Friday, May 31, 2019

Today at Disneyland: Opening Day of Galaxy's Edge, Part 1

Today, May 31, 2019, was an historic day at Disneyland, the Opening Day of Galaxy's Edge.

Two years after carefully examining models of the new "Star Wars Land" at the D23 Expo, we finally got to see the real thing, and it was a wonder. There is so much to share, between the land itself and our stellar experience today, that I'm going to offer a much more detailed Disneyland report than usual and break our day into a four-part series.

We began with a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call so that we could arrive at the resort's Toy Story parking lot around 5:20 a.m. (above). Parking had opened at midnight for those who wanted to line up early. We chose to get some sleep before starting our day!

The resort has been subject to regular parking sellouts in recent weeks, with no parking available for hours at a time, but fortunately the message that Galaxy's Edge could be visited for the next month by reservation only seems to have been driven home, and many without a reservation stayed away. The rest of the park was as uncrowded as I've seen it in recent years, with minimal to no entrance lines even when we left around 2:30.

No lines at the east security checkpoint on the Esplanade (above) or the Disneyland main gate (below) around 5:30 a.m.!

Things were so relaxed we had plenty of time to shoot some dawn photos at the train station before heading into the park.

The wonderful Galaxy's Edge map, printed on heavy paper, will be a special keepsake:

Disneyland had advertised that guests such as ourselves who had an 8:00 a.m. reservation would be allowed into the park at 6:00 a.m., but they actually started letting people in about an hour earlier.

After passing an initial checkpoint and showing our reservation (above), we were funneled behind Main Street, exiting at Plaza Inn...

...and then slowly walking to the Innoventions building -- that's the America Sings building for those of you who were around in the '70s -- which is serving as "Launch Bay" for Galaxy's Edge.

The crowds look big but it was well ordered; in fact, that was one of the great surprises of the day. We've had some bad experiences with Disney lines in the past, including at the D23 Expo, but every organizational aspect today ran like clockwork. The park was also well-prepared with plenty of Cast Members (CMs) on hand.

We received a wonderful surprise when after registering and receiving our wristbands we were told that we would be able to go upstairs and buy opening day merchandise. The merchandise had been advertised to open at 8:00 a.m. and would not be sold in Galaxy's Edge itself, so we had thought we would be missing out. Instead we were delighted to all come out with Annual Passholder opening day t-shirts with this design:

By 7:00 a.m. we were registered, had our merchandise, and were part of this huge crowd waiting near the submarines in Tomorrowland. It looks claustrophic but once CMs started walking us toward Galaxy's Edge around 7:40 a.m. people spread out a little and it was fine.

When we got to Fantasyland CMs started greeting us with waves and high fives, amping up our excitement.

We got to the Galaxy's Edge entrance...

...and costumed CMs and execs alike lined the path, cheering, waving, high-fiving, and taking photos. You can see some official Disney video here, and there's guest video from another perspective here.

It was an historic and emotional moment receiving that greeting and walking into Galaxy's Edge, and I wasn't the only one whose eyes welled with happy tears and excitement.

In future posts I'll be sharing photos of the Millennium Falcon and the surrounding land, our experiences with the Smugglers Run ride and some of the food and shopping, and more. As a Smugglers Run pilot I made the jump to hyperspace, and it was amazing!

Please check back on Saturday for Part 2 in this series! In the meantime, please enjoy this Disney video in which three families experience Galaxy's Edge for the first time. The awed little girl whispering "Wow" when she walks into the Millennium Falcon captures how a great many of us felt today.

Update: Here are links to Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

February 2020 Update: Yesterday at Disneyland: Rise of the Resistance.


Blogger DKoren said...

Do you know, I started tearing up just reading about you being there? Aand when I got to the part where you said you teared up, I just had to smile. Wow. This looks so cool. Very glad you're going into detail and looking forward to the next posts. Love the t-shirt you were able to get! (Also, WOW on letting people line up so early... though I guess I shouldn't be surprised, LOL!)

7:17 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Aw, thank you, Deb! Knowing how deeply you feel about STAR WARS I know you could really understand my emotions, especially with Disney layered on top of that! My daughter and I refer to teary happy moments like that as "Disney moments" and this was definitely that, big time! :) One of my all-time favorite Disney experiences. I get emotional just remembering that experience yesterday!

More coming later today! Thanks for checking out my reports!! Hope it won't be too terribly long before you can see it yourself.

Best wishes,

10:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older