Updated January 2020
When I heard that Disneyland and Walt Disney World were working on a billion dollar expansion dedicated to Star Wars, I wasn’t super excited. I’ve never been all about Star Wars. Star Tours is fun, but not up there on my favourite rides. I haven’t seen the new movies. Having a son, I would say I’m more into the idea of Star Wars, but not the movies themselves. But one thing I definitely know about Disney, they do everything wonderfully and fully committed. You can have confidence in knowing if Disney is going to invest in something, it’s going to be good no matter what. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is no exception.
Leading up to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge there was a lot of concern about huge crowds and long lines. Things like the opening of Toy Story Land and Pandora – The World of Avatar in WDW really support this… yet this is the West Coast, not the East Coast. Disneyland started by requiring reservations to visit Galaxy’s Edge between May 31 and June 23, 2019. Next was the brilliant idea of “boarding groups” where you sign-up in the morning that you are going to the park, and they assign you a time to enter the Galaxy’s Edge. This shows us that Disney is learning from past openings.
However, there are a few things working against Galaxy’s Edge. Prices increased for Disneyland (thankfully though, the rumours of an extra cost to enter Galaxy’s Edge never happened). People were anxious, I think, about the lines and crowds, AND the biggest change of all is that Disneyland actually blocked the SoCal Select, Southern California and Deluxe APs (Annual Passholders) and cast members from going to Disneyland for the entire summer. This is EXCELLENT NEWS for those of us who casually visit, but hard for those paying the money to be there more often. Obviously as a visitor, we really appreciated this… but I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The last thing working against Galaxy’s Edge is the fact that the entire land only has two attractions, and only one (Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run) was open for the Grand Opening! (The second attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is slated to open January 17th 2020 in DL and December 5th 2019 in WDW).
I was able to go to Disneyland in July 2019, only two weeks after the general opening. I was watching the Disneyland App to see what was happening. They were still using the boarding groups when we were on our way to LA, but by the time we were going to Disneyland for the day they had abandoned the boarding groups. One can only imagine that this was because crowds weren’t as large as what they had hoped.
We had a wonderful, quiet day at Disneyland. 31 attractions in one day, without MaxPass… which is unheard of, let alone on a Sunday in July! We did notice right off the bat that lots of people were trying to get into the Galaxy’s Edge section of the park. There are three entry points; one in Critter Country by the Hungry Bear Restaurant, and two along the path behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad that connects Frontierland to Fantasyland. (First thing in the morning, one of the entrances north of Big Thunder was blocked off for entry.)
My first tip is to knock off some of the bigger rides in the morning before heading into Galaxy’s Edge. We were able to do Indiana Jones, Big Thunder, Pirates, Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh (twice) and Haunted Mansion, all before 10 am due to the low crowds.
We got into Galaxy’s Edge around lunch time. We tried to get our bearings first, but we were super hungry. It’s quite a large land, all things considered. It wasn’t super packed, but it WAS a little confusing to know where to go and we ended up walking all the way through the land before finding the only place to get a meal outside of the food stands.
Along the way we saw plenty of characters interacting with park guests. I can’t tell you who this is if my life depended on it, but this was right when we walked in. Oh come on, it’s Kylo Ren! I love the details. They made things look rusty that are brand new, and here you can see tire tracks on the ground.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
This is where we headed straight away, and I think it was the best meal I’ve had in Disneyland. It compares well to Satu’li Canteen in Pandora at Walt Disney World. Very fresh, good food, unlike anything else you can get at Disneyland. My 3 girls (12, 9, and 6) shared one meal and my husband and I shared another. We ordered two of the Roasted Endorian Tip-Yip Salad: marinated chicken served with mixed greens, roasted seasonal vegetables, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and green curry ranch for $13.99. It was SO good!
Kat Saka’s Kettle
Food stall with Outpost Mix (Kettle Corn, which is sweet and salty).
Grilled meat like savory grilled sausage and roasted pork wraps. A sandwich stand.
This is where you will get that Blue and Green milk everyone is talking about. I have seen SO many posts about this. From what I can gather, the blue milk has a more subtle flavour. It’s made with plant-based milk with a hint of berry and melon. Another great treat option for vegans. It’s a blended drink that has the texture like a smoothie. The green milk, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about. The flavour is citrus and floral; people seem to either love or hate it. This isn’t really my thing, so we skipped it. There are SO MANY amazing treats in the parks, this is not one I’m tempted by either. But if you’re a big fan, you can get it here for $7.99. If you’re a REALLY big fan you can get it in a “Bubo Wamba Family Farms Light-up Souvenir Sipper” for $24.99! And if you’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, you can get this with alcohol in it.
I’ve heard incredibly good things about this place. This is the “local cantina” of Batuu, where bounty hunters, smugglers, rogue traders and weary travelers of all ages come together to refuel, enjoy music and conduct meetings. Bold musical entertainment courtesy of droid DJ R-3X is part of the experience. This is the only place you can get alcohol in Disneyland (starting at $12, and going up to $72). You can also get espresso based beverages at breakfast and non-alcoholic concoctions throughout the day. At lunch and dinner time there are not food options besides one snack offering, so it’s really more of a bar feel and a sit down experience more than anything else. You can see the full menu here. Also, you currently need a reservation to get in.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
The ride allows for six people to ride together. Each person receives one of three roles: Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer. Once you reach this stage, they will hand you your cards which are colour coded. You then have a couple minutes to wait around until your colour is called. Once you are handed your roles, you can wander around in a holding area and take pictures. So fun!
The height limit for this ride is 40 inches. The wait times really vary for this… for Disneyland I wouldn’t wait longer than about 40 minutes. If you get motion sickness on Star Tours, then this ride may not be for you. My sister in law tried this ride, and as soon as it began she regretted her decision.
You really do not get a lot of heads up about the roles, but they are fairly simple. If you have young kids, the best role was the gunner, since it only required for them to press two buttons. If you can, choose your pilots carefully. They have a lot of control over the Millennium Falcon. We had only three in our party, and the pilot cards were given to two small boys in the other party. I’m pretty much bullet proof when it comes to motion sickness, but even they had me feeling a little queasy after all the bumps a jerks. Couldn’t agree with this more! We had no idea going in what to expect and we had a 15 year old and 6 year old piloting… and they thought it was hysterical to sway back and forth the whole time. It was a LOT!
It also has a single rider line. The interesting thing about this is they can’t guarantee it will be faster. We waited 40 minutes, and the 2 people we rode with that were in the single rider line waited the same amount of time as us. Because it’s 6 people though, you could easily end up on the ride with a friend because a lot of people are in groups of 4. The stand-by line for this was fun too, lots to see.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
This ride opened December 5th, 2019 (Walt’s Birthday!) in WDW and opened January 17th, 2020 in Disneyland. The ride itself is four and a half minutes long, with the entire experience being over 20 minutes total. It holds 8 people per vehicle, and uses trackless technology like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (opening March 4th 2020 in WDW), Ratatouille: The Adventure in Disneyland Paris, and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in Tokyo Disneyland. I’ll be honest, this makes me a little nervous as to how often it will break down (anyone remember waiting for Indiana Jones and then it breaking down for hours at a time?), but we shall see. It will be nice to have a second attraction in this area, as it’s a bit of a trek to make it over to Galaxy’s Edge for one ride.
To date, we have not seen a more highly anticipated ride than Rise of the Resistance (RotR) in Disneyland. WDW has a few now… Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, Slinky Dog in Hollywood Studios and now RotR in Galaxy’s Edge. But Disneyland has never seen anything quite like this, so it is hard to predict what the lines will be like or how crowded the park will be. I don’t think I agree. Radiator Springs Racers has been out for awhile now, and it still consistently has a line up of two plus hours. With the advancement of technology, it has allowed for the resorts to find new solutions for long wait times.
At the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in 2019, we saw the opposite of what Disney hoped. Instead of people showing up in multitudes, there was some buzz, but more so it created more space for people to spread out in Disneyland. On the one day I made it to the park last July (2019) I experienced very low crowds. It was a few weeks after opening, but it was a ghost town. By mid August, there certainly was more of a crowd presence.
We can hope for this to be the case with RotR, but I am doubtful it will be. A lot of people have waited until both rides are open to plan a trip. I’m going to predict that it’s going to be VERY busy on January 17th when the ride opens, and for at least the rest of January, February (typically a low month) and March.
What We Know
We know for sure that they are using boarding groups as needed. Thankfully, with WDW having already used boarding groups for their Galaxy’s Edge rides we know (somewhat) what to expect. Note that right now, Walt Disney World is selling out of boarding groups within 10 minutes of park opening, and Disneyland is selling out within 1 minute. As time goes by, we can hope this is not going to be as crazy, but for now, it’s a gamble on if you will get to ride or not.
When you enter the gates first thing in the morning, open your Disneyland app and join a boarding group for RotR. This will give you a group number and the app will alert you when it’s your turn to get in line for the ride. You will have 2 hours to get into the ride line up, which is plenty of time to get there from your hotel room, dining reservation, Downtown Disney, or even California Adventure Park.
Even if you’re in a boarding group, you’re not guaranteed to be able to ride it, due to unforeseen breakdowns or closures… but it’s still your only chance to get on. You can’t hop in a line without it. They are only guaranteeing up ’til about group 80. Also, take note that even with a boarding group number, you will still have to wait… WDW is seeing 30-45 minute waits for their boarding groups once they’ve reached the ride. This is better than many ride openings in the past, but be prepared that it could be longer due to the high demand we expect to see.
A few tips:
1) Use your cellular network to get a boarding group; don’t use the wi-fi in the park. We see in WDW that this is an issue… the park wi-fi simply cannot handle the overload.
2) You must scan your ticket into the park to get a boarding group. In WDW, each person has to be IN the park in order to get in the group. You CANNOT be scanned into California Adventure Park and get a boarding pass for Rise. You CAN, however, scan into Disneyland, and leave the gates and be in the plaza so that it’s not so many people, if needed.
3) Get there EARLY. Thankfully with Disneyland you can walk to the park and not depend on buses. If the park opens at 8:00am, we suggest being there (through bag check, at main gates) no later than 7:00am. This seems a little aggressive to me. But I like sleep. The park might even open before scheduled times… we don’t know any of this yet, but it’s better to be prepared as much as possible.
4) Keep a good attitude and outlook. Be kind and deal with grace, especially when it comes to the Cast Members. They are doing the best they can!
5) I have heard a rumor that you can ask a Cast Member as soon as the park opens for help getting into a boarding group (it may even be quicker through them, but don’t quote me on that).
I didn’t get into any of the shops, and I regret it. How hard would it have been to duck in
Resistance Supply: A secret makeshift post where you can join the cause to defeat the First Order
Creature Stall: Discover exotic creatures from around the galaxy – and take one home
Toydarian Toymaker: Artisanal toys, games, playthings and collectibles handmade in Black Spire Outpost
Black Spire Outfitters: An eclectic selection of stylish, functional clothing
Jewels of Bith: Local goods and other trinkets
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities: A rotating collection of unique items (jewelry, ancient tools, crystals)
First Order Cargo: A temporary post next to a shuttle where you can pick up gear and other products to show your support of the First Order
Build your own custom light saber. It’s an immersive experience and more than just picking pieces out of buckets, but it comes with a hefty price tag ($199 USD).
You can make a reservation, which is recommended.
Build your own droid. Visit a workshop stocked with stacks of parts, chips, manuals, and other useful tech items. Pick from either the BB-series or R-series units. This experience is currently first come, first serve. It is $99 USD to build your own droid.
That’s all folks, thanks for stopping by!
Have you been to Galaxy’s Edge yet? We’d love to hear what you think!
Have a magical day!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle