Get Your Boarding Pass to Batuuby Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
After Disney CEO Bob Iger announced in 2015 that the company would build Star Wars-themed lands at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts, Disney fans frequently quipped, "when does the line-up start?" After all, camping out before the theatrical release of each new movie is a time-honored tradition among Star Wars super-fans, even in this age of advanced ticket sales and reserved theater seats.
Given the anticipation surrounding the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, it's no surprise that Disneyland managers are making plans to handle an overnight queue before the May 31 grand opening. Camping out won't do anything to get you into Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge on May 31—to step foot onto the fictional planet of Batuu and wander the streets of the Black Spire Outpost between May 31 and June 23 requires a no-cost advance reservation—but Disney will be ready for you all the same.
Disney has not yet said when or how it will open this reservation system, but park officials did share some additional details and answer some questions about who can make a reservation and what to expect during your visit.
Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland resort hotels will receive a designated reservation to visit Galaxy’s Edge during their stay. Note that the reservation is for one per person, per stay—not per day. Park officials could not yet say whether hotel guests would be allowed to select their preferred day and time for this designated reservation.
At first glance, this reservation period could operate somewhat like the Annual Passholder previews of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, where passholders were allowed to register for any single two-hour block during its 10-day preview period. Our East Coast editor Alan Dalinka recalls that there was enough time during his preview to ride both of the new attractions, browse the lone gift shop, and maybe grab a bite from the quick service location.
Disney officials say they are still working to determine how long visitors will be allowed to remain inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, but we expect that most people visiting the land will want to experience the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride during their time at Batuu and are planning accordingly.
Still, don't expect to have enough time to fully explore the Black Spire Outpost in one day if you visit during the reservation period. Neither Fastpass nor MaxPass will not be offered for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attractions at this time, nor can visitors make reservations for Oga’s Cantina. That means you'll have to prioritize your must-dos, and save the rest for a return visit.
The team could not say how they plan to entice visitors to leave at the end of their designated window, but it occurred to me that it would be completely within the Star Wars mythology to have Stormtroopers show up to escort stragglers to the nearest airlock.
While it might seem that Disneyland hotel guests will get the Chewbacca-share of the reservation slots, park officials say that the majority of reservations will be available to those who aren't staying at Disney's hotels. However, if you prefer the convenience of a designated reservation to trying your luck with the public reservation system, we should point out that both the Disneyland and Disney's Grand California hotels have rooms available for May 30, starting at $561 per night.
Disneyland visitors without a reservation stand absolutely no chance to getting into the land during the reservation period—managers state that there will not be a standby queue available. Disney wants to spread the message far and wide: Don't have a reservation for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? You're not getting in during the reservation period.
After Monday, June 24, everything changes. Access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is first-come, first-serve, and you can remain on Batuu as long as you want once you're inside the land.
To keep visitors from spending their entire day in line outside Galaxy’s Edge—to say nothing of preventing complete gridlock in the west side of the park—Disney is developing a virtual queue system, to use starting June 24.
You can think of the virtual queue as Fastpass for a land, although Disney officials describe it more as a boarding pass. Visitors won't have a specific return time, but each boarding group will instead be called as space opens in the land, possibly through the use of push alerts via the Disneyland smartphone application or text messages.
For those waiting to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, or waiting inside the land to ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, executives want the lines to be organized and controlled. Taking another page from the grand opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar, park managers are planning to have snack vendors and entertainers working the queue both outside and inside the new land, and will even have a system for guests to reclaim their place in line if they need to leave to use the restroom.
As with the Fastpass and MaxPass systems, visitors must first enter Disneyland before joining the virtual queue, so Disney is preparing for yet another overnight queue—this time for the night of Sunday, June 23—to accommodate those who want to be first into the park the next morning.
Whether you're a member of the 501st Legion or just love your Jedi robes, you'll need to leave your costume at home. Disney's costume policy extends to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, no matter how screen-accurate your Boba Fett helmet may be. However, a Disney official left open the possibility that costumes might be allowed at after-hours events at some time in the future.
Children under age 13 may wear costumes, and even partial masks that leave the eyes visible. The Black Spire Outfitters store inside Galaxy’s Edge will sell costumes and accessories, but older fans should note that these may not be worn inside the theme parks.
The countdown is on, but maybe don't get in line just yet? We'll share additional details as we learn them.