favorite droids. My favorites are the Chopper, a C-Series droid from the “Star Wars Rebels” TV series and BD-1, a BD class exploration droid that was created for the Jedi Fallen Order video game.
With both the BB-series and the R-series, you get to select from an array of colorful parts with which to assemble your droid as they roll by your placemat on a conveyor belt.
For the BB-series you get to choose these components from the parts station:
- Dome connection plate
- Body sphere
- Motivator (if you remember, it was the motivator unit on R5-D5 that blew up in the first Star Wars movie)
For the R-series you get to choose a:
- Center leg
- Set of side legs
How does building a droid at Disney work?
First, you’ll tell the cast member which type of droid you want to build. You’ll get the necessary blueprints and a basket to collect the parts.
From there, you’ll follow “placemat” instructions or graphic monitor displays to assemble your droid in the proper sequence at your build station.
At that point, the droid will be paired with a remote control and you can watch as your astromech droid unit comes to life.
The builder can choose various accessories – including a personality chip – to make their droid more individual. These chips and accessories come at an additional cost.
What does a Droid Depot droid do?
It’s a remote control toy. You can pilot them and they will roll around at your command. We’ve got a BB-series droid and an R-series droid. Once we got them home, they pretty much became decorations after a week or so.
You can download the Droid Depot app through the Apple App store or Google Play to play games with your droid.
We have a total of four Star Wars remote-control toys. Additionally, we a have D-O droid from the Rise of Skywalker we got on sale and a Yoda that isn’t remote control but is about the same size and is voice-activated.
The Yoda probably got the most play because he spins around with his lightsaber and swings it wildly. He will also “answer” questions if you address him as Master Yoda.
My kids got a good two weeks of fun out of asking him if he had farted.
“Mmmm,” he’d respond thoughtfully. “Yes.”
The kids would howl with laughter.
Do the droids do anything special in the park?
Yes. They use Bluetooth technology to interact with other droids and other elements in Batuu and the Disney parks.
You cannot, however, have them out and rolling around. They don’t want people tripping over them. The shop sells a cute little backpack to carry your droid around in the park to get the full experience.
Interestingly, Disney has applied for a patent for a rolling locker drone in which guests can keep their stuff and then have it delivered automatically to wherever they are in the park.
One of the patents looks like a Mouse Droid – the little squeaky guy Chewie roars at in “A New Hope”. I still don’t get how they’ll get past people tripping over them, but maybe there will be a day when we see Mouse Droids rolling all over the park.
Do I need reservations to build a droid at Disney?
Yes, it’s definitely recommended. There’s a chance you could roll up and get lucky but it’s a small chance. Even if you’re like Han Solo and never want to be told the odds … the odds are low.
A valid, accepted credit card number is required at the time of booking. Payment will be due upon arrival at the location.
A limited number of same-day reservations may be available up to 2 hours in advance.
You’re going to want to check in 15 minutes prior to your reservation.
The experience area is limited to the builder and one guest. At least one person in the party must be age 14 or older.
How much does a Droid Depot droid cost?
The base price is $119.99 per astromech droid unit, plus tax.
You get a carry box and instructions.
However, you purchase the backpack, personality chip and other accessories separately.
The annual pass discount does not apply.
Is building a Droid at Disney worth it?
It depends. It’s certainly a unique experience. But to me? No. Ultimately, if I’m paying for the experience of building a high-dollar collectible that’s going to sit on a shelf, I want a lightsaber.
Even though it’s twice as much, the lightsaber-building experience is more immersive and you end up with a cool lightsaber.
Honestly, my personal favorite in-park souvenirs were the black series figure sets. I got one with BB-8, R2, C3PO and DJ R-3X (Rex) – the Star Tours Pilot Droid and another with Rey, Chewie and Hondo Ohnaka. They’re sitting three feet away on my bookshelf right now.
But – and this is the important thing – that’s just me. I’m not mechanically inclined. I don’t get a special joy out of building things. I was never into LEGOs.
It’s a little like my son John Paul who was desperate for a wand in Harry Potter World even though he isn’t into Potter.
So if you want that full Batuu experience and want to spend as much time as possible immersed in the Star Wars World, it might be worth it for you.
If you love droids and want to have your own made by your own hands, it certainly is worth it.
Have you built a droid at Disney’s Droid Depot? Let us know in the comments!