Opening day crowds: Comparing Galaxy’s Edge to Toy Story Land and Pandora

in Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Star Wars Galaxy´s Edge entrance

Credit: Kurt Schmidt / ITM

It’s finally here! Yesterday was Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening day at Walt Disney World, and the crowds at Hollywood Studios were absolutely…not so terrible!

We were fully expecting crowds to be unbearable for two reasons: first, it’s Star Wars, and second, Disney World’s website has been prepping us since March to be ready for lines out the gates, and no guarantee that Guests could even make it into the new land because of what Disney referred to as “guest demand,” which was just code for “massive crowds.”

But what we have seen so far doesn’t look like an unfathomable amount of “guest demand.” It certainly isn’t what we expected, especially when we compare the opening day at Galaxy’s Edge to the opening day at Pandora: The World of Avatar in May 2017 and the opening day at Toy Story Land in June 2018.

Here’s a look at the crowds at the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge on opening day.

Star Wars Galaxy´s Edge entrance
Credit: Kurt Schmidt / ITM

And here’s a look at the number of Guests milling near the exit of Galaxy’s Edge on Thursday. (It doesn’t look unbearable!)

Star Wars Galaxy´s Edge exit
Guests exiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge near Toy Story Land. Credit: Kurt Schmidt / ITM

Now compare today’s not-so-crowded thoroughfares at Galaxy’s Edge to those on opening day at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom in May of 2017. Pandora’s first day at Disney World saw crowds so thick it was tough to move around the land, as seen in this opening day video.

Opening day at Toy Story Land on June 30, 2018, was also packed. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened at 7:00 a.m. that morning, and by 8:00 a.m., the wait time in the standby queue for Slinky Dog Dash was five hours. By 9:00 a.m., Guests were waiting 3 to 4 hours to enter the land, and the line to Toy Story Land weaved down through the former Pixar Place up in front of the Chinese Theater and back around toward the ABC Commissary.

Toy Story Land opening
Credit: BayNews9

Related: Bob Chapek says “10-hour waits” are not a sign of success at Disney Parks

So what does this mean? Is the supposed “guest demand” for Galaxy’s Edge lower than it was for Pandora and Toy Story Land? After all, Galaxy’s Edge has only one attraction operating now, and the most anticipated attraction won’t open for a few more months. On Pandora’s first day, the land offered two attractions for Guests. Toy Story offered three attractions (if you include Toy Story Mania) on its opening day.

To be fair in the comparison, it’s important to note that FastPasses are not available for attractions at Galaxy’s Edge as of right now, and from what Disney has said, that’s the plan for the new land, even once the new Rise of the Resistance attraction opens in December.

Or do the seemingly smaller crowds at Galaxy’s Edge today mean that Disney World has perfected the art of crowd control by using “boarding groups” that only allow so many Guests into the land at one time? Boarding groups eliminate the need for Guests to wait in a long line to enter the new land.

What do you think? Has Disney World gotten creative in giving us a false sense of less crowding at Galaxy’s Edge, or does the new Star Wars-themed land appeal to fewer Guests than Pandora and Toy Story Land? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

in Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

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