Disney's new Star Wars land, called Galaxy's Edge, is a buzzy destination spot for 2019. Whether you're planning a trip, or just curious about how, exactly, one navigates a galaxy far, far away with kids in tow, I did the (literal) legwork to find out everything you need to know—and pack—to survive a day at Galaxy's Edge.
What is Disney's Star Wars land?
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge brings to life the settlement of Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, a destination for "traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space". Even if you're not a die-hard Star Wars fan, there's plenty at Galaxy's Edge to keep you engaged. The minute you take your first steps into the land, you're transported to a place where towering rock formations—meant to be petrified trees—compose the landscape, and fascinating creatures wander the paths and interact with guests. The Millenium Falcon is parked at a "docking bay" in the middle of the action, and the sheer size of it is a marvel.
Our tips for visiting Star Wars land
The difference between a terrific and a terrible day at Disneyland comes down to one thing: The crowds. If the park is packed, pushing a stroller—especially a double one—through the throngs of people is a nightmare. Before you buy plane tickets, book your hotel room, or request time off, spend a few minutes checking your potential travel dates on Is it packed. The site uses real-time and historical attendance data to estimate how crowded Disneyland (and other amusement parks) will be on any given day. I did my research and selected a Wednesday that was labeled "Hey it's alright" and "Best bet", and it worked out perfectly.
Once you've decided on optimal dates, download the Disneyland App, through which you can purchase tickets, make dining reservations, and find out up-to-the-minute information on getting in to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. While you don't need to purchase a separate admission ticket to get into the newest themed land—a single-park Disneyland ticket gets you in—if Galaxy's Edge gets too crowded, you'll have to join a timed "boarding group" in order to gain entry. When we visited the park we were able to enter Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at our leisure, and I've been tracking it on the app since then and have yet to see a day when timed entry is required. That being said, plan to make Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge your first destination upon entering the park so you can maximize your time on the planet of Batuu.
Currently, Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is the only ride that's open in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Kids have to be at least 38" tall to ride—my five year old made the cut—but everyone in the family will love the flight-simulator that takes riders through space, dodging meteors and enemy ships. I was concerned that my kids would be scared by the three-minute ride, but the rocking and rolling of the seats proved to be more a source of fun than fear. While Smuggler's Run doesn't offer a fast pass option, we all agreed that it was worth the 45-minute wait time. Plus, the cast members in their creative costumes were friendly, and interacted with the kids when they got antsy.
There aren't a lot of other kid-friendly activities in Galaxy's Edge, and those that do appeal to children have prices that don't appeal to parents on a budget. Visitors can build their own lightsabers at Savi's Workshop, but advanced reservations are required, and the cost of a custom saber starts at $200. At Droid Depot you can build your own Droid, but the lines can be long, and the price starts at $99. If your kids are little enough that they are likely to break a fancy lightsaber before you even get home, skip the custom-made options and select souveneirs from one of the many shops located in Merchant's Row. The Toydarian Toy Maker stall offers stuffed creatures, tin toys, and wooden instruments that have the most appeal to young visitors.
Much of the buzz surrounding Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge has centered around Oga's Cantina, the only place in Disneyland Park where visitors can enjoy alcoholic beverages. As part of my deep-dive investigation into all things Galaxy's Edge, we, of course, had to check it out. Even on the not-so-busy day that we were there, only guests with reservations were being allowed inside. Reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance, or you can snag one of the same-day spots that get released at 7am each morning. We did the same-day option, and had our choice of times, but I made it a point to go online right at 7am.
Here's the bad news about Oga's cantina: if you're visiting Galaxy's Edge with your kids, this is not the place to take them. We lucked out and got seated at an actual table, but the majority of the seating options are bar-height tables paired with high stools that are decidedly not ideal (and downright dangerous) for a wiggly toddler. The snack options at Oga's are limited and were not kid-friendly by any stretch of the imagination, though the adult beverages were a refreshing, if overpriced, treat. We ordered a Blue Bantha for each of our kids (I tried to get them to share, but they're six and five, so no sale) which is basically just a big glass of non-dairy, coconut and pineapple-flavored blue milk with a fancy cookie on top. Blue Milk is, in the words of my kindergartner, "blech", so those were a big waste of $13 each. Skip Oga's cantina unless you can ditch the kids with a babysitter and head back to the park for some adults-only time after dark. If you want to try Blue (or Green) milk, you can get it at the Milk Stand—no reservations or fancy cookies required.
What to bring to Star Wars land
1. A portable battery pack
The Disneyland App is a must-have in order to join a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge boarding group, and to keep track of fast passes as well as any pictures snapped by official Disney photogs. Unfortunately, it also rapidly drains your phone battery. Don't risk running out of battery life only an hour or two after entering the park: Bring along the Anker PowerCore+ Mini. One of the year's best portable battery packs, the Anker CorePower+ is the size of a tube of lipstick, but it holds enough juice to fully charge a cellphone.
2. The best stroller
Even if your kids are older and used to walking everywhere, you need a stroller. My kids are six-and-a-half and five, and they normally walk miles without complaint, but Disneyland is big, often scorchingly hot, and tends to cause sensory overload for small (and large) humans. Disneyland instituted new stroller guidelines this year, and they will not let you into the park with a stroller that's larger than 31" x 52". Our top-rated stroller, the City Mini GT2, meets Disneyland's new size requirements, and you'll be grateful for how easy it is to maneuver if the park is crowded. I brought along the double version, the City Mini GT Double, which also meets the size guidelines and has all of the features that won me over about the City Mini GT2.
If you're traveling a long distance to get to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, it can be tempting to leave your stroller at home with the idea of renting one at Disneyland. Please do not do this to yourself or your children. The rental strollers at Disneyland are hard, molded-plastic seats with wheels. They do not have storage space, they do not recline for naps on the go, and they are not comfortable for the rider. I know how much of a pain it can be to travel with a giant stroller, but you will not regret bringing it along. At the very least you'll be grateful to have the storage basket for stashing all of your Star Wars branded merchandise.
3. Our favorite water bottle
If you're planning to visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge any time between August and November, expect it to be hot—at least 85 degrees. Bring along a Hydro Flask for every member of your family, and take advantage of my favorite feature in Galaxy's Edge: Built-in water bottle filling stations. The 21oz Hydro Flask is big enough that it holds a lot of water, but not so ungainly or heavy that it's a pain to carry around. I do suggest ordering the sport top for your kids, as the standard wide-mouth design can be difficult for them to use.
Also worth noting: there aren't any water stations in the rest of the park, so it's wise to top-off your water bottles before leaving Galaxy's Edge in order to avoid having to purchase bottled water later in the day when everyone is parched.
4. Plenty of sunscreen
The temperate climate in Southern California means that there's a very good chance that it will be hot on the day you visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. October is often the hottest month here, so don't leave home without a bottle of dermatologist-approved sunscreen. Slather everybody up first thing in the morning before you leave your hotel or house, and be sure to reapply throughout the day. We used Blue Lizard kids, but Black Girl Kids sunscreen is also a great choice if you have a child with darker skin. Whichever product you use, don't forget to toss it in the bottom of your stroller so that you have it handy for periodic reapplication.
5. My favorite fanny pack
When you're on the go with kids in crowded public spaces, having your hands free to push a stroller, hold snacks and hang on to a kid (or two) is a must. Toting a heavy shoulder bag is not going to cut it for a long day at Disneyland, but a fanny pack will keep all of your credit cards, cash, and park entry tickets within easy reach. I've been using my Clare V. Fannypack for years, and I love that it's practical yet chic at the same time. It's an investment piece, for sure, but I use it far more often than I initially thought I would, and it looks great worn as a shoulder bag as well.
6. A portable sound machine
If you have a child who still naps every day, catching z's on the go—especially at Disneyland—can be challenging. Bring along the portable version of one of our top-rated sound machines and clip it to your stroller to help your little one nap peacefully amidst all the excitement. The Marpac Rohm Portable White Noise Machine is cordless (it charges via USB) and it offers three different sound settings: Bright white noise, deep white noise, and gentle surf. Settle your exhausted kid into her fully-reclined stroller, lower the canopy, and crank up the sound machine to help her drift off to nap time dreamland. The Rohm is also a good item to pack if you're staying at a hotel where the unfamiliar noises have the potential for disturbing a child's slumber. Trust me, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is far more enjoyable when everyone is well rested.
7. Super comfortable shoes
No matter where you stay or how well you plan it, a day at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge involves a ton of walking. Forgo your usual flats or flip-flops, and wear a pair of Allbirds instead. The lightweight sneakers are incredibly comfortable, yet they look far more stylish than a standard pair of running shoes. I wore mine for our whirlwind Disneyland day—over the course of which I walked 5.6 miles—and my feet were not aching by the end of the day. The fact that they're washable is another huge plus, as there's a relatively high probability that at least one of your children will spill an entire cup of Blue Milk on your shoes.
8. A kid-approved hand sanitizer
While I'm normally a big proponent of letting kids get dirty, when it comes to public places with lots of people and little kids who like to touch everything, I don't leave home without my favorite hand sanitizer. I have a weird texture issue with traditional gel sanitizers (the sliminess really creeps me out), so I'm a devoté of Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray. It comes in compact 2oz bottles that easily fit in my fanny pack, it's not super-drying, and the range of scents—lavender, grapefruit, and coastal surf—are appealing to adults and children alike. A quick spritz before snacks or meals ensures that we aren't consuming too many unwanted germs.
9. My children's favorite bandages
I have yet to take an outing with my children where someone doesn't end up needing a bandage. Sometimes, it's an injury that's invisible to everyone's eye except that of the wounded child, but regardless, you're going to need to pack a stash of bandage. A day at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge involves so much walking and heat that there's a very good chance someone will end up with a blister. My kids are enamored with Welly's metal tins full of colorful fabric bandages. A tin of gender-neutral monster bandages will come in handy for any injuries sustained at the park, or to keep your kids entertained while waiting in line for Smuggler's Run.
10. A mess-free activity
There is a general consensus that kids do not like waiting, and parents do not like listening to them whine about waiting. Keep everyone occupied no matter how long the lines, with Water Wow! activity pads. Each spiral-bound book comes with a refillable water pen, and as kids "color" with the pen, the pages reveal images. Once the water dries, the pages turn white again, enabling kids to reuse them indefinitely. The six-pack of Water Wow! pads offers something for everyone: Younger kids will enjoy the books featuring colorful images, while children who are older can practice their pre-reading and math skills with the Numbers and Alphabet options.
11. A way to keep your camera handy
One of the best aspects of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is that it's teeming with characters. From Storm Troopers to Chewbacca to Kylo Ren, you're bound to run into at least one of the famous residents of Wild Space—and you don't want to miss a shot of your child willingly smiling because you were trying to locate your phone in the depths of your purse. Keep your phone and camera within easy reach by wearing it across your body in a Bandolier. The high-quality leather phone cases are available for different brands and sizes of phones, and they have adjustable (and removable) straps. There's even a slim pocket on the back where you can stash a driver's license and a credit card.
12. A package (or two) of baby wipes
Even though I no longer have kids who wear diapers, I still bring a pack of Water Wipes with me whenever we go anywhere that involves a long day and the potential for sticky treats. Water Wipes are made with just water and a drop of fruit extract—they smell like grapefruit—so they're a chemical-free way to wipe up dirty faces or spilled ice cream.
13. Hats for everyone
Disney's version of the planet of Batuu is breathtaking, but it does not offer a lot of shade. Don't let a sunburned nose be one of the souveniers you bring home from Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge—pack hats for every member of your family. My kids insisted on wearing their Disneyland baseball caps that were purchased on an earlier trip to the park, but if I had less willful children I would've forced them to wear their wide-brimmed sun hats. All of our favorite hats are easy to pack, and don't get bent completely out of shape from being squashed into a suitcase or a backpack. My daughter is particularly fond of her pink Hgge sun hat because it has an opening for her ponytail.
14. Extra clothing
I've learned from experience that when kids are involved it's never a good idea to go anywhere without a spare set of clothing. Whether it's a potty accident, a vomit incident, or just a spilled lemonade, nothing ruins a day as quickly as a child screaming about being uncomfortable. Disneyland offers lots of amenities—nursing rooms, lockers, perpetually clean and stocked bathrooms—but they do not hand out extra clothing to pukey toddlers. Label a ziplock bag for each child in your family, and stock it with clean underwear, socks, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Toss the bags in your stroller to have on hand for the inevitable incident, and use the ziplock bag to safely contain the dirty clothes until you get home. I like H&M both for their reasonably-priced kids clothing, and the fact that they'll give you 15% off your purchase if you recycle your used textiles.
15. Lots of snacks
I'm sure there are magical unicorn children who do not complain about being hungry every 20 minutes, but I have yet to meet them. If your kids are anything like mine, you're going to want to bring along a selection of tried-and-true snacks, both to appease your constantly-hungry children, and to save yourself from spending a lot of money on overpriced junk food. I always pack a few bags of crunchy apple chips, seaweed, and popcorn to keep my kids from getting "hangry". The food options in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge are not particularly kid-friendly, so unless you have a child who is an adventurous eater and won't throw a fit when presented with "Yobshrimp Noodle Salad", you would be wise to bring sandwiches for your kids. Our round-up of the best lunch coolers offers plenty of options for keeping perishable snacks and sandwiches fresh.
16. A portable nightlight
If you're planning to stay at a hotel with your kids during your Disneyland visit, don't forget to pack a small nightlight. While I appreciate the highly effective blackout curtains offered at most hotels, they make the rooms so dark that kids who are used to sleeping with a nightlight often get scared. We used the eufy Lumi Plug-in nightlights for our Disneyland overnight, because they're small and easy to toss into a suitcase, and I like that they only come on when the room gets dark, so you don't end up wasting a lot of electricity. Order the two pack, and plug one light into the bathroom and the second one into the bedroom outlet to keep kids feeling safe—and to light the way for any middle-of-the-night potty trips.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.