Everything Disneyland Star Wars: Galaxy Edge You Need to Know

It’s getting close! It’s almost time! It’s right around the corner!

Photo via Disney Parks

To help you plan ahead and prepare for your visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland® Resort, here are some tips for this epic, new land, opening May 31, 2019.

1. Reservations are required to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge between May 31 and June 23.

Guests visiting during this time will need valid theme park admission and a reservation to enter the new land at Disneyland® Park. At this time, reservations for guests not staying at one of the three Disneyland® Resort hotels are no longer available.

2. Guests can still get a reservation to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge by staying at a Disneyland® Resort hotel between May 31 and June 23*.

Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland® Resort hotels between May 31 and June 23 will receive a designated reservation to visitStar Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during their stay (one reservation per registered guest; valid theme park admission required). Get Away Today will notify guests of their reservation date and time with their registration confirmation. If the hotel reservation is cancelled, the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge reservation will also be cancelled.

If you need to make any changes to your hotel reservation during this time, please call 855-GET-AWAY as soon as possible and an agent will assist you.

3. No standby line will be available to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge between May 31 and June 23.

Only guests with reservations will be able to access the land during this time. However, after June 23, reservations will no longer be required to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

4. Reservations will no longer be required to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge after June 23.

On June 24, 2019, the Disneyland® Resort will implement a virtual queueing system to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This way, guests can enjoy the rest of the Resort while waiting to visit Batuu. The Disneyland® app will have a dedicated module called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Status and Access available from the main page, on which guests can request to join a boarding group to visit the land, once they have entered the park.

Boarding groups will be sent a push notification when it is their turn to enter the land and they can monitor the status of boarding groups from the app. Please note that guests will have two hours to show up for their boarding pass entry after receiving their push notification. If you do not have access to a smartphone or are not using the Disneyland® app, you will have the ability to join a boarding group from select kiosk locations inside Disneyland® Park.

The boarding group is tied to admission media that will be scanned upon entry into the land. Signage throughout the park will also display boarding group status. Admission into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be subject to capacity, and having an assigned boarding group will not guarantee entrance to the land.

5. The current Disneyland® Resort costume policy will be in effect in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Costumes may not be worn by guests 14 years of age or older. Appropriate Disney bounding – dressing in outfits inspired by favorite characters – is permitted.

6. Download the official Disneyland® mobile app to plan ahead and make the most of your visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

The Disneyland® app allows guests to check the attraction wait time, locate character encounters and even utilize the mobile ordering feature at select dining locations when they are in the new land.

Photo via Disney Parks

7. Download the Play Disney Parks mobile app before your vacation to enhance your visit to Battu.

The Play Disney Parks app allows guests to deepen their engagement with the land and interact with the world around them on the planet Batuu. Guests who choose to engage through the app will be able to interact with droids, translate Aurebesh, scan cargo crates and other containers to collect virtual items, and more.

8. Inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s goal is to provide a great guest experience.

Whether you’re a padawan in training or a Jedi Master, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to be enjoyable for everyone. Because of this, Disney’s main goal is to provide a great experience for everyone who visits Battu. For example, guests who are in the queue at Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will have the ability to purchase snacks, utilize a continued process to visit the restroom, enjoy cast interactions, and also engage with an in-queue game while using the Play Disney Parks mobile app to make wait times fun, interactive and enjoyable.

We can’t wait for you to experience an out of this world adventure at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, please give our agents a call at 855-GET-AWAY and we’d be happy to assist you.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Boarding Pass System June 24th and Beyond

Beginning June 24, 2019, guests will have the opportunity to visit Galaxy’s Edge via a virtual line. Guests may enter the virtual queue once they are inside Disneyland Park. You can find more details on how that will work here: SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR AN OPEN SUITCASE FRIENDS.

Specials for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Get Away Today has the best specials for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge including 5th Day Free Disneyland Resort tickets, Extra Night Free hotel specials and their Layaway Plan that allows you to hold your vacation for just $175 down.

Here are links to the specials available:

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Reservations for May 31 – June 23, 2019

If you can’t wait until June 24th, you can still get a “sold out” reservation to enter Galaxy’s Edge by staying at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels between May 31 – June 23, 2019.

Here are the current available dates that include an automatic reservation to Galaxy’s Edge:

Plus, don’t forget to mention promo code OpenSuitcase for an additional $10 off your hotel and tickets vacation package. Let them know that An Open Suitcase sent you!

Get Away Today is a full-service travel agency. They are happy to help you save the most on your vacations to the Walt Disney World® Resort, Hawaii and Mexico. They also offer a world of savings on cruises, guided tours and packages with partners, Southwest Vacations, FunJet Vacations, Universal Parks and Resorts Vacations, and United Vacations, to name a few.

Oga’s Cantina at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Photo via Disney Parks




Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland and More!

Just in case you haven’t heard, Disneyland released their Halloween dates for 2019!

In addition to Halloween Time information, they released tons of information on the new Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure Park which will replace the previous Mickey’s Halloween Party.

Here’s a quick overview of what we know:

  • Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort will begin September 6 and run through October 31, 2019.
  • Treats, décor, ride overlays and more will be showcased at both Parks.
  • Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party will take place in Disney California Adventure Park and replace Mickey’s Halloween Party.
  • Dates for the event begin on September 17, 2019 and tickets will only be available through Disney directly beginning April 23rd for passholders, DVC members and Disney Visa Card holders and April 30th for the general public.
  • The Oogie Boogie Bash will include the fan-favorite Frightfully Fun Parade and trick-or-treat trails as well as some new immersive entertainment and character encounters.

You can save on your Disneyland vacation with Get Away Today’s 5th Day Free tickets and hotel discounts!

For all the details, you can check out Get Away Today’s in-depth blog post here and get your tickets/reservations HERE

You’ve also likely heard a few details have been released about reservations for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While Disney has begun to send reservation information to guests staying at one of the Disneyland Resor Hotels from May 31st – June 23rd, Disney is aware that there have been some glitches and they are working on a solution.

As for guests not staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotels, reservation information will be available on May 2nd at 8am PT with registration opening at 10am PT the same day.

You will need to have a Disney account to request a reservation so we recommend you create one sooner rather than later if you don’t already have one.

You can find more information HERE.

Get Away Today Layaway

Can’t pay for everything in full? Take advantage of their interest free Layaway Plan.

For just $125 down, you can plan your next Disneyland vacation. With so much to see and do at the Disneyland Resort, you won’t want to miss out on any of the fun!

To book your  Disneyland vacation today, visit getawaytoday.com or call 855-GET-AWAY to speak to one of their travel experts directly.

Plus, don’t forget to mention promo code OpenSuitcase for an additional $10 off your hotel and tickets vacation package. Let them know that An Open Suitcase sent you!

Get Away Today is a full-service travel agency. They are happy to help you save the most on your vacations to the Walt Disney World® Resort, Hawaii and Mexico. They also offer a world of savings on cruises, guided tours and packages with partners, Southwest Vacations, FunJet Vacations, Universal Parks and Resorts Vacations, and United Vacations, to name a few.

Visit Get Away Today now before these Disneyland Resort packages are all gone!




Grammy’s Guide – One Day at WDW with a Two Year Old

When a Disney Parks media invite comes through, I usually venture from South Carolina to Orlando alone for a day or two.

My last invitation was for the new Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. My two year old grandson loves CARS. There was no hesitation in my planning. Since Disney was allowing me to bring family members, he was going.

He is a Disney baby. He just turned 2 in January and has been to Walt Disney World 5 or 6 times. He does well on car trips. The challenge was trying to decide how much we could accomplish in one day.

We left South Carolina on Tuesday morning and arrived in Orlando mid-afternoon. He had fallen asleep towards the end of our car trip and woke up just a few minutes before we arrived. As we drove under the Walt Disney World sign he yelled “Where did we go?” It’s Mickey Mouse!”

Don’t judge. Yes, I spoil my grandchildren and I am blessed to be able to afford to do it. He gets basically whatever he wants but he also understands when Grammy says no. So he does go home with lots of stuff. My grandchildren are only young once. As much as I hope to be around when they are older – there are no guarantees.

Wanting him to be fresh on Wednesday morning for his first media event, I decided to have an early night and just ventured to Disney Springs for dinner.

Dinner at Raglan Road (one of his favorites because he loves the music) followed by an amphicar ride, a little shopping at World of Disney (a Dumbo purse for his sister at home/Grammy guilt and a Star Wars toy for him) and a carousel ride closed out our travel day.

Up bright and early for a 7:45 a.m. meet-up time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios didn’t allow for a huge or lengthy breakfast. Cereal in our room was the way to go. Once we were dressed and had eaten, we hit the road to Hollywood!

We arrived, checked-in and were heading to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy by 8:15. You can read my thoughts on this new attraction HERE.

He was definitely more impressed with the cookies they gave him than with his first media credentials!

We spent the morning enjoying Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy and then set out to do a couple of his favorites – Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania in Toy Story Land.

Getting ready for Toy Story Mania!

By lunch time we were on our way to Epcot! I decided on Epcot for the rest of our day because on his last trip for his birthday in January we skipped Epcot and did multiple Magic Kingdom days. There were several Epcot things I wanted him to see – Figment, Turtle Talk, the Land, the Seas, the Butterfly Pavilion, the topiaries – I knew he would be entertained.

Another decision I made was to drive that morning to Hollywood Studios so that when we were finished we would drive to Transportation and Ticket Center and monorail to Epcot. In January some of his favorite experiences were the monorail and the parking lot tram so Grammy of course had to make sure he did both and by parking the car at TTC we could accomplish those things.

A monorail ride can sometimes be as much fun as an attraction!

We arrived just in time for a quick lunch at Electric Umbrella before starting our fun! After making our way around Future World and the attractions there, we made our way to World Showcase.

The UK Pavilion was first where we just had to have a little Rugby ball and a walk through the garden maze. We did keep our little bull out of the tea shop with all their china cups!

On our trip around the world we sampled a giant macaroon on a stick from France and of course pop corn! The huge topiaries were a big hit for sure. Germany provided a small soccer ball and America a new bubble blower.

We made a stop for some fountain diving in Italy.

 By 3 o’clock he was in nap mode. I’m not a believer in the “go back to the resort for a nap” theory. My kids always napped in the stroller and he does too.

He had asked for a balloon several times during the day and I was a little annoyed with myself for not buying one at Hollywood Studios. I could not find a balloon anywhere in Epcot!

Grammy guilt once again kicked in so while he slept I ventured into the Mexico Pavilion looking for some of his favorite Coco items to compensate for no balloon. He was over the top excited when he woke up!

We played the drums at the Outpost, checked out the tumblers in China and before we knew it we had to head back to Italy for dinner at Via Napoli. Those pizza ovens are like an attraction in themselves!

My original plan was to judge how tired he was before deciding if we should stay for Illuminations. He had slept for 2 hours so would have been able to hold out. In the end I decided that another ride on the monorail and the parking lot tram would most likely be enough for the day and we headed out of Epcot around 7:30 (I was tired!).

We were in bed by nine, up early the next morning for a character breakfast before hitting the road back to South Carolina. Overall one day at Disney with a two year is lots of fun if you know what your two year old can handle, what they like and if you have lots of energy!

Be sure to read Grammy’s Guide to Taking Your Toddler Grandchild to WDW WITHOUT Mom and Dad!




The New Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

KA-CHOW! Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy made it’s debut on Sunday, March 31, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.

This new addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is definitely a great attraction for kids of all ages. Hollywood Studios has surely hopped up another rung in the game of attracting visitors.

I was thrilled when Disney invited me to attend a special media event to view the new show with my grandson. I knew he would love the experience, after all, what little kid doesn’t love CARS? What big kid doesn’t love CARS?

Lightning McQueen seems to be everyone’s favorite and this new show is definitely going to be a huge hit.

Add this to Toy Story Land and then the New Star Wars Land opening this summer and Hollywood Studios will definitely be the place to be when you visit Walt Disney World.

Where is it?

This new show experience invites guests into the world of Pixar Animation Studios’ Cars films as they become rookie racers and learn the rules of the road from Piston Cup Champion Lightning McQueen.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is located next to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. When you turn the bend you enter a great courtyard outside Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, where you can meet Cruz and snap a photo with the champion racer, or dance with DJ, the ultimate party on wheels.

Before entering the theater or when the race is over, you can continue to immerse themselves in the world of Cars in the courtyard since several times daily Lightning McQueen’s Pit Crew will arrive on the scene for “DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time!” that invites all the kids to gather around DJ for Cars-inspired dances and games.

At 2 years old my grandson doesn’t willingly go too far away from us so wasn’t a fan of going off to dance with the party. However most of the kids joined in and the DJ and dancers kept them all entertained and having a great time.

It’s super lively, lots of fun and definitely something you won’t want your kids to miss. Although my grandson wouldn’t go along with the great cast members that will lead the little ones by the hand, he watched from the sidelines and clapped and cheered with the other kids.

He was definitely more interested in being near the cars and not joining in with the dancing, which disappointed me a bit but kids will be kids – babes will be babes – and everyone else’s little ones were loving the dance party!

Inside the Theater

Inside you will come face to face with Lightning, live on stage.

Steven Diaz, Photographer

The theater features a 17-foot-tall wraparound screen that stretches more than 200 feet end to end, enveloping guests in high-octane fun. There is bench like seating in a semi-circle facing the front.

During the 10-minute show, Lightning shares racing knowledge gathered over the course of his illustrious career. And if there’s one thing he’s learned over the years . . . things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to.

I think the timing is ideal. Some little ones won’t always stay focused when it comes to sitting through some of the longer shows. Ten minutes is the perfect length. It’s enough time for the kids to get excited with the show and stay excited through the end.

Photo: Disney Parks – Steven Diaz, Photographer

The show definitely keeps the kids entertained. If fact, my grandson was mesmerized!

Disney Parks Live Entertainment worked closely with the creative team at Pixar to bring this completely new Cars story to life.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will run continuously throughout the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

After the Show

On the way out, the kids can join in once again in the happenings in the courtyard or stop by the Cars kiosk for some super cool Cars merchandise or head down the street to the shop on Sunset Blvd. that features Cars.

Photo Credit: T.M.Brown of Footprints in Pixie Dust

Photo Credit: T.M. Brown of Footprints in Pixie Dust

Direct from Disney

The debut of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is the latest chapter in the multi-year transformation of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which will mark its 30th anniversary on May 1.

Guests can let their adventures begin by immersing themselves in their favorite stories – they can feel like a toy in Toy Story Land or, starting Aug. 29, live their own Star Wars adventures in the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Cars Coloring Sheets

I was provided free admission to the Walt Disney World parks for myself and my family. All opinions are my own.




Walt Disney World with Large Families

Walt Disney World in Orlando is one of the most popular family vacation destinations on earth. With so many magical things to see and do, it’s the kind of trip that truly requires detailed planning in order to be a successful visit.

If you’re taking a vacation with a large family or group, you’ll want to consider some additional factors in order to get the most out of your stay.

Planning Your Itinerary

This is the first and most important task to tackle when preparing for your trip to the most magical place on earth. Walt Disney World has 8 major areas to visit:

  • Magic Kingdom 
  • EPCOT
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Blizzard Beach
  • Typhoon Lagoon
  • Disney Springs
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports

In addition, several hotels offer unique dining and character experiences, golf courses, spas, and activities that are open to all guests of Walt Disney World, regardless of where they’re staying during their vacation.

Before you plan your trip, you’ll need to decide which areas are the most important to your family.

With so many rides, attractions, shows, and parades, it’s wise to set aside two full days to experience all that Magic Kingdom has to offer. You should also give yourselves two days to visit EPCOT in order to take in the World Showcase and its numerous delicious dining options. Hollywood Studios can be seen in just one day, but that will probably change in the near future.

You’ll only need one day each to enjoy Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon but could do the best of both in the same day. Disney Springs depends on your preferences, but for most people, it should not take up more than one full day of your itinerary. Wide World of Sports depends on the event(s) you plan to attend.

Because you’re traveling with more people, it will take you longer to move throughout the park, eat your meals, and get everyone in your party on and off a ride.

You’ll also need to plan for extra time if you’re traveling during peak season or special events. Keep in mind that Walt Disney World has made several major additions and enhancements in just the past two years, including Pandora-The World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, Frozen Ever After in Epcot, and Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge (opening August 2019) in Hollywood Studios.

These much-anticipated updates are drawing larger crowds than normal, and will continue to do so as the parks add more new attractions to prepare for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.

Walt Disney World is growing so much that it’s now unrealistic for families to see and do everything during the average 5 to 7 day visit.

Once you’ve decided when to book your packages for family of 4, sit down with your group and determine which parks and attractions matter the most to your family, and consider everything else a bonus. If you have a lot of variation in age, interest, or height, it may be wise to split into groups so that no one is wasting valuable time waiting on others.

You’ll also want to make sure you factor in some downtime for rest. Most experienced visitors recommend that you plan for one day in the middle of your vacation to sleep in, relax, and enjoy the pool.

Rides and Attractions

While sitting a large group together is rarely a problem at a show, most rides in Walt Disney World are designed to seat guests in groups of 2 or 3 people at a time. If you need to seat more than two groups close together, it’s probably best to plan to split up.

Fortunately, there are many rides that work well for larger groups. Some can seat many together at one time, like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Others are slow rides with a continuously connected train that loops through the building, like Spaceship Earth.

The following rides and attractions are great options if you want everyone to stay together and ride at the same time.

Magic Kingdom

  • Jungle Cruise
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel
  • Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
  • Main Street Railroad

EPCOT

  • The Sea With Nemo and Friends
  • Spaceship Earth

Hollywood Studios

  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Animal Kingdom

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Wildlife Express Train

Don’t forget that absolutely everyone in your group should be using the FastPass+ system to cut down on wait times at the most popular rides, shows, and attractions.

You can book fast passes 30 days in advance if you’re staying off property, and 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel.

Accommodations

One of the great debates of planning a trip to Walt Disney World is whether or not to stay on property. While there are many pros and cons to both, your larger family or group will likely be more comfortable staying off property.

Disney hotels are designed to accommodate as many guests as possible and are therefore small and relatively cramped. While there are roomier options, they typically come with a very hefty price tag.

Booking packages for family of 5 at a local resort can offer multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living space. Most places offer free or discounted transportation to the parks as well. Staying off site will give your larger family more privacy, an option to save some money by preparing healthier meals, and more space to relax.

Dining

If you’re planning to sit down at a restaurant in Walt Disney World, you’re going to need advance reservations, whether you’re seating two people or twenty. The good news is, this makes virtually every restaurant a possibility for your family!

However, you’re going to need to book as early as possible, as it will be more difficult to find room to fit everyone in your group. Whether it’s their large tables, spacious layout, or buffet menu, here are some of the best restaurant choices for large families at Walt Disney World.

  • Ohana at Polynesian Resort
  • Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary Resort
  • The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom
  • Askershus Royal Banquet Hall at EPCOT
  • Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios
  • Tusker House at Animal Kingdom

If you’re unsure whether or not a certain restaurant is a good choice for your large group, call instead of booking your reservation online and be sure to ask what the seating arrangements are like. They may be able to seat you at the same time, but not near one another, which could impact your decision.

Once you’ve decided to book a trip to Walt Disney World with your large family, start planning immediately. With some thorough preparation, you can keep things running smoothly while enjoying the trip of a lifetime and creating lasting memories with the people you love most.