DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for June 2019

This month’s DVC news update comes with the most exciting headline ever. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open at Disneyland! We’ll talk about it, some changes at Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts, a new ticketed event, another batch of Disney Legends, and other stuff. It’s an exciting time to be a DVC member or just a Disney fan in general.

Star Wars Land – Batuu Is Open to the Public

May 31st, 2019, is a day that will live on in Disney history. It’s the moment when the most significant theme park expansion finally debuted. Yes, Disneyland’s Star Wars Land is finally open to the public, and the most remarkable part is how smoothly the day went.

As a Disney writer, I’ve spent the body of three days watching every possible video and livestream of Galaxy’s Edge, and that’s not really an exaggeration. I’ve had two TVs running constantly so that I get as much information as possible. What I can say with complete sincerity is that Star Wars Land is an unqualified success.

On Wednesday, The Walt Disney Company invited a bunch of friends of the Mouse to the special opening ceremony. The luckiest ones got to ride the new attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and visit some of the restaurants and stores.

On Thursday, media personalities got to do the same, which led to some hilarious moments. For example, The Tim Tracker accidentally captured the joy of former SNL comedian Bobby Moynihan starting his droid for the first time.

The real test came on Friday. That was when the lucky few got to visit Batuu for the first time. Crowds gathered in the parking lot at midnight and then formed lines at 2 a.m. in anticipation of the 6 a.m. opening. Anyone who remembers the mobs at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would have expected chaos. To the credit of all involved at Disney, that didn’t happen at all.

Park officials introduced a reservation system for Star Wars Land. Guests without reservations weren’t allowed to enter the area, which kept traffic reasonable. Throughout the day, park visitors with reservations got to spend a total of four hours in Batuu. This proved to be ample time to do everything.

Star Wars Land Galaxy's Edge red droid

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

While I’ve yet to visit the land, I’ve carefully tracked the opinions of a bunch of visitors. The consensus opinion is that Disney has hit a grand slam here. The theming is everywhere, with Batuu featuring its own phrases like “Bright Suns!” and “Good journey!” aka “Good morning!” and “Good-bye!”

To create total immersion, Disney has constructed an entirely alien culture. A droid mans the roasting spit at Rondo Roasters, and a one-eyed alien lurks in the waters of the Hydrator aka water fountain. Even the walls here are themed. Attentive guests will notice holes in them that apparently came from explosive ordnance.

On opening day, the line for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run was never longer than 90 minutes. Anyone who has spent time at Pandora – The World of Avatar just gasped at that, but it’s true. Disney’s goal here was the same tactic that Nintendo has used with the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Switch. Disney knew that they had massive demand but satisfied it with only a fractional amount of supply. Now, those guests have raved about Star Wars Land on social media, creating a frenzy for future guests, thereby heightening demand even more.

Simultaneously, the crowd control tactics served a second purpose. Disney guaranteed that no part of the themed land was overwhelmed by guests. Had Star Wars Land suffered any attraction failures, the headlines would be much different. Right now, the standard media and social media alike are rapturous about their experiences on Batuu.

Star Wars Galaxy Edge night view with blue lighting

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

The only ride open right now is also a huge triumph. Smuggler’s Run is uniquely designed as a six-player ride with gaming elements. Everyone in the cockpit must work together to succeed on the mission, and they all get scored in the end.

Of course, players can tell how they’re doing anyway, as extra portions of the ride are unlockable based on success. Alternately, everyone knows when they’re doing poorly, as collisions cause the cockpit to flash red with alerts. Your guide for this mission, Hondo Ohnaka, will talk smack when you do poorly. His quips are one of the highlights of the ride. For those of you who don’t mind being spoiled, you can watch this video of a pilot who doesn’t understand how to avoid flying into inanimate objects.

The other joy of Black Spire Outpost is Oga’s Cantina. This space bar is so popular that it had an hour-long wait at several points on opening day. Nobody complained once they got inside, though. Visitors had the time of their lives ordering glow drinks from an alien menu.

Star Wars Galaxy Edge Mos Eisley Cantina

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

The superstar of the place is R3X, the long-lost travel guide from the original Star Tours. After nearly killing a bunch of strangers, R3X has found a new job as the DJ at Oga’s Cantina. Guests squeal with delight when they see him spinning out the latest intergalactic hits. This audio-animatronic is spectacular and a real crowd-pleaser to boot.

The only knock about Oga’s Cantina is the wait. On June 24th, Galaxy’s Edge will be open to everyone. The first 24 days are almost like a trial run for that date. With Oga’s Cantina already mobbed with limited capacity now, I wonder how well it will do when everyone can visit. The wait here could rival Avatar Flight of Passage. But everyone will leave the bar happy no matter how long they wait. So, it’s a trivial concern.

Long story short, Batuu is the place to be this summer at Disneyland. Imagineers have done something incredible here. They’ve created a realistic themed land that is larger than any ever built before. And it’s so immersive that you can’t see any other parts of the Happiest Place on Earth while you’re in Batuu. It truly feels like its own little world.

DVC Vacation News

While The Force isn’t with any of it, Disney announced some other DVC news recently. Let’s take a quick look at what we learned.

Upgrades are now possible when you order your Magic Bands for your vacation. Disney has historically offered standard Magic Bands. You could personalize them with your pick of colors. Beyond that, the accessories were average looking. Once you got to the parks, you could buy an upgraded specialty Magic Band with your favorite character(s) on it. Many guests preferred that and were annoyed that they couldn’t choose that option online.

As of last month, guests can now select an upgraded Magic Band for $14.99. These novelty bands come with 30 different design possibilities, providing much more flexibility and individuality. It’s vastly improved to the ol’ “Mine is red, and yours is blue” system.

The one catch is that Disney was caught off guard by the demand for this item. Upgraded Magic Bands have gone through waves of availability and sellouts thus far. For the foreseeable future, you may need to try daily, possibly even hourly, to order a specialty Magic Band. I presume that this is a short-term issue, but I want you to be aware of it.

DVC Specific News

Other DVC vacation news that might affect you involves Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The DVC property has become the latest resort to ban pool hopping. To use the (fabulous) pools here, you’ll need to stay at this hotel. And you should want to do that anyway since it’s the crown jewel of the Walt Disney World resort lineup.

Disney's Grand Floridian kid's pool with water slide

Better news for DVC members is a recent change with Mobile Ordering. Until now, only one resort has offered this service, which allows guests to order their meals via the My Disney Experience app. Disney recently announced that three resort restaurants would add this feature, and two of them are DVC properties!

The non-DVC resort eatery is Everything POP Shopping and Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. The bigger reveals for DVC members are The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. While these changes aren’t immediate, odds are good that you next time you stay at Jambo House, Kidani Village, or Bay Lake Tower, you can grab and go at a terrific restaurant.

Disney Theme Park News

Disney’s revealed a couple of huge events for later in 2019. Disney Villains After Hours is a new ticketed event similar to Disney After Hours. The difference is that your hosts for the evening are the black hats. For a cost of $139 per person, you will get access to Magic Kingdom at a time when it’s otherwise closed to the public.

The announced dates are:

  • Thursday, June 6, 2019
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • Monday, July 1, 2019
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019
  • Thursday, July 18, 2019
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019
  • Thursday, August 1, 2019
  • Thursday, August 8, 2019

On these dates, people who buy a ticket will get to visit Magic Kingdom for three hours from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. More importantly, you can watch a 20-minute show called Villains Unite the Night that has been created exclusively for this event. Disney promises appearances by Hades, Jafar, The Evil Queen, Maleficent and even some of their comic relief sidekicks.

The other huge announcement circles back to Star Wars Land. The Walt Disney World version opens on August 29th, and it won’t have a reservation system in place at the start. It’s going to be mobbed, my friends. Disney wants to reward guests who stay on site, which includes those of us in DVC. So, we will get the best benefit in the history of the company this fall.

Disney will host Extra, Extra Magic Hours beginning on September 1, 2019. From 6 a.m. through 9 a.m. on these mornings, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will allow guests at Disney resorts to visit the park before regular operating hours.

I cannot stress what a huge deal this is. DVC members staying onsite will get three hours of time at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during a period when literally no one else will be there. You’ll have the run of the place akin to guests who have reservations at Disneyland’s version right now. It’ll be the best way to explore the land for sure. The only catch is that you’ll need to be an early bird. Not everyone loves the idea of going to a theme park at 6 a.m., even for Star Wars land.

Finally, Disney has announced the concert lineup for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. I don’t have to tell you faithful DVC members that this concert series coincides with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Here’s the list so you can decide which artists are worth your time during your annual fall trip to Walt Disney World.

Disney Concert Event Schedule

  • Plain White T’s
    August 29 through 31
  • Sawyer Brown
    September 1 through 2
  • MercyMe
    September 3 through 4
  • Grace Kelly
    September 5 through 6
  • Zach Williams
    September 7 through 8
  • Lauren Daigle
    September 9 through 10
  • Jimmie Allen
    September 11 through 12
  • TBD
    September 13 through 15
  • The Allman Betts Band
    September 16 through 17
  • Everclear
    September 18 through 19
  • STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
    September 20 through 22
  • Postmodern Jukebox
    September 23 through 24
  • Blue October
    September 25 through 26
  • Mark Wills
    September 27 through 29
  • Sugar Ray
    September 30 through October 2
  • Taylor Dayne
    October 3 through 4
  • India
    October 5 through 6
  • TBD
    October 7 through 9
  • Boyce Avenue
    October 10 through 11
  • Southern Avenue
    October 12 through 13
  • Kenny G
    October 14 through 15
  • 38 Special
    October 16 through 17
  • Baha Men
    October 18 through 20
  • Billy Ocean
    October 21 through 22
  • Sheila E
    October 23 through 25
  • High Valley
    October 26 through 27
  • Hanson
    October 28 through 30
  • Sheena Easton
    October 31 through November 1
  • Kris Allen
    November 2 through 3
  • Boyz II Men
    November 4 through 6
  • The Hooters
    November 7 through 8
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
    November 9 through 11
  • TBD
    November 12 through 18
  • DCappella
    November 19

So, it’s Hanson, Sheena Easton, and Kris Allen for me. I hope you’re luckier!

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