Ever since Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opened at Walt Disney World, I’ve been longing to build a lightsaber at Savi’s workshop. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, but I kept telling myself that it cost too much, that I had nowhere to put it, or that I was a grown woman with no use for a lightsaber.
Well, my Star Wars fandom finally won out! On a recent Walt Disney World trip, I built a lightsaber at Savi’s, and my 12-year-old daughter built a droid at the Droid Depot. I was struck by how different these two experiences were.
The Savi’s Lightsaber experience was $219.99 plus tax. The cost included a protective carrying case (sturdy enough to survive in the overhead compartment of a flight from Orlando to Newark).
The Droid Depot experience was $99.99 plus tax. It included a cardboard box as a carrying case. As we checked in, we were informed of a bundle option that included a droid, a personality chip, and a backpack. We did not purchase the bundle but did buy the backpack separately for $59.99. I don’t think the bundle offered any discount, just an opportunity to buy everything together.
Note, DVC/Annual Pass discounts do not apply to the experiences but can be applied to accessories (like the Droid backpack I purchased).
Both experiences can be booked on the Disney World website 60 days in advance, similar to restaurant bookings. Savi’s is definitely the more popular experience and times book up very quickly around that 60-day mark or before.
I really wanted to book these experiences for late in the day, so I wouldn’t have to carry them around or take them on rides. I secured Savi’s for 6:05 pm and Droid Depot for 7:20 pm. For both experiences, the booking is good for one builder and one guest.
Savi’s: I arrived at Savi’s for my 6:05 reservation just before 5:45. Although I was a little early, the cast member checked me in, presented me with my “credentials,” and let me and my guest into an outdoor, shaded area to wait and ponder my lightsaber build options before I paid. There were four sets to choose from, but I was advised that some of the sets had pieces that were out of stock. (Note, this was August of 2022). The “Power and Control” (Dark Side) option had the most pieces out of stock. Luckily, I was interested in the “Peace and Justice” set. Upon paying, I received a pin (to wear during the experience…and to keep) that indicated which lightsaber I would be building.
The cast members at check-in were totally in character, making conversation with us, and were incredibly friendly and helpful. Our 6:05 reservation actually started at 6:20, but we didn’t mind waiting, and it helped to build up the excitement.
Droid Depot: My daughter’s reservation was for 7:20. Earlier, we had walked by and asked where the check-in was and was advised to arrive no earlier than 7:15. Upon arriving, we stood in front of the cast member waiting for a couple of minutes while they chatted with another cast member. This was our first hint that this experience would be quite different than Savi’s. We were advised to pick a droid type and directed to look at a wall with the displayed parts. There were three droid options: a BB-Series (like BB8) and two different R-series (R2D2 and Chopper). We figured out that, for the most part, R2 and Chopper parts were interchangeable, with the exception of the legs. Upon deciding on an R-series, we paid, were given a basket for our droid parts, and then waited for a spot at the conveyer belt.
Savi’s: The lightsaber building experience takes place in a private chamber with just a dozen builders, their guests, and several cast members. The Cast Member leading the experience explained that the lightsaber shop is presented to the public as a ‘spare parts’ shop, hidden from the Empire. There were a few minutes of ‘pre-show’ to set the mood and explain our mission.
The first task was to choose a kyber crystal to power my lightsaber. I chose blue. Other options were purple, green, and red. After everyone chose their crystals, the ‘spare parts’ arrived, and we were guided through the process of assembling a lightsaber hilt. There was always a cast member nearby to help and to check that the assembly was correct. Once the hilt was assembled, it was time to activate it. It was placed in a special sleeve, and this time, when I switched it on, my hilt was complete with its lightsaber blade. My Jedi training was complete!
Droid Depot: The droid building experience takes place in an indoor area that is part gift shop, part droid building area. It was a bit chaotic. We took our basket over the conveyer belt and started looking out for the perfect droid pieces. The process was reminiscent of seeing C-3PO on the conveyer belt in Cloud City during the Empire Strikes Back. Cast members were on hand for questions, but there was no one-on-one coaching at that station. Once we found the perfect pieces, we waited in line for our turn at the assembly station.
At the assembly station, cast members were available to coach my daughter through the process of assembling her droid. However, I noticed that the cast members here were very rushed and impatient. For example, we asked how to access the personality chip compartment and were dismissed with an impatient ‘it just flips open.’ We had to ask twice more to be shown where it was and how this worked before the cast member finally did. One reason I thought to ask about this was because a fellow Savi’s customer had just built a droid and wound up needing the Savi’s cast member to tell them how to turn their droid on and off and how to find the personality chip compartment on their droid because the droid cast members “didn’t have time.”
Once my daughter finished building the droid, it was ‘activated,’ and she was shown how to control it and given a chance to test it out. Then they boxed up our new friend (who we named SC-30 after Steph Curry, number 30 on the Golden State Warriors), and we took him home.
While the droid experience was really fun, I can only describe the lightsaber experience as magical. It was totally immersive from the beginning, and I almost felt like a real Jedi by the end!
The droid is probably a better functional souvenir, especially for kids; it can be played with for (hopefully) years to come. The lightsaber is a lot of fun to carry around the park at night to take pictures, but I don’t think I’ll be having many lightsaber battles at home. In retrospect, I should have purchased the $30 hilt stand sold in Galaxy’s Edge…maybe on the next trip. For now, my lightsaber awaits in its case until a friend or family member mentions even a passing interest in Star Wars, at which time I will reveal my Jedi status!