Disney World Galaxy's Edge Opening Trip Report Part 6

Welcome to our trip report covering the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios! The primary purpose of trip reports is to supplement our existing content (in this case, heavily) to let you know how our strategies are actually working at a given time! This post covers a stop at Epcot (Food and Wine Festival) and a return to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, including Oga’s Cantina!

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About This Trip Report

This trip report covers a five-night visit to Walt Disney World for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the start of Extra Extra Magic Hours. As we’ve written elsewhere, the period from August 29 through November 2 is going to be a complicated one at Walt Disney World, as three parks will have daily Extra Extra Magic Hours.

FastPass+ Searching (Briefly)

After a brief rain shower, we took the monorail over to Epcot from Magic Kingdom. Along the way, I shared an example search for a FastPass+ on instagram.

While I always assume most people know about searching for FastPass+ reservations, a lot of people came to us without ever reading our FastPass content. So besides pointing you to our Disney World FastPass+ strategy, I wanted to take a second to remind you of a few highlights.

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First, FastPass+ space is not fixed. You can search and see no results, search a second later and see a time pop up, and search a second later to see it disappear. There’s definitely some randomness with what you see on any given search. Relatedly, once you get the ride you want, keep trying to modify to the time you want.

Second, people are always changing FastPass+ times. You might think no one ever gives up a Slinky Dog Dash or Flight of Passage FastPass+, but it happens. Especially on days with Extra Magic Hours when guests will get these done in the morning, they’ll often cancel their later FastPass+ to spend their day somewhere else.

Third, I search during pretty much all downtime. I’m trying to get better about enjoying the scenery of parks, but if I’m on a bus or just waiting for something to begin, I’m searching for my next FastPass+. A lot of people think it’s “luck” when I post about getting a Flight of Passage FastPass+. It’s definitely partly luck…but it’s also the 20 minutes I’ve spent refreshing the search in the app.

The search I documented on instagram was for a Frozen Ever After FastPass+. It took about 2 minutes to find a 6PM FastPass+ at 1PM, and then another 20 minutes (approx.) of searching to get that time improved to 1:55PM at 1:38PM (I wasn’t searching the entire 38 minutes).

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Epcot Food and Wine

Right off the bat I’ll tell you we do not exhaustively cover Food and Wine on this site…this section is mostly a rant about cash registers, so feel free to skip it. I recommend the following two posts by Disney Tourist Blog if you need to know more about the festival:

For us, Epcot’s festivals fit neatly into all our Epcot touring tips, as any Epcot one day itinerary will leave a significant chunk of afternoon time for World Showcase and/or festival time.

We’ll also highlight that festival booths count as snack credits for those of you with a Disney Dining Plan, and they’re by far the best use of snack credits at Walt Disney World.

We tried a few items. Here’s a slideshow of the raclette (Alps), naan and lassi (India), hummus fries (Morocco), creme brulee (France), maple bourbon cheesecake (Canada). Our opinion on all these items was “they’re good,” which is why we don’t review food. The cheesecake was “very good.”

With a thunderstorm in the area, several of the less permanent booths were unable to take any payment other than cash. They also strongly requested small bills.

Begin rant. I wasn’t too happy about this. Disney set up these booths in Florida in the summer—they know lightning is coming. At any other destination, I’d let this slide, but Disney World also hypes how Magic Bands are a one-size-fits-all solution to carrying things. They deliberately encourage people to leave cash behind.

Yes, a fundamental rule of traveling is to always have cash, but that’s also not a rule you expect to have to follow at a destination that as part of its marketing highlights the ease of cashless living. End rant.

I do wish I’d taken more pictures of the Food & Wine merchandise, some of which was quite cool.

Return to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

As big walkers, we can rarely resist the temptation to walk the path between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The path is about a mile and can take you either past the Yacht Club and Beach Club or along BoardWalk Inn (and the Boardwalk). Along the way we saw the Disney Skyliner (opening September 29) testing.

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Crowds were a much more reasonable level a few days into the land’s opening (the hurricane obviously played a role, too). The 85-minute wait for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run caught my eye.

I would think Disney would use the Boarding Pass system (which has so far only been used on day 1) to indirectly keep this wait between 90 minutes and 120 minutes most of the day. I “worry” that it was at 85 minutes with pretty low crowds…it makes me think Disney probably will not be able to keep it lower than 120 minutes if serious crowds hit.

But that’s pure speculation, and keep in mind there’s not a huge window for those crowds. When Rise of the Resistance opens, that will be the marquee ride in the park.

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We opted to test single rider, which took about 15 minutes from the bottom of the stairs. We actually wound up riding together. You can’t bank on this, but it does happen. We were engineers, which you’ll almost always be as a single rider.

I have to say…despite the fact that I don’t think this ride is great, and despite the fact that I rank it fairly low in my Walt Disney World ride rankings (click saver—it’s 22/49, ahead of Test Track and behind Slinky Dog Dash), I sure do seem to ride it a lot. I chalk that up to the novelty of the experience, but maybe it has some appeal I haven’t put my finger on.

Oga’s Cantina

When we’d entered Batuu, we’d inquired and been told Oga’s wasn’t taking walk-ups (it was reservation only). After exiting Smugglers Run and seeing a very short line, we inquired again and were allowed to wait. We were inside within about two minutes.

While I think the reservation system itself needs significant improvement (too many people probably have “placeholder” reservations), I’m very happy to see the bar be a mix of reservations and walk-ups.

We each had two drinks, the combined list being: Bespin Fizz, Fuzzy TaunTaun, T-16 Skyhopper, and Dagobah Slug Slinger. Here’s some quick thoughts about Oga’s…

First, Emily insists I tell you that when you are numbed/tingled by the Fuzzy TaunTaun you are not dying, it is just an effect of the drink. She freaked out thinking she was having a reaction to it.

Second, all these drinks are okay, but I really don’t advise spending the money on alcohol at Oga’s. It’s overpriced, which is true of all Disney bars, but at Oga’s there’s a twist.

You only get 45 minutes inside Oga’s. There’s also a two-drink maximum. This is more “bar philosophy” than theme park strategy, but I’ve always thought of alcohol and food purchases as the price you pay for your seat in a bar. The 45 minutes you get in Oga’s simply isn’t worth the price of an alcoholic drink. (Non-alcoholic drinks are more reasonable.)

If you want alcohol, I think you’re better off finding a different bar where you can relax a little longer or simply buying a park beer and walking around taking in the environment. That’s just me, and even Emily isn’t totally convinced by how I feel. But we won’t be spending over $60 for four drinks and 45 minutes again.

To be clear, Oga’s is totally worth a visit. The environment is definitely worth the 45 minutes. As much as a crowded cantina can be a tourist attraction, I think Disney does a good job. Whether intentionally by design or unintentionally by demand, Disney has created this loud, packed, other worldly bar experience. It’s cool.

Wrapping Up at Hollywood Studios

We waited in the 15-minute standby for Toy Story Mania. One of the queue buildings remains out of commission, so the line will be outside for some portion of even a 15-minute wait, and you’ll walk along the backside of the building before entering.

The real thing to know is that the line will move in batches. So you might stand for three or four minutes while nothing happens before a huge group moves inside. Our 15-minute wait took around 17 minutes.

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We also visited Muppet Vision 3D. I highly recommend taking some time to enjoy this attraction. A lot of us worry it might not be long for this world given its physical position between Star Tours and Galaxy’s Edge. Then again maybe Galaxy’s Edge will bring guests back to this corner of the park and the ride will get the attention it deserves.

We walked around the park and got some beautiful sunset views:

And then nighttime views around Batuu:

In case you missed the drama, there was a brief period where the TSA was not allowing people to travel with empty (or full, duh) Galaxy’s Edge soda bottles (last slide in the above gallery) because they “look like grenades.” This was eventually reversed.

Petals, Odds, and Ends

With no love for the nighttime entertainment at Hollywood Studios, we hopped on the bus before the Fantasmic! crowds would be pouring out, grabbing a seat at Petals, the Pop Century poolside bar, around 9:45PM.

If I recall, we actually took the bus to Art of Animation and walked. We had poor luck with buses this trip, but if the Art of Animation stop is near the Pop Century stop, you can just take either and then make the 5 to 10 minute walk between the hotels. As always, must remind you to use Uber to get around Disney World in a pinch.

Back at the bar, I grabbed the below photo of a guy playing music out of this portable speaker. I get that lots of people hate that. And honestly, in any other spot on earth I’d probably have a rant here. But I genuinely love it at Pop. I love the unabashed energy. It is, as the kids say, “#valuelyfe.”

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Heading back to the hotel room, I used my phone to unlock my door (this feature is fairly prominent in the app).

I like this feature, and it sort of ties my day together. I talked early on about using the app for FastPass+ searches and how disappointed I was at not being able to make electronic payments via Magic Band at the booths.

At one point, Magic Bands were the future. But with all the problems we’ve had with them, and with smartphones now being able to replicate many (but not all) of their features, I wonder if they won’t soon fade into the past.

Around midnight we finally made it to bed, gearing up for one last morning that we’d be starting apart…

A 6AM opening at Galaxy’s edge, coming soon in part 7!

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.

Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.

When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!

Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.

Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.