5 Things We Just Learned About Star Wars Land
During The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholder meeting, they dropped a bombshell. Your favorite business revealed the opening date for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge…at both American theme parks! You may now book your dream vacation! Disney didn’t stop there, though. They announced a few other important details. Here are five things we just learned about Star Wars Land!
The Opening Date(s)
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open faster than anyone had expected. Just last week, reporters were excitedly relaying rumors that the Disneyland version would open in June followed by the Walt Disney World one in September or October. I’m delighted to say that those reports were overly pessimistic.
The world will be introduced to Star Wars Land at Disneyland on May 31st. This date is the Friday after Memorial Day, and so you should consider a holiday week vacation, especially if you’re a Star Wars fanatic.
For Walt Disney World guests, the news is unexpectedly good. Galaxy’s Edge will debut on August 29th, well ahead of even the most optimistic projections. In fact, Disney’s even exceeded its own internal goals. They’d been saying fall of 2019 for many months now. Fall doesn’t begin until September 23rd. Yes, Disney is almost a full month ahead of schedule with construction! With one exception…
Only One Ride Will Open with the Park
In future years, Disney trivia buffs will know the answer to a tricky question. Which Star Wars Land attraction opened with the themed land? I’m sorry to say that the answer is NOT Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Disney officials confirmed that they will open Galaxy’s Edge in phases. Rise of the Resistance won’t be part of phase one.
The first Star Wars Land ride ever is, therefore, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. It will be the only ride available at Galaxy’s Edge for weeks if not months. Rise of the Resistance won’t open until what Disney is calling “phase two,” but they haven’t given any hint about the timing. As such, you should accept that the wait in line for Smuggler’s Run might be record-setting.
Why is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance delayed? I’m not 100 percent sure that it is. Since Galaxy’s Edge is opening sooner than expected, it’s entirely possible that this ride is fully on schedule for its expected target date. Disney may have chosen to jump the gun on their internal projections by opening Star Wars Land sooner.
If Rise of the Resistance is slightly delayed, that’s completely understandable. This groundbreaking attraction will include a walking section and is what the Parks Blog describes as, “the most ambitious, immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined.” Imagineers want to get this one right, and they should take as much time as needed to perfect the ride experience.
Meanwhile, nobody will complain about Smuggler’s Run as the sole opening day attraction. After all, it was the chief selling point in the early days of Star Wars Land news. And it remains the fulfillment of a lifelong fantasy for Star Wars fans, particularly those who grew up with the Holy Trilogy.
The gaming element that we recently learned about further enhances anticipation. You can score points by acing your piloting gig on a life-sized Millennium Falcon! That statement alone justifies the price of admission.
You Will Need Reservations at Disneyland
Disneyland and Walt Disney World will diverge in the way that they address crowd issues. When Disneyland opens on May 31st (I get tingly every time I type that), you won’t automatically get access to Star Wars Land. Park officials have a plan to control the traffic flow into and out of Galaxy’s Edge.
At Disneyland, the first three weeks will feature special stipulations for park guests. Don’t worry. They’re going to improve the situation. Guests must book free reservations to gain access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This process will last from May 31st through June 23rd.
After that, the current expectation is that Disney will end the reservation process. The situation is fluid, though. Nobody truly knows how much demand there is for Star Wars Land. Should Disney still have enormous crowds after its first three weeks, it could easily extend the reservation system. The future speculation is irrelevant right now, though.
The critical fact is that people visiting on the dates listed above must book reservations. Disney hasn’t announced the process for how these bookings will work. They have confirmed that there is no cost for Star Wars Land reservations. It’s just a needed step to stop Black Friday-style mob mentality. A reservation system assures orderly behavior. Please keep reading MickeyBlog and following us on social media to guarantee that you don’t miss anything.
By the way, you will need park admission to Disneyland. You likely understand this, but I’m confirming it just in case. So, park admission is the same price as always. Entrance to Star Wars Land requires this single extra step of booking a free reservation.
Pro tip: Disney has provided a way to get a Star Wars Land reservation without fighting the crowd. You can book a reservation at one of the three official Disney hotels at Disneyland Resort. Each guest in your room will receive a Star Wars Land reservation as part of the deal.
You should speak to a Disney travel agent at MickeyTravels to set up a reservation as quickly as possible. Disney WILL be at maximum occupancy during the early days of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
You Will Not Need Reservations at Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a different system in place. You will not need a reservation to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens in August, only regular park admission. The explanation for the difference between parks is simple.
Two years ago, Disney quietly opened a new themed land at Hollywood Studios, one you’ve barely even noticed. Grand Avenue currently has only one attraction, Muppet*Vision 3D. You’re not imaging things. The movie experience pre-dates Grand Avenue by many years. Disney transitioned the park space to a new themed land in anticipation of Star Wars Land.
Grand Avenue is planned as a feeder land for Galaxy’s Edge. The expected system is that you will head over to Grand Avenue and then wait in line to enter Star Wars Land. Disney hasn’t officially confirmed this yet. It would explain a lot, though. They wouldn’t need a reservation system since they have a kind of Galaxy’s Edge access control already in place.
Magic After Hours Is an Option
Disney established two unexpected rules about Star Wars Land. During the first few weeks of operation at each park, you cannot book a FastPass to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The park won’t provide them for a while. This statement applies to both Disneyland AND Hollywood Studios. Even the MaxPass system won’t have any availability. It’s first come, first served at Galaxy’s Edge until Disney says otherwise.
Do you hate waiting in lines? I have good news! The Disney After Hours ticketed event at Hollywood Studios WILL include access to Star Wars Land. Disney hasn’t announced event dates beyond April yet. When they open availability for September and October, you should think long and hard about paying the $125 per person for Disney After Hours. It’ll be the best way to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a controlled setting.
Think about the situation this way. Pandora – The World of Avatar is still extremely crowded roughly two years after its opening. Star Wars Land has exponentially more demand. It’s going to be the most crowded themed land in history.
With Disney After Hours tickets, you enjoy three hours of access to Galaxy’s Edge during a time when the park is closed to regular guests. Disney will even throw in free snacks for you. I don’t usually push upsells on people, but this is the ultimate exception. Your ticket gives you unprecedented time at the groundbreaking themed land. Again, ask a MickeyTravels agent for help in booking this event. Days, weeks, and years after the fact, you’ll be grateful that you did.