Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers is one of themost popular things in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This review offers photos & video from this build-your-own lightsaber shop, reservation details, spoiler-free info, and whether it’s worth the $200. (Updated September 9, 2020.)
Savi’s Workshop is an unassuming storefront located in the middle of Black Spire Outpost next to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and Droid Depot. Under the guidance of the Gatherers, guests are ushered into a covert workshop where they are using unusual parts to build lightsabers amidst the First Order.
Originally, we planned on skipping Savi’s Workshop. To be honest, I laughed at the idea of a $200 lightsaber, and might have used the word “sucker” to describe our friend who wanted to do it. This is no knock at Star Wars fans (well, I guess it is), but I spend money on plenty of things others would consider silly or frivolous, so to each their own. Since you’re seeing this review, we did end up doing Savi’s Workshop, so there’s also that…
Before we delve into the details of the build your own lightsaber experience at Savi’s Workshop, we want to address its current and future status. As you’re no doubt aware, both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have been closed for the last several months, and with them, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. (Obviously. It didn’t somehow operate while the rest of the parks were closed.)
When Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopened, Savi’s Workshop also returned with it–but not the full “show” experience. A modified offering took its place that allowed guests to purchase Legacy Lightsabers inspired by specific characters. These are normally sold at Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, and range in price from $130 to $200 on their own…
Good news! Beginning September 20, 2020, the Gatherers will invite guests back into this mysterious shop in Black Spire Outpost to train in the ways of constructing a lightsaber. Advance reservations for Savi’s Workshop will open September 16, 2020 via Disneyworld.com or the My Disney Experience mobile app. Day-of walk-up availability may also be available depending upon demand.
Those who have visited Savi’s Workshop in the past will notice the experience has been slightly adjusted. For instance, capacity is reduced to allow for physical distancing between guests in accordance with Disney’s Hollywood Studios modified health safety rules during its phased reopening. (Based on our recent visit to Savi’s Workshop, it looks like the already space-constrained environment is operating at half-capacity. Accordingly, we’d highly recommend advance reservations.)
With the modified experience of Savi’s Workshop covered, let’s return to the normal one and start with the titular question. Despite that title, this really isn’t expressly about whether the lightsaber itself is worth $200. I cannot envision a single scenario in which I’d view a lightsaber as being worth $200.
Perhaps once the technology gets to the point that it’s an actual tool I can use to carve a Thanksgiving turkey or defend myself against the First Order, but even then, it’d be a tough sell. To someone, I’m sure a lightsaber could be worth $200. I am not that person, though.
With that said, the lightsaber itself has heft to it, is substantial, and feels really good in the hand. Then again, I’ve never wielded a high-end lightsaber, and am comparing this (no joke) to the industrial design of my DSLR camera lenses. For all I know, this could be on the low end of replica-caliber lightsabers. I do know that it’s significantly nicer than anything I’ve ever seen in Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
For me, the question about whether this is “worth it” comes down to the hand-built lightsaber itself plus the overarching experience at Savi’s Workshop. As you’ll read in the review that follows, we were absolutely blown away by the show component of Savi’s Workshop and have zero regrets that we did it. The workshop itself along with having a nighttime lightsaber battle below the Millennium Falcon rank highly among the things we did in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
However, value is in the eye of the beholder and it’s very much a your mileage may vary type of thing. Ultimately, you’re looking at a 25 minute experience plus a lightsaber for $200 plus the effort of snagging a reservation or waiting in line to do Savi’s Workshop.
This brings us to the capacity of Savi’s Workshop, which is abysmal. There’s a lot to be said for the intimate environment of the workshop, which definitely enhances the show. Nevertheless, the decision to make this a single room (rather than modeling it after multi-room meet & greets) is a puzzling one. The result is a shop with an hourly capacity of under 50 lightsabers.
Scarcity is the other reason why the question of value is nearly irrelevant. With such a low number of daily time slots for Savi’s and such a high number of Star Wars fans with surplus disposable income (or willing to save and splurge for something special), Savi’s could charge double its current prices and never have a problem filling up. (Not to give Disney any ideas…)
When we did Savi’s Workshop, it did not offer reservations. This mean that a line formed each morning and you had to wait to sign up, then return and have your group called to enter Savi’s Workshop took a lot of time. (Sort of like how Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance works now.) Consequently, we had nearly 2 hours of “lost time” as a result of the system.
The good news is that Savi’s Workshop now offers advance reservations online and via both the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. At Disneyland, reservations are available 60 days in advance. At Walt Disney World, reservations may be made 180 days in advance. For both, we highly recommend making reservations ASAP before your travel dates.
This system streamlines the whole process, but the downside to that is it means you can get shut out entirely if you don’t think to make reservations well in advance of your vacation. Typically, reservations typically fill up faster at Walt Disney World than at Disneyland. If you aren’t able to score your desired slot early, keep checking the system–especially the day before, as cancellations do occur.
If you’ve already decided you want to do Savi’s Workshop and are only not going to do it in the event that something discourages you, stop reading now. This is not going to be that “something.” We loved the experience, would do it again if money were no issue, and would highly recommend going in without having anything about it spoiled for you…
Again, to avoid spoilers, stop reading/scrolling now.
Seriously. Don’t ruin this for yourself if you plan or want to do it.
For now, Savi’s Workshop truly is a ‘covert’ location: there’s no discernible signage, and save for the long line, crowds, and cash registers outside, it doesn’t even appear to be a storefront in keeping with the design-style of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Prior to paying, you’ll select one of the four themes. These are Peace and Justice (with salvaged scraps from fallen Jedi temples and starships in Republic-era designs), Power and Control (forged by dark side warriors, using remnants from the Sith homeworld), Elemental Nature (embodying the Force and comprised of living things, like Brylark trees, Cartusion whale bones, Rancor teeth, etc.) and Protection & Defense (mysterious materials that reconnect users with the ancient wellspring of the Force).
These are a starting point, with the exact pieces chosen and assembled within the workshop. Pictured below is a full set from Elemental Nature:
After paying your $200 (plus tax), you will be given your pin and a credential that will serve as your group number. The pin is your key to enter the secretive workshop and it also identifies which of the 4 lightsaber designs you’ve chosen.
Naturally, we chose Elemental Nature because one of the options for that is a Rancor tooth. We felt that’d give us the most street cred in intimidating the neighbor’s dog. (As we know from firsthand exposure, dachshunds are ferocious.)
Once your group is among the next to enter the shop, you’ll be allowed to enter a courtyard where you’ll wait to be allowed entrance by one of the Gatherers.
Here’s a brief video offering a snippet of the opening act inside Savi’s Workshop for Handbuilt Lightsabers:
As you can see, inside Savi’s Workshop, introductions are made and a solemn tone is established for the ceremony of crafting a lightsaber.
The Gatherers go over Jedi history, lightsaber lore, and the power of the Force. It’s a good preface, and effectively sets the mood.
Following that, you choose a kyber crystal, which will give your lightsaber its color. The options are red, blue, green, or (for the Samuel L. Jackson fans out there) purple.
At “only” $13 each, kyber crystals are probably one of the best pieces of merchandise in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge; each one changes the color of your lightsaber blade.
You’ll also receive a hilt kit with the necessary parts to choose from to assemble your hilt. Each box of parts includes 1 hilt, 4 sleeves (pick 2), 2 emitters (pick 1), 2 pommel caps (pick 1), 2 sets of activation plates, and switches (pick 1 set).
Gatherers circulate to assist in this process, which takes several minutes.
We’d recommend finishing quickly to give yourself a few minutes to appreciate the themed design of the workshop.
As with everything in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the design of Savi’s Workshop is brilliant and moody. Savor it, because you’ll probably only ever be in here once.
Once everyone is finished assembling their hilts, Gatherers help attach the hilts into assembly pods at each building bay. This is when the bonding ceremony begins, which is the highlight and wow moment of the whole experience at Savi’s Workshop.
At the conclusion of this, the blade of the lightsaber is ‘magically’ attached and everyone raises and activates their lightsabers in unison as the voice of Yoda enters the chamber.
I had the Yoda portion of this spoiled for me prior to this (as I never thought I’d do it), and my initial reaction was disappointment that it wasn’t a hologram of Yoda making an appearance.
While that would’ve undoubtedly been cooler, it’s impossible to put into words just how cool the culmination of this ceremony is.
Savi’s Workshop hits all of the right emotional notes; there’s a sense of urgency, solemnity, and pride upon completion. Yeah, you’re just assembling a glorified toy lightsaber, but it feels like so much more.
We both agreed that this was a really powerful experience, and we say this as people who are not heavily invested in Star Wars. I can only imagine how moving it would be for someone who grew up on Star Wars, and has a strong nostalgic bond.
Ultimately, we have zero regrets dropping $200 to do Savi’s Workshop. I’m actually glad we didn’t go with the original plan of only me entering (for free) to watch our friend build his lightsaber, because my reaction to Sarah upon exiting would’ve been, “you have to see that.”
In fact, Sarah’s reaction upon exiting Savi’s Workshop was, “we have to do that again and get another lightsaber so we each have one.”
We definitely are not going to do that, but we probably will end up buying more kyber crystals. The point here is that our first impressions–even as frugal people who aren’t hardcore Star Wars fans–were so satisfying and the end result so cool that we were fine having dropped $200 on it.
Even at that price-point, Savi’s Workshop is truly something special. This is one of the most popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge offerings at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and for good reason. It’s not going to be something that everyone can afford to do in terms of time or money, but it’s something we recommend as a splurge for those who can do it. You won’t regret it.
If you’re planning on visiting the new land, you’ll also want to read our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide. This covers a range of topics from basics about the land and its location, to strategically choosing a hotel for your stay, recommended strategy for the land, and how early to arrive to beat the crowds. It’s a good primer for this huge addition.
Have you stepped inside Savi’s Workshop for Handbuilt Lightsabers? Is it something you’d like to do, or is the $200 pricetag a non-starter for you? If you’ve done it, do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Think it was (or will be) worth the money and time commitment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!