Opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29th
Opening hours, access, and Fastpass procedures for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are likely to change over the coming months. Check back regularly, as we will update all of our information as it becomes available.
On August 29th the eagerly awaited 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In addition to two main rides, the land will have several shops and eateries. However, Galaxy’s Edge will open with only the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run in operation. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is scheduled to open December 5, 2019. Here is what we know so far.
Disney Hollywood Studios will be open to all as of 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. from August 29th through August 31st. As of September 1st through November 2nd, The Studios will have Extra, Extra Magic Hours for guests staying onsite. This means that guests staying on property will be able to access the park not for one hour prior to opening, but as early as of 6 a.m.!
HOW TO ENTER STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is one of the most detailed and immersive lands ever created. And even though the land opens with only the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run operating, the new land will be very popular for a long time.
Opening procedures and access to the land might change according to popularity, but for now, we believe Disney will walk the first wave of guests to enter the park each morning straight into Galaxy’s Edge. However, once the area approaches its maximum capacity, which is determined by how many riders the attractions inside can process, direct entry to the land is shut off. At this point, guests must use their smartphones and go to the Walt Disney World app (or kiosks located around the park) to secure a spot in a free, virtual queue. While Disney may choose to let guests ride the Millennium Falcon only once, we believe that there won’t be a limit on how long you can stay inside Galaxy’s Edge.
Handing out wristbands could be part of the management plan. How Disney handles the crowds will affect wait times at all rides. If it’s a free-for-all and people have to wait in line to get into Galaxy’s Edge, wait times could go down at other attractions.
Fastpass+ service will NOT initially be offered for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (opening August 29, 2019) or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which will open December 5, 2019.
Even if Disney eventually adds FastPass+ to the rides, there will be so much competition for them that the odds will be like winning the Powerball. At times, the Studios could reach capacity and simply stop admitting guests. As we go to press, no opening date for the second headliner ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, has been announced. With the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the Studios will become the second busiest park in Walt Disney World. To enjoy all there is to see and do, consider setting aside more than 1 day for the Studios.
If money is not an issue, staying at the BoardWalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, or Dolphin will put you in walking distance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Staying at one of these is likely a better option than taking a boat to the park. Resorts along the Skyliner route may or may not have an advantage in reaching Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, as the gondolas’ efficiency remains to be seen.
Additionally, staying at a Disney property will put you at an advantage, as you will have access to the land for Extra—and get this—Extra, Extra Magic Hours. The latter will open the park as early as 6 a.m. Keep in mind that you won’t be the only one taking advantage of these hours, and you may have to leave the comfort of your bed as early as 4 a.m.
Opening an incomplete land is an unusual step and raises questions about what the reaction will be to a land that Star Wars fans have been eagerly awaiting. If fans nevertheless flock to the new land, how will Disney handle the crowds? We expect some kind of free reservation system that will not require guests to stay on property.
Down the road, Disney will probably offer Early Morning Magic and After Hours opportunities to get into Galaxy’s Edge before the park opens or after it closes. This special access will, of course, come with a price, but it might be the only way to experience Galaxy’s Edge without huge crowds.
ABOUT THE NEW LAND
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an outpost in the village of Black Spire, on the planet of Batuu. Formerly a busy trading port and waypoint before the invention of light speed–capable transportation, it’s now a dusty backwater filled with bounty hunters, smugglers, and those who make a living by not being recognized. As if that wasn’t enough, members of the Resistance and First Order live in and around Black Spire in an uneasy coexistence.
Galaxy’s Edge has two access points, one via Grand Avenue and one via Toy Story Land. Entering through Grand Avenue puts you in the middle of the Resistance’s encampment, while the entrance closest to Toy Story Land is controlled by the First Order. However, for crowd-control reasons, we expect that the Toy Story Land entrance will be used as an exit only for the foreseeable future.
In the Resistance section of the park, guests complete a critical mission on the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. How you do on the mission has high stakes: perform with skill, and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of bounty hunter Harkos, and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina.
On the First Order side of the land, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will make guests feel like they’re inside a hangar bay in the middle of a fight between the First Order and the Resistance. The ride will have a large amount of animatronics and scenes with almost life-size AT-ATs.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
Riding in the cockpit of the fabled Millennium Falcon fulfills the dreams of many Star Wars fans. Hondo Ohnaka, a well-known businessman (also known as a smuggler), has cut a deal with Chewbacca to use the Falcon, and he’s recruiting a flight crew to help him deliver hard-to-find items to his clientele. This is where you come in. As you wait in the ride’s queue, you are handed boarding cards, which break riders into groups of six: two pilots, two engineers, and two gunners. Before getting into the cockpit, riders are led into the lounge of the Millennium Falcon, complete with the famous Dejarik (holochess) table. Once the boarding call comes, riders are led into the exceptionally detailed cockpit of the ship. With the jobs assigned, it’s time to jump into hyperspace.
The motion simulator ride is similar to Star Tours, except that you and the rest of the crew are given partial control of the Millennium Falcon, and what happens next depends on the actions of the six people controlling the ship. Furthermore, your actions in the cockpit have consequences and will follow you throughout your stay at Galaxy’s Edge. Be prepared to do your best— because who wants to be known throughout the galaxy as the one who wrecked the Millennium Falcon?
There are more than 100 buttons, switches, and levers in the cockpit, and each one does something when activated; watch for indicator rings to illuminate around certain controls, clueing you in to the correct moment to punch them. Your randomly selected mission (there are reportedly three) may see you running guns to the Resistance or escaping the maw of an interstellar Leviathan. Two stationary simulators allow disabled guests to experience the attraction without interrupting operations for other guests. The ride has a 38″ height requirement.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (opens December 5, 2019)
A mobile Resistance gun turret tucked into a scrubland forest marks the entrance of the most epic indoor dark ride in Disney theme park history. Rise of the Resistance is an innovative attempt to integrate at least four different ride experiences—including trackless vehicles, a motion simulator, walk-through environments, and even an elevator drop—into Disney’s longest attraction ever.
The adventure begins as you explore the Resistance military outpost, which has been laser-carved out of ancient stone. An animatronic BB-8 rolls in, accompanied by a hologram of Rey (Daisy Ridley), who recruits you to strike a blow against the First Order. Fifty guests at a time exit the briefing room to board a standing-room-only shuttlecraft piloted by Nien Nunb from Return of the Jedi. You can feel the rumble as the ship breaks orbit and you see Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) accompanying you in his X-Wing, until a Star Destroyer snags you in its tractor beam and sucks you into its belly.
When the doors to your shuttlecraft reopen, you’ve been convincingly transported into an enormous hangar, complete with 50 Stormtroopers, TIE Fighters, and a 100-foot-wide bay window looking into outer space. Cast members clad as First Order officers brusquely herd captive guests into holding rooms to await their interrogation by helmet-headed baddie Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
Before long, you make a break for it in an eight-passenger (two [four-seat] rows) troop transport with an animatronic astromech droid as your driver; the car is capable of traveling without a fixed track. The ride blends dozens of robotic characters and enormous sets with video projections to create some of the most overwhelming environments ever seen in an indoor ride. One sequence sends you in between the legs of two towering AT-ATs while dodging laser fire from legions of Stormtroopers, while another puts you face-to-face with the Solo-slaying Ren. In the epic finale (spoiler alert), you’ll survive an escape pod’s dramatic crash back to Batuu, a heart-stopping multistory plunge enhanced by digital projections. Once open, Rise of the Resistance will become the second-most popular ride in the park, right behind Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. If it’s operating when you visit, make it your first destination of the day or your very last. And while the drop at the end isn’t quite as intense as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, we recommend that you don’t underestimate its ability to loosen your lunch. Guests must be 40″ tall to ride.
GALACTIC SHOPPING EXPERIENCES AWAIT
A merchant’s alley is home to shops and merchant stalls. One stall is overseen by a Toydarian, a creature fans first encountered on Tatooine in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; it’s the home of playthings and dolls. Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities sells ancient artifacts, also known as memorabilia from the movies and prebuilt legacy lightsabers.
Creature Stall has unique companions, such as cackling Kowakian monkey–lizards, for you to take home. The biggest hits, however, are The Droid Depot, where guests can build their own droid, and Savi’s Workshop, where guests design their own one-of-a-kind lightsaber.
Costumes and Galaxy’s Edge–related clothes are available at Black Spire Outfitters. Hats, pins, badges, and souvenirs are sold at Resistance Supply (for those who are with the Force) and at First Order Cargo (for those who have crossed to the Dark Side).
The Droid Depot and Savi’s Workshop fill up quickly, and if your heart is set on building a droid or lightsaber, stop there first, as long lines form, especially for Savi’s Workshop, which can only accommodate 14 builders per session (20 minutes per session). The cost of a droid unit is $99.99 plus tax; the price includes a carrying box and instructions. Accessories for your unit are available for an additional charge. Building your own lightsaber (which includes a carrying box) will cost you $199.99 plus tax. Additional customization items can be purchased at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.
With limited capacity Disney will most probably implement a reservation system for Savi’s Workshop. Said reservation is likely to include guaranteed entry into Galaxy’s Edge. But be warned that a credit card will be required to make a reservation and you will be charged a $200 cancellation fee if you are a no-show.
MEETING STAR WARS CHARACTERS
Within the land, guests encounter familiar characters from the movies, including Chewbacca, members of the First Order, and—among many others—Captain Rex, the RX-series droid pilot of Star Tours fame, who takes on a new role in the land as a DJ at Oga’s Cantina.
On Batuu, cast members interact with visitors—staying in character at all times. Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren roam the land, on the lookout for guests suspected to be willing to help the Resistance. Rey and Chewbacca also engage with visitors. It’s a treat to watch Chewie trying to fix ships of the Resistance’s fleet.
DINING ON BATUU
The main eatery inside the land is Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, a quick-service restaurant. According to Disney lore, it’s the home of Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs, the former chef at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana from The Force Awakens. The restaurant, housed in a working hangar bay, serves beef pot roast, roasted chicken or fish, and vegetarian dishes. At Oga’s Cantina, the galaxy’s most infamous watering hole, join smugglers, rogue traders, and bounty hunters for Bespin Fizz, Bloody Rancor, Dagobah Slug Slinger, Jedi Mind Trick, and T-16 Skyhopper, just to name a few.
Oga’s Cantina is a super-headliner, so long lines form as soon as visitors arrive, and Disney will probably implement a virtual queue here too. In that case you will be able to make a reservation for a visit to the popular watering whole, but a no-show fee of $10 per person will be charged to your credit card if you decide not to go or use the reservation solely to obtain a guaranteed entry into Galaxy’s Edge.
Ronto Roasters serves meats roasted over an old pod racer’s engine (wraps filled with spiced grilled sausage and roasted pork). At The Milk Stand try the famous blue or green milk. A popcorn stand dubbed Kat Saka’s Kettle sells a sweet-and-salty popcorn snack with a hint of spice.
Once more, opening hours, access, and Fastpass procedures for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are likely to change over the coming months. Check back regularly, as we will update all of our information as it becomes available.
Before you go through the works of gearing up in your favorite Star Wars costumes, be advised that costumes may not be worn by guests 14 years of age or older. Disney’s current Costume Policy is in effect at all times. Disney bounding, however, is permitted. The boundary can be blurry, but basically full-body robes and armor are banned, while shorter tunics and jackets are allowed.
The Unofficial Guides will be reporting live on opening day from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.
About the pictures: Until the opening of the land, the pictures in this post are from Batuu’s identical moon at Disneyland Park.