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Disneyland - December 2019 - GALAXY'S EDGE
This review will be short, only because I do tend to visit Disneyland often. This trip was super special because it was our first time to experience Galaxy's Edge, the new Star Wars Themed Land, located just to the left/behind of Fantasyland! We were staying at the Disney Grand Californian Resort, so we had early entrance to the park. Galaxy's Edge is not open during the Magic Hours; however, just being IN the park before Galaxy's Edge opens up puts you way ahead of the crowds. We did a few of the attractions in the park that were open between 8-9am and headed to the "rope drop" area just between Fantasyland & Galaxy's Edge about 850am. Once the rope dropped we headed straight to the line for the Millenium Falcon-Smuggler's Run, at the time of our visit this was the only attraction open in Galaxy's Edge. They have since opened up the second attraction, Rise of the Resistance. I have not experienced this yet, though Lisa from my office has and she said it's absolutely amazing!
Millenium Falcon Smuggler's Run was pretty darn awesome. We waited a total of maybe 20 minutes for this ride first thing in the morning. You ride 6 in a car, there were 6 of us in our party, so we had a car to ourselves. Our youngest Pilot (our Goddaughter) was a little nervous in line because she does not like fast or scary rides. The fear of the unknown is real with this one!! We showed her a YouTube video in line and she was a little more at ease, but still had the death grip on my husband's hand until we got on the ride. Once the ride was done, she was ear to ear smiles and said it was now her favorite ride. However, seeing as the wait time for Star Tours is much shorter, she's OK with not being able to ride Smuggler's Run repeatedly like she does with Star Tours! The good news, sometime early 2020, Smuggler's Run will be available via the FAST PASS system, so this is VERY good news!! We were able to ride Smuggler's Run on our last day when we were in Disneyland again first thing in the morning.
The other note-worthy experience in Galaxy's Edge is a visit to Oga's Cantina. You need to make reservations as space is limited and once you are seated you are limited to a two drink minimum so that they can manage the crowds & demand to check the place out. It's straight out of Star Wars, playing the same funky music that you hear in the movie. Drink menu is exotic as well, I will say that the wine was good. They only had 2 reds and 2 whites, but we were OK with our selections...and we're a tough crowd! We ordered a charcuterie board for a snack since we had late dinner scheduled.
Though we have our favorite things to do in and out of the Parks, I do try to experience something different on each visit. We decided on our 2nd day after spending a morning at California Adventure, pretty much riding all of the key rides we had a reservation for 1145am Character Brunch at Storyteller's Cafe inside the Grand Californian Hotel. This was MOST EXCELLENT! It was not super crowded, the characters came around often and spent lots of time at each table. The food selections were abundant, lots of options for both breakfast and lunch and many cultural options. We enjoyed a long meal (they never rushed us out) & we were all ready for a little afternoon nap with a plan to head back to the park for our 5pm FAST PASS for Toy Story Mania! We could not have planned this any better, the ONLY rain that we had during this trip was between the hours of 130pm-430pm this afternoon, while we were all snoozing! We spent the evening in California Adventure and then after dinner headed back to the special balcony access at the Grand to view World of Color. No crowds, we had our own bottle of wine & enjoyed the show!
Of course, we love Christmas and we love Christmas in the parks. Always so festive and beautiful. I can't stress enough the importance of Disney's MAX PASS, makes life so easy to manage your ride schedule and having all of your Digital photos helps to keep the memories alive!!
We tried a few other new to us dining venues. We had dinner at Tortilla Joe's one night and their food was VERY good, the tableside Guacamole was so tasty, the serving sizes for everything are huge, so really consider sharing plates. Our last day we had lunch at Splitsville, which is new. It's a bowling alley/sports bar/restaurant combination venue and the food & service were both very good. We had a very nice lunch before heading to the airport.
We did re-visit Naples Italian restaurant again and it was very good. We also had dinner at Napa Rose our first evening and it was quite disappointing. Service was good, but we felt that for the price you pay here, the food was just not that good.
Everyone knows that Disney anything is EXPENSIVE, it just is what it is. People pay it, so they will keep charging the prices that the market with withstand. We tried something new & this is a huge wallet saving hack! Before we left home, I placed an order with Total Wines & More. I ordered two cases of water and a few bottles of wine to be delivered to the hotel. BRILLIANT!! We had waters for the room, we would put 3- bottles in our backpacks when heading to the parks. One case was cheaper than buying one bottle of water in the park! You do the math! Wine in the evening before getting ready for dinner or after dinner for $20/bottle vs. $15/glass-- yes please!! When you're driving to Southern California, you can pack your car with these things & I've seen lots of people drive up to the resorts and unload their cars with coolers, cases of water, etc. But when you fly down and don't rent a car, you're sort of stuck at the resort which is fine considering you are not needing a car to go anywhere, this hotel delivery idea was perfect!