What to expect at Disney’s Galaxy Edge

Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios has become one of the largest attractions for travelers visiting Disney World. I had the opportunity to experience Galaxy’s Edge recently and everything about it exceeded my prior expectations. 

The whole area, which opened last year and cost an estimated $1 billion, spreads across 14 acres. There are two main rides and nine locations where customers can buy Star Wars merchandise, like clothing and posters. 

One of the two main rides, the Millenium Falcon, usually has the longest wait time in the park. While the lines move quicker due to social distancing procedures, the walking distance is longer. The line takes you through an interactive experience, with barcodes you can scan with the Play Disney Parks app. You even get to see a life-size replica of the Millennium Falcon up close. 

The actual ride is within the rock structure you see when entering Galaxy’s Edge. Part of the line starts with you “boarding” through a jetway, and it actually looks like the interior of the Millennium Falcon. There are six seats within the simulation: two pilots, two gunners, two engineers. 

The actual ride operates with the guest using the control panels either in front of them or beside them. While it is a simulation for the most part, the guests are controlling the movements of the ride, which I found was a lot of fun. At the end of the ride you get your statistics of your performance during the ride, which I thought was really cool. 

The next ride is the Rise of the Resistance. This ride is the main attraction at Galaxy’s Edge, where people will wait the entire day just to ride it. In order to get on the ride you have to go through a virtual queue on the My Disney Experience app. There are two queue windows during the day: one at 7 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. 

People who are successful joining the virtual queue will be assigned a boarding group. You have to wait until your boarding group is called before you can get in line. Unfortunately many people do not get into a boarding group during the day. 

When I tried joining the queue at 7 a.m., I did not get a boarding group. Within 10-15 seconds they were done assigning boarding groups and they told you to try again at 2 p.m. At 2 p.m. I tried again and was assigned a “backup boarding group.” 

The backup boarding groups are group numbers that may or may not be called before the park closes. Disney does this because it is not guaranteed how many groups they will get through in the day. 

While I understand the popularity of the ride, I think that Disney does a poor job of explaining how the virtual queue works up front. I had to ask employees questions about how it works before I fully understood it. However, the wait is worth it. 

While I am not going to spoil the experience, what I can say is that it is an entirely immersive experience. Everything looks very realistic to the movies and the animatronic movements are so fluid that you think they are real people under the mask. You actually feel like you are in a movie. For me that was the most enjoyable part of my entire stay. 

Outside of all of the rides, there are life-size models of the spacecraft present in Star Wars like the X-Wings, Transport ships, and even a TIE Fighter Echelon. There are also shops and places to grab something to eat or drink. 

There are also two places within Galaxy’s Edge where you can build a droid, either a BB unit or an R2 unit, or build a lightsaber. The droid starts at $99.99 and the lightsaber starts at $199.99. 

All of the rides at Disney, including the ones at Galaxy’s Edge have “stand here” markings for social distancing and require all customers to wear a mask. The parks are also working at 25% capacity. The benefit for this that I noticed was that you waited in line for less time even though you are walking more. 

Overall the COVID-19 procedures did not affect the Disney experience like I thought it would. I still had a great time at Galaxy’s Edge even though it is the most crowded place within Hollywood Studios. I do think that Disney could do a better job with their virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance, but everything else was an amazing experience. If you decide to travel to Disney I highly recommend you checking out Galaxy’s Edge.