We’ve seen what crowds are like at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with and without reservation-restricted access at Disneyland. But what will the crowds be like at Walt Disney World? Disney officials are keeping a close eye on how Disneyland is handling crowd control in the most anticipated and largest single-land opening in history in order to predict how to best combat crowds when the land’s identical counterpart opens at Walt Disney World. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens on August 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and here’s what we think you can expect.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened with reservation-only access on May 31, and opened to the public (no reservation needed) on June 24. To say the crowds are manageable would be an understatement. It would seem as though the reservation period within the first few weeks of the land’s grand opening served to help the team at Disneyland control the crowd levels of the new land and predict how to efficiently handle crowds and land capacity once the reservation restriction lifted. Disneyland had to overcome some hurdles in the beginning before June 24 (like guest dissatisfaction from locations like Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop reaching capacity early in the day). But from what we can tell, the kinks seem to be worked out with new additions like boarding groups for entering the land, required same-day reservations for Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop, and overall improved experience when accessing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. So far, with low wait times and virtually no overcrowding in the new land (and in Disneyland park as a whole), Disney may have found a crowd control solution that actually works, and we’re pretty happy with it.
But at Disneyland, a majority of the visitors every year are locals and/or annual passholders who visit the resort knowing they can come back multiple times per year (or even every day, with a Signature Plus pass). On the other hand, Walt Disney World visitors are a much different demographic. Those visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in California will likely be back for more not too long after their first visit, but those in Florida may not be so lucky. A majority of those visiting Walt Disney World (and namely, those planning to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge after it opens this August) are doing so knowing they are only able to make the trip once a year, once every few years, or even, for some, once in a lifetime. So not only will the crowds be expectedly higher, but the demographic of the crowds will be different, as well: generally speaking, the guests on both coasts have different ideas of what they want to get out of their trips to the theme parks.
We already know that Walt Disney World is offering Extra, Extra Magic Hours for Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the time when the new land will be opening, and Walt Disney World annual passholders will also get early access to the land. We also know that the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will begin the same week as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, likely in an effort to help distribute crowds more evenly between the multiple theme parks. But still, Disney officials have hardly said anything about how they will handle crowd control for Galaxy’s Edge from the time it opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29 and beyond. But as the Orlando Sentinel reports, advanced reservations and/or virtual queues haven’t been ruled out.
“We’ve been planning for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for nearly four years since this epic expansion was announced and there are several measures we are considering for opening, including a virtual queue,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger recently stated. “We will have much more to share soon to help our guests get the most out of their visit to Batuu.”
We’re still not sure how the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will play out at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But no matter how many people wait to ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run or build a lightsaber on opening day, we’re sure the land will be just as much of a success on the east coast as it has been on the west.
How crowded do you think Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be when it opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this summer? Let us know in the comments!
Source: Orlando Sentinel