How will fans react to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge?

February 8, 2019, 1:06 PM · As we look ahead to new theme park attractions in 2019, it's hard not to look first toward anything other than Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands, which looms over the year like the Death Star over Scarif. It's the biggest story of the year, by far, and is inspiring debate even now, months before its expected June opening at Disneyland.

Yesterday we posted two articles debating how fans will react to Galaxy's Edge when it opens this summer at Disneyland and this fall at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you haven't taken a moment yet, please read the arguments:

Why Disney's Star Wars land will be the biggest theme park hit ever

Why Disney's Star Wars land won't be the big hit people expect

As promised, we are going to give you the opportunity now to vote on which side you believe. You can choose sides based on your expected reaction to the land or how you expect others to react. You can vote based on your informed research or your gut reaction. This choice is totally up to you, based on any criteria you feel like using.

That's because your reaction to Galaxy's Edge will be yours alone, and is valid regardless of what anyone else online or off might think, feel, or write about the new land and its attractions.

Yes, critics such as I will write our opinions, in an effort to provide some context to help people better understand the land and to help you decide whether spending your money to visit it is worth that. But all the stuff I wrote in those two posts linked above — and all the stuff I will write in the months to come — is just information that you can choose to consider, adopt, or ignore as you make up your own mind. I respect your right to make your own decision, as I hope you will respect my efforts to provide you information and perspective to help you make that decision.

But I think I can speak for many in the Theme Park Insider community when I say that we're all curious to see what everyone else is thinking at this point. No — none of us has experienced Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in person yet, so we're ultimately still speculating here. But it's nice to get a check-in with the rest of the public who ultimately will have the power to decide the fate of Galaxy's Edge.

Replies (14)

February 8, 2019 at 1:18 PM

In a few months time, I'm sure the naysayers will all be saying something similar to the famous Yoga Berra quote "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

February 8, 2019 at 1:26 PM

Can it be both? I'm not trying to hedge. I'm pretty sure that Galaxy's Edge will draw huge crowds to both coasts, and that interest will likely stay high for a long time. The lines will be long just to get into the land, and then the rides will have big lines due to okay but not superb capacity. On the other hand, I still wonder on the long-term impact on the parks in terms of expectations, prices, and guest satisfaction. It could be a huge hit but still cause some unexpected issues.

February 8, 2019 at 3:15 PM

I suppose the elephant in the room here is ‘how long will Harry Potter be popular?
At the moment it’s all very popular but with no new books the target market will gradually diminish. Yes there’s the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise but that’s not Gringotts or Hagrid...
It seems to me that successful theme parks dont need popular franchises. They just need totally immersive worlds.

February 8, 2019 at 3:39 PM

For the purposes of full disclosure and context, I would rank the Star Wars movies:

Tier 1
1. A New Hope
2. The Last Jedi
3. Empire Strikes Back
4. Return of the Jedi
5. Rogue One

Tier 2
6. The Force Awakens
7. The Clone Wars (the animated one)
8. Solo

Tier 3
9. The Phantom Menace
10. Revenge of the Sith
11. Attack of the Clones

But I also don't feel especially strongly about any placement on this list, either.

February 8, 2019 at 3:41 PM

I'm not a huge fan of Star Wars and I'm no longer a big fan of Disney parks due to having to pre-book everything too far in advance but I have to admit that this will be a massive hit! There's no denying that this will be a huge draw which will make everything busier. Maybe Disney will change their Fastpass+ to 12 months in advance!

February 8, 2019 at 3:55 PM

I think the initial interest will be high. However, if the throughput of the rides is as low as Robert has suggested, I can see it becoming a big disappointment very fast.

February 8, 2019 at 5:07 PM

Can't vote. Answer will be neither. The crowds will be beyond crazy and the demand will be beyond the infinite (2001 reference). So, I guess Disney will really like that. However, I predict a PR nightmare with many people being unable to experience the attractions due to the crowds. By the way, I cannot argue with Robert's movie list. I might put Rogue One higher, but that is a good list.

February 8, 2019 at 5:55 PM

I went to the cinema on release in 1977 and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about and haven't seen another one since but as you Yanks love it to the point of obsession it will be the biggest thing to ever hit the theme park world. Disney don't have to spend a cent on advertising as social media by the fans will take care of everything. HUGE! HUGE! HUGE!

February 8, 2019 at 6:08 PM

I agree with Dan.....there answer is going to be somewhere in the middle.

@ Robert....interesting ranking!

I will say one of the interesting things about the franchise is the generational element. There is a large generation that loves the prequels....Those are the films they grew up on.....and while logically (or by influence) they may state the OG trilogy is the best....Nostalgia gives the prequels a group of fans by default.

Now there are kids who would rather be Rey & Finn than Luke & Leia....The franchise is quite healthy.

But back to the original question, I feel like the crowds months after the opening will support the narrative of "It's a success", but by human nature there is bound to be disappointment. Even with the promotion & information everyone will still have their own personal version or meter of how this land "should or could" have been.

There's no way to avoid this. There's no way to please everyone. The best they can hope for is mainstream success....There will be parts & aspects of Galaxy's Edge that people love & other parts that they don't.

My answer to the question posed is "Both".

February 9, 2019 at 12:36 PM

Disney will deem it a success, they think EA having the licence rights for the Star Wars games is a success although every gamer that likes good games would love to force power EA management into a wall with knifes. What is success for the mouse? More hotel rooms filled, more food and merchandise sold? Or high customer satisfaction resulting in great word of mouth?

February 10, 2019 at 11:24 AM

The new Star Wars lands will be monster hits and transformative adventures that lead to even bigger and better things at the theme parks for years to come. The only issues Disney will have are finding parking and space for all the masses of humanity that descend upon the new lands, and counting all the money that comes rolling in to line the already flush bank accounts of Disney executives everywhere!

Now, because I like lists, I've taken Robert's and made my own, adding in some of the animated adventures, because that medium is really where some of the best Star Wars related product is being produced today:

Tier 1
1. Star Wars (what some folks call A New Hope)
1a. Rogue One

Tier 2
2. Empire Strikes Back (drops a notch because it requires the woeful Return of the Jedi and even more woeful Ewoks to be complete)
3. Clone Wars (animated series)
4. Rebels (animated series)

Tier 3
5. The Force Awakens
6. Solo
7. The Resistance (animated series)
8. The Clone Wars (the animated film)

Tier 4
9. Revenge of the Sith
10. Attack of the Clones
11. The Last Jedi
12. Return of the Jedi
13. The Phantom Menace

May the Force be with you!

February 10, 2019 at 5:43 PM

How will fans react? Try throwing steaks into the lion cage -- that should give you some idea.

February 11, 2019 at 5:00 AM

Can anyone remember how crazy and over-full the Harry Potter worlds were when they opened?They're still busy but they've calmed down a bit. Did Universal suffer negative publicity because of the over-crowding? I honestly can't remember which suggests that most people will look beyond the crowds and enjoy Galaxy's Edge for what it is.

February 11, 2019 at 7:24 PM

Robert - your movie rankings are epically spot on!!

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