This post will be home to our touring strategy for Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. Until the land is fully open, integrated into the FASTPASS system, and fully open for guests to explore as they please, we’ll be having a separate post for those guests fortunate enough to spend time in the land.
Why have a separate post?
Galaxy’s Edge poses a unique challenge in planning a visit to Disneyland. Because of its popularity, Disney is going to great lengths to control access to the land.
Beginning June 24, Disneyland will use a “boarding pass” or virtual queue system where you’ll sign up and return to visit the land at a later time. We don’t know when Disneyland will stop using the boarding pass system.
Because June 24 marks the first time most people will have a chance to visit the land, we expect there to be a huge amount of demand that should continue at least through the summer.
Moreover, there are at least two major changes coming to Galaxy’s Edge. First, Rise of the Resistance, the groundbreaking feature ride of the land, will be opening later in 2019. Second, at some point (no one knows when) Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will be added to the FASTPASS system.
Essentially, this new land is a long ways to go before it’s complete and integrated into the rest of the park. Because of that, we also don’t think it makes sense to integrate the land fully into our posts. A visit to Galaxy’s Edge is a mental pause in a visit to the rest of Disneyland.
Disclaimer and Some Research Tips
We don’t have the resources to monitor the situation and update this post every day from now through June 23, and Disney has shown a willingness to change things quickly at Galaxy’s Edge. So while our advice is current through publication, you should definitely do your own research before you arrive. Our suggested platform is twitter.
Go on twitter, and search for things like: #GalaxysEdge, oga’s cantina, lightsaber, savi’s workshop. When you see results, scroll through the timelines of users who have recently visited. Consider replying to their tweets if you have questions.
Likewise, once the new “boarding pass” system begins on June 24, things will change quickly and your best resource will be social media and (as always) Google searches. We hope to update this post to address the June 24 changes, but it will no doubt take a few days/weeks for the new system to really settle into a groove.
Galaxy’s Edge Beginning June 24
(Continue below for Galaxy’s Edge strategy prior to June 24)
Boarding Pass System
Disney has announced more details about the boarding pass system. Keep in mind Disney is using “may…as necessary” language because eventually crowds will be low enough that they’ll phase out this system. Here is some of what the boarding pass system will entail.
Use the App or Select FASTPASS Stations to Join a Boarding Group. Guests wishing to visit Galaxy’s Edge will use the Disneyland App or stations at FASTPASS kiosks (Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain or near the Matterhorn Bobsleds) to join a “Boarding Group.” The app and signage around the park will indicate the group currently being admitted. You have two hours from your group’s admission to enter the land.
There’s no word on whether these groups will be sequential or random (presumably sequential), and there’s nothing on how they’ll be identified (“Pluto”? “Luke”? “A”? “Red”?). These are details we’ll be sussing out when we’re there around June 24.
Reservations Required for Oga’s Cantina. Currently it looks like reservations will begin at 7AM and are day-of only. According to this page, you’ll be able to make them online or via the app. A fee of $10 per person will be charged to your card for no-shows. Space is limited to 45 minutes per party. If you have a reservation, you don’t need to join a boarding group to enter Galaxy’s Edge.
Reservations Required for Savi’s Workshop. Currently it looks like reservations will begin at 7AM and are day-of only. The Savi’s page does not clarify how to make a reservation, but the parks blog post indicates it will be online or via the app. The page does tell us that you’ll have to pay in advance and are subject to a $199.99 no-show fee if you miss your reservation. If you have a reservation, you don’t need to join a boarding group to enter Galaxy’s Edge.
Early Thoughts on the Boarding Pass System
I want to quickly add some thoughts on this system. We’ll be around on June 24 to see how the system starts up (follow on instagram), but here’s what I’m currently thinking about.
Can We Rope Drop Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run? If the boarding passes are issued sequentially, so the first group to sign up goes in right away, then you can basically rope drop Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Then again, maybe you’ll be randomly assigned one of the first few boarding groups and not get to enter for a few hours. Who knows.
Should We Rope Drop Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run? Even if you can rope drop Smugglers Run, it might make sense to wait. Disney will be limited access to the land, which should keep wait times for the ride pretty fixed all day. Depending on precisely where the wait time sticks, it might not make sense to rope drop Smugglers Run.
There Are Three Ways To Gain Access To The Land. By making an Oga’s reservation ($10 no-show penalty) or a Savi’s reservation ($199.99 penalty), you guarantee access to the land without using the boarding pass system. Making an Oga’s reservation at 7AM seems to “simplest” route to getting in the land, but it will be interesting to see (1) how quickly those fill up and (2) how early you have to be at Disneyland to get a boarding pass.
Can You Visit Multiple Times In One Day? This isn’t a huge issue, but the chief reason you might want to visit multiple times in a single day would be if you can get an immediate boarding pass when the park opens, ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and then re-enter the land in the afternoon on an Oga’s reservation.
Galaxy’s Edge Reservations Periods and Overlap
The current version of this post covers the Galaxy’s Edge reservation period through June 23. We hope to update this post with touring strategies for the “boarding pass” phase of the land shortly after June 24.
The Galaxy’s Edge reservation windows are:
8AM to 12PM
11AM to 3PM
2PM to 6PM
5PM to 9PM
8PM to Midnight
The first group has one hour at the end that overlaps with the second group. The second, third, and fourth groups have two overlap hours (one at the beginning and one at the end), the last group has one hour at the beginning that overlaps. These “overlap” times are obviously when the crowds are highest.
Planning Your Day Around Galaxy’s Edge
So far, the crowds at Disneyland Resort have been very small during the reservation period for Galaxy’s Edge. If that continues, there shouldn’t be too much trouble in experiencing much of Disneyland around your Galaxy’s Edge visit. Nonetheless, here are a few tips.
Consider Pairing Galaxy’s Edge with California Adventure. If you had only two days at Disneyland Resort, you’d probably want to spend one full day at Disneyland outside of Galaxy’s Edge and then split the other day between Galaxy’s Edge and Disney California Adventure. This is particularly good if you have the 8PM to Midnight period for Galaxy’s Edge.
Morning Reservations Face Hurdles. While 8AM may be the best reservation period for experiencing Galaxy’s Edge, it’s also the time slot likely to give you the biggest challenge in visiting the rest of Disneyland. On a smooth morning at Disneyland, we’ll visit fifteen rides from 8AM to 12PM. There’s no way to make up for missing rope drop, you’ll just have to be a little more vigilant in your Disneyland FASTPASS strategy and maybe wait in some longer lines for rides you missed in the AM.
Midday Reservations Face Choices. The 11AM, 2PM and 5PM slots have things a little better. They still get the benefit of rope drop and late night short lines. Mostly, they’ll be cutting out entertainment, but they’ll also probably need to carefully plan their FASTPASS times because midday is typically when you’d be using FASTPASS instead of waiting in long lines.
Evening Reservations Have It Easiest. Basically the 8PM reservation period is just looking at a short day at Disneyland. It isn’t ideal, but if you arrive for rope drop and keep busy, you’ll complete most of our itinerary before you start keeping an eye on the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge around 7:15PM. Just be sure you don’t skip any “must do” rides since you won’t have a chance after you leave Galaxy’s Edge.
Check In and Not-Queuing
Check-in begins two hours before your reservation period and occurs at the Star Wars Launch Bay (in Tomorrowland). Check-in has been going smoothly by all reports (and our own experience). You bring your entire party, your QR code from the reservation email, and your IDs. You’ll get wristbands indicating your time slot, activate them, and be on your way. The whole process takes a few minutes.
Most waves seem to be using the Critter Country entrance to the land. The entrance point is right outside Hungry Bear across from Splash Mountain—that’s where guests will not be allowed past without wristbands. We were told waiting in Hungry Bear was not an option and that they would not allow people to merge with the people coming from the entrance point.
Disney is trying very hard not to have people queuing before their reservation period. Unfortunately they have no good way to stop it, and at some point (usually around 30 minutes before the reservation period), they have no choice but to open and allow people to move closer to the land.
We don’t like obstructions to park traffic flow (which is why we hate parades and nighttime shows), and they do post a genuine safety hazard, so we won’t advise you just stand around. At least keep your feet moving or sit/stand clearly out of the way of any traffic.
In our experience, groups have been taken up to the area near Resistance Supply prior to being let into the land. The 8AM time slot has a different experience, as they’re technically allowed to check in before the park opens. You’ll be directed along the way, and there’s been some variance in the exact process used for this time slot.
The biggest question for 8AM people is when you need to arrive. We’re suggesting no later than 6:30AM, but we’ve seen some sites that say as late as 7AM is correct. Personally, we’d arrive no later than 6AM, but we’re those people.
General Strategy in Galaxy’s Edge
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to break Galaxy’s Edge into five components:
Savi’s Workshop (lightsaber experience)
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Everything Else (other shops, dining, character interactions, etc.)
What should I visit first in Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land)?
The top two priorities on arriving in the land are Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop. Generally, the cantina has been higher demand, so we recommend prioritizing that.
If you have multiple people in your party, you’ll send one to Oga’s to sign up and another to Savi’s to sign up. Be careful that the estimate return times don’t conflict. You may have to hop a bit back in line at Savi’s if they’re still giving short return times.
If you have one person, we recommend prioritizing Oga’s if you’re hoping to do both. That said, while we decided against doing Savi’s, we understand it to be a very moving experience for some. If that’s your “can’t miss,” don’t risk missing it, head there first.
Droid Depot can usually be done at any point between 1 and 3 hours into your reservation (avoiding the overlap periods) and should take 20 to 45 minutes.
We recommend riding Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run between 2 and 3 hours into your window. You want to avoid the overlap periods, as that’s when the wait will be its highest. Definitely don’t wait until 3 hours in when the next wave arrives.
Everything else you’ll just want to fit in between these other things. Keep in mind that while we group shopping, character interacting, eating, using the Play Disney app, and taking in the land as “everything else,” you really could have a fantastic time in the land just doing those things.
Here’s how Oga’s Cantina signup was working through June 5. Upon entering the land, you’d be told to follow a person with a stick/flag if you were interested in visiting Oga’s.
That person would lead a line to form, and Cast Members would take the name, group size, and phone number of the person signing up. Only one person from your group needs to sign up and the Cast Members prefer only one person wait in line.
You’ll get a text message estimating your return time, and then you’ll get a second message telling you to return.
When you return, you’ll check in with the Cast Member holding a tablet, and they’ll give you a laminated card signifying that you’ve checked in. Then you’ll wait in line for about 15-20 minutes before being let into the cantina.
There’s a two-drink limit and a 45-minute time limit. If you’re at a table, it sounds like the 45-minute time limit is being enforced. From the bar, we didn’t see any enforcement, but as more people come in you should at least feel the social pressure to begin making your way out.
If you’re near the front when you arrive, you’ll wait about 15 minutes to sign up. Then another 20 when you come back. Let’s say you do 25 minutes in the cantina. That’s an hour of your time.
Savi’s Workshop changed procedures a few times in the early days, but seems to have settled on what makes the most sense. You line up to pay, get a fixed return time when you pay—not like Oga’s where you get an estimated time to wait until a text arrives—come back, and build.
The downside of the Savi’s system is that people are reporting their waits after returning can be around an hour. This isn’t shocking because it’s still a big improvement over the old system where guests just had to stand around—sometimes their entire reservation period—until their group was finally called.
All of this (plus the $200 price tag and the fact that we were just planning to give the lightsaber away anyways) is why we opted against Savi’s. Is it something I’d like to try in the future? Sure. But with four hours in the land, I didn’t want to spend two of them there.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Smugglers Run is the easiest to strategize. Avoid the overlap with the other reservation periods, and you’ll probably be fine.
If you don’t need to experience the queue, you can use single rider, which is usually about 25% the wait. You’ll still get the waiting room with the game board, if that’s the pic you’re looking for, but you’ll miss Hondo and some other cool things in the queue.
The ideal time to ride has been about 2 to 3 hours into your window. During that hour, waits can drop as low as five or ten minutes.
Multiple rides have been allowed so far, but they are actively marking wristbands in case they need to disallow them. Typically about 90 minutes before your window ends, guests looking to repeat ride will be turned away.
So far we haven’t seen or heard of any real delays at Droid Depot. Most people are reporting it takes around 20 to 45 minutes of your time.
Like Smugglers Run, you’ll want to avoid Droid Depot during the first and last hours of your window due to the overlap with the other windows.
The Market, which is where you’ll find the smaller shops will see ebbing and flowing crowds. There’s no right or wrong time to visit them, though shopping is generally something you can do during the overlap periods.
Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is the only store besides Droid Depot that we’ve seen reach capacity. Especially during the overlap hours, they’ll use a one out / one in system.
Docking Bay 7 has mobile order, but the immediate window isn’t always available. We had no trouble walking up and ordering three meals at Docking Bay 7. It was as efficient as any quick service operation.
Resistance characters generally appear near Resistance Supply. First Order characters cover the area between First Order Cargo and Droid Depot / Savi’s Workshop.
Kat Saka’s Kettle and the Milk Stand can get long lines. We weren’t able to get the popcorn from Kat Saka’s because we just couldn’t catch it with a short line.
Photopass opportunities can be found at the Millennium Falcon, the TIE Echelon (outside First Order Cargo), and the Resistance vehicles (next to Resistance Supply). The Falcon has the longest line, but it moves quickly enough.
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