Welcome to our Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge Opening Trip Report! The 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 some details of our travel and arrival.
About This Trip Report
This trip report covers our June 2019 visit to Disneyland Resort. This visit was for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which we visited on day 2 and day 5.
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):
Day 1 — Booking, Travel, and Disneyland Hotel (this post)
Day 3 Part 1 — Extra Magic Hour at Disneyland (Includes “What’s New at Disneyland”)
Day 3 Part 2 — Rope Drop at Disney California Adventure (Includes “What’s New at Disney California Adventure”)
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).
The remainder of the Disneyland Park content should be somewhat valuable at least into holiday season, except that we expect massive crowds to arrive once Galaxy’s Edge more widely opens on June 24.
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. Again, the massive crowds beginning June 24 will make things more challenging.
What’s New at Disneyland Resort
We’re not Disneyland locals, but we know there’s something new at Disneyland Resort pretty much every day. This section is just to highlight some major updates since we last visited in March. Park-specific updates will be found in other posts from this report.
Galaxy’s Edge Opening. Obviously the opening of any entirely new land would always be the biggest news at the resort, but this is perhaps the most anticipated land in the history of theme parks.
Beginning June 24, the land will be open to everyone, subject to capacity. During this time, Disney will use a “boarding pass” system (aka virtual queue, aka book a time and come back later) to control access to the land. We don’t have full details on that system yet.
Galaxy’s Edge Merchandise. While there is some overlap, the general rule about merchandise is this. If it is “in-universe”, like a resistance jacket, a toy from Batuu, or branded with “Black Spire Outpost,” it is probably found only inside Galaxy’s Edge. But if it says “Star Wars” or “Galaxy’s Edge” it is probably found only outside Galaxy’s Edge.
Disneyland Hotel Pool Refurbished. The monorail slides and pool are back in action at Disneyland Hotel.
Smoking Ban and Stroller Size Limits. Smoking is now banned inside the parks. There is also a stroller size limit, with a helpful block for checking your size outside security.
Pop-Up Disney. Pop-Up Disney has filled the space vacated by ESPN Zone. We know nothing about this event/space.
Booking and Travel
We stayed at two hotels for this trip. First, we spent two nights at Disneyland Hotel. I booked this stay through Lauren Quirk at Enchanted Escapes Travel.
I actually booked it as soon as I heard that Galaxy’s Edge was opening on May 31 and that Disney hotel guests would get guaranteed entry. Lauren, stellar travel agent that she is, we able to book both this stay and our August stay in Walt Disney World for Galaxy’s Edge, within minutes of Disney’s announcement. The rate for Disneyland Hotel came out to $656.37 per night.
Besides the two days at Disneyland Hotel, I later added three nights at the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn. This is the closest hotel to the Disneyland entrance and a well-regarded hotel in the area, so it seemed a good one to try. The nightly rate for these three nights was $267.92. We recommend the Disney Tourist Blog review of Best Western Plus Park Place Inn. We were quite happy there and will probably stay there again.
We’re based out of Chicago these days, so it isn’t difficult to find good, reasonably priced flights to Los Angeles. While we’d really like to try flying into SNA some day, the prices to LAX are usually significantly better. We booked roundtrip tickets on American Airlines basic economy—we fly with only personal items whenever possible—for $276.60 per person.
There was nothing notable about our trip, but we did try out the Disneyland Express for the first time! We’d previously tried to take the Disneyland Express by failed to do so when we waited and never saw a bus.
We decided to try again, and we were able to catch the 10:45AM departure at our terminal at 10:56AM. Pickup is at the green pickup spot. Don’t fall prey to imposters, the Disneyland Express bus is a large, conspicuous bus.
We paid on the bus (with card, no cash accepted)—$60 for two one-way tickets. An Uber would have been $48+tip and been a direct, private ride to the hotel. Regardless, we’re fine with the Disneyland Express option. Disneyland Hotel was the second stop, after Grand Californian, and we were dropped off right around noon.
We had a room in the Frontier Tower this time. It had two queen beds and was much bigger than the Adventure Tower rooms we previously stayed in.
As mentioned above, the hotel pool was back in action after a refurbishment in the spring.
There’s also a Galaxy’s Edge reservation help desk in the Fantasy Tower, just outside Fantasia Shop. I didn’t have any reason to visit it. Presumably it’s designed to prevent issues like name changes from burdening the front desk. The desk is for registered hotel guests only.
Having talked to other guests, I’ve learned you can use these desks to change your time slot (again, hotel guests only), but that may be subject to availability. You’ll also find some helpful Galaxy’s Edge handouts.
I did visit the parks a bit in the afternoon, but there was nothing notable about the visit and I was pretty tired from travel (I’m getting O-L-D). So that will be it for this post, as tomorrow we get to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for its public debut!
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.