In case you missed it, a lot of galactic construction dust is about to settle at Walt Disney World this fall, and Disney is helping the early bird catch the worm.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s largest and, reportedly, most expensive single-themed land expansion in history, opened at Disneyland on May 31 and opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World on Aug. 29. Disney appears to be doing everything it can to try to manage the impending throngs at Walt Disney World, starting with letting people into the parks at the crack of dawn.
That’s right — set your alarms because, starting Aug. 29, you’ll be able to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios and make a mad (er, orderly) dash to the gates of Galaxy’s Edge at 6 a.m. Totally unrelated to Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll also be able to enter Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks at 7 a.m.
Disney has long offered Extra Magic Hours as a special perk at no additional cost to guests staying onsite at official Walt Disney World Resorts. Historically, Extra Magic Hours have been offered either mornings or evenings before or after official park opening times on select days at rotating parks. But, beginning Sept. 1, Disney resort guests with valid park admission will now be able to enter select parks even earlier for Extra, Extra Magic Hours.
How to Take Advantage of Extra, Extra Magic Hours
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
From Sept. 1–Nov. 2, Hollywood Studios will offer Extra, Extra Magic Hours from 6-9 a.m. This will include access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (subject to capacity), Toy Story Land and select other attractions. Note: From Aug. 29–31, Hollywood Studios will open at 6 a.m. to all guests, regardless of whether they have a Disney Resort reservation.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
From Aug. 29–Nov. 2, Extra, Extra Magic Hours will be from 7–8 a.m. and will feature access to Pandora: The World of Avatar as well as other select attractions, which are the same attractions currently included in standard Extra Magic Hours.
From Aug. 29–Nov. 2, from 7–8 a.m., Extra, Extra Magic Hours will give Disney resort guests access to the same Fantasyland and Tomorrowland attractions currently included in standard Extra Magic Hours.
Extra, Extra Magic Hours will not be offered at Epcot, but the park will still have Extra Magic Hours on select days.
Who Gets Access To These Hours?
Guest staying at Disney resort hotels with valid park admission are eligible to take advantage of Extra, Extra Magic hours. The benefit is also open to guests at the following additional resorts: Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, Shades of Green Resort, Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
If I Get There At 6am, Am I Guaranteed Access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
Not necessarily. The highly anticipated Star Wars-themed land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is expected to draw unprecedented crowds. If you don’t want to miss your chance to head to a galaxy far, far away as soon as it opens, making sure you’re at the park gates well before the 6 a.m. opening will be your best shot at getting yourself in the land. By the way, the attractions and experiences that have so far proven most popular at Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland are Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Savi’s Workshop–Handbuilt Lightsabers and Oga’s Cantina, in case you’re wondering where to go first.
Keeping the Crowds At Bay
In addition to offering extended park opening hours, Disney is taking other measures to address the crowds. This week, Disney announced massive and unprecedented price hikes to many tiers of annual passes, by as much as 25% for some passes. This could have the effect of driving some to less expensive passes that are subject to more blackout dates, helping to ease crowds at the busiest times. Parking prices at resort hotels also went up this week.
Would you wake up at 4 a.m. on vacation to get into the new Star Wars Land?