Kids from Anaheim non-profits including Make-A-Wish, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters were the first Disneyland guests to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Kids from Anaheim nonprofits including Make-A-Wish, YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters were invited to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on Thursday afternoon. Previously, only VIPs, Disneyland cast members and their guests and the news media had been granted access to the land.

The news of the surprise first guests will come as a shock to legions of Star Wars fans who paid hundreds and even thousands of dollars for a room at the Disneyland Resort hotels to secure a free reservation to Galaxy’s Edge on Friday — the date that has been billed as the grand opening of the new Star Wars land at the Anaheim theme park for months. Even more fans snapped up the coveted reservations for non-hotel guests in less than two hours to be among the first visitors to see Galaxy’s Edge.

The Anaheim kids spent four hours in the new 14-acre themed land riding the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction, building their own lightsabers, browsing the marketplace shops and eating in the themed restaurants.

“It’s really cool and really amazing because we get to experience it before anyone else,” said Christian Magana of the Anaheim YMCA.

Children from the Anaheim Family YMCA get their first glimpse of the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Thursday, May 30, 2019. Disney invited more than 600 youngsters from local nonprofits to a sneak peak of the new land. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The new land debuting to the general public Friday, May 31, will be set in the Black Spire Outpost village on the Star Wars planet of Batuu, according to the backstory for Galaxy’s Edge.

The kids came by the busload to see Galaxy’s Edge. About 30 YMCA fifth and sixth graders from Roosevelt Elementary School were so close to Disneyland that they were able to walk the half mile to the Anaheim park.

Some of the kids had never been to Disneyland. Many of the children come from families where their parents worked two and three jobs. Most of the kids depended on school lunch programs and meals from the non-profits to put food in their stomachs.

“The opportunity to be able to come here

for one day is just a life-changing experience for many of these kids,” said Anaheim YMCA CEO Rick Martens.

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