Disney World Galaxy's Edge Opening Trip Report Part 8

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 6AM open at Hollywood Studios, some odds and ends, and the end of our trip!

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About This Trip Report

This trip report covers a ten-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.

About This Post

This post is going to cover a lot of ground, but probably quite quickly. While the 6AM Hollywood Studios opening is of interest to most readers, the rest of the post is sort of us just enjoying the end of our trip with a few stops at different spots. I obviously hope you enjoy it, just know it won’t be full of hardcore park touring.

6AM Opening at Hollywood Studios

With our trip cut short by Hurricane Dorian, I wouldn’t be able to visit the 6AM Extra Extra Magic Hours beginning at Hollywood Studios on September 1.

I could, however, visit the final 6AM regular opening of the park on Saturday, August 31. While this isn’t quite the same as Extra Extra Magic Hours, it at least gives you an idea of 6AM park touring. We have a separate post where we talk more about Extra Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios.

I boarded a bus at 5:06AM at Pop Century resort, arriving at the park gates at 5:16AM. Guests had already been let inside, I’d guess at 5AM today. I was behind a fairly small crowd.

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Checking Hollywood Studios FastPass+ space, I saw plenty of Tier 1 space, including a Slinky Dog Dash for 12:20PM. That would be a perfect time for a second or third FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios. You could use it at 12:20PM and then probably modify your third slot (if that wasn’t third) to a 1PM show.

Here’s the 5:57AM crowd. If I were at the back of that I’d just start with Slinky Dog Dash in order to easily get through everything but Smugglers Run, saving that for later.

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I’ve documented the route of this rope drop over in our Hollywood Studios Rope Drop post. I wound up boarding as an engineer at 6:39AM. From here it makes most sense just to give you the ride order and boarding times:

  • 6:39AM Smugglers Run

  • 6:52 Slinky Dog Dash

  • 6:58 Alien Swirling Saucers

  • 7:07 Toy Story Mania

  • 7:23 Rock n Roller Coaster

  • 7:38 Tower of Terror

  • 7:55AM Star Tours

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As I’ve written in several posts now, this is a very smooth morning which you shouldn’t bank on repeating. That said, it also has an hour of time before 9AM and involved no FastPass+ reservations. If nothing else, it’s a proof of concept that a morning at Hollywood Studios with EEMH should be easy through November 2.

Here’s a look at the new information boards throughout the park. These indicate both wait times and Galaxy’s Edge status (i.e. if Boarding Groups are being used).

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After I finished my morning, I went back to Batuu. I saw Chewbacca putting on a “show” working on an A-Wing with a guest. It’s the early days of the land, but if there’s one thing Galaxy’s Edge is really lacking (besides that second ride that’s coming, duh), it’s more structured entertainment.

I single rode the Millennium Falcon, again. The posted wait was 60 minutes and single rider took 13 minutes. From there, I headed out to Animal Kingdom, where Emily had finished up her rope drop over at Animal Kingdom.

Taking the bus to Animal Kingdom, I arrived at 9:21AM having left Hollywood Studios around 8:55AM. We were really just killing time until lunch, our goal being to go to visit Food and Wine over at Epcot.

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We started by watching the Tam Tam Drummer of Harambe. In case you haven’t noticed, we love Harambe’s entertainment offerings and no full day at Animal Kingdom is complete without fitting in each show once.

We walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek, our favorite of the two nature treks (the other is Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail). Here are some photos from that:

Heading to Epcot

Around 11:30AM, we headed to the bus station. (Obligatory link reminding you that I should have used Uber in this situation.)

Begin Bus Rant. Disney advertises its buses as running every 20 minutes. For a resort with four parks, two water parks, one downtown district, and 20+ hotels, I think every 20 minutes would be very reasonable.

The problem is that often they take more than 20 minutes. And the real problem is that it seems like they always take more than 20 minutes at the worst times.

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On this particular trip, we arrived to a group who had already not fit on the previous bus and waited 35 minutes for the bus from when we arrived. If you want to generously say this is an aberration, and that sometimes midday buses just won’t be perfect, it helps to remember the context: this was a Saturday, during Food & Wine Festival, at lunch time, going from a park that had been open for five hours to Epcot.

It’s not shocking to anyone that there was high demand for buses at this time. I don’t get it. I never will. And unfortunately for us all, I’ll probably never stop ranting about it. End Bus Rant.

Epcot & Hollywood Studios

We already mentioned our non-coverage of Food & Wine back in part 6. We actually ate lunch at Sunshine Seasons in The Land pavilion. While Food and Wine purchases are a good use of snack credits on Disney Dining Plans, they aren’t as good value for cash.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the unique offerings, and some are quite good. But if you’re completely new to all the food in the park, something like the Vegan Korma at Sunshine Seasons is a much better bang for your buck.

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Also in Epcot, we took a photopass shot in Japan. Coincidentally, we had both chosen to wear our Tokyo Disneyland shirts today. (Honestly no planning, I left before she was even awake.)

After grabbing dessert from a Food & Wine stall, we walked over to Hollywood Studios where we enjoyed some last minute time in Batuu. This was our first time seeing the Kylo Ren “show” running in Florida.

I’ve heard it’s every 30 minutes or 60 minutes, but Kylo Ren comes out, yells at his guy for not finding the spy (Vi Moradi) and then he and the Stormtroopers walk the land questioning people.

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Club Cool and Disney Springs

After taking the bus back to our hotel for packing, we realized something very unfortunate: we’d forgotten to visit Club Cool.

Club Cool, closing September 8, is the spot in Epcot where you can sample eight sodas from around the world. It holds a special place in our hearts, so even though we needed to be in Disney Springs by 7:30PM for a dinner reservation, we cut our packing short and caught a 6:15PM bus back to Epcot.

Taking shots of Beverly (and of every other soda) we said goodbye to this old friend. Disney has indicated they’ll try to keep “elements” of this experience around. Well, the only notable element is the free exotic soda…so hopefully we’ll see it return.

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We hopped on the bus to Disney Springs (consider yourself spared a rant 😉) for dinner at Frontera Cocina. We split the vegetarian tacos, a salad, and Coconut Lime Cuatro Leches for dessert. We were quite happy with this meal (<— us, reviewing food).

Somewhat noteworthy is the conversation we had with our waitress to start the meal. She asked if we were on a Disney dining plan (we never are) and celebrated when we said no. This is a common issue with places at Springs—whether it’s dining plans or using Magic Bands, their integration with Disney isn’t always perfect.

We’ve had lots of staff ask us not to pay with Magic Bands over the years, so seeing someone excited to not have to deal with the dining plan was no surprised. I have no problem with this—just an FYI for y’all.

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Our last stop of the evening (and our trip) was Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar. This is one of the more modern Disney bars with tons of theming. The music continues to be Top 40, but the decor is amazingly detailed.

Magical Express and Goodbye

I’ll spare you the details of our flight home, except to say we were on the 4:35AM Disney’s Magical Express for our 8AM flight. This is standard Magical Express timing, and particularly during “off” hours you’re less likely to get a ride exactly 3-hours prior to the flight.

We had signed up for Magical Express just by visiting the front desk of the hotel the day prior to our flight. Obviously with the weather they were more than understanding of the short notice, but we’ve signed up last minute several times with no issue.

Technically, you’re supposed to have a boarding “ticket” (a sheet of paper) to board Magical Express. If you register well in advance, you’ll get this slid under your door. If you sign up last minute (via phone or online form), you’ll need to swing by the front desk to acquire this. This is why we often just do the entire process at the front desk.

Obviously we’re disappointed that we couldn’t stay longer and get even more coverage. We make the choice to not live in Florida (or California), and we hate when that comes back to harm our content. We always try and direct you to better sources, when available—so, you know, easyWDW, Disney Tourist Blog, WDW Prep School, all good.

While we debated returning mid-September, no dates really make sense. We’ll be back for the end of IllumiNations and the start of Epcot Forever, and that’s when we’ll next be checking in on Extra Extra Magic Hours and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

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.