Can you believe it’s already been a FULL year since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disneyland? The ambitious new land, which takes guests to the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu, first opened to guests on May 31, 2019.
Let’s take a look back on all the developments, speculations, excitement, and anticipation leading up to the official opening day of Galaxy’s Edge AND what has happened in its first year!
When Galaxy’s Edge was First Announced
It was WAY back in 2015 when we first heard that a “Star Wars Land” was coming to both Disney World and Disneyland! This twin land expansion was announced at the D23 Expo.
Looking back, we were REALLY excited about the Cantina coming to the parks! Like, really REALLY excited. After all, we’d been saying for years PRIOR that Disney really needed its own Star Wars cantina. 🙂
Following Construction and Developments
Between D23 and opening day, we eagerly followed all of the exciting developments! We discussed the big news when we learned that alcohol would be served at Oga’s Cantina — a first at Disneyland with the exception of Club 33!
We also lost our MINDS when we saw the Millennium Falcon appear during the construction phase!
As we moved closer and closer to the opening date in 2019, more details emerged on just how Disney was planning on bringing the Star Wars universe to life! We got a first glimpse of those ‘thermal detonator’ Coca Cola bottles, and all of a sudden, soda bottles became THE most exciting news of the day.
We also got a glimpse at the “datapads” via the Play Parks App! We were stoked to see how much interactive technology was being brought to Galaxy’s Edge!
That darn reservation system!
One of the most puzzling but groundbreaking aspects of Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland was the use of their unique reservation system. Although the land had its grand opening on May 31, 2019, for the first few weeks guests could ONLY access the land through having a hotel reservation (these automatically gave you a 4-hour stint in Galaxy’s Edge) or booking an advance reservation.
Those reservations launched on May 2, 2019 and were gone within hours. Guests who did not acquire a reservation could still access the land if they had a booked stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels (oh yeah…which also sold out for the night before the land opened!).
The reservations gave the guests a total of four hours in the land.
We shared discussions on how that 4-hour window would be enforced! Remember when we thought we were gonna be escorted out by Stormtroopers!?
Turns out these guys didn’t end up roughing up guests to get out after their allotted time, but it sounded cool when it was first proposed! 😉
First Steps into Galaxy’s Edge and A Moving Dedication Ceremony
The day finally arrived for us to take our first steps into Galaxy’s Edge!
We took flight on Millennium Falcon Smugger’s Run for the first time! Initially, the land’s flagship ride, Rise of the Resistance, wouldn’t be opening in either coast’s lands. This ride opened in January 2020 for Disneyland and December 2019 for Disney World!
And after YEARS of wishing and waiting, we finally got to visit an authentic Star Wars cantina inside a Disney Park! Dreams DO come true!
We got to try all of the delicious drinks…!
These pre-mixed drinks are all really fun, and some even have some…surprising elements to them!
And who can forget when (of course!) we found a way to hack our milk super quickly! 😉
If you want to try this hack too, order both flavors of milk and ask for an extra cup!
We ate just about EVERYTHING in Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, the land’s new quick-service restaurant.
The spot has something for just about everyone, even if the names of foods do seem a bit strange (more on that in a bit!).
This spot was also home of the original SPORKS! If you don’t recall, this location originally intended to use metal sporks as reusable cutlery for guests, but due to the COOL look of the sporks, guests quickly began pocketing these as DIY souvenirs.
This led Disney to pull the sporks and offer standard (read: BORING!) utensils. Womp womp. (SPOILER ALERT — when Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disney World, they tried again with the sporks and the SAME THING happened!) FYI — now you can BUY your sporks in Disneyland ;-D.
And how could we forget our first sweet, sweet taste of a Ronto Wrap from Ronto Roasters (can you believe it’s only been a year that we’ve had these in our lives?!).
This wrap filled with pork sausage, roasted pork, slaw, and a creamy peppercorn sauce was one of the shining stars of Galaxy’s Edge! Oh yeah — they have a killer breakfast wrap TOO!
Rounding out the food offering in Galaxy’s Edge, we have to mention Kat Saka’s Kettle. This little spot serves up the love-it-or-leave-it Outpost Mix. We’ll always remember our first taste of this treat.
This popcorn is a mix of spicy (the red pieces) and kind of fruity-sweet (the purple pieces). Who would have thought one of the most divisive things in Galaxy’s Edge would be simple popcorn!? 🙂
Both experiences were really fun and unique, especially Savi’s. We loved getting to pick out our own Kyber Crystal and build our VERY OWN saber we could tote around all day!
One of the most memorable events surrounding the opening of Galaxy’s Edge was the dedication ceremony that took place on May 30. Star Wars icons George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Billy Dee Williams joined former CEO Bob Iger for the ceremony.
It was a star-studded kickoff for the land — even Chewbacca showed up in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon!!
Opening Day: May 31!
At last, we have reached the official opening day of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge! There was so much to take in and, surprisingly, a lot to LEARN (why are all these people saying “Bright suns” to me?!).
One of the biggest stories that day was actually about what was happening OUTSIDE the land. Collectors everywhere were relieved to hear that Galaxy’s Edge opening day merchandise would be sold throughout the park, no land reservation required!
We had originally heard Galaxy’s Edge related merch would ONLY be sold “on planet,” meaning inside the land, so this was welcome news for many who couldn’t get in opening day!
For those with reservations on opening day, everyone was learning just how fast four hours can fly by, and folks tried to strategize how to best use their time.
As for us? Yeah, we were mostly in the Cantina. Sorry, not sorry. 🙂
Beyond Opening Day…what has happened since?!
A lot can happen in one year, and that has certainly been the case with Galaxy’s Edge! Once the reservation window passed, Disneyland had a virtual standby queue ready to go in case crowds were out of control. (Ah, back in the day when this was all we knew of virtual queues…that’s CHANGED since then, as you’ll see below!)
As Disneyland became well acquainted with its new land, attention shifted to Florida, as the opening of Disney World’s version of Galaxy’s Edge was set for August 29, 2019.
Florida had a much quieter opening than California. The pomp and circumstance seen at Disneyland’s opening and dedication was noticeably absent from the Florida version. A couple fireworks, a quick word from Bob Chapek, and the land was open for business!
Crowds were consistent for most of its first few months of operations, but definitely not the overwhelming sea of guests many had anticipated.
It initially seemed like the land wasn’t the smash-hit Disney had intended it to be with a BIG notable exception — we were still waiting for Rise of the Resistance. Would that one ride be enough to tie the whole experience together and make it a hit??
Over the past several months, we’ve seen a ton of exciting new FOOD options come to Galaxy’s Edge! Our beloved Ronto Wrap over at Ronto Roasters saw a couple of sister wraps appear on the menu, including a Chicken Ronto Wrap in Florida and a Ronto-less Wrap in California!
We saw some new popcorn flavors emerge over at Kat Saka’s Kettle. Some were an instant hit, like the chocolate and red salt popcorn in Disneyland, while other flavors like the Galaxy Green popcorn in Disney World were…interesting, but boring…and didn’t make a splash.
We’ve also enjoyed following the saga at Oga’s Cantina as they attempt to come up with a palatable charcuterie board. Once a secret menu item, it’s now available on their regular menu and has always been a puzzling assortment of goodies (umm, PRE-PULLED string cheese, pork rinds, and SPAM, anyone?!).
Over at Docking Bay 7, the menu items seemed to go through a bit of an identity crisis for a while! It seemed some guests couldn’t wrap their heads around some of the heavily-themed food names that they were pushing when the land first opened. A lot of the Star Wars-themed names were dropped in favor of more conventional, recognizable names.
But realizing they might have oversteered, Disney reverted back — partially — to the old style names. For instance, instead of “Fried Endorian Tip Yip,” this item was initially changed to just “Fried Chicken,” then landed at “Fried Endorian Chicken Tip Yip.”
We also saw some really unique breakfast foods pop up at the Milk Stand in Disney World recently. Now guests can pick up a tomatoey Saka Farm Egg Bite, Wamba Yogurt Cup (made with green milk!), and the otherworldly-colored Green Milk Bread Pudding!
We weren’t the biggest fans of the flavor of green milk to begin with, so we were on the fence with these breakfast options. The Egg Bite was delicious though!
And lest we forget, the SPORKS CAME BACK! Well, sort of. The sporks we saw come and go from Docking Bay 7 came back as a souvenir available for purchase, but only in Disneyland!
Guests can pick one up when they order at Docking Bay 7. It even comes with a cute carrying case that says “spork” in Aurebesh (the Star Wars language you’ll find all over Galaxy’s Edge and the films!)
Perhaps the BIGGEST event in the past year was the opening of Rise of the Resistance on both coasts! We were promised something BIG, and Disney did not disappoint! The ride is one of the most technologically advanced, breathtaking rides we’ve EVER seen. Does it live up to the hype? Yeah. Big time.
Seriously, if there’s one part of Galaxy’s Edge worth your time, it’s this ride.
The flip side to the awesomeness of Rise of the Resistance? EVERYONE AND THEIR UNCLE WANTS TO RIDE IT! Thus began the infamous virtual queue system, which, like the version we saw when Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge opened, meant guests had to be IN the park to be able to secure a spot in line with a boarding group.
Since a limited number of boarding group spots were available each day, this meant guests were lining up to get in the parks HOURS before their scheduled opening time. We got REALLY good at waking up at 3AM to get one of these elusive boarding groups!! 🙂 Crazy? Yes. Worth it? Still yes.
Galaxy’s Edge was popular, but NOTHING like once Rise finally opened, completing the lands on both coasts. Disney made a BIG promise when they announced Galaxy’s Edge and, for the most part, we think they delivered. The land is immersive and totally unique from anything we’ve seen before at both Disney World and Disneyland.
And now, we can only speculate what is to come to Galaxy’s Edge in both Disneyland and Disney World. Will we see a third attraction? Perhaps a table service restaurant? Will we see new shows or character interactions? And the question on everyone’s mind…will those boarding groups EVER go away? While we may not have the answers yet, we do know that if the first year of Galaxy’s Edge is any indication, ANYTHING is possible! Happy birthday, Galaxy’s Edge!
What do YOU want to see come to Galaxy’s Edge next? Let us know in the comments!