Updated: Thanks to blogger Trips With Tykes for additional information on this.
Disney fans rejoice! A few days ago, Disneyland Resort announced the opening of its most hotly anticipated expansion yet- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While previously rumored to be premiering later this summer, Disneyland’s early launch date of May 31st has given those of us with some flexibility the chance to visit the area before most others get a chance to get in.
How do we do that? Visit early. The earlier, the better.
No seriously, hear me out. Disneyland’s early launch of the land is likely acting as a beta test for the park. With only one of its two major attractions opening in May, it would make sense that they’re looking to shake out any possible flaws prior to its complete opening at the end of June. This early launch means that the only way to get into Star Wars land from May 31st to June 23rd is via a reservation. And to date, the only guaranteed way to get a reservation is via a room booked at the Disneyland Resort. While Disneyland’s page does state that non-resort guests will be able to make a reservation in an as-yet unannounced manner, the ability to book a room now means an early in at the reservation game over non-resort guests.
After June 23rd? It’s free game. And by free game I mean hold onto your lightsabers and grab a stool, because you better believe that the six hour wait in the California summer sun for a mere peek into the land is going to be brutal.
How To Book
There’s no doubt that Disneyland’s hotels are expensive, even overpriced to the point of silliness compared to its neighbors within Anaheim. However, a quick look at dates within June shows plenty of availability, and- surprisingly- average prices for Disney’s hotels. When you add to that the fact that you’ll be some of the very first people in Star Wars land at the least crowded time for several years, it starts to look a little more appealing.
There are a few different ways to help mitigate the exorbitant cost of booking a hotel at Disneyland:
- A few weeks ago, we wrote about using the American Express Gold card to purchase Disney gift cards at grocery stores. The American Express gold earns 4x Membership Rewards at grocery stores, netting you roughly 8% back on your purchase. These gift cards can then be applied to your Disney hotel booking.
- Pull out your Capital One Venture (find out more info on the card here) card to book the hotel at hotels.com/venture and earn 10x bonus miles on every dollar spent. Now that Capital One has some decent transfer partners, this could be a good way to earn some massive amounts of points. And since Disney doesn’t have a dedicated rewards program, it’s not like you’re missing out on stay credits or bonus points.
- Use your Citi Prestige to get your 4th night free. Citi’s limit on 4th night free bookings doesn’t start until September 1st, 2019, so this won’t impact it.
- Take advantage of an airline portal to get 3x miles on your Disney egiftcard. I just did this, using my Chase Sapphire Reserve on United’s portal to purchase gift cards for my annual pass. I earned 1x Ultimate Rewards and 3x United Airlines miles for every dollar I spent.
- Finally, you don’t have to stay at a Disney hotel for the entirety of your trip. You get a reservation for Star Wars Land whether you stay 1 night or 3, so book a single night at the beginning or end of your trip, and stay at a much more reasonable hotel (there are lots of points redemption options!) for the rest of your vacation. Check out our review of the Delta Hotels by Marriott Anaheim Garden Grove or the Peacock Suites near Disneyland.
There’s no doubt that Star Wars Land, and Disneyland as a whole, are going to be massively impacted by crowds with little chance of an end in sight. Shelling out for a Disney hotel could save you some sunstroke and get you into the land before just about anyone else- and creative use of credit cards means that you can do so without going broke.
Are any of you planning on hitting this up? Let us know!