Star Wars Land (Galaxy's Edge) is coming...

When the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucas Arts, the opportunity to extend the Disney Parks to include an area dedicated to Star Wars became a REAL possibility.

Galaxy's Edge (the official name of Star Wars Land) will include two new attractions: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  The area is also described as having an immersive experience, complete with droids, stormtroopers, and rogue traders.

The addition to Star Wars to the US Disney Parks has been in the works for over a year now.  The expected opening for Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge is expected in June of 2019... The date for Disney World's opening has been a guessing game...

The first announcement was "late fall" which most took to mean sometime in November or December.  Then it moved to just "fall," so the speculation began that it would be October or November.  Then Bob Iger said that they expected a boost to revenues from the US parks in the first quarter, which starts in September... Much discussion, much buzz, no hard date as of yet.

However, I can tell by looking for a hotel reservation for the first week of December, typically a relatively slow time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that park-goes are betting it will be open by then.  The anticipation is high, and Star Wars fans are really dedicated, so I hope Disney does this right!

It will be interesting to see how well Disneyland manages the demand when Galaxy's Edge opens during the typically busy summer months.  The current estimate is that the Millennium Falcon ride will have up to 10 hour wait times.  While that seems crazy to me, it isn't unreasonable that people will want to experience riding in the famous ship, sitting in Han's seat, and flying through space... So maybe people will wait that long just to experience something they have dreamt of since childhood.

Planning Timeline

When planning a Disney trip, there are so many things to think about and do.
In order to help stay on track, I put together a schedule of what needs to be done and when to help keep it all organized.

6- 12 months ahead

Decide when you want to go
  • Review best times to do based on on-property room rates.  Lower rates means lower number of people in the parks. For details on how to review room rates, click here.
  • Check out parade videos on YouTube for the time you are planning to go.  This will give you a good feel for the crowd levels at that time of year.
Consider the Disney Dining Plan
Look into the Disney Dining Plans.  Take into consideration how you like to eat on vacation.  Having a Dining Plan can make the trip feel like an all-inclusive experience.  Look at the differences in plans and pricing here.  There is also a spreadsheet to help with this decision from SeeYaReelSoon.
Decide on resort and room
  • Decide where you would like to stay.  Do you want to stay on-property or off?  What are your preferred resorts?  In what kind of room do you want to stay? 
  • The earlier you make reservations, the more likely you are to get the room and resort you want.
  • Consider renting Disney Vacation Club points to save some money.  This may also allow you to have larger accommodations if you have a party of more than four. I have looked into this but haven't yet had the opportunity to do it.  It is on the list for our next trip.  If you are interested in looking at this option, check out David's Vacation Club Rentals.
  • Consider what parks you would like to visit the most often during your trip.  Staying close to them will help to maximize park time.
  • Make your reservations!

6 months ahead

Pick your park days
Determine which park(s) you will attend on each day of your trip.  I have found the crowd calendar from TouringPlans a valuable resource for this information.  There is a cost to the service, but it is less than $13 for a year's subscription.  You can also use their calendars to check for special events, fireworks, parades, and Extra Magic Hours of which you might want to take advantage.

Get My Disney Experience account all set up

  • Create your Disney username and password (if you don't have one already).
  • Log into the site and enter your confirmation number for your reservation if you are staying on property.  If you are not staying on property, enter your ticket information and assign the days upon which you plan to use your tickets.
  • Provide any necessary details required for your traveling party.  This will make it easier to track your whole group, It will also allow you to select FastPass+ experiences together, when you are closer to your travel date.
  • As you make park plans (like where you are going on each day) enter the details into My Disney Experience.  That will help you to keep track of your plans.
  • As you making Advance Dining Reservations, be sure to place the confirmation numbers into My Disney Experience.  This will keep your information all in one place. You can also make dining reservations via My Disney Experience.
  • Download the application to your smartphone.  You use the same username/ password information to access the information anywhere, including while you are at the park on your vacation.

Make Advance Dining Reservations  

  • I typically make reservations based on what park I will be in on a given day.  
  • Be sure to plan for special meals like Character Dining or Fantasmic Dining Package as early as possible to improve your chances of getting the experience you want.  Some of these experiences require a deposit and must be made on the phone with an agent by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). 
  • Try to have a few different restaurants for any given meal, in case my first or second choice isn't available.  
  • Be flexible on times.  While you might want to have dinner at a "reasonable" hour, you might be able to pick up a snack in the afternoon and settle for that later dinner reservation if it is somewhere you really wanted to experience.
  • Consider making reservations at nearby resorts rather than in the park itself.  It has been our experience that the resorts have great table service restaurants and it gives you a little break from the hustle and bustle of the parks.

60 days ahead

FastPass+ selections 
If you are staying on property, you can log into My Disney Experience and schedule your FastPass+ selections.  You can make changes to these selections from now through your trip, so don't feel like this is your only opportunity.  However, if you want to experience Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain all before noon, this might be your best way to make that happen.

Magic Bands
  • If you are staying on property, your room key, park ticket, and FastPass+ passes are all contained in your Magic Band.  For more information straight from Disney, click here
  • You will be one band per guest on the reservation.  For each guest, you will be allowed to pick a color and a  name.  The name will be placed on the reverse of the band (which is nice in case you have duplicate colors). The deadline for selecting these customization can be found on your My Disney Experience account.  Magic Bands will be delivered to your house about 30 days in advance of your arrival date. 

30 days ahead

FastPass+ selections 
If you are staying off property, you can now log into My Disney Experience to schedule your FastPass+ selections.

Memory Maker
Consider if you want to purchase Memory Maker.  If you purchase it before you arrive, there is a $50 discount off the regular price ($149 rather than $199).  If you are going with children, plan to visit lots of characters, and/or really like the ride photos, this might be a good option for you.  I like that it provides you with digital copies and a digital release, so when you want make a print the family picture in front of Cinderella's castle on canvas you can do just that!

Well, that is all I can think of for now.  If I come up with anything more, I will be sure to come back and update this list.  If you have something you think I should add, please post it in the comments below!