Star Wars Galaxy's Edge has a lot to offer, but if we're honest, most of what is there is better suited for adults and older kids.
But, that isn't true at Droid Depot.
Here you'll find one of the best experiences for kids in all of Batuu: customized droid building.
Yes this spot is a little loud and crowded, but it's the one thing at the Black Spire Outpost where both young and young-at-heart Star Wars fans can experience a little bit of the Star Wars fun.
Here's what you need to know...
More than just building customized droids
Probably the most important thing to start with is how the entire process itself works.
First of all, Droid Depot isn't just a spot where you can build custom Astromech Units.
It's a full shop selling all the best droid merchandise.
From shirts and mugs:
to these awesome gift cards:
to $25,000 full-scale R2-D2 models, Droid Depot is a fun spot to explore.
The trick here, though, is that there isn't any signage directing you where to go once you arrive.
It's probably easiest to think of visitors here fitting into 3 different categories:
- People that just want to shop
- People that want to build a droid but do NOT have a reservation
- People that want to build a droid and DO have a reservation
Knowing which category you fit into can save you from possibly needlessly standing in a long line.
If you just want to shop, the easiest way to get inside is to go through the doors near this signage on the wall:
If you want to build a droid, but you don't have a reservation, you'll want to look for this sign and join the line:
And, if you have a reservation, your best bet is to find a cast member near a door and ask them to direct you to the correct line inside.
Building a droid
Once inside, there are 2 different lines.
The left-hand one (that is longer) is for people without reservations while the one on the right is for ones with reservations.
You can see just how much of an advantage you have if you go into this experience with a reservation, and in fact, we highly recommend you do just that to avoid having a long wait.
You can make reservations online to build a customized droid up to 180 days in advance on the official Walt Disney World website.
The cost for building a droid is $99.99, and you have to pre-pay before you build it.
That cost includes 1 droid and a carrying box.
Carrying backpacks are also available for an additional cost ($49.99) and unlike the droids, they are eligible for an Annual Pass discount.
R Series or BB Series
When you pay you'll have to declare which type of droid you want to build, either an R-series (like R2-D2):
or a BB-series (like BB-8):
Both are super fun but there are more accessories available for the R-Series droids (more on that below).
Once you decide on your style you'll be directed to a station positioned on a conveyor belt.
This is one of the coolest parts of the entire process because as you stand there, all the different parts available are going by and you get to pick out each piece for your droid!
There are instructions and graphics at each station showing you exactly what to look for.
If you are building a BB-Series droid, these will be the pieces you choose:
- Dome Connection Plate
- Body Sphere
If you are constructing an R-Series droid, these will be the pieces you'll be able to select:
- Center Leg
- Set of Side-Legs
The pieces come in lots of different colors like purple and red and orange and even clear.
You can mix and match to your heart's desire.
We can say from personal experience it was a lot of fun watching the kids around us pick just the right pieces for their droids, and the combinations they came out with were super fun!
And, of course, if you're having trouble finding what you need there are several Cast Members working the area to help you out.
After you have all of your parts selected you'll be directed to an assembly station.
Again, you'll find handy easy-to-follow instructions to get you started putting your droid together.
There were a few of these steps that were a bit trickier, but there are Cast Members nearby to lend a hand.
Once you are done putting your droid together, you get to activate it!
This part of the experience is a definite "WOW!" moment and is comparable to when the lightsabers are turned on for the first time at Savi's Workshop.
This is also the part of the assembly where you get your remote control.
Once you have your droid activated, the last thing to do is to get him secured for transport in either the free box or the cute backpack that is available for an extra charge.
If you'd like, you'll have a few more ways you can customize your droid.
First of all, you can add a personality chip to your droid.
The personality chips change how your droid sounds and interacts in the park.
These chips can be used in both the R-Series and BB-Series droids and cost $12.95 each.
Adding them to your droid is relatively easy - you just pop it back open and insert it into the empty slot.
Visitors that purchase R-Series droids have additional customization options, including decals and accessory panels.
Custom Droid Rules
As you can imagine, there are some rules for when you can use your droid.
The most important rule is that the droids may not be used inside the parks.
The bluetooth technology inside the droids do allow them to react to their environment and other droids. You'll feel your new friend moving and beeping from inside their box (or in the backpack), but you can't take them out and set them on the ground.
Disney recommends this experience for guests ages 3 and up, and, in addition, visitors 7 years old and younger must be accompanied by somebody at least 14 years old.
When building, each paying customer will be allowed 1 guest.
Disney didn't seem to be as strict about the 1 guest/builder rule here as they are at Savi's Workshop, and even though the overall space is larger, the building stations are not so the 1 guest rule seems like a good one to follow except in rare cases like when the number of children outnumbers the adults.
Droid Depot mobile app
The fun doesn't have to stop after you get home.
Disney now has a free app that you can download that brings your BB-series or R-series astromech droid units to life back on your home planet.
Even guests that haven't yet had the opportunity to build a droid can join in on the fun because the app lets you design and build your very own virtual version for free.
Can you bring your own carrying bag?
Yep! If you don't want to use the box or buy a bag, you can put your droid in a bag you bring.
How long does it last?
It takes about 30 minutes or so.
What is the best age?
This is a great kid-friendly activity in Galaxy's Edge but ideally we'd say 5 and up.
How much are the non-customized droids?
The BB-Series and R-Series ones start at $99 and DJ-Rex is $149.99.
What if I need help operating my droid?
You don't get a manual when you purchase your droid, but Disney does have them available online:
What is the better choice - building a droid or building a lightsaber?
These are 2 totally different experiences.
The droids are adorable and a toy, but the lightsabers are high quality display pieces (not something you'd use as a toy).
They are at a similar level as to what you might find with serious cosplayers.
Is it worth it?
This is such a subjective question but we can say without hesitation that for us, it was worth it.
The experience was fun and engaging (and adorable!) and getting to walk away from it with a cute BB-Series droid was the cherry on top.