Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been open since May 31 at Disneyland, and August 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney promised us that they had a plan for crowd control, and so far it has worked on both coasts. Crowds have been manageable; so much so that some people call the new lands “flops”. I don’t think that enough time has passed to call either version of Galaxy’s Edge successful or unsuccessful. There is another factor that we also need to consider.
At the moment, Batuu East (as some people are calling the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version) and Batuu West (Disneyland) are not complete. There is plenty of shopping, and there are some really cool experiences, but Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is the only ride. The ride has a pretty high capacity, so Wait Times have been somewhat reasonable. A lot of people have been through Galaxy’s Edge (I’ve heard that over five million guests have ridden Smugglers Run), but neither land has reached capacity for months.
Things could change soon. On December 5, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The ride is supposed to be the most advanced ride on the planet, and it will take you deep inside the Star Wars universe. I was lucky enough to see part of the ride during the Galaxy’s Edge media event in August, and the part that I saw took my breath away! From what everyone says, it is going to be epic, and I don’t even use that word.
The timing for the opening at Walt Disney World makes a lot of sense. The Christmas Season is in full swing by December 5, which is always extraordinary. It is a couple of weeks before the opening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, so Star Wars fans like myself will already be anxious. I know of a lot of people who usually visit Walt Disney World during the summer who decided to take a December vacation this year instead, just because they wanted to be able to experience all that Galaxy’s Edge has to offer.
At Disneyland, the new ride will not open until January 17, even though they had Galaxy’s Edge first. I’ve been told that there are several key people who are working on both versions of the ride, and they can’t be in two places at once. Since they aren’t opening both at the same time, waiting for Batuu West makes sense. Walt Disney World is one of the top family vacation destinations in the world, while a high percentage of people who visit Disneyland each day are local Annual Passholders. Walt Disney World also has a definite advantage as far as accommodations are concerned, and there are twice as many theme parks. It makes financial sense that the company wants people to visit Florida first, since people stay longer and pay more money at Walt Disney World than at Disneyland.
So what does this mean in terms of crowds? Of course this is speculation on my part, but I do think that the crowds are going to pick up. Part of it will be because of Rise of the Resistance, and part of it will be because of the holidays in general. I am not worried about the crowds, though. Disney promised us crowd control, and if they need to restrict the number of people allowed in the land they will. The system is already in place for what they will do if the land hits capacity. Around Christmas I will not be surprised if they use it, at least some of the time.