When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland last month, the only way to get in was to book a stay at a Disneyland hotel. Each hotel reservation got you a four-hour window to enter the new 14-acre Star Wars land, with the right to bring a few friends along with you. The goal was to keep crowds manageable during Galaxy’s Edge’s first few weeks, and it seems to have worked out; it’s been tough getting into the cantina and the build-your-own-lightsaber store, but otherwise the crowds at Galaxy’s Edge haven’t been as massive as you’d probably fear from the world’s first immersive Star Wars theme park. It probably helped that Disneyland’s three hotels take a big bite out of the wallet; Galaxy’s Edge adds up to a lot of bucks even without staying at a Disney hotel.
Well, that whole situation has wrapped up as of today: per Disney’s plans, you no longer need a Disneyland hotel reservation to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Any guest to Disneyland will be able to sign up for the new virtual queue system that is being rolled out for Galaxy’s Edge. If you have a mobile phone, download the Disneyland app and use it to join a boarding group; make sure you have your push notifications turned on so you see the message letting you know your time has started. If you don’t have a phone, you can get a paper boarding pass at select FastPass kiosks throughout Disneyland. Once your boarding group is called, you have a two-hour window to enter Galaxy’s Edge; if you miss that, you might not be allowed in. And once you’re in Galaxy’s Edge, you can stay as long as the park is open, but once you leave Galaxy’s Edge you can’t get back in. This boarding pass business is moot when the area isn’t at capacity, so you won’t need one at rope drop in the morning, if you feel like sprinting all the way to the back of the park. It’s also possible it might be open late at night, depending on crowd size.
Getting in to Galaxy’s Edge doesn’t guarantee getting in to its best attractions, though. If you want to grab a drink at Oga’s Cantina (our favorite thing in the whole place) or make a lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop, you will need a separate reservation for each. You can only make them on the same day, and will have to leave a deposit—$10 per person for the cantina, and $199.99 for Savi’s (which will guarantee entry for up to three people per party). That’s the full price of the Savi’s experience, including the lightsaber you’ll build, so basically you’re just paying for that upfront. If you no-show to either, you still get charged in full, for both. Reservations for both attractions open up at 7 a.m. local time every day, and almost definitely will go fast, so stay on top of that if you want to fit either into your schedule. Some slots will probably reopen throughout the day, so if you don’t get a reservation at first, you might want to periodically check during your Disneyland visit. This is all done through the app or through the websites http://disneyland.com/Cantina and http://disneyland.com/SavisWorkshop.
Various theme park and travel journalists have been on the ground at Disneyland today to see how the new system works, and reports have generally been positive about the crowd size and flow. It’d be easy for something this popular to become oppressively crowded, or for a process this complicated to collapse throughout the course of the day, but apparently it’s working fine so far. The real test will come when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando; that park has a significantly smaller number of attractions than Disneyland, so its Galaxy’s Edge could be absolutely swamped with people when it opens. And Disney’s announced there won’t be a reservation period for that land when it opens, so it sounds like the floodgates of humanity will just swing wide when Galaxy’s Edge opens there on August 29.
Stay tuned for more news on Galaxy’s Edge’s operational status on both coasts in the months ahead.
Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He shares stories and photos from his Disney journeys on Instagram at @disney_lowdown. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.