Disneyland Galaxy's Edge Opening Trip Report Day 3 Part 1

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 covers Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning at Disneyland (in addition to updates on what’s new at Disneyland).

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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):

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 (Park)

Before we get to discussing Extra Magic Hour, lets talk about some updates at Disneyland (park) since our last visit.

No Smoking & Stroller Limits. There is no longer smoking allowed in the park, and stroller size limits have been set. You can check your stroller at helpful painted rectangles outside security.

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Fantasmic! In App Booking. You can now grab a “fastpass” for the reserved sections of Fantasmic! via MaxPass through the Disneyland App. This doesn’t impact your other FASTPASS bookings.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Updates. When we last visited in March, Sleeping Beauty Castle was under refurbishment. Now, the updated castle has been revealed to have a significantly more vibrant design. The (awesome) walkthrough has also reopened.

Toy Story 4 Preview. An approximately 20-minute snippet of Toy Story 4 is playing in the Tomorrowland Theater. We watched this on day 2.

Astro Orbitor Refurbished. Astro Orbitor has reopened after a refurbishment. Planning-wise, we try and sneak this one in earlier in the day when it has waits under 15 minutes.

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Hyperspace Mountain. Space Mountain is in Star Wars mode. Hyperspace Mountain is scheduled through July 18.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Again, Galaxy’s Edge has opened at Disneyland. Through June 23, it’s looking like the reservation system is keeping crowds at the park pretty low. Once June 24 hits, we expect the park to hit capacity regularly.

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Launch Bay Changes. Star Wars Launch Bay is partially inoperable while the space is used to process Galaxy’s Edge reservations. The store and character greetings are still operating.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Having been inexplicably interrupted by a Dumbo preview, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln has returned (at least until the next inexplicable promotion).

Recommended Reading

Here are some background posts related to this post that you may want to read:

Disneyland Extra Magic Hour

My chief interest here was whether Galaxy’s Edge crowds would impact Extra Magic Hour / Morning Magic crowds. I thought some people might plan to enter the land at 8AM and take the hour to enjoy the open rides.

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As it happens, virtually no one did this. And with good reason, as you want to be at the very front of your Galaxy’s Edge time slot. We have a Galaxy’s Edge touring strategy here, for those interested.

There’s not too much of significance in this morning, I just want to highlight two things before I lay out the itinerary.

First, there was an issue with FASTPASS / MaxPass and early arrivals. I understand this has been fixed, but just an FYI, the glitch was basically that if you entered before 8AM FASTPASS and MaxPass would not record you as “in the park.” I had to re-enter the park to get FASTPASS.

Yes. Yes I was in the park.

Yes. Yes I was in the park.

Second, crowd levels have been very low the first week of Galaxy’s Edge. Whether this is temporary, a result of AP blockout dates, a result of people delaying trips, or whatever, it’s been smooth sailing at Disneyland this week. We definitely expect this to change on June 24 when the land opens to everyone (more on this below).

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We had access to Extra Magic Hour as guests of Disneyland Hotel. You can use Extra Magic Hour on your arrival date, departure date, and all dates of your stay. This was our departure date from Disneyland Hotel (we were changing to the Best Western). Any guests with pre-purchased three-day or longer tickets can choose one day to use Magic Morning at Disneyland park, which (besides the names / access rules) is the same as Extra Magic Hour.

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Here’s how my morning went (times are when I got in line)…

  • 6:35AM Arrive, second in line

  • 7AM - Enter park

  • 7:07AM Peter Pan’s Flight (delayed talking to guest services about my MaxPass issue)

  • 7:15AM Alice in Wonderland

  • 7:23AM Dumbo

  • 7:30AM Snow White’s Scary Adventures

  • 7:35AM Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

  • 7:40AM Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

  • 7:55AM Scan into park again

  • 7:56AM Grab 8:25AM FASTPASS for Hyperspace Mountain via MaxPass

  • 7:59AM Rope drop into Adventureland

  • 8:01AM Indiana Jones Adventure

  • 8:01AM Grab Fantasmic FASTPASS via MaxPass

  • 8:21AM Jungle Cruise

  • 8:35AM Grab 8:40AM FASTPASS for Matterhorn Bobsleds via MaxPass

  • 8:41AM Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • 8:58AM Pirates of the Caribbean

Some notes…

There was no entry before the start of the extra hour. The gates and turnstiles remained closed until right at 7AM.

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Some gates are used for the extra hour, others are used for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Follow the signs.

This arrow isn’t pointing to that open gate. It’s pointing to turnstiles. Sorry for the confusing photo

This arrow isn’t pointing to that open gate. It’s pointing to turnstiles. Sorry for the confusing photo

With the castle reopened, you can just bee-line straight through the castle to Peter Pan’s Flight to start your day.

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As always, I recommend starting with Peter Pan’s Flight, Alice in Wonderland, and Dumbo if you’re trying to get through as much as possible in the park. These three Fantasyland rides maintain outsized waits most of the day.

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This was a very successful first hour, even with the delays, because of how low the crowds were. Getting all three of the “minor” dark rides in (Snow White, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad) is a solid start.

I know riding these “low-priority,” low-wait rides during Extra Magic Hour isn’t the most popular strategy. As I say elsewhere, if you want to use the time to double up on a big name like Space Mountain, go for it. I’m trying to cover as much as possible, and three rides in 12 minutes is simply too good to pass up.

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Pirates of the Caribbean is always the “okay, the morning is done, let’s relax” ride. This is especially true at Disneyland, where it is 15 minutes long. If there are other short waits you want to cover, do them before you come to Pirates.

As I noted in my instagram story at the time, the 8:58AM decision to try the Pirates of the Caribbean 5-minute wait was a bit risky because I needed to be on Hyperspace Mountain by 9:25AM.

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Perhaps a better strategy would have been to head back to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland to cover Autopia, Astro Oribtor, Casey Jr., and Storybook Land Canal Boats around my FASTPASS times.

It worked out, though, and Pirates was a walk-on. I was off by 9:15AM, plenty of time to visit Hyperspace Mountain and Matterhorn. The waits around the park were minimal, nothing I hadn’t done was over 5 minutes.

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Had I continued with the day, I would have just tried to get short waits on Autopia, Astro Oribtor, Casey Jr., and Storybook Land Canal Boats after my two FASTPASS reservations.

June 24 and Extra Magic Hour / Magic Morning

Here are some thoughts about how Extra Magic Hour will change on June 24, when Galaxy’s Edge opens to the general public.

First, there will be bigger crowds, but it’s hard to say how big. Remember, you need to be staying at a Disney hotel for Extra Magic Hour, and Morning Magic is only available one morning for tickets three days and longer. In particular, Annual Passholders do not have access to this extra time.

Second, Galaxy’s Edge will not be a part of the extra time. That said, until we know what procedure Disney will use for assigning “boarding passes,” we can’t say how the extra time will be impacted. For example:

  • Will there be kiosks assigning times that are active and accessible during the extra hour? If so, expect high demand and for everyone to head there.

  • Will there be kiosks that are inactive for the hour but still accessible? If so, expect a line to build there.

  • Will the kiosks be outside the extra hour areas? If so, expect minimal impact on the extra hour unless Disney allows people to queue somewhere to access the kiosks when the rest of the park opens.

  • Will this all be done via the app? If so, expect no impact on the extra hour except higher crowds.

While we’re hoping it makes sense for us to squeeze a trip in around early July, we might not be able to do so.

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.

Just starting out? Check out our Disneyland Planning Guide. If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars.

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.