A little place called Galaxy's Edge

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.


*Episode VI: Droid-Building & the Walk-Out

DH wasn’t able to abandon the popcorn line fast enough to get into the droid line before the hoards arriving but after securing popcorn he secured us a spot in the droid line bc we decided we needed at least 1 marquee souvenir for this experience. When we finished, we joined DH in the long & un-shaded droid line. The CMs manning the droid line told the party behind us that it would be about an hour’s wait. It was more like 40 min before we entered the relief of the shade just in front of the entrance where a CM informed us which of the pieces were currently out of stuck before sending us inside to queue up by a display of all the different color options.

We were now faced with picking from the BB-series or R-series. We had loosely decided on the BB series since the kids really like BB-8 (not that they don’t like R2-D2 but they know more of BB-8). But when faced with the color options we found we preferred a lot of the color schemes of the R-series but wanted the cuteness of the BB-series still. So what to do? Yes, we did it, we got one of each! This ended up working out really well as it allowed each kid (that was old enough) to have the experience.

At the end of the queue following the display of options, you select which series you will get, pay for it as well as any accessories or personality chips that you want to purchase at that time. You’ll get instructions and a basket to take with you to gather your parts. The parts you gather come off a conveyor belt FULL of ALL the options (minus of course any out of stock ones), and it is a lot of fun to grab them as they come & a bit of a scavenger hunt of sorts. After getting all your parts, you move to a bay to assemble them with the assistance of CM’s behind the counter. They also pare & help activate your droids. All of which is so fun. In this store more than any other part of Batuu (and I’ll bet it’s even moreso in the light saber experience) the CM’s were so completely in character in dress, hairstyle and persona. I was impressed by how many of the girls had their hair in hairstyles you would only see in a Star Wars universe & all of it really added to the atmosphere and fun.

DS2 had stayed napping through the line & gathering of the parts waking up just until we got to assembling/activating the droids which was perfect timing as he was just in time to help hit the activate button. The droid-building experience was SO fun & worthwhile & we have zero regret in getting 2 of them. So moral of the story, bring your spending credits with you (or don’t if you don’t want to be spending credits).

We exited droid depot about 20 min past our res window & since we had a) not made our way anywhere near the resistance area bordering Critter Country & b) my plan for DS2 was getting him on the Winnie the Pooh ride (one he enjoys with a short wait) as well as scoping out the Winnie the Pooh character meet (while he loves Minnie/Mickey more he does love Pooh as well) ASAP since he had done so well (better than DD6 at times) in putting up with us in GE, so we elected to exit from the Critter Country pathway.

The walk out was quiet & this side appeared so peaceful with tons of greenery and the first music we’d heard in the land. My biggest tie to Star Wars emotionally is the music and so I was immediately glad we chose to exit at this end. As the Rise of the Resistance ride plus one market stall of Resistance gear is all that is on this side, there isn’t a ton to explore but still a great area. But boy was I glad that we had back-up reservation made for the next day just in case something happened preventing us from attending the first morning’s reservation. Upon leaving GE the first time, we were still undecided if we would come back or not. On the walk-out again we noticed again the CMs every few paces or so, bidding us farewell and it was here we noticed that they were ALL taking note of every guest on the walkway so it was here we realized that the CMs were all positioned to ensure the right crowds were in the right place & no one was sneaking into GE.

Episode VII: The Check-In Minus Waiting

The next day we decided that we would love a picture of us with our newly adopted droids in front of the MF and we were curious to see the interaction with the Storm Troopers as we had bought Resistance personality chips for them so we would use our reservation set for 2pm-6pm. From our first experience we learned that nothing we really wanted to accomplish (on either of our days) required copious amounts of waiting so we decided we would check in whenever worked best for us in the 2 hours before the reservation but wouldn’t enter the land until after the first hour when the 11am-3pm reservation were filtering out and that we wouldn’t stay the full hour from 5-6pm when the 5pm-9pm reservations were arriving. Our one other priority was to get another shot at riding SmR.

Prior to check-in we went to look for the confirmation email for our reservation to have it ready for scanning the QR code. We had made this reservation with a back-up email address that we don’t check frequently and since it was a back-up that we weren’t set on using, before we left home we completely neglected to check we had ever received the confirmation email with QR code. We did see however, that we got an email to that account from 5/28 explaining all that was needed to check-in for the reservation and I was fairly certain we had completed the process to obtain the reservation minus seeing a confirmation email.

We were about to go the Launch Bay with just that 2nd email with instructions to bring our QR codes & IDs to plead our case before the check-in CMs when we smartly realized we should call the dedicated GE reservation team first. Five min later we had a new confirmation email re-sent to us & were on our way to check-in with a QR code. Check-in was similar to yesterday minus except this time we were instructed to go to Hungry Bear restaurant to queue and were told there was no need to arrive really early if we wanted to do other things. Again the CM made sure we knew where Hungry Bear was offering to provide specific directions. After check-in we still had about an hour before the reservation time started and had planned to use that time to hop to DCA for a few things before coming back to GE closer to 3pm.

We came back to DL and entered GE just a few minutes after 3pm. It was so nice to completely avoid the scrum & we were the only ones at the wall of CMs to scan our bands. We noticed how closely they stood to make an effective blockade so no one was able to get through. On our way in we again saw the CM’s every few paces greeting (& monitoring for wristbands- we’re onto you!) & also noticed a lot of 11-3pm reservations on their way out.

If you don’t think you need 4 hours and don’t have the first reservation of the day, coming in a hour later was nice. We didn’t come right into a GE full of 2 overlapping groups.

Episode VIII: Our Quick Round 2 of GE

On our way in, we encountered Chewie on the Resistance side of the land and got the kids giving him a quick hug. We followed to see if he would go up to a “stage” of sorts that we had seen him on when exitig yesterday doing what appeared to be a show about fixing the ship on the stage. He did go up so I ushered the family backwards to watch it but it was not the same as the day before. It was less show like & more Chewie tinkering with it while his handler followed him about vs. what had appeared to be a more organized show the day before with announcements about his progress on the ship/interpretation of what he was saying. It was also really hot and un-shaded in this part so we didn’t stay long & scurried over to our main priorities: SmR and photos with droids at the MF.

DS2 had fallen asleep on the walk over to GE so after obtaining a RS for SmR DH stayed with him sleeping in the shade near the SmR exit while I went with the 2 older kiddos first. This time the standby was posted 30 minutes and there was more resistance/stop time in the queue with the cargo and ramps so I spent at good 15-20 minutes attempting to get the Parks Play app working for the kids to experience part of it. I went as far deleting & re-installing the app and still no go. It would NOT register me as being located in GE. Oh well, I put the phone away once we reached the overlook views of the MF to enjoy that beautiful part of the queue that I will not likely see again with such a short wait as 30 minutes.

On our ride DS really wanted to be engineer (the only one he hadn’t been yet) so I had stay back in the circular room where assignments were made and we were totally given 2 gunners and 1 engineer. DD was also pleased as she was very nervous still to try anything else besides gunner. This time we rode with just the 1 engineer & while DS7 did everything he could to get all the buttons, we sustained a lot of damage which I suspect is the consequence of having just 1 engineer and maybe no one hit the relief button in time for us back in the MF waiting room. Our pilots on this flight were also the ones who ran into the most stuff and for the first time (for me), completed less of the mission than I had on other runs.

In comparing notes with DH afterwards, he said he had gotten the less completed version of the mission several times before they were able to successfully get the last part of the mission fully complete. And we determined it takes the pilots being skilled enough to not damage the ship while pursuing something, while the gunners take aim AND the engineers have to harpoon something as well and if one of those roles don’t come through, the 2nd part doesn’t get completely finished, but no matter what Hondo has you return to Batuu. While with the first part of the mission, it seems that no matter what, it completes successfully (or just has a lower bar of input across all roles to reach completion). Anywho, DH did the RS with the kids after we were done and again with no questioning from the CMs on how old DD was got pilot for him & DS and gunner for DD.

After we all joined up again, we decided to get an updated family photo in front of the MF since we now have 2 new family members that we would be remiss to not include. We decided to try to wake DS2 so he could be a part of it but with the heat of midday bearing down in front of the MF he was groggy still & spent the whole time burying his head in my shoulder, but at least in 5 years he can’t ask “well where was I?”

Following our photos, we hurried to find shade cover as many people were also doing because it was a very hot, humid day (81 degrees ath 49% humidity) and at the peak of its intensity too. We had planned to explore more with the droids and watch for their reactions to the land but with the oppressive heat and the fact that we weren’t successful in waking our BB unit, we gave up & hunkered in the bit of shade we found trying to figure out how much we wanted to pursue watching the droids react (we suspect that for the BB unit we needed the remote to be able to wake him since he doesn’t have a switch on the exterior but I told the kids to leave the remotes in the hotel room as the parks do not allow for the droids to be remotely controlled).

At this point DS2 fully woke up from his nap & the 5pm-9pm reservations had been brought in so the walkway we were next to become full again which facilitated our decision to say goodbye to our time in GE.

Episode IX: Final Thoughts, Impressions and a little FAQ

It was surreal stepping back into DL from GE, and a little sad, as if I had travelled to a place I loved & was coming back to the “real world.” Now, I don’t know about you, but to me DL is and always has been a wonderful escape from the real world, so feeling that way inside Disneyland was crazy and a testament to the level of detail & immersion. If I go back to my honest feelings leading up to SWGE on this thread I’m even more convinced that the universe would benefit from a WDI imagining of WWoHP. I know Disney turned up the chance and even if they hadn’t wouldn’t have the immersion then and I’m aware that the WWoHP we have is quite good, but GE is on a whole other level. As an example, my biggest complaint of WWoHP back in 2012 with just the Hogsmeade side was that while in the winter-dusted wizarding village sipping butter beer, I could see palm trees & neighboring lands’ structures which were obviously not a fit, disrupting my illusion and forcing me to face the reality that I wasn’t actually in a wizarding village. GE was built in a funnel where there is hardly any effort required in the suspension of belief that you are in a galaxy far, far away. They got that part right-on.

That being said, the sum of all the parts was 1 (pretty good, but not quite earth-shattering) ride and a giant shopping experience requiring you to spend money additional to your park admission to partake. I am excited to get the other ride eventually up to complete the wow factor of the atmosphere (remember, there are LIFE-SIZE AT-AT’s built into those cliffs and if you can’t be impressed by that, then I doubt much will impress you at all much less the fully immersive richly detailed whole experience of SWGE.

And now after a lot of talk, some of the pictures: https://imgur.com/a/i8Dmp6m
And a very few more pictures https://imgur.com/a/4pFP2aK

Lastly, when I posted initially about making the droids on the DLR Lines Chat, I got a few questions so I wanted to add my responses to forum-land as well.

Q: Which Droid do u think is better? Does the BB Droid move around like the R2? Does it have hidden wheels? I’ve only seen the R2 move via RC.

A: The BB droid is adorable when he moves!! I don’t know how it works but his movement is authentic to the movie & so so so cute. The R2 is a lot of fun to move tho too. So I couldn’t pick one over the other!! But I did like the coloring options on the R2 slightly better.

One other funny thing about the BB so the droids talk to each other every so often bc they “know” each other & the R-unit you can switch off but the BB has everything contained in his “shell” so we can’t turn him off but he’s supposed to just go into sleep mode after 5 min of non-activity. Well at the hotel he kept going off every 5 min instead so we were desperately trying to figure out how we make him sleep. We then realized he was getting set off bc he kept recognizing the R-unit so once that was figured out we moved him to the other side of the room & voila, he went to sleep!

Upon even further inspection, we realized we had NOT fully shut-off the R-unit as we thought & the next day while they were riding around in the basket of our stroller they stayed completely calm & quiet not trying to chatter amongst themselves.

We’ve only taken them out to play once with the remotes and we loved every second of it & still have zero regrets about the amount spent on them. I imagine we’d feel similar to a light saber purchase but as that one required a higher amount of credits we will save it (and save up for it) for a future trip.

Hope you enjoyed this not so snippety review & any questions, ask away!


Fantastic review! And great photos! Thanks for sharing.


Thank you for such detailed review! Love the pictures and cannot wait to see SW:GE!

1 Like

You are truly the Yoda of Disneyland! “Impressed am I!” Thank you for taking the time to give us such a richly detailed report. I knew I could count on you to live vicariously through!


Wow! Thank you for such a comprehensive review! We are going in late August and can’t wait.

1 Like

Thanks Loraine! Love all the pictures, glad you guys had a great time.


Thanks Karen! I still need to get pics of us in front of the MF off of DH’s AP so I can see (and post them).


So exciting! With it being late August for your trip are you also going for D23?? I’m trying to convince the DH that he needs to see the Disney Legends panel this year because he’s such a big Iron Man fan and Robert Downey Jr will become one.

Anytime! I hope that WDW is able to pull off as smooth an opening for all my favorite WDW regular liners!

1 Like

Will you be seeing it in DL or WDW first? It is so incredible that I hope everyone, Star Wars fan or no, tries to see it at least once. The level of immersion is so rich.

Humbled am I! Thank you for reading it all the way through!

1 Like

Our timing is just off for D23. We’ll be there the following week. My DD19 is going to college in Redlands and we’ll be driving her down (from Washington) for sophomore year. We’re bringing four of her best friends whose colleges start later in September to experience DLR for the first time. I can’t wait to see it thru their eyes, particularly as two of them are superfans of everything Star Wars.

1 Like

Please post! I was looking for that picture in the ones you linked to already. Living vicariously!!

Going to WDW in January. Yes, my DS12 is a big fan, but I am sure we all will enjoy it. :blush:

1 Like

Great review and pics! I died when your DS7 joined you and DH in explaining to DD that the wait is part of it and you’ve already talked about it. I would have the same situation in my family.

but, it’s not a chess table! :slight_smile:



I was wondering when I’d get this comment. Too right you are!

Yes, DS7 is a liner at heart, he gets it, he loves to plan & he’s almost always in the know of what’s up for any of our trips. DH hates to plans so is happy I love it bc he does recognize the value planning adds and usually it’s on the drive down to DL he starts asking “Ok, so what does our first day look like?”. DD is like DH and her ideal vacation would be just show up & do whatever but she also hates to wait, so she’s still learing!

I just realized you changed your username so I didn’t recognize you earlier!!! LOVE the new name :heartpulse:

1 Like

Thank you! When I setup my account in 2012, I knew nothing about the forum/chat and just chose my boring user name that I use for everything. I really wanted something more Disney centric. When planning my WDW trip, my new user name was the name I gave my original solo trip plan. Then that changed to “Mom’s gone wild, Disney Edition” when I added my friend to my reservation. I really liked the solo trip name and decided to make it my user name on here.

1 Like