It’s here! The official opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. After years of anticipation and speculation, Batuu has opened its doors to the public and Hando is open for business on both coasts.
We have researched, reported and yes guessed what it will be like on opening morning at Walt Disney World and despite Bob Chapek’s words to CNBC, “One of the wins that we had with the opening of the original Galaxy’s Edge is that we didn’t have the waits. The deep secret is that we don’t intend to have lines.” There are lines. There were big waits and yes, people started lining up prior to 2 a.m.
Let’s dive into the opening hours of the most highly anticipated land (perhaps) in the history of theme parks.
First off, we want to be clear. Despite Chapek’s words, we do not believe he meant that there would be no lines at all. With thousands of people clammoring to join the opening day festivities, to assume there would zero lines or even minimal lines is naive on opening day or opening weekend, particularly at Walt Disney World and Chapek, of course knows that.
Disney took a number of precautions to ensure that the lines wouldn’t be “ten hours long” on opening day. That included opening the land to Annual Passholders for an exclusive preview, two weeks prior to the official opening. We also believe that opening the land on the west coast prior was a strategic move on the part of Disney World in order to use that as a method of crowd control.
With two lands, near mirror images of each other, opening Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, months prior, it did serve to deter some people as they could book an experience and reservation for the west coast version and would more likely to avoid opening day on the east coast.
While Disney did not implement a reservation system for Walt Disney World, we did an entire in depth analysis of how they could have done it and you can read all about that HERE!
Enough of the analysis, let’s get into the nitty gritty of opening day.
Crowds started lining up outside of Hollywood Studios prior to 2 a.m.
As mentioned in our survival guide, many quick service locations at Disney resorts opened in the early morning hours so that guests could get some sustanance prior to heading to Batuu.
At 2:30 a.m., bus lines were quite substantial for those heading to Hollywood Studios.
Guests were allowed into Galaxy’s Edge right around 4:30 a.m. and one hour later, the park had reached capacity and Disney began implementing the virtual queue system. They officially announced that they would use the virtual queue system the day prior to the opening. Guests must be inside Hollywood Studios, as predicted, in order to sign up for the queue.
Disney had castmembers outside the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge with those in gray shirts scanning guests passes for boarding groups because the virtual queue had been implemented to gain entrance to the land and those castmembers in plaid vests were scanning for reservations for Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop.
Virtual Queue kiosks can be found throughout the park and you can monitor your progress in the queue and sign up using My Disney Experience.
The reservation system is only for certain attractions in the land; Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop. We did a post all about reservations and how that works and making those reservations for yourself.
Two hours after the land opened to guests, the queue for Smuggler’s Run had exceeded the boundaries of Batuu and began snaking outside Galaxy’s Edge similarly to what happened on opening day of Toy Story Land for Slinky Dog Dash.
At 8:00 a.m., the line for Smuggler’s Run was at five hours. The single rider queue is open sporadically. Guests have reported lurking around the queue line for single rider and when the castmembers open it, it is almost a walk-on according to accounts from guests currently inside.
At 9:45 a.m., there was absolutely no queue outside Hollywood Studios for the security screening.
At 10 a.m., the queue for Smuggler’s Run had indeed calmed down and was down to 3.25 hours which is a typical wait time for Flight of Passage over in Animal Kingdom. Although still a long line, certainly nothing unexpected for opening day.
Other queue lines inside Galaxy’s Edge were quite substantial as well. The line for the milk stand that sells both the blue and green milk’s was over an hour at the time of publication and the line for Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities snaked well into the land.
In terms of mechandise, a lot of merchandise was available outside the boundaries of Galaxy’s Edge. Keystone Clothiers on Hollywood Blvd reopened this morning chock full of Galaxy’s Edge gear. Other locations throuought the park also housed merchandise for opening day.
If you have signed up for a reservtion, enjoy other attractions in the park because once your boarding group is called, you have two hours to enter the land so there is no need to hope out of line to scramble over to Batuu.
Be sure to check out the gaggle of treats available for guests that are Star Wars themed. We have posted a full list of treats that are available including those that can be found in Hollywood Studios HERE!
We will continue to cover opening day and opening weekend at Galaxy’s Edge and will also have a post coming regarding how the opening of Galaxy’s Edge affected other Walt Disney Parks on opening day.
Stay tuned right here to For Love of the Mouse as information becomes available.
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.