It’s been almost four years since the announcement of twin Star Wars lands rocked our galactic worlds in mid-August of 2015. Since then, many of us have followed the conception and construction processes with eagle-eyes. In the earlier days, keen bloggers found ways to lift their cameras above the bordering walls of Disneyland by any means possible; some taking advantage of the additional height provided by the I-5 on-ramps, others using that split-second pause at the top of Splash Mountain to take photos of anything they can spy.
The talented minds behind Disney decision-making tried to keep us occupied with the opening of Pandora, the Avatar-themed land in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in 2017 and then Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2018. But true Star Wars fans kept their eyes on the prize. Many months with their clicking-fingers poised over the Disney booking button, just waiting for the announcement of when and how they can be the first to experience the manifestation of Batuu.
One way or another, fans have spent the last 1,385 days wondering what their first brush with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will feel like and the time has come for those questions to be answered. So how can you make the most of your time in this new galaxy far, far away? Let’s begin.
Learn from past experiences
The opening of Cars Land in 2012 has since brought with it wait times of up to 240 minutes for Radiator Springs Racers. In 2017 Disneyland park-goers again took a deep breath as Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout hit a 300 minute posted wait time. Even though Disneyland is known to be a locals park, don’t kid yourself into thinking said locals, and everyone they have ever met, won’t arrive in droves at the whisper of something new and exciting.
Keep your expectations in check
While early access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be limited – to what will probably be a just-below dangerous crowd level – don’t start dreaming of that concept art experience where your child playfully tugs at your arm before you both skip off into the local Cantina. There will be large crowds both inside and outside the land entrance, everyone desperate to lock in whatever piece of this experience they can.
Be prepared to wait
Do you remember when The Rookery sold out of Banshees just a few days after the initial Pandora opening leaving a lot of people going home without their own creepy shoulder pet? Be prepared for merchandise to disappear from shelves at light speed.
If you do get lucky enough to score that special something you are desperate to take home or even get in line for the incredible food and beverage options that will be available in the land, be conscious that the waiting could take up a valuable chunk of your allocated time slot.
Don’t rush through the details
I get it, you will have limited time to experience everything there is to see and do in this long-awaited park expansion, but with all things Disney, the magic is in the attention to detail. If possible, take a moment to appreciate the finer points and smaller features of every turn. Even if you are struggling to move freely about the area or plan on committing your time to ride Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, take in as much of the ambiance as you can. Block out the voices and the people around you and try to hone your senses in on this incredibly intricate world that has been created for you out of orange groves and dreams.
Try not to find the flaws
There will always be something to complain about; an attraction that broke down, an unexpected situation, some disappointment will inevitably be in store. In saying that, you can choose what your takeaway experience is going to be. You can decide to focus on the one or two things that could be been done better, didn’t go to plan, or simply missed the mark. Or, you can choose to see all of the successfully immersive triumphs around you. Whatever your take on the new land is, make an active choice to bring the positivity away with you celebrating its achievements instead of clinging to its teething problems. After all, that is part of the deal when you choose to take on a new land in its opening months.
Be mindful of your children
No, I am not just reminding you to watch them and hold their hands, though to be honest some of you do need that lecture as well. Instead, I want you all to be aware of how they are feeling. Check in with them every now and again and make sure your little ones aren’t terrified of the characters or thrown by the fraught-with-peril soundtrack. Even though some adults have been looking forward to this for years, to young children, many aspects of Star Wars can be frightening, Storm Troopers can be intimidating, and the overall tone of the place might not be suited to everyone in your party. At least not till the crowds die down a little and you can wander around with a little less chaos.
Above all else, try and enjoy your time there. Even though the people around you might be frustrating try to remember that part of the buzz of being there in the earliest days comes from the electricity that can be felt from those that are there with you. Try to feed off that excitement and enthusiasm instead of letting it get to you.
May the force be with you.