Are soft openings a thing of the past... and should they be?

Edited: December 7, 2019, 10:57 PM

Over the last few years I’ve noticed most of the new rides and experiences that have been constructed have failed to have any major soft opening periods. Specifically I’ve noticed this in some of the Orlando area new attractions.

Back to 2017 when Universal unveiled its water park and billed “3rd theme park” I was at the resort a week before it opened and construction was still franticly happening. I was hoping for a possible soft open as I was leaving before the grand opening but that did not happen. The park opened with major issues with its rides and Tapu Tapu tech and it took time for Volcano Bay to gain traction.

In 2019 Islands of Adventure unveiled Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure and there are issues with capacity that are still not fixed and there has been quite a bit of down time. And now Rise if the Resistance opened in Florida and technical issues and downtime have been reported.

I feel a lack of soft opens have hurt the opening of these attractions. It seems companies are setting opening dates that are not realistic and forcing the parks to open the attractions before they are ready. I feel I’d be happier with a pushed back opening date that adds a soft open period to work out bugs than a hard open with major tech issues. What are other people’s thoughts on soft opens or the lack there of?

Also does anyone know if there will be an eventual solution to Hagrid’s coaster to help the capacity issues and allow it to run from park open to park close?

Replies (1)

Edited: December 8, 2019, 7:22 AM

Yes that is basically what it comes down to especially for those three attractions. Parks always say that they will wait to open things until they are ready, but when push comes to shove the business-needs will usually outweigh the operational needs. In the event of Rise of the Resistance Disney felt that if WDW didn't have good attendance over the Christmas holiday the loss of attendance would have shaken investor confidence and hurt the stock price, which means execs aren't getting their bonuses (or maybe even lose their job), obviously they aren't going to let that happen, so they "open" it anyway. I'm sure it was the same with Hagrid they wanted it to be open when Galaxy's Edge opened.

This has been happening all throughout the history of parks. It's certainly not every attraction but many attractions have been opened up before they were really ready to.

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