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 a morning at Disneyland followed by an evening visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
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 3 Part 2 — Rope Drop at Disney California Adventure
Day 5 — Day at Disneyland, Galaxy’s Edge 5PM Reservation (this post)
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.
This post supplements our permanent content on Disneyland. If you’re looking for more on planning your day at Disneyland, here are some recommended posts:
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).
Morning at Disneyland
Honestly, by Day 5 the low crowds were starting to frustrate me. It’s awesome for everyone who was there with their family having the most Magical vacation of their lives (and that’s what counts, don’t get me wrong), but when you’re there to plan some hardcore park strategizing, low crowds kinda kill the mood. I was also sick.
I arrived at 7:57AM. You can see the lines in the middle are a little shorter. I also found that people sort of ignore the turnstiles in front of the planters because you can’t have long lines there).
The gates opened at 8AM, and I was inside at 8:02AM. I grabbed a FASTPASS for Hyperspace Mountain. It issued for 8:50AM—pretty late, which means at least a few Galaxy’s Edge people made the curious decision to grab a FASTPASS they wouldn’t use.
I made a slow walk to Peter Pan’s Flight. I try to remember that families with strollers or even just small children probably aren’t moving as quickly as I do on a typical day.
The posted wait at 8:06AM was 20 minutes, and I was on at 8:27AM. I fiddled with the Play Parks app while in the queue, but I just don’t love it (to be fair I was alone and most of the stuff is made for multiple people).
From Peter Pan’s Flight I went to Alice in Wonderland, which was posting a 10-minute wait and was really more of a walk-on. This was the first indication that crowds would continue to be relatively low, as this ride should be at 20 to 40 minutes by now.
Another short wait had me on Dumbo by 8:51AM.
According to our Disneyland One Day Itinerary, this was a pretty poor showing, mainly due to the time spent on Peter Pan’s Flight. In that itinerary, we complete six rides by 9AM, as opposed to only three here. That said, between the slow arrival and having ridden Alice in Wonderland, I’m fine with how this morning went.
After a 15-minute wait, I boarded Storybook Land Canal Boats at 9:11AM. I waited ten minutes for Astro Orbitor at 9:25AM.
At 9:41AM I was able to grab a 9:45AM FASTPASS for Matterhorn Bobsleds. I went to use my Space Mountain FASTPASS and arrived to a long line at 9:45AM. I was still on only 13 minutes later.
I had another short FASTPASS wait for Matterhorn Bobsleds and was on around 10:15AM.
Sometime around then I was able to grab a 10:35AM FASTPASS for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Around two hours into the day is about the borderline for heading out west to Frontierland and Adventureland. I waited 10 minutes for Jungle Cruise and boarded at 10:40AM (I can’t remember why it took me 15 minutes to get there).
I used my Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FASTPASS, riding at 10:58AM. I followed that up by grabbing an 11:10AM FASTPASS for Star Tours at 11:03AM. At 11:06AM the posted wait for Pirates of the Caribbean was 15 minutes, and it took 18 minutes.
I went and used my Star Tours FASTPASS at 11:51AM. Then I took a break for lunch. I’d managed to snag another FASTPASS for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (12:40PM), and I used that at 1:16PM.
At this point I had about two hours until Galaxy’s Edge check-in at 3PM. There was plenty I hadn’t done, including the dark rides in Fantasyland, Autopia, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Indiana Jones Adventure, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Winnie the Pooh, Casey Jr., and all of Toontown.
Here’s a look at some waits:
The big trade off for my day was probably sleeping in and slow walking to Peter Pan’s Flight in exchange for missing the three minor Fantasyland dark rides. I obviously could have fit them in, but it’s unlikely an ordinary guest would prioritize them at this point.
Assuming I wanted to be the Galaxy’s Edge entrance at 4:15PM for my 5PM slot, and that check-in would take 15 minutes, and that I would exit the land at around 9:15PM (park close is at midnight), I had about 5.5 hour left in the park outside Galaxy’s Edge.
That amount of time is probably plenty to cover anything major I had remaining at Disneyland. Again, though, I was sick so in no way planning to push myself all that time. I took it easy for a few hours until the time for Galaxy’s Edge came around. Among other things, I headed over to Disney California Adventure to watch Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
I was a bit disappointed by the experience. The Magic Kingdom version is much better quality (admittedly the projectors in Disney California Adventure might be better), and I found the differences jarring. If you haven’t seen the Magic Kingdom version, you’d hopefully just enjoy the show.
Galaxy’s Edge 5PM to 9PM Reservation
Because we’ve covered a lot of Galaxy’s Edge in other places already (including Day 2 of this trip report), this section is going to avoid lots of pictures from inside everything in the land. It’s still worth following though because it (1) is an example of touring for midday reservations and (2) has some good nighttime shots.
We checked in at Launch Bay just around 3PM. The process was incredibly quick, and we headed over toward the entrance (by Hungry Bear Restaurant).
There were a few people already there, and lots of foot traffic continued to pass through the area.
I mention this because it’s important to remember that congregating and obstructing pathways is both annoying and hazardous. Disney has opted to tell people there’s no reason to arrive before 5PM (or whatever your reservation period is), and to that end they don’t allow or endorse queuing at 3:15PM.
But the truth is that they can’t effectively prevent people from gathering, and with Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop both regularly running out of reservations, people want to be in the front of the crowd.
If you’re going to pre-queue, please respect the integrity of the pathways. Either stand clearly off to the side—as in against a rail or wall—or keep your feet moving. If you’re anywhere near the entrance right when it opens, you should be fine.
We tried waiting in Hungry Bear Restaurant, but were told we’d need to go back up to the top and come through there. This, again, was a safety issue. It’s also probably an issue of they can’t have bloggers telling people to pack into Hungry Bear all day.
At 4:25PM, they started letting people in. We had to scan our wristbands / hold them high at various points of the process.
We were held up just outside Resistance Supply. The Cast Member at the front of the group was incredibly engaging, which was much appreciated during the 30 minute wait.
Guests heading to Oga’s Cantina were told to follow the stick / flag:
At 5PM we were allowed into the land.
The Oga’s flag system worked until it didn’t. The Cast Member made a sharp U-turn and people sort of assumed she had ended the route and was abandoning us. She had to come back and grab the front of the line again, which led to the U-turn merging a bit and the front no longer being the front.
If they use this system when you’re there, I guess just pin yourself to the flag person until they tell you otherwise. Cast Members asked that only one person in your group wait in line, so Emily went over to Savi’s to see if we could get into that.
I signed up at 5:14PM and was texted saying I had about a 45-minute wait. I headed over to Savi’s.
The problem with Savi’s was they were still giving out 6:30PM times when we got to the front. We couldn’t do 6:30PM because of the potential conflict with the cantina.
I didn’t want to ask at the time of payment to get a different time slot because I have great respect for the fact that Disney has switched to the return time system. I’m not about to push the system so that I can be accommodated.
We also could have just stood there letting people pass us until the return times got later, but we eventually just decided we preferred to spend the time (and money) elsewhere.
For what it’s worth, Savi’s had next to no line and was still taking reservations at 5:45PM.
We wandered around, peeking in shops (Emily wanted to revisit Dok-Ondar’s). At about 6PM we got our return text for Oga’s.
Returning to Oga’s, we checked in at an iPad and were then sent into the line. Since then, they’ve added a laminated ticket to stop people from sneaking into the line.
A Cast Member explained to us Oga’s rules—two drinks per person and 45 minutes in the bar. We grabbed this great wall pic. We got in at about 6:20PM, which fits with what I’ve been reading (20 minutes once you return).
There has been a lot of discussion online about the attitude of Cast Members inside Oga’s. Some people are reporting bad attitudes, others are saying that’s just on-theme. The last outside Cast Member we spoke with did warn us “it can be a bit chaotic in there!”
We had excellent, friendly service at the bar. Honestly, among the best service we’ve ever had in a Disney bar (and we’ve been to quite a few). So, your experience may vary.
We had two rounds, including the Yub Nub, which comes with an Endor-themed mug.
We wound up leaving at about 7:15PM, ten minutes past the 45-minute time limit. If we were lingering at all I’d feel a bit bad about that, but we were efficient in consuming our drinks and the only delays were just from the fact that there were a lot of people to be served.
I’ve heard that from tables the servers are much more likely to kick you out at 45 minutes. The bartender did not seem inclined to do the same.
We snagged our first twilight picture of the Millennium Falcon.
The wait for Smugglers Run was posted at 10 minutes, so we decided to ride it now rather than waiting until our target time of 7:45PM.
Unfortunately the ride was running below capacity, and we weren’t on until 7:57PM—a 37 minute wait (granted wait times are not typically measure from queue time to boarding, though they should be). Here’s a series of photos from the queue:
I shot a video of the ride (I was an engineer, back row, and covered the screen, I wasn’t ruining anyone’s experience). I’m sure there are much better videos on YouTube if you’re really interested.
Besides just exploring and grabbing some pics, we had dinner at Docking Bay 7. This was another smooth experience, and the vegetarian “meat”loaf was great.
We got one of the Galaxy’s Edge coke bottles.
Here are some nighttime shots of the land.
And a photopass opportunity at the Millennium Falcon.
We exited around 9:15PM.
The 5PM to 9PM Galaxy’s Edge reservation went much better than we expected. In particular, it seems we would have had an okay shot at getting Oga’s Cantina, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Savi’s Workshop in had we wanted.
Due to the delay getting on Smugglers Run, we would have needed an 8PM reservation for Savi’s Workshop at the earliest. And we would have missed dinner doing that. Either way, I think it’s much more reasonable to do two of these and then have leftover time for the land itself.
As for the morning, we’ve seen that low crowds during the reservation period make Disneyland pretty easy to zip through. Can you cover the entire park outside of your reservation period? Probably not. But you can come awfully close.
All Your Other Disneyland Planning Questions Answered
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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.