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“It’s been 84 years…” 

Not really, in reality it’s only been 2-3 years, but it’s honestly felt like an eternity waiting to FINALLY see Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World in the flesh. I spent that entire time dodging spoilers to make sure my first experience would be a pure one, filled with childlike wonder and awe that only the combination of Disney Imagineers and Star Wars could bring me. 

This past weekend, I was able to feel all that, and more. 

Let me start from the beginning: My friends and I arrived at the Caribbean Beach Resort around 10:00 on Thursday night, and we all proceeded to sleep horribly. While the room itself was fine, we were all silently freezing to death, and each of us thought the other was just fine, so we tried to suck it up- instead of just changing the damn thermostat. I also slept horribly due to an upset stomach, so I awoke Friday morning to an extremely sore neck and running on 4-5 hours of sleep. 

Virtual Queue Anxiety

No matter, we diligently logged onto the MyDisneyExperience app at 6:56 AM to prepare for the absolute chaos that is part of the attempt to get a much coveted boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. I am not exaggerating when I say all groups were taken before the clock on our phones even hit 7:01. We were a little discouraged, but we knew we’d get to try again in the afternoon, so we continued to prep for our day and pack our bags (as we only booked the hotel for that night). 

We got to breakfast later than intended, which led to us getting to the skyliner later than intended (after walking all the way to the Riviera skyliner station and needing to get off at Caribbean Beach in order to get to Hollywood Studios) which meant we got to the park, also later than intended. No matter, we were finally there, magic bands at the ready, aaaaaaaaand because I had just renewed my annual pass, I had to wait at guest services while they sorted it out. 

Once that was done with, we checked the app and saw Smuggler’s Run was only a 45 minute wait, so we made our way to that section of the park, fully prepared to just cry as soon as I saw the Millennium Falcon in person. My friend who had been before took me “the long way” there so I could “get the full effect”. And dear reader, I got the full effect. 

Nothing could have prepared my little nerd heart for seeing the actual freaking Millennium Falcon in person. After having my birthday trip to the park cancelled two years ago due to Disney closing for Covid  (and every trip I tried to plan to Galaxy’s Edge thereafter), I felt tears start to flow freely from my eyes, thankfully hidden by my mask and sunglasses. 

Dream Come True

I mean, how do you prepare yourself for something you’ve been dreaming of since you were 7-8 years old? The sheer size of it, how real it looks. Seeing the blaster marks, hearing it power up and then power down, and envisioning Chewie walking down the ramp for repairs, I was truly in awe that this ship existed in front of my very eyes, even if “it’s only a ride”. 

My friends and I had this goal for the trip, I wanted to be the pilot on Smuggler’s Run (as I’ve mentioned before, I’m Han Solo to my friends), I wanted to make the jump to lightspeed, and I wanted to get us on Rise of the Resistance. After a very quick wait (more like 25 minutes than the listed 45) we were put into our groups, and I got to see the inside of the Falcon as I’d always wanted to see it. I very quickly snapped my photo sitting at the chess board, and then, oh then. I was informed not only did I get to be a pilot, I got to be the right side pilot, who gets to make the jump to lightspeed. 

As for the actual ride, it was so SO much fun. I got to fly the Millennium Falcon with my best friends in the world, so it didn’t even matter that we only got one of the coaxium containers, we didn’t completely fail and we didn’t wreck the ship!! Due to my motion sickness I was worried I’d get sick, but it didn’t affect me at all. Whether that was because it didn’t upset my stomach, or because I was entirely too focused on piloting, I can’t be sure. 

After the absolute high from piloting the Falcon, we got to walk around and check out the shops for a while, and try out the blue milk. I thoroughly enjoyed the blue mlik (I ordered the non-alcoholic version for my first time around) and would gladly order it again the next time I’m there. As we were waiting in line to enter the marketplace, my 12:55 alarm rang, and we quite literally felt the anxiety in the air. There were a few groups around us counting down the minutes and going over their game plan for who’s going to try to get a boarding group for Rise and who’s the backup, etc. God bless the woman in the group across from us, because she counted down for all of us- 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minutes, 30 seconds, 10 seconds… and…. WE GOT IT!!!!!!! 

Image of the virtual queue confirmation for "Rise of the Resistance" for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

A Star Wars Celebration

I am not exaggerating when I say you would have thought we had just won something, or someone’s team had just won an important game. People were literally yelling and cheering, high-fiving and hugging all through the little marketplace area. Everyone was so happy for each other, it was genuinely amazing to see everyone so jubilant with the knowledge that they’d be able to experience that ride when entry is never guaranteed each time you try. 

If you’re ever contemplating if Rise of the Resistance is worth all of the effort, please allow me to assure you that it most definitely is. I won’t spoil anything for those who want a pure experience, but the pre-show alone was so freaking fantastic, and we got the cut down version of it (which we found out the day after). 

If you’re trying to get a boarding group for Rise, what worked for us was having 2 people have the app open, one person actively hitting “join” and the other on standby for if that person couldn’t get in. Having too many of us try at once for the 7:00AM groups did not work in our favor. The other bit of advice I’d give is don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the 7:00 groups, once you’re in Hollywood Studios only people in the park at that time are able to try for the 1:00, and you stand a much better chance at getting a group. 

After that, another true miracle occurred that day: after checking for months, and even checking not 5 minutes before, we were able to snag a reservation at the Sci-Fi drive-in restaurant- which we had NEVER been able to pull off, in years of Disney trips. We also discovered the source of our luck in the moments after the reservation was made: 

It was George Lucas’s birthday. 

We attribute our great luck against ALL odds that day to it being George Lucas’s birthday. We had an absolutely amazing trip, even after being late all morning and not having a fastpass or reservation of any kind to our names. 

Blue Milk at Galaxy's Edge in front of a wall with a control panel
Blue milk in Galaxy’s Edge

Galaxy’s Edge was truly magical. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, it literally felt like nothing else in the world to be able to inhabit that universe for even a few hours. Hollywood Studios has always been my favorite park (may the Great Movie Ride rest in peace), but now I’ve got another reason to keep coming back, and even spending entire days just in Galaxy’s Edge; between the rides, the food, and just the ambience, the experience of being there surrounded by a LOT of other people who you can tell as just as excited to be there as you are. 

Selected quote: “Never tell me the odds!” 

By Hannah

Lover of all things geeky.

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