Live Trip Report: Star Wars Land Opening Day

After years of waiting, today is the day that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens to the general public. We’re live at Disneyland Resort in California to bring you a live trip report with photos, running commentary, and our experiences on what’s sure to be a busy opening day. (Last updated May 31, 2019 at 7 pm Pacific.)

Disneyland opened its Mickey & Friends parking structure last night, and a slow trickle of diehard Star Wars and Disneyland fans trickled in, ready to celebrate the public debut of this blockbuster expansion. While the park officially opens at 8 a.m. today, Disneyland started admitting guests into the park before 5 a.m. There were no public soft openings or even registration preview events, so between the land itself and the exclusive merchandise that’ll be sold at a variety of stores around Disneyland Resort, fans are eager for the park to open.

As a reminder, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is registration-only between now and June 23, 2019…and the only way to score one of those elusive entries now is booking a stay at one of the three official Disneyland hotels. If you’ve done that, there’s no need to arrive early and line up. If you have not scored a reservation, lining up early will do no good–there isn’t a standby line to enter the park. Nevertheless, Disneyland fans are up early, and there’s a palpable energy in the air as people await the opening of the 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge…

We were in Disneyland last night solely for the sake of wandering around and savoring the atmosphere of Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom before it changes forever today. This isn’t to say that you’ll now be able to hear droids roaming around Frontierland or Chewbacca chillin’ in Critter Country–as we indicate in our Full Review of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new land is given sufficient breathing room from the rest of the park.

The transition from Critter Country or Frontierland is ample and convincing, and Batuu itself is pretty well cordoned off from Disneyland’s other lands. What we are expected is not thematic intrusion into the rest of Disneyland, it’s overflow crowds, and general chaos. This is going to be Disneyland’s most popular addition ever, and it has the potential to overwhelm the rest of the park for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, on a day like today, we’re expecting chaos and crowds. That’s just fine, and we love opening days at Disney Parks. They bring out the most passionate fans, and always have a great energy to them. It’s like being on a packed theater opening night for a Marvel movie–there’s a collective enthusiasm that emanates from everyone, and enhances the experience.

Today at Disneyland should be pretty comparable, both with the “packed house” component and the “palpable guest energy.” After a couple weeks of Cast Member previews and media festivities the last few days, it’s finally here: the real world premiere of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!

We got a bit of a “late” start (or early, depending upon whether you go by official or unofficial times) but are here inside Disneyland now….anxiously awaiting our timed entry reservation into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We will share everything from the actual guest experience of that here.

As of right now, the lines for the parking toll booths, bag check (at least on the Downtown Disney side), and the Disneyland turnstiles are all non-existent. Main Street is fairly empty, and the biggest lines are over in Tomorrowland at Star Wars Launch Bay, which is both the check-in center for Galaxy’s Edge timed entry and for the main merchandise location outside of the land. At this point, the merchandise line here is already pretty long, but it’s only going to get worse throughout the day, so we’d recommend heading there first if you’re en route to Disneyland today.

We’ll be posting photos from around Disneyland, showing the crowds, merchandise, and everything else. Or should I say, trying to post these things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from busy days at Disneyland, it’s that the WiFi can slow to a crawl, and on some really congested days (the last 24 hour part was a prime example) the park gets so busy that it’s hard to get a usable signal, period.

7 pm Update: The post-work crowd has started to arrive, and Disneyland feels busier, but still far from busy. Most noticeably, Fantasyland wait times are low, and there seem to be fewer strollers than normal. This suggests to us that the family/tourist demographic is the primary group avoiding Disneyland today, justifiably fearful of oppressive crowds that never materialized. We are off to Batuu soon, but here’s a golden hour photo update from Disneyland:

1:30 pm Update: Disneyland is starting to get busier as the first wave of guests exit Star Wars Land, but is still only moderately crowded (and below average for this time of year). Lines for the merchandise have died down considerably, with no exterior queue at Launch Bay. In other good news, the marine layer has burned off, and it’s turned into quite the beautiful day! Some photos:

11 am Update: Crowds are still light outside of Galaxy’s Edge. Wait times are rising, but most of Fantasyland is atypically low (Peter Pan’s Flight is only 20 minutes!). We had breakfast at Red Rose Taverne and are continuing to wander the park. Between low crowds and mild weather, it’s a perfect day to be here!

9:15 am Update: Disneyland is still, shockingly, pretty quiet. More guests have trickled in, but it’s still not even moderately busy. We’re starting to wonder if all the media coverage and fears of crowds are keeping people away…

8:15 am Update: Totally smooth sailing getting through bag check and turnstiles. Here’s a look at some of the interesting sights thus far:

That last one is the merchandise line at Star Wars Launch Bay. It’s easily the longest line in the park right now–literally a longer wait here than at Smugglers Run or Oga’s Cantina!

More updates to follow…

As a bit of a contingency, here are some random other new photos from our last couple of preview days in Star Wars Land:

We hope you’ll join us and check back throughout the day as we share our experiences live from Disneyland and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It should be an exciting, fun, and perhaps frustrating day in Space Morocco. Whatever the case may be, we’re ready for the ride (both figuratively and literally) and hope to learn a lot along the way that we can share with those of you who are planning future trips to Batuu. So stay tuned for more coverage from the edge of the galaxy!

If you’re planning on visiting the new land, you’ll also want to read our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide. This covers a range of topics from basics about the land and its location, to strategically choosing a hotel for your stay, recommended strategy for the land, and how early to arrive to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to beat the crowds. It’s a good primer for this huge addition.

If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!

Your Thoughts

Are you visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland during the timed-entry reservation period, or are you waiting until the ‘boarding pass’ system begins? Planning on following along throughout the day to watch our experience in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Anything specific you want to see or know about Disneyland or Star Wars Land that we can weave into our coverage today? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

28 Responses to “Live Trip Report: Star Wars Land Opening Day”
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