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Visit Date: 6/03/19
Steps: 22,960
Parks Miles: 10.8
Time in Parks: 11

 

Trip Log:

Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just after 7am and found the Ball Road overpass open and no cars waiting at several of the parking tollbooths within the Mickey and Friends Parking structure. I was quickly directed into a spot on the roof against the center opening on the escalator side of the structure. No waits at security nor to board a tram. The group I was with stopped for a bite to eat at Starbucks since it was only 7:30am and the parks did not open until 8am. The Disneyland queues were out past the Monorail beam but Disney California Adventure had no queue since they had already let guests onto Buena Vista street when we arrived about quarter till. Walked right into the park and strolled up Buena Vista Street. A large number of guests were lined up heading toward Cars Land and another group toward Guardians. Grizzly Peak was open so we walked that way and into Soarin Over California (yes it is back for a limited time). Had to wait one cycle then was directed to the right and onto the attraction. After disembarking it was just after 8am and we made our way out to Pixar Pier. We walked right onto Toy Story, only pausing to pick up glasses and wait for the next tram to board then did the same for the Pal-A-Round followed by the swings. It was just after 9am and we decided to head for Disneyland. The park was as quiet as DCA. Wandered around Main Street USA and then Sleeping Beauty Castle before heading to Fantasyland. Waited under 10 minutes for Alice in Wonderland then under 5 minutes for Mr. Toad. Took the Big Thunder Trail to Frontierland and went for a cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat then walked into Adventureland and cruised the Jungle. Walked through New Orleans Square and took the train to Toontown station. It was 11:30 so some stopped for a bit to eat then we walked to Tomorrowland and the rest of us ate there. A little after noon made our way to the Star Wars Launch Bay to check in for Galaxy's Edge. It only took a couple minutes and we just kept on walking the entire time. After checking in caught a performance by the Disneyland Band in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and followed them to Town Square. Made our way out to Critter Country by way of Frontierland and New Orleans Square. Found a table to relax a bit at the Hungry Bear. Around 1:20pm we noted they started to scan guests in for the 2pm Galaxy's Edge entry so we joined the queue. Again it went quickly and we were walking under the train trestle and into Galaxy's Edge in a matter of minutes. We were near the front of the mass that gathered. They held the group just shy of the Rise of the Resistance entry. About a quarter to 2:00 they started to slowly march us into the land. They directed everyone along the outside of the Marketlpace and around to where the 1st Order area is. At this point a large part of the group went right to form a queue for the Cantina. I followed the group heading toward the center of the land and Smuggle's Run, entered the queue at 1:52pm. The wait was posted at 25 minutes but we walked almost the entire queue without stopping and paused for one group before entering the first preshow room. I was exiting the building at 2:18pm so it was 26 minutes from entry to exit. I spent the next hour roaming around Black Spire Outpost checking out the shops and food areas as well as walking back to check out the Resistance forest area. Went for a second flight at 3:31pm entering the single rider queue. Exited the building at 3:55pm. Spent about a half hour circling Black Spire Outpost and visiting the couple stores I did not make it into on the first pass (since there were queues then). At 4:30pm decided to go for a third flight. This time in the stand by queue. I was out in the Black Spire Outpost by 4:51 so only 20 minutes this time. Walked to the edge of the Marketplace to watch the entry march of the 5:00pm reservation block. Spent some time visiting with friends and taking a final look around. We left via the Critter Country entrance at 5:49pm. Strolled through New Orleans Square and decided to grab a bite to eat at the Stage Door Cafe and ended up eating inside a nearly empty Golden Horseshoe. After eating made our way to Main Street USA and the group stopped for ice cream. Around 7pm traffic looked to be clearing so we headed for the front of the park and a tram back to the parking structure to find the car and head for home.

Other Interesting Stats:
* Moderate Walking Stats (meaning over 2.5mph): 15,933 steps, 144 minutes.


For Comparisons to other trips or more park miles click here to visit our park Miles Section.

Note: These totals may be skewed because the pedometer is zero'd when we start and then left alone and read when we leave. So attractions, and other things may cause extra "steps" to be counted. The pedometer that we use basically measures up/down motion as a step, so if your standing in line and moving up and down it may be counting steps, etc.. so the total distances traveled and steps may be off.. so use these as rough distance comparisons between trips and they may not be accurate in terms of actual distance traveled.

Pictures & Video From this Trip:


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My Thoughts & Observations:

Hello everyone!

I made a rare Monday visit to the Disneyland Resort with the primary objective to visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for the first time. I decided to arrive for rope drop to avoid some traffic and spend some time enjoying the uncrowded parks. The weather was overcast with typical June Gloom weather pattern. The sun did not appear until around 1:30pm, just in time for when I had to stand in line outside waiting to enter Black Spire Outpost.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Just like Friday parking was a breeze this morning. No delays with the overpass open and several empty toll booth lanes to choose from. I was quickly directed into a spot on the roof too and encountered no waits at bag check nor the tram. So it was a very smooth start to the day.

  • Took a very quick look at the Pixar Pals Parking Structure and there was visible progress from Friday, so looks like they are working weekends to try and get the new garage open in time for the expected summer rush that is coming.

  • So far the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge has driven the park attendance to be closer to off season weekdays. This may change quickly, but for the time being it is a great chance to experience uncrowded parks. It seems the combination of block outs, the reservation system, and anticipated crowds have led to very quiet parks right now. As the summer events get underway in the coming week and more kids get out of school the crowds should pick up. Then come the end of June when the reservation period ends all bets are off as to what will happen with the crowds but the expectation is it will get very busy very quickly.

  • I started my visit with a flight on Soarin Over California. We were in the queue and onboard before park opening. Interesting note the theater we were directed to we appeared to be the first flight and they only loaded the center section. For the flight after ours they were loading all three sections. I thought it was great to experience the original attraction. I prefer the real footage with minimal computer graphics compared to the Soarin' Around the World film. Also the original pace and score I enjoy more. The film does look a bit dated and is not as sharp as the new one. It would be great to see some of it reshot at a higher frame rate and resolution to take advantage of the new projection system. As of right now the film is slated to run the month of June. It will be interesting to see if this gets extended or returns. Based on the conversations we heard while exiting it was a favorite among the guests near us.

  • Pixar Pier was really quiet this morning too. All attractions were walk ons as we strolled around the Pier. Toy Story may have been our shortest wait ever. We walked up and did not break stride till we had to wait at the gate for the next tram to arrive and board. The ride itself was having some problems and we had to wait at the end of a couple games and our tram missed the mark for the scores.. we did not see the reveal and then for the score board we were half off of it. We walked onto the Pixar Pal-A-Round as well as swings as we made our way around the Pier. By 9am, an hour into the park we had visited four attractions and circled the park. It has been a long time since I was able to do that. We could have done more but opted to head for Disneyland.

  • No queues to enter Disneyland. Main Street was a live with activity as several vehicles were making the rounds. First thing I noticed were stacks of Galaxy's Edge commemorative guidemaps at all the turnstiles as well as in the park map kiosks inside the park. CMs were passing them out too. Friday they were hard to come by and when you found some if you thought about taking more than one you got a look, comment, or admonishment depending on the CM. Today they were plentiful. Also there was plenty of opening day merchandise throughout the park. Even locations like the carts in Fantasyland had opening day pins available.

  • The wait times around the park were just as quiet as Disney California Adventure. We opted for Alice in Wonderland, about 10 minutes and Mr. Toad at about 5 minutes. As the day went on some queues grew but most were in the off season range throughout the day.

  • For the first three weeks of operation Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is by reservation only. There were two ways to get reservations. The first was to book a Disneyland Resort Hotel room. For any stay at any of the three hotels you received one reservation. These are still available if you really want to visit Batuu. The second way was a free sign up that was run in early May. I used this method. The process consisted of visiting the website and waiting in a virtual queue. You were allowed in to register and given a choice of time blocks throughout the reservation period. By the time I was able to make a reservation the first available block that worked was Monday at 2:00pm, the 4th day of operation. Reservations were limited to one per primary guest (Disneyland.com account holder). You could put guests onto your reservation. Guests were not limited in the number of reservations they could be on. Reservations were for a 4 hour block. The blocks overlapped for one hour at the beginning and end. So mine was 2pm-6pm. The 11am to 3pm block was ending then the 5pm-8pm started during my visit. Everyone checks in at the Star Wars Launch bay with a confirmation and a photo ID to receive a wrist band, you can do this up to 2 hours before your time. Then at your time you head to Critter Country for most blocks (first of the morning departs from Tomorrowland) and are let into the land from there. Overall I thought this system worked well to make the first experience for many into the new land a pleasant experience. One issue I had with the system is they did not limit the number of reservations you could be a guest on. I thought they should have worked like FastPasses where you can only be in one group. This would have allowed for more guests to experience the new land and others to have more ideal time slots. Looking around Twitter there were a good number of people who visited quite a few times the first four days due to this loophole in the system. I think a limit on the free reservations would have been more fair. If you wanted to pay for multiple hotel reservations that is up to you, but to take a handful or more of the free slots seems over the top.

  • I showed up to check in just after 12:00 and found no delays at all. I was guided through the tape maze on the 1st floor of Star Wars Launch Bay to a waiting cast member to check us in. The entire process took less than 5 minutes from entering the building until exiting. Later in the day I learned I was supposed to be offered a map, but at that point it was too late to get one. I was a little disappointed not having the specific guide and not sure how we missed it during the process. Maybe the CMs were moving too fast or we just missed it.

  • At around 1:20 we noticed they were scanning in people for our time slot and letting them walk toward Galaxy's Edge in Critter Country. There were several cast members and the process was moving quickly. We got in line and followed the group under the train tracks and into the new land. The group came to a halt just before the Rise of the Resistance entrance. The process was very orderly with plenty of cast members to keep things moving. Behind us the queue quickly grew out of sight. Cast members were walking around and letting everyone know the plan, which was they would walk us past the Marketplace and then follow one CM to get in line for the Cantina and another toward Smugglers Run or you can roam as you want at that point.

  • The started to walk us forward well before the top of the hour, which was great considering the sun had come out and it was getting warm standing there in a crowded walkway.

  • My first stop was Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. This is the only attraction in the land right now. The second one Rise of the Resistance will not be opening for several months. As you approach the spaceport you are greeted by a large scale Millennium Falcon. You enter to the left and work your way through a massive queue. There are three queues, single rider, FastPass and Standby. For my first flight I did the standby queue. There are some switchbacks and extended queue space outside then you head into the building and up a series of ramps and switchbacks. There are some windows to look out over the Falcon and into Black Spire Outpost and beyond. Most of the sight lines are really good, but there are a couple instances were you can see the Fantasyland Theatre tent and other backstage buildings. Maybe trees will grow eventually. Big Thunder is also visible but looks ok over the trees. The queue is a good hike and there are three preshow stops. First up two groups are created. Then let into the next room where you meet Hondo Ohnaka and fills you in on your mission. You then are divided into groups of 6 and given boarding passes. You move into the ship and an open waiting area where you can take pictures and look around. Your color boarding pass is called and your group of six is led into a series of corridors and into the cockpit. The queue is extremely well done. The overall layout with the two story approach and view outside was great. The Hondo figure was impressive. The open last room to explore were nice changes from the traditional queues.

  • Attraction Experience - The ride itself is a flight simulator with some limited interactively. There are three jobs with two people being assigned each. Pilot, Gunner and Engineer. Over the course of three flights I was able to be a gunner and engineering. Never made it into the pilot seat. The engineer role was fairly limited and being in the back of the cockpit it was the least immersive and engaging. The gunner role featured more interactivity. The pilot role had the best views and most control over the experience. A bad set of pilots means a very very bumpy flight. I thought the gunner experience was substantially better than the engineer and from what I hear the pilot is another leap forward. Looking back at my experience I enjoyed it but not sure where I would rank it overall. The first experience was loud, bumpy and felt fragmented. By the third it was more enjoyable. But I do not see myself wanting to ride over and over and over again. It will be interesting to see how this evolves and I would like to try the pilot role for comparison. The ride tech and adaptive nature of it is great. With the three experiences I was able to see how the pilots being good allowed us to go further/do more. Also there seemed to be additional sequences you can experience based on ride delays, etc. So while 80% of your experience may be the same there are some variables that come into play.

  • I tried to use the app to interact and it was not a smooth experience. There seems to still be some quirks and the app seems buggy and really heavy in terms of a footprint.

  • I enjoyed walking through the Marketplace and around Black Spire Outpost. The level of detail around ever tune was noticeable. I look forward to going back to spend more time exploring. I am not a big merchandise or food person but I did visit all the establishments except the Cantina. The personalities of the shop owners and backstories really come through and it was great to see the attention to detail. There was a very large assortment of merchandise with unique merchandise in most of the locations. The land feels very isolated from Disneyland. One you cross the old berm you are in the Star Wars universe. I did not even hear the Disneyland Railroad or Mark Twain. I did find the choice of no background music interesting. There are sounds, but no music.

  • As I walked around the land the one thing that stood out to me was the large number of cast members. I am sure there are more because it is new but once normal operations settle in next year it will be interesting to see their numbers. There will still be a large demand because of the layout and number of locations throughout. All that we interacted with were really into their parts and enjoying the new land.

  • Overall I thought this first voyage to Batuu was great. The reservation system made for minimal waits and the 4 hours felt like an adequate length of time. If I had to assign a grade at this point I would say incomplete. The land is still a work in progress. The signature attraction has not opened yet and there was little in the way of entertainment. Plus the droids have not populated the land. The immersion and detail of the environments created were great. Near the top of what Disney has done. I would rank it right up there with Tokyo DisneySea in terms of execution on the theme and detail. Cars Land and Pandora both have elements of this but this is beyond those in terms of scope and scale. The Smugglers Run attraction was ok but not a home run for me.

  • I am looking forward to comparing this version to Walt Disney World's later this year. The Disneyland opening is more an extended soft opening period and early indications are WDW will be taking a different approach. The lands themselves are nearly identical but curious how the operational requirements may cause some variances. For example rain. There were a lot of open spaces and I am really curious if modifications are being made for Orlando's very different climate. This also includes heat concerns. Wonder how the A/C will work. The Marketplace is very open and appeared to have giant fans.

  • After my Star Wars Galaxy's Edge time the park felt almost as quiet as before I entered. Wait times were still minimal. We choose to grab a table in the Golden Horseshoe to visit and eat and there were maybe a handful of tables taken only. This was in the 6pm hour.

  • Since I had work on Tuesday we left the park around 7pm and found no delays at the tram or parking structure. Also lucked out with the LA freeways to get home with minimal delays.

Here are some recent posts to the Geek's Blog:

Walt Disney World (May Trip Summary & Links to All Posts)

Geek’s Blog Postings Recap April 24 - May 21, 2019


Disney Related Press Releases

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

Pictures & Video From this Trip:


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