'Sup? Tad here, family photographer, videographer and huge fan of all things Star Wars. Have you always wanted a little droid buddy similar to R2-D2 or BB-8 to roll about your house and take with you on adventures? Of course you do! Well, here’s your chance to build your own custom droid. When I made my first droid when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland, I was too excited to stop and take pictures of the process! So, I recently hopped along with some tadpole friends who were hopping excited to build their first droid so I could take pictures and share all of the deets with you. Here’s all you need to know in our step-by-step guide to building a droid at Disneyland Droid Depot.
Steps for Building a Droid at Disneyland Droid Depot
1. Make a reservation. You can make a reservation to build a droid up to 60 days in advance. But don't sweat it if you can’t plan that far in advance! You can usually book reservations close to your visit, or even get a same-day reservation for Disneyland Droid Depot when more times are released at 7:00 a.m. If it is not busy in Droid Depot, you may even be able to get a walk-in appointment. You know that we frogs are planners, though, and having a reservation guarantees you will get your droid. Reservations are for one builder and up to one guest (although our little buddies took turns building the same droid without a hitch).
You’ll make your reservation online or through the Disneyland app (use the magnifying glass at the bottom of the home screen to type in "Droid Depot" and it will take you to reservations). The experience is recommended for ages 3 and up, and at least one party member must be 14 or older. If you have questions, you can call (714) 300-7805. Keep in mind that you will need to provide your credit card when you reserve. If you need to cancel, you must cancel at least one day prior to avoid a cancellation fee of $99.99. Which brings us to our next tip.
2. Allow plenty of time to arrive. Try to make your appointment at a time that is realistic (or not first thing in the morning) and arrive early. Some days, we park at Disneyland and arrive at the front gate in about 15 minutes. Other times, it can take over an hour (or more!) to hop through the process. It just depends on crowds that day. If you plan extra time for parking, security, shuttles/buses and entrance lines to take longer than expected, you will have no trouble getting to your appointment.
Keep in mind that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is all the way at the back of Disneyland Park in a galaxy far, far away, so allow about 15 minutes to walk there once you enter the park. If you do happen to get inside Disneyland earlier than expected, great. You’ll have bonus time at Disneyland! We had a 9:10 a.m. appointment. We arrived at parking at 8:00 a.m. on a holiday weekend and made it just in time for our appointment.
3. Check in and pay. You may arrive at Disneyland Droid Depot up to 15 minutes early. The store has no sign in English, BTW. The language of Batuu is Aurebesh. You can locate the store on the park map or in the Disneyland app. It's toadally cool, but you don't want to get lost!
On your way to the register, you can look at accessories you might want for your droid. You might want to shop for a Droid Depot personality chip ($14.99 plus tax) before you go to the register. You may purchase Droid Depot personality chips when you pay for your droid, but you can also add one later if you cannot decide. The Droid Depot personality chips can make your droid part of the First Order, the Rebellion or a scoundrel. Our young Padawans chose a Rebellion chip, a blue one, in fact, because the cast member said it had more fun sounds (like a video game) than the orange chip. Sold! The droid costs $99.99 plus tax (no annual passholder discount for the droid itself, but you can get an AP discount on personality chips and accessories.)
And speaking of fun sounds, if you want to test the sounds that the chips make before you buy one, you can do that! On the side of the room opposite from where you pay and enter, there is a wall of Astromech personality chips. You'll see a row of buttons under each chip color. Press the button to hear the sounds associated with the chip!
It’s decision time when you pay for your droid. Do you want to build an R-series droid (similar to R2-D2, but with different head options) or BB-series (similar to BB-8)? The cashier will hand you a basket that is clearly labeled with the parts you will need to collect to build your droid.
4. Take your basket to the conveyor belt to choose parts. Hop on over to the conveyor belt, which has all of the scrap metal and parts you’ll need to assemble your droid. You can choose different colors and styles to make your droid unique.
5. Assemble your droid. Once you have collected the parts, it’s time to start building! You’ll take your basket of pieces to a building station. It has a diagram with pictures showing you how to assemble the droid. The station has an electric screwdriver. If you need help, just push the “Alert Tech” button. (You can find links to instruction manuals online.)
6. Activate your droid. Now, it’s time to activate your droid! The attendant will put the droid in a special spot and have you push the “Activate” button. You’ll see a panel light up and the droid will light up and come to life. It's so exciting! Now, it’s time to try out the remote control.
7. Test it. Here’s the toadally cool moment you’ve been waiting for! You can control your droid! You’ll learn how position the legs/wheels (for the R-series unit) for use. The attendant will show you how to use the remote control to make your droid move forward, backward, to the left and right, turn its head and talk. There’s also a button that will work with accessories, should you choose to get some. The attendant will turn the remote off and put it in the box. You cannot use it in the parks. Keep in mind that the on/off switch can be very hard to move. Ask a parent for help if you need it!
8. Add a personality chip (optional). If you have purchased a personality chip in advance, the attendant can show you how to install it. If you purchase it after leaving the building area, the cashier can do it for you. The personality chip affects the sounds the droid makes and how the droid behaves and interacts with elements in the land. A Rebellion chip will make your droid seem scared in the First Order area, but act happy and maybe even sing when near the Resistance area of the land. A First Order chip would have the opposite reactions in the land. A scoundrel chip will still interact with the land, but be more neutral than the droids who take sides.
9. Consider purchasing accessories. You can add a few accessories to your droid. You can get a backpack, which you can wear on the front or back to make carrying your droid around much easier on yourself. The R-series droid has jet attachments, blaster attachments and a serving tray with 7 cups and a serving arm. Toadally cool! For either series, you can get decals ($7.99 plus tax) to further personalize your droid. Our pals chose the decals and enjoyed applying them to the droid. The decals are not very sticky, meaning they are easy to remove if you should change your mind. But that also means we aren’t sure how well they will stay on over time.
10. Begin your adventures with your new droid BFF! You’ll leave the store with your droid in a box. You can carry the droid around the land, pose for pictures, and see how your new partner interacts with other droids, characters and elements on Batuu. The droid uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with other astromech droids, as well as elements and objects on Batuu and at Disney Parks and Resorts.
The droid does not have to remain in the box (at least nobody stopped us from carrying it out in the open). You can now place your droid on the ground at certain times on special mats (when available). That way your droid can interact with other droids, and you can practice controlling it. You do not need a droid to play. You can use a cast member's iPad to control one of the R-series droids that live on Batuu!
A stormtrooper came by and told us that we may need to swap out our personality chip ... and the chip for the droid, too. Toadally hilarious.
11. Manage your droid at Disneyland. You cannot bring the droid box on some rides, such as Indiana Jones, and you do not want to get it wet on Splash Mountain, so you will either need to use Rider Switch service to watch your droid or check it at a store. Because carrying a big box around Disneyland gets cumbersome, drop your droid off with a “babysitter.” Bring your droid and receipt proving you purchased it that day to a Disneyland drop-off location such as Pioneer Mercantile, Star Trader, Small World Toys, Mlle. Antoinette's Parfumerie and Port Orleans. You can also drop packages at Elias & Co. in Disney California Adventure or at the stroller shop in the Esplanade. Droid Depot will droid sit for you, too! Just remember to pick it up by the end of the night. Your arm and hand will thank you.
You can also use the drop-off service for your lightsaber if you’ll be building a lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop (next-door to Droid Depot). Disneyland no longer sends purchases to guest hotel rooms.
Tips for Building a Droid at Disneyland Droid Depot
Here are a few pointers for building a droid, enjoying it in the park and operating it:
- You must have admission to Disneyland to access Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Droid Depot.
- Building a droid is a fun activity for people of all ages (3+).
- Take pictures of your droid in the land. Be sure to have the imagers take some photos, too, for great professional shots.
- Consider buying a droid backpack or bringing a backpack from home for it. (That box is awkward to carry around and can get heavy.)
- Take your droid to tour the land. It may interact with other droids, get scared in some areas or be super happy and start singing in others.
- If you can afford it, consider purchasing a second droid, especially if you have more than one Star Wars fan in the house. It saves on fighting, especially if, say, one of your family members is loyal to the Resistance and the other is ready to sign up for the First Order. Plus, the droids can interact with one another.
- Do not use the remote control or operate your droid on the ground in the land or anywhere at Disneyland Park.
- You can operate the droid without a Droid Depot personality chip, or switch out chips. Your droid will have a different sound with a chip than without.
- Information about battery replacement and types of batteries can be found on the bottom of the box. Snap a pic of it before discarding the box.
- The remote takes two AAA batteries. The droids take six AA batteries.
- Check your droid at a designated Disneyland store so you do not have to carry it around all day.
- Take some time to check out the cool details in Disneyland Droid Depot, including the droid parts hanging from the ceiling. Ask a cast member about the history of Droid Depot for some cool Batuu facts!
- You may purchase other droids and droid-related merchandise at Droid Depot.
- Go visit R2-D2 in the other room of the shop. Sometimes, he makes sounds and moves. Sometimes, he is “resting.” You can purchase the life-size R2-D2 for just $25,000 (plus tax and shipping, but no AP discount). ;)
- You’ll find some droids outside the shop. It seems that they were excited to meet our droid, as they lit up and made sounds when we approached with the droid!
Are you looking forward to building a droid at Disneyland Droid Depot? You'll need valid Disneyland admission in order to access Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Did you know you can get a jump on saving money on Disneyland Resort tickets and Los Angeles area hotel stays? Exciting news! We now book discount hotel rooms at the Disneyland Hotel!