Welcome to our Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge Boarding Pass Trip Report! The purpose of our trip reports is to give an update on how our strategies are working at the parks. This post covers the latest on Disney California Adventure!
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 4 — Disney California Adventure (this post)
This is a little different than previous trip reports, which were day-by-day, because of the length of the trip.
f 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.
What’s New at Disney California Adventure
Since we were just here earlier in the month there’s not a ton of updates, but there are a few fairly significant things to report.
Crowds Remain Low. As discussed in part 2 of this trip report, crowds across the resort, including Disney California Adventure, remain low. You can read more about the phenomenon in that post, but basically there’s no good way to know how long crowds will be below average. At Disney California Adventure, we’re not expecting significant movement until the Halloween party begins September 17.
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind Opens. Disney California Adventure got a new ride! I talk more about Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind Below.
Tale of the Lion King. A new, small Lion King stage show has opened over in Paradise Gardens Park (across from The Little Mermaid ride). It’s going to be worth your time most days at Disney California Adventure, but it’s nothing spectacular.
Disney California Adventure Highlights
With crowds staying low, I didn’t even attempt to follow our Disney California Adventure one-day itinerary. With a full day it definitely helps to have a strategy, but in low crowds it really isn’t necessary to over plan at this park.
Given that, this post is going to be a really short recapping of some highlights from my visit. If you’d like more planning content, the following posts are still good coverage (links open in new windows):
Stick to those for planning, but here are some notable moments from this visit.
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
My last day in the park for this trip was the “soft opening” of Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. This meant I had to sign a waiver before riding (due to ongoing filming), and since the ride wasn’t yet on maps it didn’t really have any wait.
Emotional Whirlwind is really just Flik’s Flyers from the now-demolished A Bug’s Land with new Inside Out theming. There’s little to say about its addition.
It’s a fun enough ride and it fits in fine with the hodgepodge of carnival rides around Paradise Gardens Park and Pixar Pier. The views aren’t really special because of the awkward location tucked in right next to Incredicoaster.
As we’ve now got two new rides on Pixar Pier in the past few months, it’s safe to say the strategy for visiting this part of the park has solidified a bit. I’d say that a two-lap strategy around Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens Park is now clearly the right approach on days with average-to-busy crowds.
Here’s a list of the rides over here now:
Jessie’s Critter Carousel (new 2019)
Toy Story Midway Mania!
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind (new 2019)
Silly Symphony Swings
Goofy’s Sky School
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
You’ll do one early lap as part of your Disney California Adventure rope drop strategy, covering about half of these. Then you’ll probably need to go use some FASTPASS reservations, catch some mid-morning short waits in other area of the park, or have breakfast. Come back for a late-morning or afternoon lap.
Animation Academy is an underrated experience across Disney parks, in our opinion. We’re glad to see a version coming to Animal Kingdom, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly.
Given the amount of time you’ll usually have at Disney California Adventure, we really suggest taking time to draw a character. The schedule for the 20-minute classes is posted outside the classroom in the Animation building. It changes daily, but here’s a look at an example:
Lighting of Radiator Springs
I’m trying to make it more of a point to catch the nightly lighting of Radiator Springs (Cars Land). In case you’re unfamiliar, every night just after sunset the neon signage lights up in the same order as it does in the original Cars film.
Besides the lighting, there’s a fun little celebration held over by Flo’s V8 Cafe and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. The Cast Members gathering for this (usually right around sunset) are the indication the event is about to start.
Captain Marvel Greeting
Emily won me some sweet Captain Marvel socks at an arcade the other week, so really my biggest goal in Disney California Adventure was to meet Captain Marvel and get a picture in my socks.
The Marvel characters greet at the back of Hollywood Land. You’ll typically find a mix of Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Panther, and Thor.
I don’t usually do character greetings, and as a solo male it’s even more awkward than as an adult couple. We mostly chatted about my trip to Batuu (Star Wars Land). It’s honestly really impressive how the characters always manage to find something to chat about.
Thor, Loki, and Black Widow popped in. These surprise moments are really cool but also if they had waited literally five seconds (we were just snapping our final photo) they would have had some super excited kid around instead of me.
Even if Disney manages to get Disneyland park crowds back to their expected summer levels, it’s hard to believe that will spill over so significantly as to create real challenges inside Disney California Adventure.
Until the completion of the forthcoming Marvel Land, Disney California Adventure should remain an easy park for anyone will to be there at opening and to spend at least 3/4 of a day there.
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.