Welcome to our Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge Boarding Pass Trip Report! The primary purpose of our trip reports is to give an update on how our strategies are working at the parks. This post introduces the trip report and covers booking, arrival, and my stay at The Anaheim Hotel.
About This Trip Report
This trip report covers a late June 2019 visit to Disneyland Resort. The primary purpose of this visit was to experience the start of the “boarding pass” phase of Disneyland’s new land—Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Earlier in the month, we visited for the May 31 opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Through June 23, though, the land was accessible only to guests lucky enough to have reservations. Now, the land is opening to everyone, and we’re here to experience it again.
This trip report is intended to supplement our existing Disneyland content (which is almost all linked to at the bottom of this post) with a focus on visits occurring in Summer 2019. Here is what this report will look like in full (links will go up as posts go up and open in new tabs):
Part 1 — Introduction, Booking, Arrival, and The Anaheim Hotel (this post)
This is a little different than previous trip reports, which were day-by-day, because of the length of the trip.
If you’re looking for a strategy for visiting Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge, we have that as well. We additionally have a more general Guide to Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land).
With summer hitting its stride, we expect the Disneyland content to be useful into the holiday season, understanding that Disney will be working to increase crowds.
Update: With Rise of the Resistance now scheduled to open January 17, 2020, we expect that to be the next big surge in crowds.
The Disney California Adventure content should also remain helpful until the holiday season, with the next significant change at the park occurring on September 17 with the start of Oogie Boogie Bash.
As of June 24, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is accessible, subject to capacity, to anyone who visits Disneyland. With this opening, there are two big changes happening at the parks.
First, crowd levels will probably increase over the next few months. Crowd levels have been very low in the initial days of Galaxy’s Edge, but Disney will no doubt work to increase them through things like special ticket offers and limited-time events. Moreover, once Rise of the Resistance opens (date TBD 2019), we expect a bump in crowds.
Second, Disneyland will use a “boarding pass” system to control Galaxy’s Edge crowds. We’ll cover this more in the trip report, but there will be four ways to enter Galaxy’s Edge in the near future:
By walking in, without a boarding pass, when crowd levels don’t require the boarding pass system
Via a boarding pass that you grab using the Disneyland app or via in-park kiosks
With a Oga’s Cantina reservation
With a Savi’s Workshop reservation
This trip report will hopefully give a good sense of how these different options work and interact.
I booked this trip on short notice. I knew the June 24 opening would be a big deal, but I also expect things to fluctuate for a few weeks, so I thought maybe a mid-July trip would be better. In the end, I decided to experience the debut firsthand and then follow the updates on social media the rest of the summer.
My American Airlines flight from Chicago to Los Angeles ran me a pricey $457.60 roundtrip in standard economy. That’s what I get for booking on short notice.
I booked a stay at The Anaheim Hotel for six nights and a total of $924.18 ($154.03 nightly). This was an annual passholder discount rate, which I think is a pretty nifty thing the hotel offers.
It’s pretty safe to say that while I’ll always call out hotels and experiences that don’t live up to a reasonably expected standard, I’m probably the least picky person when it comes to accommodations (18 months of travel and $6 / night hostels will do that). When it came to this trip, I needed a cheap bed with close proximity to Disneyland, and The Anaheim Hotel offered that.
As a holder of a Disneyland Premier Passport, I didn’t have to buy tickets. This trip priced out to $1,381.78 for six nights / five full days / two travel days. (I was solo, even though you’ll see me randomly switch between “I” and “we” in this report).
Arrival and Transit to Hotel
As with out last trip, I went with the Disneyland Express again (see our previous Disneyland trip report for more on the Disneyland Express). Because the bus runs on an infrequent schedule, I wound up waiting nearly an hour for it.
Remember, at per person rates of $30 one-way or $48 round-trip, you’ll always want to at least consider an Uber or another shuttle option to get to the Disneyland Resort area.
I really noticed how many of the fake “Disneyland Express” shuttles there are. I don’t know who operates these, but they’re white vans that say “Disneyland Express” on them and they clearly are trying to trick people at the bus stop. The actual Disneyland Express bus is a large, conspicuous bus, seen above.
I only travel with a personal item, so security wasn’t awful, and I stopped and scanned into Disney California Adventure in order to use MaxPass to grab a Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASS for that evening. (Keep in mind that if you didn’t want to pay for MaxPass, you’d need to walk all the way to the ride to grab a FASTPASS.)
The Anaheim Hotel
I don’t have much to say about The Anaheim Hotel, which I think is a good thing. The location was great—about eleven minutes walking from my room to the park entrances.
Beyond that, the room quality left something to be desired, but had all the necessary comforts—television, coffee (no to-go cups), wifi, and air conditioning. And the room was clean, which is the most important thing. The below stock picture is a fine depiction of my room, but I’d note the room is much darker without all the lights on.
Overall I’d have no problem staying at The Anaheim Hotel again and probably will do so. I told Emily I’d value the location and free breakfast (for two of us) of the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn - Mini Suites at about $50 per night more than The Anaheim Hotel. That hotel trends at about $100 per night more, though, which means we’ll usually pick The Anaheim Hotel.
Besides room design, I don’t have any complaints about the hotel. It isn’t luxurious, but considering the excessive price of accommodations near Disneyland, I’m happy to have a bed comfortably within walking distance for $150 nightly.
All Your Other Disneyland Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disneyland 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.
When it comes to hotels, we’ve got reviews of all three Disney hotels: Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. As for tickets, check out where to find discount Disneyland tickets.
Know what to ride with our: Disneyland Rides Guide and Disney California Adventure Rides Guide. And just as important, know how to get on the best rides without the wait with our Disneyland and Disney California Adventure FASTPASS and MaxPass Strategy! For the complete guides to a day at the park, we have a One Day Disneyland Itinerary and a One Day Disney California Adventure Itinerary.
We always recommend arriving at the parks early. If you can get access to Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure or Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning at Disneyland, you’ll have the most time in the parks. Even without those bonus hours, you’ll need to know Rope Drop Strategy at Disneyland and Rope Drop Strategy at Disney California Adventure.
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.