Disneyland tops out Star Wars land construction

August 21, 2017, 11:56 AM

Construction crews at Disneyland have placed the top-most piece of steel for the upcoming Star Wars land at the park.

From Disney's press release:

This milestone capped off the infrastructure for a 130-foot-tall rock spire, the highest point in the new land. Once completed, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will include approximately 10,000 tons of structural steel and approximately 200,000 square feet of hand-carved rockwork.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge will open at Disneyland in 2019. The same land is under construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for opening the same year, though construction on that project is not as far along as at Disneyland in California.

Replies (10)

Edited: August 21, 2017, 6:52 PM

So darn excited for this expansion!!! I just got back from visiting Pandora: The World of Avatar, which was simply breathtaking, and cannot imagine what is in store for Galaxy's Edge. It may actually be the first theme park expansion actually worthy of an upcharge....

August 22, 2017, 7:21 AM

Don't give them any ideas James...DHS visitors are in a way paying an upcharge right now for Galaxy's Edge by being forced to pay full price for a shell of a park.

Edited: August 23, 2017, 11:07 AM

Russell, I just don't see how WDW will control SW crowds without some sort of upcharge, special ticket to limit foot traffic. We're not talking Avatar or Potter, here, we're talking about the most beloved franchise in the modern era. Everyone is going to be planning trips just for Star Wars. It is going to be insane. Somehow Disney is going to have to control the onslaught and an upcharge, limited ticket entry may be the only way to do so. Trust me, I am totally opposed to the idea, but am resigning myself to it. If Universal can get away with charging people $55 to ride a train, there's no limit to what Disney can charge people to have access to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

August 22, 2017, 3:00 PM

Rao 'rites: "If Universal can get away with charging people $55 to ride a train ..."

I Rao-spond: ... or $20 to ride a bus to about three-quarters of a water park.

August 23, 2017, 2:03 PM

I'm happy Disney is finally building a land based on an IP that average people are familiar with regarding the characters and the universe in which they inhabit. This is a better strategy than building a land based off one film that was released over eight years ago and few people can remember the storyline, characters, or details about the film.

I think Disney will go to specific day ticket sales when Star Wars opens on both coasts. This way they can control how many people are allowed in the park per day and even charge more for weekend days.

Yea capitalism!!

August 23, 2017, 2:30 PM

I can say that the current FP+ system will definitely not work with Galaxy's Edge. It is going to be and remain popular for a very long time if they put the effort into it. If it is by way of an upcharge, the so be it. I do not want to come to Orlando and be limited to the FP+ system for Star Wars.

August 23, 2017, 2:52 PM

I agree with James, I think Disney may have to deal with the reality of temporary upcharges for the 1st 18 months of operation. I thinks its absolutely terrible and don't want it. However, as you examine it, capacity planning for the what is going to be only their 3rd immersive experience cannot be easy. Star Wars is unlike any IP they have opened. The wait for this has been 40 + years. I also see myself reluctantly settling for an upcharge for a limited time.

Edited: August 24, 2017, 6:33 AM

"I think Disney will go to specific day ticket sales when Star Wars opens on both coasts."

Disney is already doing that with single day sales, but it would be difficult for them to manage because of annual passes and old non-expiring ticket media still in circulation for WDW.

I think what they'll end up doing is what I thought they would do with Avatar, but were able to avoid somehow. They'll create a FP+ reservation for the entire land, which will grant access for a 2-3 hour window to Galaxy's Edge. Guests with FP+ reservations for the land will be able to secure additional FP+ reservations for the individual rides within the land, but without the land FP+ reservation, those attractions will show as unavailable in the system. When guests enter the land with their FP+, they'll be given a colored wrist band which will denote the time window that they can stay in the land. For instance, guests with 9 AM- noon will get a green band, while guests with noon-3 PM will get a red band. At 1 PM, The First Order will parade through the land asking green-banded guests to leave and no longer giving them access to standby lines for the attractions. Perhaps Disney can figure out a way to manage it with the MagicBands (perhaps guests at the SW Hotel will be trained on how to do Jedi mind tricks to avoid being swept out, "These aren't the droids you're looking for").
They're still using colored wristbands for their after-hours parties, so I would expect them to stay with the low tech solution, plus it would be quite a show watching guests being escorted out of the land by a squadron of storm troopers. At some point Disneyland is going to adopt FP+ or simply force MaxPass onto everyone, so I think it's probably going to be the same on both coasts, though DL has a greater chance in my opinion of charging extra for access not only because of the precedent set by MaxPass, but also because of the land's location in the back corner of an already full-day park.

So, by forcing guests to have a FP+/MaxPass reservation to just get into the land, it makes having an on-site reservation even more valuable, since those guests get earlier access to the system. It also forces guests to declare which day they will be visiting so Disney can manage crowds. Disney can still make it free, and while the first come first serve nature of acquiring FP+ reservations may be frustrating to some, it's the fairest way to control crowds while still allowing the most people access to the new lands.

Edited: August 24, 2017, 6:57 AM

So basically, Russell, you are describing the Disney/Star Wars version of Universal Halloween Horror Nights' Chainsaw Chaseout?

I like it!

Edited: August 24, 2017, 9:17 AM

I just paid for a Fastpass to see Disneyland's Fantasmic! with the premium dinner package. Expensive, but worth it for the early showing. It was PACKED and everyone else in Standby was well in the back. Hate to be them. Unbelievably crowded.

I will only pay an upcharge to see Star Wars Land if Fastpass is guaranteed with a commemorative food or gift or photopass with a favorite Star Wars character. And it will still be impossible to see.

Disney is better off by selling it as an extended private or special event soft opening running for at least 2 months before the official opening in June or July so the land is more pleasant to paying customers with smaller crowds.

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