Our second day in the parks was the day that we decided to try to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. We had heard from friends that it was absolutely impossible to get a spot on the ride if you aren't in the park before the park opens so we figured using our extra magic morning meant that we'd have no problem getting a spot.
OK, for anyone who hasn't taken a shot at this, let me break it down for you:
/// Rise of the Resistance opened on January 17 at Disneyland and it's going to be very popular for a very very long time so they have a totally different system for getting people on the ride. Instead of lining up, you need to join a virtual boarding group through the app and when your boarding group is called you have a two-hour window to show up at the ride and get your space in line.
/// In order to join a virtual boarding group, you need to be in Disneyland park using the app and have all the tickets you want to add to the boarding group also be in Disneyland park. That means you can't run off to the park and get a spot for nine other people who aren't in the park yet.
/// They run out of virtual boarding groups fast...basically as soon as the park opens...because everyone in the park hits the "join boarding group" button as soon as the park officially opens. If you had been five minutes late into the park when we were there, you wouldn't have been able to ride.
/// There is no standby line for Rise of the Resistance.
/// There is no MaxPass/FastPass for Rise of the Resistance or Millennium Falcon - Smuggler's Run, the other ride in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. So paying for MaxPass won't help you get on those rides.
/// It's not hard to get on Millennium Falcon. The highest wait time we ever saw was an hour and by the evening it's usually around a 30-minute wait. That ride also has a single rider line.
/// You can Rider Swap for both of these attractions if you have a baby.
Anyway, we got into Disneyland early using our early magic morning, although they do open the park a half-hour early for everyone who wants to stand around Main Street U.S.A. and, as I mentioned above, that's pretty much the only way to get a spot on the ride.
Since we had access to the early open attractions, we went up to ride Dumbo. I was excited about this one because Felix had never ridden and his reaction did not disappoint.
We got off Dumbo at 8:56 so I stood in the stroller parking with the app open waiting for the clock to tick over to 9:00 AM so I could join a boarding group with the seven tickets linked to my account. I wasn't too worried even though I'd heard all the hype because I was ready and waiting and we'd heard that you were guaranteed to ride as long as your boarding group was 80 or less (assuming the ride didn't break down).
At exactly 9 AM, I hit the button and got my boarding group. 79. We had just barely made our goal cut-off.
After Dumbo we rode Casey Jr's Train and we ended up in the little monkey car with a man who didn't want to ride with his family. It turned out that his in-laws weren't in the park early enough so when he went to join a boarding group, he got an error and had to go back and deselect those two tickets before he could join a group. He was in boarding group 156. I'm not going to say that he was ready to ask for a divorce but his wife and kids were in the caboose and he was with us so...
We finally made our way over to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to check out the new land even though we knew our boarding group wouldn't be called for a very long time.
The land is very beautiful. It's very large. It's overwhelming when you first walk in and it's hard to know where to look because there are so many cool things going on. I think it's a great addition to Disneyland.
That being said...
It's not my best most favorite. It's sooooo geeky. The vast majority of details are designed for super fans and I so love that about it but it also does feel like I'm excluded from most of the magic because I just can't appreciate it in the same way. It's lovely, but I don't get about 60% of it and that's kind of a lot. And it's expensive because it's Disney and Star Wars and brand new and they can charge whatever they want.
Kyle was in heaven. Calvin was right behind him. The rest of us were pretty satisfied with a quick look around. We didn't try to ride the Millennium Falcon ride because the wait time is the worst in the morning, apparently, so after we did some window shopping and Calvin got some blue milk, we headed out toward Critter Country.
We did Winnie the Pooh and then, for some reason, we decided that Splash Mountain would be a good idea and that we should definitely take Calvin with us, so Kyle, Calvin, my stepfather, and I all went over and MaxPassed Splash Mountain. This was a poor life choice on many levels.
(1) Calvin was simply not prepared for the roller-coaster moments.
(2) We got all the wet. So much water on our clothing.
(3) It was still early in the morning.
My mom very kindly bought Calvin new (dry) pants but the rest of us had to be soggy for quite a while and Calvin doesn't ever want to ride Splash Mountain again because he remembers it as scary. Also, Kyle and I were so distracted trying to talk him through the ride that I feel like we didn't really get to enjoy it. Considering this is one of our favorite attractions, that was a bummer because we didn't ride it again on this trip.
After Splash Mountain we grabbed lunch at New Orleans which is normally great but it took us 30 minutes to get a safe lunch for Eva that was ultimately underwhelming and potentially not that safe. We did get some not-Eva-safe beignets for the rest of us and a mint julep for me (a must-have).
We went to Pirates of the Caribbean next and accidentally lied to our children, telling them that there were no slides of any kind and the whole ride is slow and easy. As it turns out, there are two sizable slides which gave us just enough time to completely lose credibility because we went down one, told the complaining kids that that was the only, and then immediately went down the other. Parenting is hard. At least Felix loved that ride because of the skeletons. That kid has a macabre streak we haven't really figured out yet.
As long as we were on a roll with freaking out our kids and losing credibility, we lied to both of the olders and told them that Indiana Jones was a no-big-deal ride. This was a lie but we wanted them to try it. They didn't enjoy it but I think they were pretty proud of themselves that they rode it so I'll call that a win.
We were all a little wiped after Indiana Jones and the day was getting pretty warm so we went back to my parents' room at The Grand Californian for a little break. It was so nice to be able to do this and their hotel room was very comfortable! I love the little fold-down twin kid bed and Felix got a pretty solid nap while we were all resting.
Our boarding group for Rise of the Resistance wasn't called until that evening so by the time we went back to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge it looked different. We had some confusion trying to figure out Rider Switch (I have no advice beyond saying that you should just say "rider switch" loudly to absolutely everyone when you're trying to get in line) but eventually we figured out how to get five of us in line. The line took about a half-hour and had some moments where it could have been claustrophobic but we actually moved pretty consistently so I never felt stuck. Eva had time to get herself a little freaked out about riding (again, we had lost all credibility at this point) but since there was nowhere for her to go, she was stuck with us.
Ok, this ride. I'm not going to describe it for people who haven't been on it because I don't want to ruin anything. I will say that I wasn't that enthused about riding it because I like Star Wars but I'm not a superfan.
You guys. This attraction was hands down the best ride I've ever been on. It blew my mind. I feel like my jaw was dropped for the whole thing. It's amazing.
My mom was waiting outside with Felix for about an hour for us and when we finally made it back out to her we convinced her to use the rider swap pass to ride. Rider swap lets you take two people with you and we also had a boarding group place that hadn't been scanned because of Felix so Kyle, Calvin, and my parents were all able to ride. Eva liked the ride but was more than happy to skip the second time and I plopped her skinny bum in the double stroller and pushed Eva and Felix to Toontown.
We had prepped Felix for Disneyland by telling him four million times that he was going to get to see Mickey Mouse's house. This backfired wildly because Mickey's house was the only thing he ever asked to do at Disneyland and he asked coooooonstantly. So, I was happy to get it checked off our list. Between you and me, I hate Toontown. It's like being stuck on one of those 25 cent rides outside the grocery store. It seems fun but mostly you just don't want to touch anything because everything is sticky.
Felix was not disappointed. He and Eva had a blast exploring the houses. That's definitely the time to go if you don't care about seeing the characters because it was practically deserted in the dark.
We were done with the park after that and decided to head back to The Grand Californian for dinner. I figured that there would be safe food for Eva available because it's the upscale resort. Nope. No safe food in sight. We checked all the restaurants, room service, etc., and then we packed the kids up and walked the mile back to our resort to eat Spaghettios. Ultimately, this was probably the best plan because we were tired and it was almost ten o'clock but it was a bit of an anticlimactic way to end the day.
(Hey, side note - I'm totally cringy about every single one of these photos of myself because weight and age and hair and blah BUT I'm challenging myself to show up more in my own story and in my kids' memories so it's going to be the year of awkward selfies and random photos of me and my mom body.)