Advice on Navigating Star Wars Opening Week


#1

We are going to be at Disney June 3rd - June 7th, and plan on buying 4 day passes. We planned this trip in January thinking we would miss the opening to Galaxy’s Edge, but instead we are there opening week (I have so many mixed emotions about this). We are planning on using max pass and get park hoppers, and hoping to get reservations to GE. I feel I have prepped the family to expect crazy crowds and lines no matter how much planning I do, but would love advice on navigating DL and CA during crazy crowds.


#2

Prior to the announcement, I would have put money down that your vacation would’ve been safe from a GE opening for June 3rd-7th, so I’m so sorry to hear that it’s not the case.

That being said, because Disneyland is implementing a reservation only access to the land and has now come out to clearly state that there will be NO standby access available whatsoever, I strongly believe it will be less chaotic to go before June 23rd (i.e. it may not close down to capacity since Disney has taken some measures to control/limit capacity for the big draw that is GE). I do, like you, expect it to be a continuously busy park on both sides.

In Disneyland, since Galaxy’s Edge will also increase the parks overall capacity but people will be limited in their time there, I expect that Disneyland especially will feel crowded from 10am on until at least 10pm if not later. My best advice is to have your family up & ready for rope drop to be early to the gates by at least an hour if not (a little bit) more. Know some places that you can duck for “cover” (shade, lesser crowds, a seat and maybe even AC). And I would highly recommend the use of a midday break and so glad you will have MaxPass too.

DCA will have wider walkways but has far less attractions/people eaters to help absorb those crowds so may feel less crowded, but the lines will be longer & fewer “rides” to do. DCA does have a lot of shows/walkthrough attractions that are top-notch though so you can still have a great time here even when crowded & I would make sure to know those places too for when you’re not ready for a midday break but you don’t want to wait in a 50 minute line for the 30 second long Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters but need something to do before your 3:30 FastPass. Also on crowds in DCA, looking at the Passholder blockout schedule, the 3rd-6th are the last few days that any of the 2 lowest level of passes (only available to locals) will be able to access DCA before a 2-3 month summer blockout period and then the 4th & the 5th are also Grad Nites at DCA, all of which will add to crowds. Again, the best advice to beat all of those crowds (both of which are typically later risers & therefore don’t start to make an impact to crowds until after 10am) is to come early for rope drop & get outta Dodge in the midday when the peak of all those crowds are there together.

Lastly, about the reservations to GE, if you’re staying onsite at a Disney hotel, you will get one reservation (for your entire stay) for everyone listed on the room. If you’re offsite, there is still potential to somehow get a reservation, but that hasn’t been announced how or when those will be made available. Nor is it clear when or how the on-site guests will know their designated reservation so just keep checking all the Disney news sources you have (especially the official Disney Parks Blog) for updates on that front.


#3

For more on places to escape from some crowds, scroll down to the 6th paragraph (starts “And then if the humanity is just all too much”) in my response to Freaking out about Oct crowds!.

The Sunset Showcase Theater that I mention in the response will have Philharmagic showing starting in April (which will be new & exciting to Disneyland so may help pull some crowds out of walkways better than the sets of Live action previews that have been done there).

The Tomorrowland Theater mentioned will most likely continue showing the extended previews of all the Star Wars films (Path of the Jedi I think is what it will be called). And I totally forgot to mention in that response anything about the Star Wars Launch Bay that is also expected to remain to help shoehorn crowds out of the walkways, specifically the Star Wars focused fans. There’s not really seating of any kind (a few small benches at a video of the making of the Last Jedi) but it’s very cool & somewhat quiet in here so still a pretty decent escape).


#4

I feel your pain. We are there June 1-8. We already had park hoppers and hotel purchased when they announced the opening. We planned our dates hoping to get in and out before SWGE opened. We are WDW veterans who have been during very crowded times but I’ve prepared my group for the masses we are probably going encounter. I just keep telling myself we are blessed to be able to go.


#5

You’re both already so far ahead of the masses though by being here so hopefully what you pick up here will help you on the ground to have the best time possible, even in spite of the craziness that will be descending around you.

Will you try for a reservation to GE or will you avoid completely?


#6

We will try for a reservation, as my husband is a Star Wars fan. He loves Disney for the atmosphere and isn’t a thrill ride fan.


#7

The same thing happened to us! We planned our DLR trip for the week of Memorial Day, specifically to avoid Galaxy’s Edge opening. And we also thought it smart to avoid Memorial Day weekend, so our trip dates are May 29-June 1. That turned out to be a VERY bad decision! We are staying at the Castle Inn on a buy 3 get the 4th night free deal. I’m enough of a Disney and Star Wars fan to think about sticking it out and not cancelling or trying to change our trip, so I also booked one night at the Disneyland Hotel for May 31 to ensure we would get entrance to Galaxy’s Edge. We will have two hotels booked that night - I’ve told my family we can spread out, but everyone wants to stay at the nice hotel! LOL

I’m sweating this decision and wondering if I should try to change our dates to May 26-29. This is my third trip to Disneyland but my family’s first. My husband HATES crowds but LOVES Star Wars. My kids are 9 and 12. We go to Disney World about every other year, so Disney isn’t new and it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t see and do everything. I just can’t decide what to do!


#8

We have a one-night DLH stay booked for May 31 for now too! I think it’s probably the smartest thing you could do if you want to access GE. And you should all stay at the nice hotel. Those fireworks headboards are pure pixie dust & I wouldn’t make anyone miss out on them! Plus you’ll get EMH on both your check-in & check-out day so it’ll be a nice bonus to help get ahead of the crowds.

If you really are crowd adverse though then the 26-29 will be a bit of quiet before the storm. Just note that the 28-29 are very close to the last days the 2 lowest pass types can see Disneyland park before a large summer blockout ensues (the lowest pass gets blocked starting May 31 and the 2nd lowest pass is blocked out June 1). They both have access to DCA only for the first part of June so they may not all come to Disneyland those last few days of Disneyland only, but then again, they may. The effect of local traffic to Disneyland is hard to predict. Even if they all do come though, it won’t be the same level of crowds that are expected for GE. So it would still be a better option if you are truly crowd adverse.


#9

Great minds! I wonder how they will handle those of us with one night reservations? I asked someone in customer service before I booked, and she couldn’t tell me. We fly out around 7:30 p.m. on June 1 from LAX, so we have to leave the park by 3ish. I’m hoping our window to access the land won’t be that afternoon. I would hate to spend that much money for one night in a hotel and not have the entire time in the land! I was hoping they would tell me in advance, but I’ve heard speculation that you will find out when you check in - too late to cancel the night or to negotiate a different time. Wonder how they will handle that?

If it were just me, I would definitely go and enjoy! I’ve been to Tokyo Disney and Shanghai Disneyland when it was insanely crowded and was able to enjoy both experiences, but I was alone at one park and with my BFF at the other. But with my husband and kids along, it’s a different dynamic - they get fed up and cranky faster than I do at Disney.

I think we are probably just sticking with the plan, get as much done on our days in the park May 29 & 30 before the madness hits, and just go with the flow on May 31 & June 1. At least with the Disneyland Hotel, we have a nice pool to go to on May 31 in the afternoon, and even June 1 if we are willing to forgo cleaning up in a hotel room if we are already checked out!


#10

I’ve been trying to figure out how they would distribute those “designated reservations” too and upon check-in makes the most sense logistically but I am hoping that they figure out a way for it to be done online linked to your reservation & that on-site guests will have better access to better times.

And I really hope they make more announcements on how to get a free reservation as NOT a hotel guest before the cancellation policy as I would totally rather not spend the $$$ for the 1 night stay & still be able to see the land on a reservation. We are leaning on cancelling our 1-night DLH stay but who knows, the night before Star Wars land was announced I was completely morose about the whole kit & ka-boodle because of all the change it was going to bring & less than 18 hours later we had a hotel stay booked for opening day.


#11

We often get a couple or one “any time” FP when we book at a DLR hotel. When I check in, I would get the FPs. I am guessing they will probably implement a similar process for the reservation process, but as far as the times go, not sure on that one!


#12

Me, too on all points!!! I honestly couldn’t believe it when I hit the reserve button on DHL and said it was OK for $650 to be charged to my credit card for one hotel night! But now I’m excited to stay there if only for one night and will probably regret it forever if I cancel the hotel or change our dates. And that’s how Disney gets ALL of my money . . .


#13

Interesting - I’ve never heard about getting extra FP when staying on site at Disneyland. That’s a nice benefit!


#14

It was usually a part of a AP package that I would book. DH will only stay on site, so I had to make sure we got our moneys worth!


#15

I think we will wait until closer to the cancellation policy to really decide, but all 3 of mine are somewhat little (7,6 & almost 2) so I can’t imagine they will be as patient to be a part of the madness that is GE, so that is driving me to re-think us being there. But I do feel like if we don’t, there will be SO much regret that we didn’t. Which is why I’m holding out hope that maybe the reservations for non-hotel guests may be an option for us.


#16

It’s so hard with little kids - mine are 12 and 9, and I’m still not sure they can cope with the madness! I wish more info would come out about reservations. I feel like I spend half my time trolling Facebook and the internet waiting for news!


#17

Oh I know, so maddening the lack of information we’ve got so far! My only consolation is that we still have 56 days left to find out (well 51 before I have to cancel the reservation). :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#18

Hi! When I made my reservation (for May 31st at DLH as well), the CM said to keep an eye on your email, they will be sending the info that way. She was reading to me directly from her memo- they will give you a designated time (though she said it is not clear how that time is chosen) and then there will be a link to click on to try and change the time if what they gave you doesn’t work for you). Other people on Disboards have reported this same info. I check my email several times a day to make sure I don’t miss it. I would think it would be soon, as people want to plan ADRs around their chosen time.


#19

What as these “Dis.boards” you speak of?!?! :speak_no_evil::hear_no_evil::see_no_evil:
Kidding!

That’s really handy to know. And now I’m even more glad that Tom was the one who was able to get the website to work for him to make the reservation since he checks his email far more than I do.


#20

Thank you for all of that, I think utilizing midday breaks will be big for us. I grew up in So Cal, but this is my families 2nd trip, I want to be sure they still love it. I was thinking of doing 5 day single park passes instead of 4 day park hoppers. Do you have any thoughts on Park Hopper vs Single park through the madness. Now I just want to know how to make reservations. I wish they would just release the release date.