A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Ok not THAT long ago (April 2021) and not really THAT far away (depending on how far you are from Orlando – a 3 hour flight for us from NJ), but you get the idea! On our last visit to WDW, we finally got to experience Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge for the first time and as a MAJOR Star Wars fan, let me just start off by saying it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We we’re able to enjoy both attractions twice (on different days of course), grabbed a drink at Oga’s Cantina, met Chewy, and buy a ton of merch (but more on those experiences later). We also got the opportunity to build our own R2 unit at the Droid Depot!
Our son Lincoln is definitely taking after his dad in the Star Wars fan department. He has seen all the films with me, loves the various animated series, plays with lightsabers and the Millennium Falcon, and can be heard humming the film’s theme songs daily (not kidding…DAILY). At just 4 years old, he’s showing signs of passing me as the biggest fan in the house some day and that’s when we knew that simply visiting Batuu wasn’t just an experience for dad, but visiting with Lincoln was what was going to make it special! And out of everything Batuu has to offer there were 2 things leading up to our trip that Lincoln kept saying he wanted to do: 1) Fly the Falcon and 2) Build R2!
While I am personally looking forward to the lightsaber building experience (hopefully we’ll be doing so in August), we booked a visit to the droid depot for this trip as we knew Lincoln wanted his “buddy” R2. The experience allows for one paying participant and 1 guest to join them as they build their droid which means with 3 of us going, one would have to be left behind. No way, was I not going to build a Star Wars droid with my son, so Krystle was left to fend for herself (although I’m pretty sure she didn’t mind a little time to herself in Disney) as the boys went off on their adventure.
We arrived at the Droid Depot where we checked in about 10 minutes early. Our appointment was rather early in the day (9:30am) so it wasn’t too busy and they took us right in. The location was actually a little smaller than I imagined, but definitely was not lacking on the details. The eye catching piece being the conveyer belt overhead moving various droid parts around the entire interior of the building. We walked up to the counter where we selected what we wanted to purchase and paid. We opted for the droid package which includes building the droid, a special backpack to carry it, and a personality chip of our choice. If you’re just there to build the droid it’ll cost you $100, while the package we selected was about $150. (We did have an AP discount which took some off the cost of the accessories).
After paying, you’re directed to the conveyor belt that is running along the back wall of the depot. Here, you’ll find pieces of R2 and BB style droids in a variety of colors and sizes. A worker will provide you with a bin that shows you what parts you need to select based on your predetermined style of droid. For our R2 unit, we had to select a body, head, pair of legs, and 1 smaller leg. My son decided to go with the ALL blue look! Once you select your pieces, you’ll be led to another line where you wait until a build station is available. When it’s your turn another attendant will show you how the electronic screwdriver works and will point out the construction details for you. This is relatively easy as you are basically just lining up the pieces and screwing them together. Once the main construction is complete, you will be provided with a few “face plates” to add to the front and side of your droid of which you can select any available color you like…Lincoln stuck with the all blue style.
Once you’ve completed putting your droid together, the attendant will come back over and “bring it to life.” This is done by placing it in a small port and having the guest press the initiate button (Lincoln loved hitting the big red button). Once pressed, a variety of lights go off as your droid begins to move and chirp to life as it pairs with the remote control unit. Once this process is completed, the attendant will remove your droid from the port and then show you how the remote control works and give you some time to practice with it. Once you’re done, they will box up (or in our case will place the droid in the backpack – we did not get the usual cardboard carry box since we had the backpack) your droid and invite you to explore the rest of the depot where you can purchase other accessories for your droid. These include extra personality chips, different color or shaped parts to change the look for your droid, or decals to add to it. We didn’t purchase anything, but it was cool to see how you can change up the look of your droid in the future!
The experience of building your own droid was a lot of fun and the look on Lincoln’s face as his very own R2 came to life was priceless! (we’ll not priceless...it cost about $150 lol), but made it totally worth it! The droid itself (and its accessories) are of a high quality and don’t feel or look cheap at all and it moves quite well. We did see a few other people create a BB unit and its motion did seem a little more difficult (especially for a younger child), but I’m sure it just takes a little practice to get down. The R2 unit feels sturdy as it moves and actually has a little speed to it. I would note that when you operate it on an uneven surface though (such as the ground in Batuu) the unit will shake quite a bit so I’d be careful.
Apart from the awesome experience of building and owning your own unit that you can bring home with you, Disney wanted to make sure that this was not simply just another toy, but rather another way of integrating you further into Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. And boy did they do just that. As we walked around exploring Batuu for the rest of the day, with our R2 unit safely in its fitted backpack that allows it to securely stick out for all to see, it would constantly begin making various noises and motions that changed depending on where we were in the world! Our droid had a rebel personality chip and would react accordingly depending on what part of the land we were in. It would get excited when we walked past the X-wing and nervous when near the First Order locations! Taking it a step further, your droid will even interact with other guest’s droids as well!
Overall, the Droid Depot was a great experience my son and I shared. Lincoln is only 4 and as such is a slightly young to be able to do everything himself when it comes to physically building the droid (using the electronic screwdriver is difficult as the build platform is a little high for him), but he really enjoyed picking out all the parts and seeing his droid come life and not only did I enjoy this myself, but also watching him believe it was real was the best part! The price point of the droid ($100 – or more if you want accessories) is just right! The quality of both the experience and the unit itself is top notch and totally worth it! We would highly recommend this for any Star Wars fan and we can’t wait to go back and try our hand at building a BB unit (maybe ‘ll even I let Krystle take Lincoln in…maybe).
Thanks for reading and See Ya Real Soon,