Braving the first day of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with no reservations

by Brittani Tuttle

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open for all Disneyland guests – no reservation required – and my four-year-old daughter and I arrived just after the park opened on June 24 to experience the first day the land would be accessible to anyone with a park ticket or annual pass.

We had a great visit and I was surprised by the ease of entering the land and enjoying the attractions. Travel along with us!

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Photos by Melanie Gable

By Melanie Gable

Parking & Security

Upon entry to the Mickey & Friends parking structure (which had almost no wait when we arrived), the attendant gave us a Galaxy’s Edge information sheet that listed the steps to follow to gain access to the land. I parked and we headed down to the ground floor, where all guests were being directed to the new Pixar Pals parking structure security checkpoint.

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The wait at security was less than a minute, and it was fun to see the shiny new tram loading area decorated with the silhouettes of Disney and Pixar characters. As we rode the tram, I read the Galaxy’s Edge information sheet to make sure my research had been correct (nerd alert!) and that I hadn’t missed any important details.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Try to arrive at the Disneyland park gates about a half hour after the park opens to avoid the morning rush.

Joining a Boarding Group

Though advance reservations were no longer required to enter Galaxy’s Edge, we did need to join a “boarding group” once we entered Disneyland park to be added to the virtual queue and gain access to the land.

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Park guests could be assigned to a boarding group either by using the Disneyland app or by making the request in person at the Fastpass kiosks for The Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, or Matterhorn Bobsleds. Since I already use the Disneyland app and had both my annual pass and my daughter’s linked to my account, this was the most convenient choice for us.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Link your tickets and passes to your Disneyland account in the app before your visit to save yourself an extra step.

I checked into the app several times before entering Disneyland and each time the “Join Boarding Group” button was gray and inaccessible. Once I was through the Disneyland gates, I checked the app again and the boarding group button was then red and allowed us to join. (I was unable to confirm whether this was linked to our location or to our passes being scanned.)

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We were assigned to Group 6 and were given an estimated entry time of “Late Morning.” The app would send us a push notification when it was our turn to enter Galaxy’s Edge, after which we’d have two hours to enter the land, so there would be no need to rush if we happened to be on a ride or in the middle of a meal when we were notified.

Those who had joined a boarding group at a Fastpass kiosk would be able to see which groups were entering the land by checking the digital boards located on Main Street, the Frontierland entrance to Galaxy’s Edge, and the Guest Relations kiosks in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and New Orleans Square.

I was relieved we had a little extra time before our boarding group was called so that my daughter could meet characters on Main Street and we could have breakfast at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe.

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While we ate, I logged into Disneyland.com and made a post-lunch reservation for Oga’s Cantina, which appeared to still have multiple reservations available. (They were snapped up quickly as the day went on.) Though we weren’t in the market for a lightsaber that day, out of curiosity’s sake I also attempted to make a reservation for Savi’s Workshop, but all of the day’s time slots appeared to be taken by that time.

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Less than 40 minutes after we joined our boarding group, we received our push notification that we were free to enter Galaxy’s Edge!

TIP FOR GUESTS: If you or anyone in your party wants to create their own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop, we recommend making reservations right at 7 a.m. at Disneyland.com/SavisWorkshop on the day of your visit. Oga’s reservations should also be made ASAP on the morning of your visit at Disneyland.com/Cantina.

Reservations for both experiences may only be made day-of and walk-ups are not accepted. If reservations are unavailable in the morning, try again in the afternoon, as Disneyland may have released more time slots.

Landing at Black Spire Outpost

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We made our way through the park to our designated entry point, which was located on the walkway between Frontierland and Fantasyland. Cast members at the entrance were making sure each guest was in the correct boarding group before we were allowed to pass to the next checkpoint.

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I had the Disneyland app open on my phone and accessed our entry codes, which I then showed to the cast member, who quickly let us through. After taking some pictures, we moved on to the second and final checkpoint, where we waited less than a minute for the cast member to scan our entry codes. We were now officially in Galaxy’s Edge and on our way to explore Black Spire Outpost!

TIP FOR GUESTS: There’s no time limit on your visit once you’re in Galaxy’s Edge, but make sure you plan to stay for a while, since you’ll have to rejoin the virtual queue system if you leave the land and want to return the same day.

Exploring Galaxy’s Edge

When you first walk into Galaxy’s Edge, it can feel overwhelming. The land is beautifully immersive: the tall “black spires” surrounding you, rich detail everywhere you look, the sounds of creatures, droids, electrical hums and starships flying overhead, and roaming characters you might miss if you happen to be looking in another direction. Even if you study the land map before your visit, actually being on the ground is an altogether different experience.

Galaxy’s Edge encourages exploration. For instance, if you’re looking for Savi’s Workshop, there won’t be a big, bright sign pointing you in the right direction. Instead, the entrance is marked by a blue flag with a Jedi symbol. Oga’s Cantina is relatively easy to spot because of the long line outside the entrance, but otherwise, you might miss the sign above the doorway, as it has a weathered look and blends into the building.

I was able to visit Galaxy’s Edge during the “soft opening” reservation period, so I already knew how to find the places I was looking for this second time around.

But during that first visit, my family and I did feel a bit like we were traveling. We peeked in doorways, looked around corners, and roamed the area to get a sense of what the land had to offer. If you’re on a time limit, though, it is helpful to know where the main attractions are located, and cast members were stationed all over the land to answer questions and guide us in the right direction. But part of the fun of visiting Galaxy’s Edge for the first time is getting to know your surroundings, so I highly recommend allotting time to wander.

Though the land was bustling and crowded, it wasn’t unmanageable and we were still able to have a great experience. Galaxy’s Edge seemed to get more crowded as the day went on, so be aware that the land will be even busier by afternoon.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Cast members are dressed in the latest Batuu looks that eventually become recognizable the more time you spend in the land, but some well-dressed guests will blend in with the surroundings and look almost indistinguishable from the CMs. If you’re having trouble figuring out who to go to for questions, just look for name tags, which cast members are required to wear at all times.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Since Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn’t set to open till later this year, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is the main attraction in Galaxy’s Edge.

Simply catching their first glimpse of the Falcon docked at Black Spire Outpost can be an emotional experience for many guests, some of whom have dreamed of seeing the ship in person since they were kids.

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The first time we visited Galaxy’s Edge, I was really worried about taking my daughter (who was just over the minimum height requirement of 38 inches) on Smuggler’s Run because I thought she would be scared, but she absolutely loved it and kept asking if we were going to go on the ride again during our visit. Even though the standby wait time was long, I took her back on the ride anyway.

There are currently no Fastpasses available for Smuggler’s Run, so the only option is the standby line. Right after park opening, the line swelled to 2+ hours and fluctuated throughout the day, but the average wait time seemed to hover around an hour.

We waited in line for 65 minutes, but the time actually passed quickly. We chatted about Star Wars with the ladies waiting in line behind us and took pictures of the details in the queue, and before we knew it, we were taking our seats in the Engineer positions of the Millennium Falcon and soaring through the galaxy.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is a can’t-miss ride, especially for die-hard Star Wars fans. The long wait is made more enjoyable by the detailed queue line and Play Disney Parks app, which can send you on a “mission” while you’re waiting. Those not riding can still enjoy the photo-ops, as there are exits located at many points throughout the queue.

The ride is a high-tech simulator attraction, and there are six seats in the cockpit. You will be given one of three positions – Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer – and are allowed to switch positions between your party once the cast member has handed out the position cards. Those traveling with small kids who meet the minimum height requirement for the ride should try to place them in the Gunner or Engineer positions, as piloting the Falcon is actually quite challenging and can make for a bumpier ride if it isn’t handled by an older kid or adult.

Dining in Galaxy’s Edge

We were still in Black Spire Outpost around lunchtime, so I decided to try Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, which is a quick-service restaurant and the largest eating establishment in the land.

We waited for about five minutes to reach the front of the line. (Guests can also use the Mobile Order function in the Disneyland app to place their orders.) I had the Felucian Garden Spread, which was a hummus-based vegetarian meal that was a refreshing change from standard theme park fare. My daughter enjoyed the amusingly-named Kid’s Fried Endorian Tip-yip, which consisted of macaroni and cheese, a crispy chicken strip, and seasonal veggies.

The restaurant was busy, but our party of two was able to find a small table inside and enjoy the atmosphere and detailed decor. Those looking for a fine dining experience won’t find it here, but it was a fun place to eat and easy to imagine we were starship crew members on a break in the local canteen.

You won’t find traditional Disneyland snacks in the land – there wasn’t a Mickey-shaped treat anywhere in sight – but the park chefs clearly made great efforts to provide guests with new and interesting tastes for their palates. Even the popcorn from Kat Saka’s Kettle was unusual, with a sweet and spicy taste that was downright addictive. Guests looking for small bites can also try Ronto Roasters for meat-based snacks.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Kids who are picky eaters might have trouble finding food they like or are willing to try in Galaxy’s Edge. Parents may want to schedule meals before or after entering the land or bring extra snacks.

Oga’s Cantina

First-time visitors to Galaxy’s Edge should make sure to book a reservation at Oga’s Cantina. The atmosphere is fun and lively, and a “retired” Star Tours pilot droid named DJ-R3X (featuring the voice acting talents of Paul Reubens) is the house DJ. Though kids are allowed inside and will probably enjoy the sights and sounds, the establishment is best experienced with friends who enjoy a good drink or two.

We checked in with the cast member at the end of the line for the cantina and waited for about 15-20 minutes after our reservation time before we were led inside. Waiting in line was a bit unpleasant because we were standing directly in the sun through most of it (I forgot to put on sunscreen and got a wicked sunburn), but I kept my daughter shaded and we played with her Star Wars toys together while we waited.

Oga’s is mostly standing room only, but we were lucky enough to be given a table, which we shared with three other couples – thankfully all nice people who seemed to be having a great time in Galaxy’s Edge.

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Oga’s has a 2-drink maximum and a 45-minute time limit, but I found that was plenty of time to enjoy our drinks and soak up the atmosphere. Though it was a bit odd to go to the cantina with only my daughter as my companion, I did want to experience Oga’s on the first regular operating day, and my daughter had fun creating epic battles on the table with her Star Wars toys.

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On my first visit to Oga’s, which was with a group, I ordered the Bespin Fizz, a tasty rum-based drink with plumes of dry ice rising from the top of the glass. During this particular visit, I skipped the alcohol and ordered the Hyperdrive, a refreshing beverage made with berry Powerade, white cranberry juice, black cherry purée, and Sprite. My daughter liked the Blue Bantha – Blue Milk served chilled with a Bantha-inspired vanilla-butter sugar cookie.

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Oga’s doesn’t serve much in the way of food, but guests can order Batuu Bites, a snack that serves up fun and unexpected tastes, both sweet and salty. The Batuu Bites were actually one of my family’s favorite little details of Galaxy’s Edge because the medley of flavors was pleasantly surprising for a bar snack that we had expected to be akin to Chex Mix.

DJ-R3X is the highlight of the Oga’s experience, and the musical choices were truly otherworldly, but firmly planted in the world of Star Wars. The crowd was especially jazzed when a version of the familiar “Cantina Band” song was played, and the musical experience was enhanced by dialogue from DJ-R3X and lighting effects – even on the tables – that blinked and flickered in time to the music.

After a hot afternoon in Galaxy’s Edge, Oga’s Cantina is a great place to cool off and relax… if only for 45 minutes.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Reservations are required to enter the cantina and can only be made on the day of your visit – starting at 7 a.m – on Disneyland.com/Cantina. A valid credit card is needed to make reservations. Cancellations or no-shows will be charged a $10 fee for each guest on the reservation.

Though plenty of non-alcoholic drinks are available, Oga’s Cantina is definitely a bar atmosphere and those who can’t or don’t like to be around alcohol should avoid the establishment.

Shopping at Black Spire Outpost

The most popular shopping experiences at Galaxy’s Edge are clearly Savi’s Workshop and Droid Depot. As previously mentioned, Savi’s requires reservations – and $199.99 per lightsaber, plus tax, prepaid – for the experience, so we have yet to visit the workshop.

However, there were still plenty of other ways for us to spend our “credits,” as currency is called in Galaxy’s Edge, that didn’t require pre-planning. Much of the merchandise is exclusive to the land and I wanted to buy just about everything.

Droid Depot sells a variety of droid-themed merchandise, including jewelry, interactive droid headbands, toys, apparel, and much more. This is also the location where guests can build their own remote-controlled droids, which retail for $99.99 plus tax.

During our visit, we asked a nearby cast member about the wait time for the build experience, and she estimated it to be around a half-hour. (There are no official wait times posted, but CMs are often able to estimate based on the length of the line.) Guests can also get a picture with R2-D2 in the gift shop next to the droid-building room, and though he was “sleeping” during our visit, my daughter still enjoyed saying hello to him.

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Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities occasionally has a short line outside the doors, and for good reason. Though this is essentially a gift shop that sells Rebellion, Resistance, Empire, and First Order mementos, as well as the coveted Jedi holocrons and kyber crystals, it is also an experience, due to the truly amazing “artifacts” that line the walls and the presence of an animatronic Dok-Ondar, who acts as overseer of the shop.

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I loved looking up above the merchandise shelves to spot fearsome creatures from the Star Wars films that have been given the taxidermy treatment, as well as salvaged weapons, battle helmets, statues, and more. The shop also has high-end products for sale, including elaborate costumes, fine jewelry, and rare merchandise. Remember Rose Tico’s ring in “The Last Jedi” that revealed the Resistance insignia at the flip of a switch? Replicas of the ring are sold here for $125.

The market area of the land features the most shops, with Jewels of Bith, Black Spire Outfitters, Toydarian Toymaker, and the Creature Stall all lining one winding path. Jewels of Bith offers more standard souvenirs (but still beautifully designed), like t-shirts, postcards, pins, and lanyards. Black Spire Outfitters is where aspiring Jedis can pick up robes, or geek style gurus can purchase a vest that looks just Rey’s.

Guests with kids, or kids-at-heart, should be sure to stop at Toydarian Toymaker and the Creature Stall. The toy shop offers unique playthings that are only available in the land, including character rag dolls of Rey, Finn, Princess Leia, Yoda, and more, as well as games, toy instruments, wooden figurines, and metal vehicles made and packaged in the signature neutral color palette of the land.

The Creature Stall offers a variety of otherworldly animals to “adopt,” and guests can take home miniature versions of Tauntauns, Banthas, Loth-cats, and the highly-coveted Kowakian monkey-lizards. We loved spotting the decorative toys hanging from the ceiling in Toydarian Toymaker and the alien creature aquariums interspersed among the plushes in the Creature Stall.

The First Order and Resistance also have merchandise stations that are, appropriately, on opposite ends of the land. My family and I are Rebellion/Resistance all the way, so we actually haven’t set foot in First Order Cargo, but we loved the Resistance Supply stands, which featured toys, apparel, pins, patches, and more.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Set aside some room in your budget – and suitcase – for souvenirs, because the exclusive merchandise will be irresistible for Star Wars fans!

Character Meet-and-Greets

Want to meet Rey or Chewbacca? How about Kylo Ren or a Stormtrooper? Better move quickly, because character interactions in Galaxy’s Edge are story-based, and they are constantly on the move.


Rey and Chewie would occasionally stop for pictures, especially with enthusiastic kids, but they are clearly encouraged to keep moving and to look like they have business to attend to, which actually adds to the authentic feel of the land.

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During our visit, Chewbacca stopped to perform maintenance on a docked X-wing starfighter, much to the delight of the crowd, and Rey went on a recon mission with new Resistance character Vi Moradi and some excited kids, who all hid behind some trash cans to spy on nearby Stormtroopers.

Speaking of Stormtroopers, guests will get plenty of interactions with them throughout most of the land, as the First Order is keeping constant tabs on the guests and residents of Galaxy’s Edge. (Though they do avoid the Resistance area.) We witnessed Stormtroopers frequently stopping both adults and kids to demand their identification or interrogate them about their activities in the area, and most of the guests seemed to find this oddly hilarious, with peals of laughter often rising from the crowds gathered around the troopers.

Kylo Ren’s presence was far more intimidating, and guests with kids might want to avoid him unless they know their child is a fan. My daughter was nervous around the Stormtroopers and much preferred interacting with Rey and Vi Moradi.

TIP FOR GUESTS: Those looking for a more traditional meet-and-greet experience should head over to Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland, which offers photo-ops with the characters and Disney PhotoPass photographers.

Overall Experience

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge might not become your favorite area of the park, but it is absolutely worth the effort to get in and should be a priority during any Disneyland vacation, especially for Star Wars fans.

We spent about 6 hours in the land during our visit and felt like we were able to explore most of it, but those who want to experience absolutely everything should allow for more time. We still haven’t seen Black Spire Outpost at night, and we’re looking forward to checking it out in the future.

Disneyland’s virtual queue system ensured a smooth entry process and appeared to keep the crowds manageable. We’re looking forward to seeing if they make any changes or updates to this process in the weeks and months ahead.

As we exited Galaxy’s Edge, we walked right under the Disneyland train tracks and the train was passing overhead, bell ringing merrily, which was a lovely way to end our visit. Those worried about Disneyland losing its charm with the presence of Galaxy’s Edge will hopefully be reassured by moments like these.

Thanks for following along and, as the locals say, “Til the Spire”!

Exploring Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland

For more tips on how to plan and experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to the fullest, check out our FAQ on the new land here.


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