After much anticipation, Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is finally here! The 14-acre expansion marks the arrival of custom-made lightsabers, space drinks (with actual alcohol!) and its signature attraction, Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. But with all the galactic fun comes a rule: visitors from May 31 to June 23 must have reservations for four-hour slots. Afterward, Galaxy’s Edge will be open to anyone in the galaxy with park admission (assuming capacity isn’t full). Until then, visitors should have a plan to avoid running out of time. The following guide was written by someone who has experienced Galaxy’s Edge and avoided such a fate. So sit back, relax and take in tips that’ll make your trip to a galaxy far, far away more satisfying.
1) Visit Oga’s Cantina or Savi’s Workshop first
It may be tempting to want to do all that Galaxy’s Edge offers. Who doesn’t want to build their own lightsaber and drink an alcoholic alien concoction? But those who have visited Oga’s Cantina, the space-themed pub, have issued a warning: go early. The reason is typical for an amusement park: Oga’s has high demand and limited capacity, even with a maximum occupancy time of 45 minutes.
When I entered for my slot, I made a beeline towards Oga’s and discovered a line wrapping around the entrance and cast members announcing it was closed off. Every time I passed it, the line remained with wait times of at least an hour. With the exception of park opening rushers, not a single person I spoke to entered Oga’s immediately.
Recently, Oga’s has implemented a new system to combat crowds. The reserve-and-return system allows guests to reserve a spot and be informed when to return by text message. A small warning though: because of limited capacity during a slot, guests will still need to prioritize Oga’s first to ensure a spot. Anyone past the allotted amount will be turned away. Also, once you do have a reservation, you may need to leave whatever you’re doing in order to arrive on time.
Disney has changed the Cantina waiting process. The first two days, it was a madhouse and free for all, causing huge lines in the walkways. Today, they have implemented a text to return system that allows guests to experience other things in the land during their virtual wait pic.twitter.com/iIooB9lJp1
— BlogMickey.com (@Blog_Mickey) June 2, 2019
We used it Thursday. It worked… okay. They told us it was gonna be a 45 minute wait. Our group went to build droids. Got stuck behind a bunch of Youtubers mid-build while our reservations came up 25 minutes early. We showed up ten minutes later and had to BEG to get in.
— Paul Price (@priceliketag) June 2, 2019
Savi’s, a shop which sells “scrap” upfront and lightsabers under the table, is already a hotspot among Galaxy’s Edge visitors. And it should come as little surprise since the process of building a lightsaber is the closest fans can get to becoming a Jedi (or Sith). But with the experience comes a limitation: Savi’s single room allows only 14 builders and 14 guests at a time, which means many aspiring builders won’t receive a chance. Cast members will take a limited amount of reservations before cutting the line off for the rest of the slot. But unlike Oga’s text system, Savi’s guests will only be given a broad time window to return.
The line for Savi's Workshop has also been cut off for the day. They lasted just 10 minutes longer than Oga's Cantina, closing 30 minutes after the time window opened. They are giving guests that pre-purchase the experience a return time window instead of asking them to wait pic.twitter.com/GdNBZWaAtQ
— BlogMickey.com (@Blog_Mickey) June 2, 2019
The new reservation system seems to be an experimental response to cast member previews and the first few days of operation. When I visited Savi’s during a preview, there was a pay-and-wait system, in which guests waited to pay for a reservation, before having to remain to attend the session. Anyone who left and missed their group’s summoning risked losing or delaying their reservation.
The new system, while letting fewer people in, is cutting down wait times and allowing more time to explore Galaxy’s Edge. Despite this, Disney doesn’t seem to have a concrete method of dealing with queues since it was reported they have returned to the pay-and-wait system. Regardless of what queue system Savi’s uses on a given day: visit it first to avoid being cut off or be stuck in a long line.
Meanwhile, Savi's Workshop Custom Lightsabers is already closed for the entire 8am reservation window as the wait is estimated at 4 hours. Guests will be asked to wait in the courtyard the entire time, according to the local Batuuans #StarWarsGalaxysEdge #GalaxysEdge pic.twitter.com/X0Bxfekvgx
— BlogMickey.com (@Blog_Mickey) June 3, 2019
2) Board Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run later
Many amusement park guests consider attractions the meat of the day and rush to them first. But aspiring pilots planning on visiting Smuggler’s Run, an attraction which allows the control of the iconic ship, should wait before boarding. Since opening day, the wait times have been relatively low — fluctuating from 5 minutes to over an hour. But regardless of the wait, who says it needs to be done during your four hours?
Take my approach: do it last. I entered the attraction’s mountainside queue a few minutes before my slot ended, and was granted entry without issue. Disney has an unspoken rule when it comes to lines: don’t kick guests out if they’re in one — a philosophy which extends to meeting characters or shopping on Main Street after park closing. A small warning though: you might not breeze through the queue (I waited an hour towards the end of a preview), but at least you won’t waste your precious four hours doing it. Which brings me to my next point…
3) Eat and shop during the middle of your reservation period
It’s safe to assume many Galaxy’s Edge visitors won’t want to leave immediately when their time has ended. There will be stragglers galore, which means the beginning and end of slots will most likely be congested. Enjoy the shops and restaurants in the middle of your four hours when it’s certain, not possible, they are gone. By this point, you’ve probably done some walking and waiting, so resting and eating some space grub can’t hurt.
4) Be flexible
Ask any Disney parks fanatic: you can come up with a strategy, prepare and still be flabbergasted the moment you hit Disneyland. Like mentioned before, I had to improvise when Oga’s Cantina was closed. Do I stay and wait for it to open? Or do I explore Galaxy’s Edge considering the limited time I have? Like any amusement park, Disneyland will have a certain amount of unpredictability. Some days, certain destinations will be unusually busy, all while maintaining the possibility of closure due to weather, technical and crowding issues. Have back-up plans for the possibility you can’t experience your preferred choice.
5) Research menus and merchandise beforehand
From their highly-anticipated movies to their park operations, Disney is known for preserving spoilers — an approach that is ideal in most situations. But if you have four hours to visit the world’s most popular amusement park and its biggest expansion ever? Every minute counts and any time saved means it could be used for something else. Your trip won’t be ruined if you know what restaurants serve or what shops sell, but it could be if you left without grabbing that adorable porg plush. Utilize the information released so far so you can focus on the important thing: having fun!
6) Remember to have fun!
Regardless if you’re from California or traveling across the world, the opening of Galaxy’s Edge is a happy time for Star Wars fans anywhere. Disney fans got their playground in 1955 when Disneyland opened and Potterheads got theirs when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010. But 2019, for several reasons, belongs to the fandom of lightsabers and porgs. So regardless of what happens during your trip, try to appreciate Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — it’s not every day you can buy a fictional drink that was milked out of an alien’s udder.