Living in the Pacific Northwest should mean that Disneyland is our ‘home’ resort and at times it has been. With the rising prices of Annual Passes over the last few years that all changed and we hadn’t been there in several years. Melissa and I both missed the resort, Disneyland specifically, and were eager to get back. When the Disneyland Flex Pass was announced in May we finally found an AP that fit our budget. Eventually we had a trip planned for September with the main goal of spending a good portion of our time in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
After work on Thursday, we hopped on a plane and were in Orange Country before 6. Having Disneyland closer to WDW makes weekend trips much easier and more enjoyable. We landed at John Wayne Airport, stopped at In-N-Out for dinner, dropped off our bags and rental car and then went to activate our passes. After all of that we were inside the park by 8 PM to spend a few hours in Galaxy’s Edge.
Honestly, that night wasn’t all that interesting from a recap perspective. We did get our first ride through on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run with both of us in the pilots chairs. It was a little bit of a disaster, running into most of the galaxy while pulling off a heist. I should have given a heartfelt apology to everyone in our crew but instead I just hung my head in shame as we left the Falcon. As was the trend for most of the vacation, we only waited about 15 minutes in line for the attraction despite there still being a few hours left in the park day.
After our ride, we spent the next few hours walking throughout the land, trying out every path that we could find. I’m glad that my first experience in Galaxy’s Edge was at night and with few people around. The land has a large capacity with many different areas to explore but it certainly looks best at night with few people around. I covered this in our review of Galaxy’s Edge but the land has an incredible lighting package, maybe the best of any Disney Park. The areas that are supposed to be mysterious or less traveled, like the Resistance Forest, are darker. Black Spire Outpost and the Millennium Falcon are brighter, the latter with a beautiful blow glow around it.
We took another ride on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run before heading out for the night. While it wasn’t necessary on this night, we tried out the single-rider line. This is a good option if you’re in a hurry or the line has surpassed for 45 minutes. You do miss out on seeing the pre-show and will likely be in the Engineer position but this will save you a good amount of time if the ride’s crowded.
Right around park closing we started the walk back to our hotel, the Anaheim Marriott. Melissa had to work the next morning, albeit remotely, so we didn’t stay in the park as late as we usually do. While I was able to sleep in, my poor wife was up bright and early working.
After work was done for the day, we took the 20 minute walk back to Disneyland for a late lunch at Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo. We liked the counter-service restaurant but didn’t love either of our entrees. What we did love was topping our meal off with a glass of Blue and Green Milk.
Our thoughts on these divisive drinks are extremely positive. Frankly, I’m not sure why they are so divisive. The flavor isn’t overpowering and most resembles a fruit smoothie. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea (bad metaphor) but I’m not sure why this has fallen into a love or hate thing. We’ll have a full review of the Galaxy’s Edge snacks soon on the blog.
Over the next hour we watched Storm Troopers and Kylo Ren walk around and interact with guests before riding Smugglers Run again. Somewhere along the way I realized that I had left my camera battery charger at home and my battery was going to die before the day ended. After stressing about it for longer than I should have, I caught an Uber to a Best Buy 10 minutes away, bought a new charger and was back at Disneyland within about half an hour. I don’t have much experience with Uber at Disneyland but I will say that catching it on Harbor Blvd. was very easy on that day.
Upon returning we finally saw some of Disneyland that wasn’t Galaxy’s Edge. The Halloween decorations were up around the park and added some great color to the park. Overall, I thought Disneyland looked really good after gearing up for Galaxy’s Edge opening. The path widening didn’t detract from the park’s charm and helped ease the crowd flow, although we didn’t encounter high crowd levels.
Making our way past Main Street, we strolled over to New Orleans Square and rode the attractions there. Riding Pirates of the Caribbean after a few years break from Disneyland Resort was a treat.
Earlier in the day we got a FastPass for Haunted Mansion Holiday, the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay on Haunted Mansion, and it was time to redeem that. In short, the overlay blew us away. Neither of us profess to be huge Nightmare Before Christmas fans. We both like the movie and I enjoy Oogie Boogie in the park shows but we don’t consistently watch it or anything. Even with that, Haunted Mansion Holiday was a perfect overlay. It combines the classic Haunted Mansion characters with the Nightmare Before Christmas characters seamlessly and the scenes are breathtaking. It’s slightly brighter than the typical Haunted Mansion and I think I might have preferred that. It was maybe my favorite ride of the trip and is a great component to Disneyland at Halloween.
We were in full ride mode at this point and continued on to Adventureland to ride Jungle Cruise and get a FastPass for Indiana Jones Adventure. I’ll never insult Jungle Cruise but I do like the WDW and Tokyo Disneyland versions better than Disneyland.
One thing that I like way more at Disneyland is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and we headed there next to use another FastPass. By the way, the paper FastPass (or MaxPass) system is much better than FastPass+. I’d be very happy if Disney scrapped that system in Disney World and went back to the old way. I don’t think that will happen though.
We continued on with the Frontierland attractions, moving to the Mark Twain Riverboat. It was our first time seeing the new look river and, despite my reservations when first announced, I came away impressed. The rockwork is gorgeous, as are the waterfalls. Having all of the different rivers represented is a nice touch and this remains one of the most underrated rides at Disneyland.
All this riding makes one hungry! We combined the a Bao Bun from Tropical Hideaway with a few skewers from Bengal Barbecue for a light, snacky dinner. There are a few more items that I’d like to try from Tropical Hideaway before reviewing it but I did like the Bao Bun pretty well. We sat in the little indoor section that has been added right beside Bengal Barbecue. It’s a nice little area but I’d recommend the Tropical Hideaway seating over that. I was trying to find a place to charge my camera battery so we stayed at the indoor seating.
We continued knocking off rides, making our way through Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and the Tea Cups before backtracking for our Indy FastPass, an excellent attraction, and another ride on the Jungle Cruise. Outside of our FastPassed attractions, nothing we rode had a wait over 10 minutes. While the park was slightly busier on a Friday night, getting on to rides was very easy.
From there it was back to Tomorrowland for rides on Buzz and Star Tours. I even made Melissa drive me around on Autopia! We still don’t like that attraction very much but it is much better than Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Speedway. Buzz is surprisingly great and we got a few scenes we hadn’t experienced in Star Tours which is always a plus.
All in all, we did 11 attractions and didn’t get started with those until 4 PM. Sandwiching those 11 rides were two trips on Smugglers Run. I wanted to end the night in Galaxy’s Edge for some photos and the line was short so we took another trip. Of course, we needed a late night snack to top off the day. We shared a Ronto Wrap from Ronto Roasters in Black Spire Outpost. This was easily the best thing I ate in Galaxy’s Edge and I’m looking forward to having another one. The wrap is Pita Bread with Roasted Pork, Grilled Pork Sausage, Slaw, and Peppercorn Sauce. It’s an excellent meal or a great snack to share.
Melissa headed off to do a little shopping on Main Street and I started taking some photos around Galaxy’s Edge. There’s a few I like but the land was less busy a few nights later so I had better results then. Nevertheless, here are some photos if you haven’t gotten tired of Galaxy’s Edge photos from this blog over the last week.
Eventually security came through and slowly moved people along. I stopped in Frontierland for a quick photo of this Coco inspired Halloween decor.
Before long, we walked back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before doing it all again. We’ll pick up the next day at Disney California Adventure, giving my thoughts on Mission: BREAKOUT!, Pixar Pier and whatever else my brain jumps to.
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Categories: Trip Reports