A little while back, I wrote up a lengthy post about my experience at the Annual Passholder Preview of Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge - that can be found here if you fancy giving it a read. Ever since I visited Galaxy’s Edge in August, my mind, body, and soul have been dying to go back. So I guess I’ll just have to live vicariously through my own experiences by writing up a ton of blog posts! Today, I thought I’d write up a post specifically about my experience at the Droid Depot.
First, let’s get the details out of the way. The Droid Depot is a store/experience located on the planet of Batuu, aka Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. This is where you can build your very own droid pal to take home with you! The whole process costs $99.99 USD - this includes both the experience of building the droid, the actual droid itself, and a cardboard take-home box. You can also purchase a backpack to carry your droid in around the land, as it will interact with different features inside Galaxy’s Edge (more on that in a sec), but unfortunately, I didn’t notice them in the store so I’m not sure on the pricing of those. Lastly, you can pick up personality chips for $12.99 a piece. These will alter the sounds and behaviours of your droid, and are purchased after building the droid.
At the time that I built my droid, since it was during the AP Preview, they weren’t taking reservations at Droid Depot. Since then, guests of Batuu have been able to make reservations for this experience at My Disney Experience 180 days in advance. I would suggest trying to get a reservation as there is very limited space inside the depot, and it’s just safer that way!
The very first thing we did upon our arrival to Galaxy’s Edge, aside from getting Batuu Coke, was get in line for the Droid Depot. We waited about 30-35 minutes to get into the depot and the wait was all outside with only a couple scattered umbrellas for shade - take this another case for booking an advanced reservation for this experience! It was a very hot wait. Once we got inside, we were filed into another, much shorter line to pay. The very first thing you do is pay and then you get to build your droid. I think it just makes it easier for them to make sure everyone leaving with a droid has paid for that droid. Keep in mind, only 2 people are able to build 1 droid. So, my family of 4 had to split into 2 groups to make 2 separate droids. This is due to the tight building stations.
We got up to the counter, paid our $99.99, and then had to make a decision of which droid we wanted to build. You have two options: R2-series (which is similar to the real O.G. R2D2) or BB-series (the newer, BB-8 style). Steven and I already discussed this beforehand, which I recommend you and your building partner also do, so we were prepared for this question - and we chose BB-series! Of course, this doesn’t narrow you down to one uniform style of droid. In other words, the series doesn’t determine the colour or style of your droid, it only determines which parts you’ll need to pick up to start building. The depot workers handed us a tray with a guide to the parts we needed on the bottom and we headed over to the conveyor belt.
At the conveyor belt, you get to choose all the parts that will make up the final product of your droid. Several parts (Both R2-series and BB-series) roll by, and it’s up to you to find the parts you’re looking for in the styling and colour that you want. While the picture above is of the parts for an R2-series unit, which my parents built, you can get an idea of what the conveyor process looks like. They have an area you can set your tray down so that you can reach out for all the parts. There’s also Cast Members everywhere that are able to help you. Steven and I found our parts quite quickly because, again, we knew ahead of time what we wanted for our droid. I suggest doing the same. Look through blog posts, pictures, YouTube videos, and get an idea of what they offer in terms of droids parts, so you can decide ahead of time what you’re looking for. It’ll help make the process quicker and easier for you.
For a BB-series droid, we had 4 parts to locate - a dome, a dome connection plate, a body sphere, and a motivator. We also had the choice of 3 types of bodies - Resistance, BB8, or Imperial. We knew that we wanted ours to look just like BB-8, but with purple colouring, so we looked for those specific parts. It honestly took less than 2 minutes to find all the parts we needed. A Cast Member found us as we were picking the last part up and sent us over to an empty station where we got to work on making our new friend.
I can’t even describe how easy it was to put together this droid. I think that the Imagineers made this a simple process so that kids would be able to do all the constructing if they wanted to. There is an instruction placemat on the building station which you can easily reference while you put the pieces together. While there were some tricky spots, like connecting the dome and dome connection plate with a drill (harder than it sounds!), it was pretty straightforward and again, there are Cast Members everywhere to help. Once we got all our parts put together, we pressed a button on the station that called over a CM - and that’s where the magic happens! The CM puts your droid inside a little cubby with a remote control and has you press a button on the station that activates your droid. There’s a whole sequence where buttons light-up and it makes noises, I think kids will love that. And then your droid powers up and starts moving/making noises!
Lastly, the CM gave us the droid and remote to test out the functions. Be warned - the BB-series units are super touchy with the remote. The slightest touch of a button will send your droid hurtling across the room. Many a times has the head popped right off ours (don’t worry, it’s an easy fix, you just pop it right back on lol). We stuck mostly to testing out the head movement and noise functions. Then, the CM puts your droid and remote into a cardboard box with a little cut-out in the side, sort of like what you’d get when you made a Build A Bear. And that’s it! You get to take your little bud out of the depot and home with you.
Or, why not take your droid exploring around Batuu? As I mentioned earlier, the droids interact with different features and areas around the land. For example, since ours was a BB-8 droid, when we brought it into the First Order area, it started making uncertain nosies and physically shaking. Like, the whole box was quivering - because he was scared of getting caught by the First Order, of course! At one point, Chewie or Rey (can’t remember which) walked by, and our droid started getting excited. At this time, you aren’t able to take your droids out to roll around on the ground in Batuu. You can take them out to hold and get a picture of, as long as you put them right back into the box. This is because of the safety concerns of having a droid rolling around the feet of many, many visitors walking around the land. It’s also a case for buying the backpack, which you can open up so your droid can “see” the land. Or just put it in your own backpack and leave it unzipped to be honest.
All in all, I think the Droid Depot experience is definitely worth the price. Although the Savi’s Workshop lightsaber building experience is way cool, it is a lot more expensive. So if you’re worried about spending $200 on a toy your kid might break in a week (it happens!), or you don’t want to spend that kind of money on yourself, but you really want a cool experience and keepsake from Batuu, I would absolutely recommend getting a droid. I went in thinking it would be cute to get a droid, but never expected I’d be so impressed. The droids are really good quality and the function on them is excellent. And the interactivity with the land is worth the price alone!!
Would you build a droid, if you had the opportunity?