Have you heard about a little thing called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World?
The new “Star Wars land” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened on August 29th, 2019 with the headliner attractions opening December 5th, 2019.
For better or worse, Galaxy’s Edge will change your vacation experience at Walt Disney World. Here’s expect on a post-Star Wars land Disney World vacation.
1) NO massive crowds – for now
The staggered opening has meant lower than expected crowds so far!
Because the main attractions Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn’t opening until December 5th, it seems many people are holding off. But all bets are off once everything is open.
I expect Rise of the Resistance to have HUGE pull and become the attraction with the longest wait time.
2) You’ll want to wake up early
I predicted in this podcast episode about Galaxy’s Edge that Disney would open Hollywood Studios early to accommodate the expected crowds. Well, they delivered.
Daily from September 1st – November 2nd, 2019 Hollywood Studios will have “Extra Extra Magic Hours” from 6 am – 9 am. This means only guests staying at Disney World resort hotels will be allowed to enter the park early.
For opening weekend of Galaxy’s Edge (August 29 – 31), Hollywood Studios will open to all guests at 6 am.
Disney is also offering Extra Extra Magic Hours from August 29th through November 2nd at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Both parks will be open to only Disney resort guests from 7 am to 8 am daily during this time period.
The longest wait times for the Millennium Falcon attraction have been first thing in the morning. The best time time to ride seems to be later in the morning, before the park opens to everyone.
3) Availability (and prices) at certain resorts will be affected
Disney has been hard at work on it’s new transportation system, the Disney Skyliner. This gondola system will connect Hollywood Studios and Epcot with Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the new Riviera DVC resort.
I predict that reservations at these four resorts will become increasingly difficult to book and likely more expensive.
The resorts on the Skyliner will offer easier access to Hollywood Studios than resorts that require taking a bus. The traffic in and around Hollywood Studios will be horrendous, especially at first.
The Skyliner will reportedly be able to transport up to 5,000 guest per hour in one direction which exceeds bus capacity by an ridiculous amount.
Because of the ease of getting to Hollywood Studios from the Skyliner resorts, (much like the monorail resorts for Magic Kingdom), Disney will be able to charge a premium price to stay in them.
I also think it will be particularly difficult to get reservations at the Epcot area resorts that are within walking distance to Hollywood Studios. These resorts include:
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort (click here to read my full review)
- Walt Disney World Swan Resort
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort & Villas (click here to read my review)
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
My preferred way to stay at the Boardwalk and Beach Club is to rent DVC points to save around 50% compared to Disney prices.
If you are interested in renting points for a stay at either of these resorts, I suggest you book as soon as possible (ideally before 7 months in advance). Availability will be VERY limited since there is an increased demand for these properties that are within walking distance to Hollywood Studios.
If you want help finding availability at a resort that offers easy access to Hollywood Studios, I strongly suggest getting a free quote here from Destinations in Florida, my recommended travel agency. One of their expert Disney travel agents can help you plan an incredible vacation, all at no additional cost to you!
4) The “secret” back entrance to Epcot will be secret no more
Another side effect of the Skyliner opening will be that the “back” entrance to Epcot will be secret no more. For years, only guests staying at the Epcot area resorts (mentioned in #4 above) would use this entrance, meanign there was never a long wait to get into the park.
The second entrance to Epcot (which is located between the UK and France pavilions in World Showcase) will soon be the location where people who took the Skyliner to Epcot will enter the park. Disney has redesigned the area to accommodate the crowds.
So if you are used to sneaking in peacefully to Epcot through the back entrance, you’ll want to know what to expect after the Skyliner opens sometime this fall.
5) Hollywood Studios Fastpasses will be hard to get
Disney has announced that there will NOT be Fastpasses available for the one attraction that will be open during “phase one” of Galaxy’s Edge: Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The other attraction (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance) will not be open in August, but is slated to open later in the year.
Since folks will already be in Hollywood Studios for Galaxy’s Edge, they will want to make the most of their park day and experience the rest of that park. This means that Fastpasses in Hollywood Studios will be hard to get, especially for Slinky Dog Dash (which was already pretty hard to get).
In fact, Disney has rearranged the Hollywood Studios FastPass structure for after Galaxy’s Edge opens on August 29th. Starting on that day, you’ll only be able to get one FastPass for the new “Tier 1” attractions:
- Slinky Dog Dog
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Toy Story Mania
- Tower of Terror
- Rockin’ Roller Coaster
Be ready to book your Fastpasses at 7 am EST on the day your 60-day window opens if you plan on visiting Hollywood Studios after August 29th. I also suggest visiting Hollywood Studios later in your trip if you are staying for many days, since Fastpasses will be easier to get.
6) There will be more people visiting Disney World
Star Wars fans will show up for Galaxy’s Edge and they will likely visit other theme parks. This means increased crowds at all of Walt Disney World starting August 29th, 2019.
What’s not clear is just HOW much the other theme parks will be affected. There may just be a slight increase compared to previous years at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom. Or the parks might feel a lot more crowded.
There’s no way to know for sure but if you plan for holiday crowds at the end of September then you at least won’t be disappointed.
You can still have an incredible time visiting the parks with heavy crowds, but you have to have a game plan. Check out this post for tips on enjoying the parks during busy times.
7) The immersive experience in Galaxy’s Edge will be unprecedented
I know the crowds and increased demand for Disney resorts are a bummer. But the immersive experience at Galaxy’s Edge will be truly incredible (even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan). This land will raise the bar for future developments at Disney World and other theme parks.
I am surprised at how excited I am to experience Galaxy’s Edge. I have seen the movies but am by no means a Star Wars fanatic, yet I am really looking forward to seeing a new level of Disney storytelling.
Do you have plans to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this year? Or will you wait for the crowds and excitement to die down before you even try to visit?
Please join the discussion in The Budget Mouse free private Facebook group and get updates from my visit to Galaxy’s Edge right after it opens!