This weekend, Bethany and I got to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland on the second day that it was open to the public. Because opening day for Galaxy’s Edge was on a Friday, heading down to Anaheim to be among the very first to get into the massive themed land wouldn’t be possible with our work schedules. Luckily, I was able to secure reservations for Saturday, June 1st from 5-9pm. In this post, I’ll give you the blow-by-blow of our experience visiting Disneyland Resort this weekend, getting into the land, and our time spent inside Black Spire Outpost. Expect full reviews of each of the parts of the land in the coming days.
First, a little background of our expectations. Since it had been announced at D23 in 2015, I had been anticipating opening weekend to be a complete madhouse. This was Disney’s biggest expansion ever, based on one of the two most successful franchises in the history of cinema. Disney’s recent big lands only cemented this oncoming sense of dread. I remember going to Cars Land when it opening in 2012, and wait times for Radiator Springs Racers hovered around 4-5 hours. Both Pandora at Animal Kingdom and Toy Story Land had massive waits just to get into the lands at opening. Even with the reservation system to get into the land, it seemed that the consensus was to expect massive crowds. I figured going the second day might be *slightly* better than the first day in terms of crowds, but I resigned myself to probably having to wait in a 3+ hour line to fulfill my dream of piloting the Millennium Falcon.
Sign up for your FREE Disney World Vacation Planning Video
The days leading up to opening, I followed reports of the cast member and media previews. It was hard to tell how these previews would translate to the public opening, but there were some consistent takeaways. Both Savi’s Workshop (the custom lightsaber building experience) and Oga’s Cantina had the longest lines, and you could probably only do one of them and still have enough time to ride Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run and roam around the land. My initial gut feeling was that Savi’s was a bit too expensive, so I settled on a plan: Do the cantina first so I could try the Yub Nub cocktail and party with DJ R3X, then explore the land before jumping in the line for Millennium Falcon right as my reservation time is up. Bethany, who has a much lower tolerance for extremely long lines to look at an animatronic DJ droid than I do, put her dread aside and put on her game face. Galaxy’s Edge was finally opening, and we were going to do as much as possible in our 4 hour window.
We arrived at Disneyland Resort just before 11 am and just after they closed the express ramp to get into the parking structure. This seemed like a bad sign. Was the parking structure already full? No, it turns out the opposite was true. After the quickest parking experience at the Mickey and Friends structure that I’ve ever had, Bethany and I climbed the stairs to the top level. We had made a tradition to peek in on the progress of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge construction as soon as we parked, and it seemed appropriate to give it one more look before going in. As we headed to get our bird’s eye view of the backside of the land, we were shocked to see two of the floors completely empty. We headed down and walked to the park through Downtown Disney.
It was a little shocking how much of a ghost town the entire Disneyland Resort was this weekend. This was the least crowded I’ve seen Disneyland since before Cars Land opened. There was no wait to go through security. Most of the attractions in the whole resort had 10-20 minute waits. Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout usually has an hour+ wait. It was 15 minutes every time I checked on the app. Peter Pan, which usually has a steady wait time of 45-60 minutes all day, was only a 20 minute wait.
Not only did the reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge make sure that crowds were manageable inside the land itself, but it ensured that guests without a reservation mostly didn’t bother showing up to Disneyland or California Adventure at all. This makes sense. If you have a reservation for Star Wars on June 10, why go in to Disneyland at all on June 1? Also, because all anyone could talk about were how big the crowds were going to be, it makes sense that people would just avoid Disneyland all together if they couldn’t get into the land. Effectively, this soft opening process made sure that the initial crush of people who would have arrived on May 31st were spread out among a few weeks. We wonder how Disney feels about this. On one hand, it’s probably not the best thing to see park attendance dip when your expensive new land opens. On the other hand, this approach made for the best possible experience for the first crowds visiting. In the long run, it probably is best that the initial impression of Galaxy’s Edge was “I did so much” versus “I waited over an hour to drink blue milk.”
The first thing we did upon entering the park was head to Blue Bayou for lunch. We had never been, and a special lunch seemed appropriate for our weekend. While the atmosphere was neat and it was cool to sit near the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the lunch was received with a big meh from Bethany and I. We walked from New Orleans Square to Fantasyland after we noticed the short wait at Peter Pan. We had not done this ride since 2016 because the lines are always so long. While waiting in line, we noticed that three people had lightsabers from Savi’s Workshop slung around their back in massive 3 foot black sheaths. Bethany asked them how it was, and the group raved about the experience. But they stressed that if you wanted to get a lightsaber, you should go to Savi’s first thing upon entering the land, as the experience sells out within 10-20 minutes of each reservation window opening. They also said that Millennium Falcon had practically no wait for Single Rider. Bethany turned to me and asked if I wanted to go build a lightsaber. I now had a dilemma and possibly the most first world problem: do I go get a lightsaber first or go to the Cantina? My previous plan of attack was starting to fall apart.
After Peter Pan, we hit up Tomorrowland to kill some time before we could pick up our wristbands for our reservation at 3. We walked onto Buzz Lightyear, used a Fastpass for Hyperspace Mountain, and I used another Fastpass for Star Tours (which Bethany doesn’t ride because of 3D simulator-induced motion sickness). Doing all of the Star Wars attractions felt like the perfect pregame for our trip to Batuu.
We got in line at Star Wars Launch Bay for our Galaxy’s Edge wristbands at 2:55. We had them on our wrists by 2:58, and we were told to head over to Critter Country by 5 pm. Everything about the operation was smooth. I have to say that the cast members were fantastic across the board all day. Bethany and I then met Darth Vader in one of the most hysterical character interactions we’ve had. Vader intensely interrogated me (probably because of my R2D2 shirt), while I insisted I was just there on a diplomatic mission. It was great. My inner-Star Wars nerd was already in heaven, and I hadn’t even stepped foot in the land yet. My anticipation and excitement was reaching peak levels.
I hit a brick wall at around 3:45 while we were watching the parade. This was due either to the excitement or because of something I ate at Blue Bayou. I felt dizzy and broke out into a cold sweat. It was bad enough that I felt sick, but I also started freaking out about the possibility of feeling too bad to enjoy our first experience at Galaxy’s Edge. I bought a Powerade, and around 4:15 we headed over to the Hungry Bear Restaurant to sit until our reservation time. I was happy to just sit for a bit and replenish my body with electrolytes. I told Bethany that we should just sit at our table until 5 minutes before our reservation. I needed the break.
I quickly changed my mind once I saw a drove of people with the same color wristbands as us starting to walk past the Hungry Bear at 4:25. We got up, scanned our wristbands, and lined up with a huge group of people just past the end of the Hungry Bear. About every 10 minutes, they would let the group move forward just a little bit before stopping us. We were heading from Critter Country to the Resistance Forest end of Galaxy’s Edge. This is the side of the land that will be home to the Rise of the Resistance attraction, which opens later this year. The transition from Disneyland to Batuu is subtle and convincing. Slowly, you hear otherworldly humming and odd creatures coming from the forest. These sound effects remind me of visiting Pandora for the first time. It really sets the mood and lets you know that you are about to embark on an adventure. They moved our group up another time, and we saw an X-Wing. And an A-Wing. And suddenly we were in the middle of the Resistance Outpost. I heard a group starting to cheer, and realized it was because Chewbacca was just roaming around the crowd. It was probably the Powerade helping me recover from dehydration, but I swear my body did a quick 180 once I saw all the amazing Star Wars surroundings, and we weren’t even inside the meat of the land yet. Right before 5:00, I leaned over to Bethany and said “Let’s go build a lightsaber.” My plan was completely out the window.
At 5, they let us out into the spaceport section of the land known as Black Spire Outpost. This is where you’ll find most of the shops and restaurants, marketplace, the First Order encampment, and the Millennium Falcon. I knew Galaxy’s Edge was going to be big, but I wasn’t prepared for how big it felt. The sheer scale was mind blowing, and everything just looked surreal. I let out a big whoop of excitement. Bethany was shocked, because she thought the land would just be the area immediately surrounding the Falcon (which honestly would have made for an impressive land all on its own). I proceeded to have the dopiest grin permanently slapped across my face for the next several hours, because I just couldn’t comprehend all of what I was seeing. As a huge Star Wars nerd, this all just made me so happy.
We power-walked our way to Savi’s Workshop. It had something of a speakeasy vibe. The cast members made sure that we were interested in buying “scrap metal” *wink wink* – as lightsabers could not be easily sold out in the open. While waiting in line, we finally had a moment to take a breath and look around. As much as the scale is massive, the level of detail is equally insane. I’ll go into this more in my review, but this feels like the culmination of what Imagineering has been doing in terms of placemaking since Animal Kingdom debuted in 1998. A worker at Savi’s came by and informed us about the four styles of lightsabers. I quickly decided on “Peace and Justice,” similar in style to Luke Skywalker’s two lightsabers. After about a 15-20 minute wait, I put down my “credits,” and received a card and a pin with instructions to return to the workshop at 6 pm.
Bethany and I decided to explore the marketplace to kill some time. This section features Ronto Roasters (a quick service stall featuring a massive podracing engine that’s been repurposed for barbecuing), and a ton of small shops. This area is visually dense and reminiscent of the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot. I got more excited with every new detail I saw. I took a sip from a water fountain and a dianoga (the trash compactor monster from A New Hope) popped out of a canister in front of the fountain. It was all seriously cool.
It was around 5:40 that we hit our first snag. We were both getting hungry, and Bethany has a gluten allergy. Docking Bay 7, the only real restaurant, had a huge wait and mobile orders wouldn’t be available until after 7 pm. We went to Ronto Roasters, hoping that they would have something for Bethany to eat, as most Disneyland and Disney World restaurants are very accommodating of allergies. This wasn’t the case at Ronto Roasters. I got the Ronto Wrap (which was good), but they had nothing that Bethany could eat. We kept looking around for a snack stall, only finding a popcorn stall selling sweet and spicy popcorn. We asked another guest how it was, and they let us try it. It wasn’t quite our thing, so we kept looking. Unfortunately, it turned out that spicy popcorn was the only gluten-free food option outside of Docking Bay 7. By the time we realized this, it was time to return to Savi’s for the lightsaber appointment.
We got to the courtyard outside of Savi’s at 5:55 and waited for about 30 minutes. This was disappointing, since we had such a limited amount of time inside the land. However, the cast members did a great job of entertaining us, and there was an impromptu interaction when Kylo Ren came to inspect the entrance to the workshop. We put in a mobile order for Bethany’s dinner at Docking Bay 7 while we waited, which said it would be ready by 7:20. They finally let us into Savi’s workshop.
I’ll go into detail in my review of the experience, but it exceeded my expectations. Building my own custom lightsaber was the highlight of our visit to Galaxy’s Edge. It’s expensive, yes. But it’s one of the best Star Wars moments I’ve ever had.
We walked out of Savi’s at 6:50, and still had 30 minutes to wait for the mobile order to be available. The line at Docking Bay 7 was still outside the door, so waiting in that line didn’t seem like it would be any faster. We also saw that Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run only had a 30 minute wait, which would perfectly line up with the mobile order window. We headed over to the ride.
Once again, I’ll go into more detail in a full review, but the queue for this ride is mind blowing. First of all, there’s the Falcon itself, which is a wonder to behold. The interior of the queue is so detailed, and the line moved quick. There was barely enough time to look at all of the little details before we were in a room with the Hondo animatronic, which was as impressive as anything Disney’s recently done.
We were given our crew assignments: pilot! I was so excited that we got to pilot on our first ride. We then made our way through a corridor, and suddenly we were walking into the Millennium Falcon. And they pulled it off. From the chess board to the hallways to the way the doors slide open, every single detail was nailed. Bethany and I were bubbling with excitement as our flight crew was called.
Going into the cockpit was another highlight. It just feels right. The ride was amazing, and the role of pilot is definitely the most immersive/intense. Unfortunately, about halfway through, Bethany said “I have to close my eyes!” Remember the previously mentioned 3D-simulator induced motion sickness. We discovered on this ride that any motion simulator does the trick. Bethany was my co-pilot, in charge of flying up and down. I kept on shouting “up, down, no up” to give her instructions as she navigated with her eyes closed. It was chaos but hilarious and so much fun. Needless to say, we did a lot of damage to the Falcon. I was worried that the other people in our crew would be upset with all the crashing, but they all were really nice and had a great time. It’s not Star Wars if everything goes according to plan, right?
Speaking of not going according to plan, it was now Bethany’s turn to feel sick. I felt awful. She was starving from no readily available snacks in the land, and now the marquee attraction made her stomach turn. We went to Docking Bay 7 and picked up her dinner and a soda water. After taking a few bites of her Endorian Tip Yip Salad (which she said was good but also weird), Bethany suggested that I go on the Falcon again.
I headed to the single rider line, which literally had no wait. I did the Falcon twice in a row walking straight into the room where you get your flight assignment. I did one run as an Engineer (much less stressful than the pilot role, but also not as interactive), and one run as a gunner (which sits right in between the two other roles in terms of interactivity). After my second run, I walked off the ride and found Bethany, who looked much happier after having some food and some time away from that hunk of junk.
Our time from 8-9 was much more relaxed. The land is gorgeous at night. The lighting feels so evocative. We explored the bazaar one more time, playing with all of the puppets/toys in the creature stall and perusing the Black Spire Outpost pins and mugs. I placed a mobile order for Blue Milk before we took some Photopass pictures with my lightsaber right by the X-Wing in Resistance Forest and right in front of the Falcon. The Photopass cast members were particularly great. They took a ton of pictures and suggested unique poses with the lightsaber. I love how the pictures came out.
As for the Blue Milk, we were split. I liked how fruity yet milky it tasted. Bethany thought it tasted like medicine. I could see where she was coming from. That was our last activity inside the land, meaning that we still haven’t seen the Cantina or Dok Undar’s Den of Antiquities. Have to save something for next time. We noticed people gathering around the area by the Falcon around 9, so we decided to hang out a little past our reservation window and wait for the fireworks there rather than rush over to Main Street. The view of the fireworks over the Millennium Falcon is literally out of this world. You’re close to the launching point, so the fireworks are much louder there. It was the perfect way to end our visit.
We headed back out through the Resistance Forest and into Critter Country. Being back in the rest of Disneyland was an odd experience. Not just because we could walk through New Orleans Square right before Fantasmic with ease. It really does feel like we were transported from another world. We headed to the Hotel Indigo, checked in, and promptly passed out.
The next day, we got breakfast and went into California Adventure. We had a much more relaxed day, wandering around Pixar Pier, seeing Philharmagic, and grabbing drinks at Carthay Lounge. We went on Soarin’ Over California (I didn’t realize how much I missed that orange smell) before getting lunch at Lamplight Lounge, which was very good. With that, our weekend at Disneyland was over. We headed back home, and ever since I’ve been buzzing about the next time I can head back to Batuu.