Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland
When I was a tween the original Star Wars debuted and we stood in line in the hot sun for two hours to see it opening weekend, then stayed for three showings with my father and brother. It was so magical. I remember my younger brother playing with the action figures under the Christmas tree. We were all drawn into the story. As a college student, I competed nationally one summer for a marketing/public relations internship with Lucasfilm and got to see the amazing ranch in my hometown of Marin, California. It was thrilling. I was runner-up and ended up working for the Clorox Company (another national competition which I won). It was so fun doing photo shoots of salads for Hidden Valley Ranch and writing and learning a lot about detergent. I have strange pockets of knowledge now…
Over the years, my husband and I have so enjoyed introducing our kids as they’ve grown to the Star Wars legacy and more recent films. And as a middle grade fantasy writer, I hang out with a lot of fun people who write fantasy and love it as well.
It was so thrilling to participate in the early days of the opening for my son’s birthday. And while in the park, I found some wonderful vignettes you won’t want to miss if you’re planning a visit soon. And jewelry, too! Come walk with us, feel the tingle of goosebumps rise on your arms as you’re immersed in story come to life. The whole land takes up the story where the rebels have established an outpost and are trying to rebuild the resistance movement.
There are many blogs about early days of the opening, but I’d just like to highlight a few things not to miss and warn you if you’ve loved and been a part of the Star Wars movies, it may be a bit overwhelming and emotional when you step inside. The Disney Imagineers did a wonderful job designing every small detail and nuance of the park!
My Don’t Miss List
I was amazed at the details in every corner – areas were already pre-rusted and felt very authentic in the details of every door that slid open, the textures of the walls and materials they built it with, the lighting and sound effects. I really felt immersed in the story itself.
It’s completely worthwhile to do the Millennium Falcon ride and walking inside was a terrific experience. When you’re in line, look out of all the windows. I was amazed at how little you can see of the park and it kept you immersed in the whole experience.
Once you’re indoors, don’t miss the gaming table which is to the side just before you enter the pod where you’ll experience the ride. I could have missed seeing this gem since everyone was truly overwhelmed and stumbling around in the semi-darkened room. They move you through the experience quickly so keep an eye out for this photo op.
The lines will be especially long, but once again, my son and my favorite part of the visit was hanging out in the Cantina listening to a robot play music and watching the foaming drinks passing by. We headed here first to get a placard to return almost two hours later for our spot in line. Don’t miss this opportunity to feel immersed in the movies, but plan on navigating the long line process to do so.
There’s a clever outpost called Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities filled with stuffed huge fierce animals on the walls, intriguing lighting, a great scene within the Star Wars venue, and it would be easy to miss the outstanding jewelry in the corner, pictured here.Watch the YouTube video (below) to see a close-up of Princess Leia’s wonderful silver necklace and more.
We waited in line to purchase a necklace and they were out of stock and said they hadn’t really figured out the jewelry yet – so before getting in line, ask an employee to make sure your item is now in stock.
There’s also a corner in the shopping district with a jewelry touch. I can almost imagine an alien making the jewelry here. When I worked in the jewelry industry with craftsmen, their work stations didn’t look all that different than these, amazingly accurate!
The best photo ops
We found that the photo ops were well marked and managed. Don’t miss the corners, though, where the crowds may thin a bit and you can pick out magnificent details. Take a group photo using the professional’s cameras, their quality and use of lighting was really the best we got on our trip.
There are vignettes in every shop – sometimes you have to look up or in a corner and everywhere seems to tell a little story.
Your time will be spent partly in line if you participate in building the light-saber, building a robot, or going to the Cantina and riding the ride.
Tip: Get in line very early, they ran out of tickets for us to do the light saber build, and run out every day apparently. The robot building line which was very long but had such a great setting with spare parts and things flying around the ceiling that we enjoyed every part of it. (You can see this in the video below). It has been fun to play with our robot at home now too.
We enjoyed the chicken and all the details of ordering in the restaurant. Every item could be translated into the other language and even the payment areas were so clever. There’s photos in the video below as well.
Tip: While we enjoyed the chicken and the chocolate dessert, the fruit one was very bitter. I’d recommend coming with a full stomach and deciding in the moment if you want to spend your time, if it’s limited or very crowded, dealing with the food, or going on rides and having a memorable experience.
Look up when you’re standing in line – I found these amazing decorations (I wished were for sale) when I gazed upward in the toy store lines. The craftsmanship of the carvings is incredible too.
Be ready for the characters
I was prepared to see the storm troopers, and they are so fun. There are some people in wonderful costumes that work for the park (wearing badges) but I also found the crowd was doing a lot of cosplay so at times I’d be admiring their costume and not be quite sure if they worked in the park!
Right as we were leaving, we found Chewbacca and on a very hot day, he was so gracious walking us to the doorway and posing with us. He even reached down to a little girl carrying a Chewbacca toy and hugged her, then went over to employees and kept having fun with them making everyone laugh.
I hope you get to experience this wonderful world and if you’d like to walk in with us, see the jewelry up close, see a bit of the ride and land, check out our YouTube reviews here:
What was your favorite part? If you have any questions, list them below and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Karen Sweet says
Wow, what incredible fun! Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. I,too, stood in line the weekend Star Wars opened. And, I plan to be in line in this December when it opens.
Elizabeth Van Tassel says
Thanks Karen! We’ve been able to visit a couple of times now and it’s smooth – except you have to make reservations on a separate app to do any of the experiences – and the app opens at 7 a.m. on the day you visit (you don’t have to be in the park) which we wish we’d known in advance. Have a great visit!
Stephanie@Fairday's Blog says
How fun! I grew up with Star Wars and have seen all the movies. This looks like a great experience that really makes you feel like you are “part of it”. Thanks for the tips. Going with a full stomach makes sense- and something can always be sampled- but then there is no pressure to have to eat. Sorry your necklace was out of stock. Hopefully that is all worked out now.
Thanks for sharing
Elizabeth Van Tassel says
Thanks Stephanie! Yes we returned another time and were able to get the necklace easily, it was just that first burst of activity likely. Hope you have fun!