Here you’ll find a recap of the time our family spent in Galaxy’s Edge using our free reservations for Saturday June 8th (8am-12pm) and Sunday June 9th (2pm-6pm). SPOILERS AHEAD.
Spoiler to the spoilers: It’s beautiful and pro-tip: don’t come without your wallet (or do if your main goal is to keep your dollars with you & not part with them at the beckon of The Mouse and his Empire with the new arsenal of temptation that is everything Galaxy’s Edge).
A Word on the Characters Involved in this telling
Our group comprised of:
- DH & myself: (in our thirties) very casual Star Wars fans, he being a bigger Star Trek fan & I being a bigger HP fan but as Disney parks enthusiasts, excited to be a part of the early days of this land in all aspects: rides, food, games & atmosphere.
- DS7: (very close to 8) starting to somewhat be a casual Star Wars fan but currently thanks to Endgame a much bigger Marvel fan right now, but also as a Disney parks fan (especially anything & everything new- hint his favorite rides are the 2 newest), he was extremely anxious to participate in the early days of a new land
- DD6: a fan of all things pink & ponies who knows what Star Wars is but is only interested in the “cute” parts (BB-8, Ewoks, Porgs & the like), is also a huge Disney parks fan but only if it includes lots of ice cream & repeat rides of Big Thunder or rides of similar thrills
- DS2: Whole concept of Star Wars in his reality is that the plastic light sabers at home are fun to wield & whack big brother & sister. Favorite things at Disneyland are riding Dumbo (more on this in the recap below), watching Mickey & the Magical Map, meeting Minnie Mouse and playing with any toy with wheels in any gift shop- all of which are very hard to on him if we pass by without stopping to do.
Episode I: Arrival, Check-In and Waiting
We arrived right on schedule (according to my plan) for our intergalactic adventure, walking up to Disneyland from Harbor Blvd at 5:52am. We were through security by 5:55am and joined one of 6 or so queues labeled “Special Event Tickets” to enter the parks, turning through the turnstiles by 6:06am. To enter at 6am we had to have valid park admission and show proof (printed or digital) of the date & time of our reservation.
Main Street was lined with CMs greeting us & pointing the way. At the hub a loose wall of CM’s were standing blocking crowds from entering any other area except Tomorrowland. There were very few crowds in Tomorrowland & I don’t recall many CMs here (but there were ducks taking a morning stroll).
At the entrance to Launch Bay (arrived at 6:15am), more CMs were lining the entrance beckoning us inward & to the appointed entry doors. Once inside there were numerous taped queues however, they were all empty & we were ushered almost straight to a desk to check-in.
At the desk we showed our IDs (adults only, kids under 14 do not need to), had our QR code from our confirmation email scanned & were each given a colored wristband (red) with date/time as well as a code word printed several times in all caps underneath the date/times. The wristbands also had a QR code on them that we were instructed MUST be scanned upon exiting Launch Bay or we would be denied entry to GE. We were also given instructions to exit the Launch Bay & wait by Galactic Grill where we had the option to purchase food but either way would be held there until about 7am when we would be moved to Red Rose Tavern to hold again until entering the land. The CM also confirmed that we knew where these locations were, ready to give directions if needed. We were exiting Launch Bay (with wristbands scanned) by 6:25am. Decided to share a small breakfast at Galactic Grill ordering 2 sandwiches sharing between us 2 adults and our 3 kiddos. We chose to sit at a table to eat & were digging in by 6:35am. Those who opted not to eat or eat on the go, were gathered near Matterhorn/Finding Nemo waiting to be led to Red Rose Tavern. Because we have kids & no meal goes quickly (and I do believe DH took at least one of the kids to the restroom in the middle of the meal) we were not with the group as they were re-positioned at ~6:50am. But there were others like us enjoying a leisure meal and sit-down at the tables on the Galactic Grill patio & still more later arrivals streaming slowly from Launch Bay
We weren’t too far behind though as when we did pack up to leave we were passing by Matterhorn’s queue entrance at 6:58am. It was an early entry for Disneyland that morning (starting at 7am) & we noted that several people with wristbands were just outside the Matterhorn queue waiting for it to open. No non-wrist-banded early entry guests were in sight yet (still being held at the hub). When we reached the GE group, no queues were open but the rides were all starting up their initial test runs & no early entry guests were yet admitted.
The front of the group was being held by the entrance to the Big Thunder Trail with the gates to the trail completely shut. There were large blocks of taped areas (not in a snaking queue) that we were asked to wait within allowing walkway space to flow in between & around groups. When we joined the back of the crowd, it was spilling over the tape where there needed to be a walkway in between Casey Jr & Dumbo & CMs began walking up & down having everyone move up into open space standing side by side rather than single file. They would continue to ask people to move up & fill space until about 20 minutes before we were led in.
It was this point we hit our first snag. We were standing very close to an operating Dumbo ride with a VERY excited DS2 exclaiming “Dumbo, Dumbo! Weeeeeee” pointing up to the ride. We didn’t technically have early entry & I didn’t want to test it as the emails we had received about being allowed in at 6am strictly stated nothing would be operating for us to ride, but DH decided to be bold & walk into the queue with DS2 anyway. There was no issue at all & DS2 got to ride his most favorite ride! Since DH got back rather quickly & the line was a walk-on I decided to also take him for a 2nd spin. I was glad we were able to do this as I knew going into GE there would be no rides for him after our time there (set to end at noon) & very little in the way of his other interests.
I returned with DS2 at about ~7:35ish (it was here that I stopped noting down the specific times on my day-of recap on DLR Lines Chat so from here on out only round-estimates unless a photo time-stamped it for me). I didn’t want to chance missing the walk in to the land so I kept everyone together waiting. It was here that both DS2 and DD6 started protesting the waiting and lack of doing. DS wanting more turns on Dumbo or or another favorite, the carousel; DD at the same time fully processed for the first time that there was only 1 ride in GE and even though DS, DH & I had all already discussed with & in front of her that the best strategy we saw from stalking the app on other reservations was to wait until about 1.5 hrs into our reservation to try the ride, was now coming to the full realization that we wouldn’t be riding a ride for awhile & started to get grumpy. So my advice, if coming with kids that are only so-so on the GE experience and as long as you are not wanting to specifically see Oga’s or build a light saber it would totally be doable to check in just 45 min early instead of the full 2 hrs ahead like we did to cut down on the sitting & waiting that they won’t be as tolerant towards. We did give DD a reminder pep talk that was the short version of what we had been giving her leading up to this trip that this was something new & cool to experience & not a lot of people were getting to have the same chance & she could embrace the newness & have a really good time or stay grumpy & have a bad time in GE. Will she embrace it and love her time in GE? Or will she emotionally collapse in boredom at the lack of rides & ice cream?
Episode II: The Walk In and Our First Stop
About 10 or so minutes before 8am the CMs came down the line one last time letting us know that they would be opening the gates soon and that we would be passing by the first entrance to GE that was just beyond the gates and entering from the second one closer to Big Thunder and to be ready to have our bands scanned at the entrance one final time.
As promised, the gates opened soon after and we were let in & led along Big Thunder trail until arriving at the pathway for the entrance to GE closer to Big Thunder. The crowd was packed together for this walk (but mostly everyone stayed pretty orderly, the worst were a few groups snaking through single file to get better positioning up the front). The walk slowed to a near stop as we reached a wall of scanner-bearing CMs just before the pathway under the railroad started where on previous trips we had only seen walls with GE posters. Here CMs were leaving very little room in between them for only 1-2 guests or so to get by between them & were scanning all bands. Once past the wall of CMs the crowds became quite dissipated and flowing more freely.
By my video time stamp we were done with the scanning process by 7:56am and I was filming the first part of the walk in starting from passing under the railroad track. I didn’t film very much of it as we were also trying to navigate the kids & strollers but I did get enough to capture the glee on DS7’s face and DD’s less rapturous but still happy & noticing cool details reaction. At this point of the walk there were CM’s every 2-5 or so paces, greeting us, welcoming us, cheering us in but DH & I also noted as they stayed stationed there throughout our reservation were probably also there to ensure that every person entering was adequately and correctly wrist-banded. Every time we encountered CM’s along the walkways close to the entrance we were greeted and started noticing they were definitely taking note of our wristbands.
We followed the general crowd in (not really making note of where to go for Cantina’s or light sabers or droids as our first initiative was to explore, get our bearings & experience the land while waiting for the line for SmR to get to low waits). The first area we entered was the First Order area with Storm Troopers abound patrolling both on the ground and in overhead patrol walkways. We next passed by the blue & green milk stand as well as the Cantina and its long line for virtual queue check-in.
Our leisurely walked ended when we came upon MF and it was incredible. I’m by no means a huge SW fan but that moment of coming up to the massive spires with MF resting between was powerful still. As we arrived there & stopped (bc it was also pretty much a dead end to enter the ride only) DH asked me, “What’s first?” and my immediate response was “Stand here & take this in!” So that we did. Facing the MF there was the SmR queue entrance and to our left a set of stairs leading up to the QS and shops with an overlook area of the MF. There were several PhotoPass photographers at the ready for that perfect shot in front of the MF. Chewie was also meeting at the overlook to our left but since it looked like he had a crowd forming & there wren’t many people in line for the MF photo yet, after our moment of admiration, we decided to get our family picture in front of MF.
After our photo was done, Chewie was nowhere to be seen but SmR was still only 15 min so much to DD’s delight, we went for it as our almost first thing!
Episode III: The One Ride and our First Times on It
With DS2 not being tall enough we were eligible to use rider switch and it couldn’t have been easier. The CM at the entrance “made our appointment with Hondo” and in complete character using Batuu wording like the one above in quotes, kindly explained that it would work just the same as rider switch as we are used to in the rest of the parks, but without ever referencing anything outside of GE. By the time the appointment was made the standby line was up to 20 minutes but we weren’t too concerned since that was still more than reasonable.
DH lovingly let me go first with DS7 and DD6 while he took DS2 to explore. (They got the CUTEST selfie of them smiling at the overlook with MF behind them and if you don’t read everything, scroll to the imgur links below for the photos I was able to post already). They looked into a few shops & restaurants at the top of the stairs I had mentioned earlier as well as enjoying the view of the overlook to MF.
Even with 20 min standby, the line moved so fast that there was no time to do anything but quickly snap up small segments of all the details. The very first part of the queue takes you behind MF with ground level views, before snaking into the building where many ramps and railways lead you past large areas of cargo. You snake through all these areas (where I presume you can use the Parks Play app to explore) while Hondo’s employees do a blurb of announcements that we were never in the room long enough to fully grasp but some issue with getting cargo on a shipment that Hondo won’t be happy about and some warning alarms with announcements on repairs being needed (possibly coinciding with other riders who are currently causing damage to the MF on their mission). As we were speed-walking up the ramps I attempted to pull up the Play Parks app but to no avail. I tried a few quick things, ensuring location services & Bluetooth were enabled but couldn’t get it to find my location within GE to activate the datapad & didn’t want to miss my first time through the queue so before we got to the next part of the queue, I put my phone away.
Eventually you arrive at a part of the queue that overlooks the MF with long panel windows giving you excellent landscape views of GE with the MF front & center. This was the one & only time in GE that anything isn’t a part of GE was visible (BTMR). Since BTMR is spire-like and also fake rock, it works in your brain seamlessly as a part of the GE landscape and is the only, I repeat only visual hint of a clue of a world outside of GE. You pass first along the windows the full length of the MF & then snake back with the queue here stopping to join up with what will eventually be the FP but for now is only used for RS and I believe DAS.
The lines merge as they are each loaded into the pre-show room ( a la GotG/ToT). The pre-show room is divided in half and they use the same scene/screens to do the pre-show for each side (while the other side is filling) so if you’re among the first to enter your half you get the preshow ~1.5x. The pre-show is where the amazing Hondo animatronic is located & for each show he started upon response to a CM yelling up at him “Hey Hondo, you’ve got guests here” or something to that effect. After the pre-show where he gives you a very general overview of what the aim of the mission is you’ll walk through to queue in a hallway akin to a space-flight concourse but not anything like the feel of Star Tours, more old & worn like the outpost that Batuu is. At the end of the hallway a small circular room is where you’ll first be put into a group of 6 and given your assignments on a color coded card. The 2 people standing foremost will be given pilot, the next 2 gunners & the ends engineers. On our first ride DD & I were engineers & DS a gunner.
From this room you’ll finally enter into the first scene inside the MF with lots to explore including the chess table. You’ll have 1-2 minutes to briefly explore/snap a quick picture or two while you wait for your group color to be called. Our first time waiting here, very loud alarms went off & in the back left corner was a giant flashing red button that CMs were all yelling for guests in that area to hurry up & push. We later learned that the alarm went off because other guests on current missions were causing damage to the MF and our hitting that button was an aide to the overwhelmed engineers making repairs.
After our complete confusion as to what was going on with the alarm I ushered DS & DD quickly to the chess table to get our photo snapped & just as we finished our color was called. The CM gathering us gave quick instructions on how to fulfill each role and we were then directed to move to a hallway of the MF & to stand on our applicable role’s place. Here Hondo came over a video screen & had additional information for us specific to the mission: the aim of our specific mission & where it would take place. Before GE opened I had read (from a direct Disney source that I now forget) that there were so many combinations of different missions that the same 2 missions would never be repeated in a day. We ended up riding multiple times in our time at GE and each time in this room had the exact same instructions & mission so I’m not sure if I mis-interpreted that statement and it actually meant because of the user input each mission would be slightly different (which going forward from this point there were definite variations but the premise was always the same) OR DH & I thought perhaps that for the reservation period they are only running 1 mission variant. Either way, the mission was simple enough to understand & our instructions on how to execute were clear.
After the video, the doors to the cockpit opened and as I’m sure you’ve read from others, it was like stepping into the movie and a very awesome moment. Everyone takes their seats & as soon as you buckle in there are buttons each role must hit to power up the ship while CMs are giving loading instructions & one last run-through of how to work your roles (basically hit the buttons that light up).
The only specific thing to pay attention to here is if you are the gunner you make a selection to do Automatic Targeting or Manual Targeting. For Automatic Targeting anytime you needed to shoot a giant green square would light up around 4 smaller buttons and within the green square only the one center button would light up so you would only have to hit the one button over & over & over again and it would auto-target for you to make kills. I never saw Manual Targeting but I’m guessing that if you had selected it you would then see different combinations of the 4 smaller buttons light up within the giant green square & which buttons to press would change depending on where your target was located & therefore you would need to more precisely hit those buttons in the sequence they flashed on to make the same kills.
But I get ahead of myself, this first ride I was an engineer along with DD and our roles were simple enough (we also had the fortune of having 2 adult pilots who were some of the better pilots we saw so very little damage for us to fix). However, the entire time we needed to push buttons because of how the engineer is situated and the fact that it wasn’t always the same 1-2 buttons like the gunner, in order to fulfill your role you had to turn your face dead-right or left to execute your mission & missed a lot of the action going on outside the cockpit. Also, in DD’s case there was one button way out of her reach that kept lighting up & so she was frustrated by that.
Before I move onto our next step in GE, a note about the pilot. This role seems to be the most difficult but also the most rewarding one. Especially the right pilot that pulls the lever to make the jump to Hyperspace. So awesome just as a spectator & a cheer-worthy moment in every group I rode with but most especially when it was my DS who did it. DS & DH got to be pilots together 2x and they said the best way to get the mission done with the least damage was to communicate to each other about which way to go.
Upon exiting our first ride of SmR, we met up with DH & DS2 and I eagerly sent DS7 & DD6 with him except that DD had been so frustrated with her role & felt that she did so poorly that she ruined the mission for us & was completely unwilling to attempt another time even with her dad to better guide her. We decided not to force her as she at first seemed happy enough to stay back with DS2 & me to explore. DH & DS got to be gunner’s on their first ride & came off very happy reporting that it was the easiest especially on auto-targeting & pretty fun as well, but really wanting to try to get pilot on another attempt. This positive report back from them eventually helped DD decide to try again, but before anyone attempted a 2nd ride, there was more wandering & our first time eating on Batuu.
Episode IV: Eating on Batuu with some Market-Browsing after
While we waited for DH & DS7, I attempted again to get the Parks Play app to recognize us in GE & the closest I could get was it registering me in Toontown. Having 2 impatient little ones I gave up at this point & said let’s go for a walk. It was just in time as DD started to tell me that since she didn’t really like the ride & was tired of waiting that she was “really bored”. (Oh no, she is NOT embracing this newness & there is now potential of dealing with grumpy DD for the rest of the reservation).
DD, DS2 & I made our way up a ramp kind of hidden in the back nook between the stairs & SmR exit and it took us to the same the overlook of the MF that the stairs in plain sight led to and I stopped here with them to marvel at it, listen to the sounds, take it in some more & get some pictures. We then ventured into Dok Ondar’s which was at the top of the stairs and to the left. DS2 discovered light sabers here and was SO excited about them. There were also a few cases of swampy creatures that the kids were fascinated by plus the animatronic of Dok Ondar himself (that I didn’t get to see do much of trying to keep a 2 yr old from whacking anyone with a light saber).
We went back to the exit for SmR to meet back up with DH & DS7 & in the few more minutes of waiting here (& me trying again futilely to get the Play Parks app to work) DD again declared herself bored and now getting thirsty. I was very happy to see DH return to help manage DD (he has a way with her that can really help cheer her up) and I mentioned to him my disappointment about the Parks Play app not working & he went right in & his pulled right up to the Datapad, but his battery was already lower & we had DD to help manage to a better attitude so we put it way for then.
I had been most excited to try Ronto Roasters largely in part see the pod racer engine part of it. That part did not disappoint & was very cool to see & hear but at times it was a bit loud for the 2 younger kids so we chose to eat a little bit outside the restaurant. Ordering was quick & DH asked me if there was an AP discount at the QS in GE to which I didn’t know the answer, but luckily as we were paying we were asked if we had and “credit reducers” which we were relieved to hear ask as that meant yes there was a discount!
We elected to get 3 of the Morning Ronto Wraps to share (the bfast version) as well as an order of spicy jerky. We like the wraps fine but it is nothing we are in any hurry to get back to GE to have again. As for the jerky we each took 2 bites, didn’t care for it & I think we still have it with the food/snacks that came back home with us but will probably never finish eating it. It was so dry and not very tasty let alone spicy. Again, with 3 kids a meal is never a quick thing so we spent a good amount of time eating. DH also went back for drinks at some point & the line had grown quite a bit. But the table we were at had Storm Troopers passing by every so often as well as Rey and another character from either Clone Wars or Rebels or one of the other shows that I don’t know. So there was still good atmosphere going on. As no meal with kids is complete without one of them needing a bathroom break, at one point I took each of the older kids to the restroom and the restrooms alone were an experience with every detail matching the architecture & feel of the land.
After 2 bathroom breaks and long meal, we delved into the market (that I had passed through 2x already to take the kids to the restroom). This turned out to be the highlight for the younger and we spent a good amount of time at the creature & toymaker stalls. DS2 found toys at his level with wheels to play with and was all of a sudden in heaven in GE! DD loved all the little plushies & quickly began a game playing with several characters recruiting DS7 to be some characters.
The details on this area are intricate & authentic and we lucked into browsing these in the market before it got too crowded (so far our experience in the land had been very few crowds all around with many people in line for droids, light-sabers or the Cantina). Every nook that we looked through was just perfect. With a lot of my objectives (aside from the Parks Play App games) completed and two hours to kill, we were loving our time.
Episode V: The Quiet Before the Storm where everything in GE still had Low Crowds and shorter waits
Since most of us wanted to try another round on SmR, we decided to look at the waits and they were still low at 20 minutes standby. Between DS7’s and DH’s glowing reviews on the ease of the gunner position along with a perked up mood and outlook on GE, DD decided to give the ride another shot. This time, DH going first with her & DS while I waited with DS2. We again easily got RS for me to come back later with the kids. This time DH & DS7 were assigned pilot and DD gunner (it may have been that DH switched pilot for gunner with her so she would get to try the position they had raved about).
While they rode, I took DS2 for a walk, got some cute pictures with him near the MF and also tried to get bearings a little bit better as to where the rest of the stuff in GE was located (mostly the stuff at the entrance where we came in & I was more soaking in the feel than paying attention to how I was getting where). I located the droid depot & line to build a droid & it looked relatively short at the time as did most things around us. On our walk DS2 fell asleep in the stroller so I returned to SmR to wait to use he RS with the older kiddos. When DH got back with them he was happy to report that DD was a enjoyed her role and that he & DS had a ball piloting.
I was pleased since this meant DD would ride again with me & DS (and not be bored!). For the RS you are scanned in where the FP queue will be & the ramps you follow bypass all views of the MF and it was straight through for us to the pre-show. When given our assignments we were set to repeat what the kids had done with DH (DD a gunner while DS & would pilot) but after we were lined up I was asked how old DD is and informed that since she was 6, would have to sit either next to or in front of me. The other party with us were so great & allowed me to step back to be a gunner with her to sit beside her while the girl who took my place as pilot was super stoked about it. Her & her party’s excitement about the switch added a lot of energy to the experience.
So definitely the group you board with make a huge impact on the experience not only in terms of the practical aspects of executing the mission but in the feel & excitement of how you come off that mission feeling. In this case it was a VERY awesome thing.
While we rode, DH took sleeping DS2 in stroller & decided he would wait in line for popcorn since he had a friend that was interested in the bucket. While we were on the ride & DH in the line for popcorn, the 2nd group of reservations for the day was led in & the walkways became a bit of madness, especially around the droid depot/Savi’s workshop & Oga’s.