Today (January 17th) marks the opening of Disneyland’s Rise of the Resistance attraction, effectively completing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on the west coast. We’re here this morning to experience it all and this post will serve as a sort of live play-by-play of the event.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how this post will go and there’s a chance I may drop it at some point. I loathe writing posts on my phone which is exactly what this is. Along with that, it’s hard to know what this day will entail ahead of time. Now that we’ve got this out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!
5:15 AM Update: We are standing outside of Disneyland’s gates along with a couple thousand of our closest friends. It’s early and putting in 27,000 steps and a full day in at Disneyland yesterday may not have been advised (it was worth it). There’s a nice buzz to the crowd and cast members are mulling about, handing out pamphlets about the virtual queue for the attraction.
I have little idea when they’ll let guests into the park but if they wait much longer the lines will stretch all the way across the esplanade to California Adventure. We are standing about halfway between the parks. Outside of that, we don’t have much to share yet aside from a general sense of excitement. The esplanade music loop is very nice. I’ll check back in with an update when something noteworthy happens, stay tuned to our Instagram account for more photos!
6:05 AM Update: We are inside of the park, along with a mass of humanity, on Main Street! There’s not much new to report outside of that. We’re all being held on Main Street and they will run out of room here before long. It does seem like they will be going with the virtual queue only for today and not opening any standby or anything. Not positive what they’ll do when Main Street fills up, although I’d guess that they’d just hold people outside of the gates.
6:40 AM Update: They have now opened the hub! After the initial rush of everyone thinking they opened the whole park, it seems like everyone’s spread out and found a place to sit. We’re currently sitting at Jolly Holiday and watching the sun come up over Tomorrowland. Now we wait for the next hour plus and then all try to break the Disneyland app by joining the virtual queue. It’s a little cold but turning into a pleasant morning!
7:15 AM Update: At this point the hub is really filling up and lines for the few things that are open are so long. Starbuck’s line stretches down most of Main Street and Jolly Holiday isn’t much better. I walked down to the entrance to see if they were still letting people into the park and they are, meaning that showing up early is pretty useless. The virtual queue for the attraction will be a true lottery system and while everyone in here should get a spot (unless something unforeseen happens) it doesn’t appear that it will reward those who arrived at 5 AM (like us) or those who arrived at midnight (like those at the front of the line).
Merits of this system are debatable. I’d still prefer a virtual queue that opens as soon as you get into the park but understand why waiting for actual park hours makes sense. Tomorrow we’ll try a 7 AM arrival and see where that lands us!
7:45 AM Update: They have now opened the park although the virtual queue still won’t open until 8. We’re on the hunt for hot chocolate without much of a line. It’s funny to see no one getting on any rides because we all want to be on our phones at 8. Soon we’ll know our boarding group!
8 AM UPDATE: We made it in! Our boarding group is 46. We were sitting beside the Millennium Falcon and everyone started counting down. That was followed by some cheering. I’m sure there are some disappointed people around but you wouldn’t be able to tell by those around us. Everyone seemed to get in without much problem.
Now we wait for a few hours. By the way, we found some hot chocolate 😉
8:50 Update: In a weird but probably planned move, Rise of the Resistance hasn’t started accepting boarding groups yet. We were in the area and it was pretty lively but no groups were going in. They did start telling people to move along if their boarding group was a little later on so I’m guessing they’re going for a 9 o’clock opening? Purely conjecture on my part but it was a little bit of a strange twist.
10:40 Update: Disneyland is starting to fill up! For a couple of hours after opening the park was pleasant to walk around with limited wait times all over. Now we’re starting to see longer waits at the most popular attractions.
Rise of the Resistance did start running almost immediately after our last update. It’s currently into the high 20’s of the boarding groups and we anticipate getting on the ride in early afternoon (boarding group 46). There have been a few delays throughout the day but we’ll chalk that up to opening day/new ride issues.
12:45 Update: Our boarding group has been called and we are on our way to Galaxy’s Edge now! It has been an easy day all things considered when it comes to crowds. The lines have been very manageable and the virtual queue seems to have run smoothly so far.
I’ll give a quick update after the ride and we’ll have a full review on the site in the next day. We’ll keep an eye on the crowds for the rest of the day and update this post accordingly although I don’t know how indicative crowd levels today will be for the weekend.
2:45 Update: It’s hard to get off a new attraction and not be hyperbolic. There’s a certain thrill that comes with riding something for the first time and I’m trying to frame that in my mind with regards to what we just experienced on Rise of the Resistance. I’m sure it will be even tougher when I get to the actual review post tonight or tomorrow. The best way I know how to put it right now is that waking up at whatever time to ride this attraction is worth it. For us that was 4:30 AM today but I’d do it even earlier if that’s what it takes (hint: that’s not what it takes from what we can tell. We’ll do more research tomorrow). All in all, this is a world class attraction and among the best in the world. I’ll be back with more later!
End of the Day Update: We’re back at the hotel at about 12:30 AM. The afternoon and evening was filled with a nap, a ‘staff meeting’ at Trader Sam’s, walking around Downtown Disney, a couple of rides in California Adventure, Fantasmic! and a little more time in Galaxy’s Edge. For us, it was a great day! After reading a few things around the internet, it was obvious that not everyone shared that opinion. The virtual queue is an interesting tactic and one that we’ll discuss thoroughly on the site over the next week. Rise of the Resistance also broke down some and it didn’t seem to be running at full capacity when we went on it this morning. We’ll see what tomorrow holds as we plan to arrive closer to the virtual queue boarding time.
Still, Disneyland never felt overly crowded today and all of the wait times were very manageable. For those that were worried about absolute chaos at the park, that didn’t happen today. The virtual queue created some havoc but nearly everyone we talked to (or heard talk about it) was pleased with the experience. The ride is an obvious hit and is encompasses everything that is good about modern theme parks. I planned to write a review tonight or tomorrow but would like another ride on the attraction before writing and am also very tired while on the verge of a full day tomorrow. We’ll have posts up in the next few days though and it might turn into a Star Wars week on the blog. Thanks for following along today!
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