Thursday, August 29, 2019

Galaxy's Edge: Grand Opening in Orlando and Quick Tips

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I bounced at of bed the moment the alarm went off at 1:45 this morning.  Why? It's Star Wars Day!  Well, it's the official grand opening of Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which basically means: Star Wars Day!

We managed to hit our goal leaving time perfectly, something that so rarely seems to happen.  I was glad that we had packed our cooler and bags the night before.  (You can find some of my theme park must haves here.)


We got to the Hollywood Studios entrance . . . and the cast members forced everyone to make a u-turn to exit back onto the highway.  That was unexpected and a little annoying.  We drove down a ways, made another u-turn and headed back to the entrance.  This time they let us all just wait in line until the parking toll booths opened around 3:30.  

The park wasn't scheduled to open until 6 AM, but they allowed the massive crowd to enter the main gates around 4 and then gradually funneled everyone back to Galaxy's edge.  The atmosphere was upbeat and cheerful despite the intense Florida humidity. There were frequent cheers and lots of lightsabers lighting the predawn darkness.  


All we really wanted to do today was Smugglers Run, so we immediately just hopped in line. The line for the ride began on the right as soon as you entered Galaxy's Edge and wove all around the land.  It was not a short line!  According to the app, the wait time hit 300 minutes! We were all off the ride shortly after 9 AM (and we had rider swap, so it took a little longer for us).  The experience of the line itself was fairly pleasant.  It was nice that the sun wasn't up yet.  There were many fans spaced throughout the queue.  There were also several water cooler stations.  In the heat of the day I do think it would be a bit more uncomfortable, despite the many umbrellas.


A note about the rider swap: the cast members in blue vests standing to the side of the entrance on the ramp will set up the swap.  You will need the band of any repeat riders and your own band, of course, and they will be scanned and you will be given a return time.  Unfortunately, a kind, but misguided, cast member was at the ride's entrance giving incorrect information about rider swap.  (It actually wasn't the first time today that we encountered cast members giving wrong info, so be aware.  It's new to them too!)  We were able to sort everything out without issue, but if we had followed her directions I don't think I would have been able to ride.  (And this would have been after waiting in line for several hours.)


My Super Brief Ride Review: I very much enjoyed Smugglers Run.  It's a good ride.  However, I do have to say, it didn't blow me away.  It is Star Tours 2.0.  It did not feel like a brand new experience.  All that said, I am looking forward to riding again.


We didn't really spend too much time exploring the rest of Galaxy's Edge today.  The lines to enter any of the other building were over an hour.  We were happy to ride Smugglers Run and get a basic overview of the area.  It was a great day, and it's exciting that there is still more for us to discover!


A couple of quick tips for your visit to Galaxy's Edge:

  1. Make sure you have the Disney Experience App downloaded if you have a smart phone.  Once Galaxy's Edge hit capacity today (at 6AM!) they used a virtual queue via the app.  When signing up make sure you include everyone in your party: including infants & toddlers that don't have bands/tickets! Just like they need to be included on restaurant reservations they need to be included on the queue.  (I believe it has to do with fire code: it's all about the actual number of people in the area.)
  2. If you have little ones that are too short to ride, Rider Swap is available!  Look for the cast members in blue vests off to the side of the entrance.  They will scan your bands/tickets and give you a return time.  You will go through the Fast Pass entrance when it's your turn.
  3. If a cast member tells you something that doesn't seem quite right it's best to check with a different cast member.  They are everywhere!  We were given incorrect information regarding rider swap and we witnessed the aftermath of incorrect information regarding those with mobility scooters.  
  4. Currently you can only enter Galaxy's Edge near Muppets and exit into Toy Story Land. There is no re-entry from Toy Story Land.  They were quite strict about this.

Were you at Galaxy's Edge with me on opening day?  How was your day?  What did you think of the land?  What did you think of the ride?


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