Disney confirms Star Wars land opening dates... sort of

March 7, 2019, 10:48 AM · At the annual stockholders meeting of The Walt Disney Company in St Louis this morning, Chairman and CEO Bob Iger revealed the official opening dates for Disney's upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Well, sort of.

Iger announced that Galaxy's Edge would at Disneyland on May 31 and at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World on August 29. Both dates were earlier than we had forecast this week.

But then Iger dropped the asterisk on the announcement, saying that the lands' biggest attraction - Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance - would not open along with the land, but would instead open later this year.

A May 31 opening at Disneyland comes on a Friday all annual passes except for the lowest level SoCal Select AP are allowed into Disneyland Park. That's the first day of the SoCal Select and SoCal summer blockouts, but Deluxe pass does not block out until June 21.

And an August 29 opening puts the land online at Disney World in time for the Labor Day weekend.

But opening an incomplete land raises questions about what popular reaction will be to a land that Disney has been promoting as a slam dunk. The land's other attraction - Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run - is said to have relatively modest hourly capacity. How long will the wait time be for Galaxy's Edge one ride in its opening week? Rise of the Resistance was supposed to be the people eater that kept area wait times within the limits of even galactic levels of patience.

But wait.... there's still more. Check out Disney's hype video for the opening date announcement.

It's the fine print at the bottom: "Reservations required for visits between May 31 and June 23. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction opens later this year."

So the May 31 opening isn't really a public opening as we have traditionally known it? It's more like a reservation-only soft opening?

Disney says that the reservations will not be an upcharge and that guests of the three on-site Disneyland hotels will be assigned a reservation time during their stay. Details on how others may make reservation time will be forthcoming from Disney. There are no plans to require reservations for the Walt Disney World installation.

Keep this in mind: With an August 29 opening, the Fastpass+ window for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — should Fastpass be offered on that ride at opening — would open for day guests at 7am ET on July 30, and for hotel guests at 7am ET on June 30, 2019. Get your fingers ready to click. Disney says the land will be open during Extra Magic Hours, too.

Replies (78)

March 7, 2019 at 10:59 AM

This is crazy, and sending shock waves through the theme park and Star Wars communities. To not have the lands "fully armed and operational" when they officially open could become a PR nightmare.

I could see the benefit of a limited "soft" opening of the lands before everything is ready to work out the kinks and to spread out demand, but it seems awkward to announce official opening dates for the lands if they're not going to be completely ready. Is RotR delayed by a couple of weeks or a couple of months? I can only imagine how long the lines will be for Smuggler's Run if it's the only attraction available for an extended period of time. DHS is going to be like Hades on Earth on August 29th (both figuratively and literally temperature wise), which is in advance of a holiday weekend (Labor Day).

March 7, 2019 at 11:09 AM

I can kind of understand opening the land without RotR, because it will give people a chance to explore the rest of the land first. It sounds like there's going to be more to do than just the rides, with the Cantina, light saber buying experience, walk around characters, maybe shows, etc. The problem, as Russell said, will be if people expect the whole land to be open. But it sounds like the land as a whole will be awe inspiring enough to satisfy first comers.

March 7, 2019 at 11:15 AM

I don’t get it? It doesn’t seem right too only have the one attraction open. Such a disappointment. Seems a greedy way of let’s get milking this cash cow ASAP coloured milk at that too (food and beverage and merchandise) rather than guest experience. Or is it a clever way to drag out the media attention and hype over the year! I’m confused.

March 7, 2019 at 11:28 AM

Well, Disney has made it clear that the lands will open with only one attraction so it's hard to see how anyone could visit and be disappointed that both are not open. Obviously if they don't know then that's a different matter. However since we know these lands are meant to be massively immersive I can see this might actually be a good way of minimizing the craziness that I think could be a much bigger publicity disaster than a staged opening. Let people in to simply enjoy the atmosphere. Manage their expectations but heighten their anticipation for later in the year... It could work you know.

March 7, 2019 at 11:32 AM

"But it sounds like the land as a whole will be awe inspiring enough to satisfy first comers."

For some perspective, when WWoHP opened in May 2010, the land had 2 high-capacity and fully tested roller coasters (Dragon Challenge), another smaller roller coaster (Flight of the Hippogriff), as well as the signature attraction (Forbidden Journey). Add to that the restaurant/bar, shops, Olivander's, and rotating stage shows, there was plenty to do in the new land from day 1. Certainly, there were hiccups with FJ over the first few weeks as there is with any new attraction, but the land had plenty of other diversions for guests if they didn't want to wait 4+ hours to ride the big new ride. Also, since Universal was controlling flow in and out of the land, guests didn't want to leave until they saw everything (or risk standing in 8+ hour lines to get back in), which even with 2-hour long lines for Olivander's meant guests were spending 4+ hours in Hogsmeade.

Based on the designs of both lands, and what was done for PtWoA, I would expect Disney to institute similar crowd control efforts, but what are guests going to do other than stand in line for Smuggler's Run or have a bite to eat? If Galaxy's Edge is only opening with one signature attraction, those light saber and droid designing experiences better be awfully good.

March 7, 2019 at 11:44 AM

This actually strikes me as a brilliant way to manage the expected crowds. It'll deter many fans from visiting right away, while allowing other fans to get a good look and soak in the feel of the land. It'll disperse the crowds a bit. They could conceivably just hold off on opening the Rise of the Resistance until they need an attendance boost. In the meantime they could do a few soft-openings of the attraction to start generating a buzz.

March 7, 2019 at 11:45 AM

RM Writes: "To not have the lands 'fully armed and operational' when they officially open could become a PR nightmare."

I Respond: Then again, maybe it won't.

March 7, 2019 at 12:51 PM

Apparently, Disney needed extra time to plug a small, two-meter exhaust port on the Rise of the Resistance ride that everyone overlooked during construction.

March 7, 2019 at 11:53 AM

I think they are making the best of the situation. New attractions always have weird things to figure out and I see no reason to think RotR will be different. At least they can open the other ride and all the food and merch experiences people are excited for.

I wonder if the droid or light saber building experience will get popular enough for them to want to build a version in Disney Springs?

March 7, 2019 at 12:02 PM

Interesting take but I think it's better they don't rush the big Resistance ride before it's ready. I remember the ongoing nightmare of Test Track literally taking years to finally open and some bad PR. Sure, it's annoying but it would be worse if the big ride is prone to constant breakdowns off the bat and such so waiting for it to be set works better.

March 7, 2019 at 12:51 PM

Niles: "Apparently, Disney needed extra time to plug a small, two-meter exhaust port on the Rise of the Resistance ride that everyone overlooked during construction."

I Respond: You're not gonna believe this, but I used to bull's-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They're not much bigger than two meters.

March 7, 2019 at 12:16 PM

I'm not usually a critic of Disney, but half-assing the opening is a disaster waiting to happen. It doesn't matter how early or often they tell people that Rise of the Resistance won't be ready. Guests are so clueless on these things and never pay attention.

It's almost a guarantee that Smuggler's Run will hit major downtimes during its opening weeks. That's just the nature of new, advanced rides. I can't imagine what the Guest Services line will be like if families book their visits months in advance and both rides are down for a good chunk of the trip.

Disney should have just pushed the "official opening" date until Rise is ready and just soft open the rest so that they can work out opening day jitters without having to commit to anything they aren't prepared for.

March 7, 2019 at 12:20 PM

Managing PR challenges related to technical glitches in new attractions is part of what Disney (and Universal for that matter) does.

March 7, 2019 at 12:45 PM

"Sure, it's annoying but it would be worse if the big ride is prone to constant breakdowns off the bat and such so waiting for it to be set works better."

That sounds perfectly reasonable, but then why are they pushing to open the rest of Galaxy's Edge so soon? If they're concerned about RotR being ready in time for what appeared to be the target opening date (June 23), then why not just keep the original target and let people know that RotR isn't quite ready. Instead, it appears that they're bumping up the openings knowing full well that it's going to limp along for a month or more. Disneyland is going as far to create a ticketing system for Galaxy's Edge because moving this opening up 3 weeks has disrupted their AP blackout calendar.

As RumbleMike notes, the parks may be getting pressed to start making money off the lands even though they're not completely ready, and this bump up in the schedule is being used to offset potential losses from guests that don't want to visit until everything is open. I think it's very reasonable to assume that the beancounters may be responsible for this awkward situation. I totally agree that all the disclaimers in the world will not keep stupid people from expecting the land to be 100% perfect when they visit on opening day. However, Disney has set an extremely high bar, and you would think they would want to put their best foot forward when it comes to developments that carry such a high level of anticipation - fans have been waiting for Galaxy's Edge since Disney bought Lucasfilm back in October 2012. I applaud them for surprising everyone with a sooner than expected opening date, but will the decision to open the land without one of its premier attractions for who knows how many months affect guest satisfaction?

March 7, 2019 at 12:48 PM

I heard that the issue is that ROTR might NOT be ready in 2019. They would rather open the land and miss getting ROTR out the door in 2019, than delay the land until 2020.

Delaying ROTR is a PR nightmare for sure, but delaying the whole land until a new calendar year might be worse.

March 7, 2019 at 12:55 PM

The RotR opening should affect the Disneyland folks more than the WDW folks. It’s a matter of syncing the ride vehicles with the special effects and the screens using new technology. Once that’s been worked out and soft opens are run through, the RotR should open on both coasts in close succession. It’s possible by the opening of Galaxy’s Edge at WDW that RotR may be in soft open mode but not yet at full capacity mode. This is Disney getting ahead of a potential problem before it happens. Nothing wrong with that.

March 7, 2019 at 1:00 PM

I heard RotR doesn't even exist. The plan was to always open as is and keep pushing off RotR with claims that they're "working on it." Until we inevitably give up hope and live with our fate, a la the Everest Yeti.

March 7, 2019 at 1:00 PM

"I heard that the issue is that ROTR might NOT be ready in 2019."

If that's the case, then they're making it even worse by launching the Galaxy's Edge opening campaign and saying RotR will be open "later THIS year". So, not only would they be opening the land without a signature attraction, but they'd be lying to guests about RotR opening at some point in 2019. It sounds like RotR is a bit behind schedule, but not to the point where it won't open at some point in 2019.

March 7, 2019 at 1:05 PM

Maybe all of the testing is going well and ahead of schedule and staggering the opening of the attractions is by design -- ensuring return visits from guests.

March 7, 2019 at 1:08 PM

This is very disappointing news. This could be Fyre Festival craziness if everyone is funneling into a single attraction. What about downtimes? Sure, there are other experiences to explore, but none of them are real people eaters. After so much hype and excitement, this feels like a punch in the gut. I'd rather they just delay the land entirely and wait until it's all ready for the big reveal.

March 7, 2019 at 1:26 PM

We obviously don't know how this is going to play out, but I see some good and some bad with this decision.

The Good:

-The land opens in May rather than June, giving a little bit of lead time before the summer crunch arrives.
-The land opens in May rather than June, allowing passholders an opportunity to visit prior to the summer blockout rather than forcing them to wait until August and completely overwhelm the park in the short window before school resumes.
-Reservations are required, so crowding inside the land will be limited. My hope is this: On-site guests get first priority and are guaranteed a reservation during their stay. Passholders can make one reservation during the reservation window and can change it based on availability, but will not be allowed to make another reservation after visiting. Other tickets will have the ability to make a reservation at purchase (or when the window opens for already purchased tickets), but will be locked into that date and time once selected.
-Fastpass will not be used inside the land (at least initially), which will work much better for crowd control purposes and help buffer any unexpected issues with the attractions.

The Bad:

-This could create less demand at opening and excess demand later once Rise of the Resistance opens, which could cause huge problems if the reservation system is not maintained until that point.
-If what is available at opening is a disappointment, it could sour visitors on this land as a whole and result in an enormous flop for Disney.
-The delay of Rise of the Resistance is likely going to build even more hype for that ride, which means it will have a very high bar to live up to that may or may not be met. If the rest of the land is successful, this bar will only be bumped higher.

In my opinion, the best idea would have been to delay the land and open everything together with reserved entry and no Fastpass. However, it will be interesting to see how this approach works out for Disney. There's a fair chance it will be quite successful, but there's also a decent chance for a total disaster. Either way, this confirms my decision to wait until early 2020 to attempt a visit was a smart move.

March 7, 2019 at 1:29 PM

How does this imaginary "PR nightmare" manifest itself? Will attendance plummet? Will DVC or AP sales slow dramatically?

And conversely, how much of a victory will it be for Disney if all of the negative assumptions on this thread (and they absolutely ARE assumptions) turn out to be off the mark?

March 7, 2019 at 1:34 PM

The official announcement clearly says Star Wars:Rise of the Resistance will open later this year- so the entire expansion themed area will be open to guests during 2019. Considering everyone was so convinced that both versions would debut at later dates on both coasts, getting almost everything earlier than anticipated and everything entirely still this year is hardly a problem to inspire outrage. That galaxy far, far away is not only closer- it has official opening dates! It's good news;)

March 7, 2019 at 1:39 PM

@DBCooper - Do you have any references for that claim? Curious...

March 7, 2019 at 1:44 PM

The whole "delay until Rise is complete" may make sense but the massive pressure by fans for the land to be open clearly is influencing this. It probably makes sense to Disney to open with the Falcon ride, let the major excitement build off the new land and then do Rise to get more folks to come back.

Remember, Disney is pushing the entire land itself as basically the "real" attraction and early reports (from io9 and Entertainment Weekly) indicate it's more than worth just walking around to take it all in. In which case, saving something for a bit later rather than have it all open at once does look like a logical move.

March 7, 2019 at 1:41 PM

Suddenly their hype around the lightsaber store makes a lot of sense. They're trying to convince people they should visit even though the land won't be read.

This seems to be a developing trend with Disney Parks development, with Pixar Pier STILL lacking two of the attractions they announced a year ago (how long does it take to paint a spinning ride, anyway?). I'll always be a Disney fan, but holy crap guys, this is getting ridiculous.

March 7, 2019 at 1:43 PM

Mike W writes: "... but the massive pressure by fans for the land to be open clearly is influencing this."

I Respond: Where is there evidence of this "massive pressure by fans"?

March 7, 2019 at 1:45 PM

Ah, the constant stories on the land with endless comments on "when is this opening?!" all over the Internet?

March 7, 2019 at 1:48 PM

I have seen those "stories" of Rise not ready until next year. Not sure if true or not but can understand why they're around given track record of Disney attractions. Again, I vividly recall how Test Track looked all set and ready to go in 1996 (complete with hype on Disney shows of the ride) but didn't fully open for another three years. Given the complexity of Rise, it's no shock folks expect it to be delayed too.

March 7, 2019 at 2:04 PM

Mike W: "the constant stories on the land with endless comments on 'when is this opening?!'"

I Respond: How does that constitute "pressure"? Why should Disney be pressured by this? I am on property five days a week. I have two CMs in my family. One indicates character breakfasts are wall to wall. The other reports crowds in MK are thick. Why would Disney feel pressure due to articles?

Do you honestly believe that Iger and the rest of team Disney are making decisions related to a opening a multi-billion dollar investment based upon these "articles" and internet "comments"?

March 7, 2019 at 2:17 PM

Everyone here is making great points. I think anyone who was planning a trip to the parks on either coast in anticipation of Galaxy's Edge should be extremely happy based on this announcement. Galaxy's Edge WILL be open well before the previously rumored dates, so whether you were going to Disneyland in July or WDW in October, you should at the very least get to experience the new land.

However, I think the big question here is what are we supposed to do in Galaxy's Edge if the biggest attraction will not be ready? Obviously, with RotR not open when the lands debut, most guests will be streaking straight for Smuggler's Run. However, it's been noted (and further enforced by a disclaimer on the marketing video) that the attraction will have limited capacity. Disney has said multiple times that your performance on SR will trigger interaction within Galaxy's Edge. So if everyone entering the land is going to try to hop on a limited capacity attraction at the same time, how will the land interact with the multitude of guests that never get a chance to ride the only attraction in the land? Also, Disney has not detailed any other interactions in the land aside from those generated by performance on Smuggler's Run. Therefore, what is everyone else supposed to do if you're not in line to ride?

Based on what has been detailed on Theme Park Insider and elsewhere, there aren't a whole lot of other options. Disney has not announced any shows or other entertainment for the lands, though it's presumed that Disneyland's Jedi Training Academy that closed last fall would re-emerge in Galaxy's Edge (my guess is that DHS's will remain where it is next to Star Tours). It's also reasonable to assume that DHS's March of the First Order would also occur in both versions of the land. There's also some indication that there will be some type of band or live performance inside Oga's Cantina. However, the concept drawings make this space look incredibly small and not conducive to handle large overflow crowds desperate for something to do in the new land. That leaves a counter service restaurant, a couple of food stands, and merchandise shops to sop of the hoards of guests needing something to do. The create your own lightsaber and droid shops could hold some potential, but Disney hasn't provided any specific details or even that they are anything beyond what guests can currently experience in existing Star Wars gift shops in DHS and DL. If these experiences are nothing more than snapping plastic parts together, Disney is going to have a lot of bored and angry guests. With a set opening date, fans are going to be flooding these new lands regardless of whether RotR is open or not. So the question will be, what are all these people going to do?

March 7, 2019 at 2:24 PM

Russell - Fantastic summary! "what are all these people going to do?" is right! Ugh.

March 7, 2019 at 2:34 PM

I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like "all these people" are going to be walking in thinking everything is up and running. Some people will choose to wait until everything really is up and running. So if you just have to be there before RotR opens don't walk in with a chip on your shoulder, go kick the tires, ride the ride and let the rest of know how it is.

March 7, 2019 at 2:37 PM

Stevo B nails it!

March 7, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Stevo is right as I always going to wait a while for the initial rush to go down before I visited.

March 7, 2019 at 3:46 PM

While it may not be the expected opening, I think this is still a good move on Disney's part. While RotR won't be open, the rest of the land will be. I'm also sure every park map / the website / the app / cast members will inform guest of this. By making the announcement this early....they are getting ahead of the PR.

Will there be upset guest? Yes, of course!.....but that would happen anyway. Whether it be the crowds, if attractions go down, the interactive elements don't work as planned, the massive crowds, etc.

People are going to complain no matter what. That's inevitable.....but a reservation only, soft open (especially for DLR) before summer starts is smart. They can better gage what works & works doesn't & adapt accordingly before officially opening to everyone.

If rumors are true that RotR won't be ready for months, but everything else is......why wait (especially during the summer). Yes, money is obviously a factor, but if they've hired cast members & everything else is ready to go, why not?

Plus, the rest of Disneyland will still be open, lol There's no law that will force guest to stay in Galaxy's Edge despite RotR not being open! Its not as if Disney is presenting the idea that the entire land will be up & running.....It's March, so they are giving plenty of notice. (they didn't wait a week until an announced opening to reveal that a main attraction won't be operational.)

March 7, 2019 at 3:46 PM

I'm inclined to agree with Stevo B, except for the fact they've been hyping RotR like CRAZY. They've used it as one of two primary draws (along with Smugglers Run). Of course people are going to be disappointed, especially folks who may have booked trips for the Fall after hearing of the "Summer" opening time frame. That's certainly a big deal.

March 7, 2019 at 4:12 PM

Disney really did build their own Diagon Alley including the main ride not being ready for the grand opening.

March 7, 2019 at 4:48 PM

First of all if someone has booked a trip around the opening of a land or high end attraction they are inherently rolling the dice. I mean, come on! Secondly, with today's announcement, people who have booked a trip can always change their plans. For the love of ...

March 7, 2019 at 5:45 PM

AM: "Disney really did build their own Diagon Alley including the main ride not being ready for the grand opening."

I Respond: They have not announced the dates of the grand opening.

March 7, 2019 at 7:13 PM

People are talking about the disappointment of visitors who discover that RotR isn't open yet. But how about the disappointment of visitors who can't get into Galaxy's Edge at all because they didn't have a reservation?

Overall I think this is what Disney needed to do to manage the huge expected crowds. People will still show up to explore the land itself simply because it's new. Hey, look at the big crowds last year who came to see a cheap overlay that was Pixar Pier? And paid $300 to be the first ones? As someone said, knowing that RotR will not be open yet may keep some early visitors away, and have the effect of spreading out the crowds.

March 7, 2019 at 6:47 PM

At this point IMO it's time to make the whole park reservation only. I get they don't want to turn people away from Disneyland but the place is already wall to wall on a regular basis and that's without Star Wars. The GP are going to be super pissed when they get there, pay for admission, and can't get in.

March 7, 2019 at 7:36 PM

I think this was a deliberate and meticulously planned strategy by Disney to try and lessen the huge influx of people if all of GE had opened at the same time. It’s still going to be insanely busy during the first few weeks, despite no RotR but one has to imagine the crowds will not be as crazy as they would have been if everything had opened up on August 29th.

Maybe I’m giving Disney too much credit, but it’s a good conspiracy theory to chew over.

I’ll keep clear of DHS till mid September, then I’ll make an attempt to go after work. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a Slinky Dog fast pass .. :)

March 7, 2019 at 7:42 PM

Clearly announced Disneyland guests need free reservations to enter Star Wars: Galaxys Edge May 31 through June 23, why would the general public in California be angry if they fail to secure those reservations? Really, we're all getting this new themed area open way earlier than expected and we know Rise of the Resistance will be ready before 2019 is over- might not even have a big delay on that attraction at all in Florida's version. Why whine about it? Were you expecting the most eagerly anticipated new addition in the industry to open ahead of presumed schedule? This is good news, not to mention our resident rumor monger can put his Millenium Falcon untruths to rest forever and worry instead of a class action on behalf of Fleetwood Mac, Adele and Number 3 from Umbrella Academy. ;)

March 7, 2019 at 7:48 PM

I can see this going really poorly, but I can also see the upside.
Die hards will go to Disneyland, no matter if RotR is open. This will include people on the east coast, who otherwise may never even go to California.

Those who don't will probably wait until the Florida installation opens. Either way, it's going to attract a lot of people, but mostly the older generation who grew up with Star Wars and consider themselves fanboys and fangirls.

This will allow DLR and WDW to open RotR with most of the kinks worked out of the land itself, and not every die hard SW fan will make it back for a second helping, with only one new attraction having been added.

I may not be articulating this well, but I think this, in the long run, could be a great move.

It's just about setting expectations and managing crowds.

March 7, 2019 at 8:26 PM

"Clearly announced Disneyland guests need free reservations to enter Star Wars: Galaxys Edge May 31 through June 23, why would the general public in California be angry if they fail to secure those reservations?"

Go and stand at any big attractions Fastpass return even just for 30 minutes and you will hear every excuse in the book as to why people should get to ride through the Fastpass when they don't have one (or don't have one for that time). I will admit this problem is worse at WDW, but still when Star Wars opens it will be pulling in a lot of out of staters to DLR as well.

I'm not whining about it, honestly I don't care it doesn't affect me at all, I just think it would go a lot better if the park had date-specific tickets. I think DLR should have had date specific tickets for years before now as well. The place is far too small to handle the crowds it already gets.

March 7, 2019 at 8:47 PM

The reaction to this soft opening will be directly dependent to how the general public are informed of it beforehand (and no, people who read this site or follow Disney shareholder meetings aren't the general public). Two people can have the same exact experience and feel completely opposite about it based on the expectations they came in with.
There will be 100s of thousands people who buy tickets to the park in that time or even passholders who decide to visit when they see ads for Galaxy's Edge or hear it's opening from a friend or coworker, but many will fail to do proper research. If a substantial portion of them are not informed in a concise, plain way (a large portion of people are stupid and will just click through the details, regardless) Disney will end up with a lot of poor word of mouth. If I were Disney, I would definitely be using terms like "soft opening" and "limited operations" a lot in the next few months, even if thats not the tone you take at a shareholders meeting, as we saw.

March 7, 2019 at 10:44 PM

I have said this a million times, people are underestimating the demand. This is Star Wars. It is not Avatar, Jurassic Park, and not Potter. It is a mistake calling it open when it isn't. Say 'the land will be open for walk throughs prior to it being armed and operational.' It is kind of like the fed chairman telling furloughed federal workers to get a loan. Families are going to spend thousands to come to a park they can't get in to find attractions not open and unable to make reservations for. Just don't do it. The closer I get to this, I just have to say it: I have a bad feeling about this.

March 8, 2019 at 2:42 AM

Well I'm sure there are cup cakes and crap to buy and a low capacity ride so clearly Disney guests will be satisfied.That is the best we can expect from Disney opening their most important bought ip after they owned the rights for decades.
They did the same with New Fantasy land and the sad makeover of the pier so it was to be expected. And of-course they want return on their investment asap for their investors and CEO bonus and don't care about the customer satisfaction.

March 8, 2019 at 4:48 AM

@JC Vanhouten: That was the Secretary of Commerce and not the Fed Chairman.

March 8, 2019 at 7:22 AM

Knew it was somebody that looked like one of the old muppets in the corner.

March 8, 2019 at 7:23 AM

I think it is okay to complain about the way they are opening the land. If Apple marketed and hyped a new Iphone and then 3 months before the release said "the phone will be released but the camera won't be up and running until later this year", what would people say? Disney is releasing a product without the star camera, people will clearly still buy it because in either case people are buying the next hot thing. We should not reward companies who work like this and it is not just Disney who does this. Rushing products to make the buck is done all the time in the gaming industry as well. People buy it just because of who released it and its a rushed product that has a million updates and 6 months later the game is actually finished.

March 8, 2019 at 7:52 AM

I'll add another point of view that is also percolating through the interwebs...

It's been noted above that guests who have already planned trips around the projected openings of Galaxy's Edge may be disappointed to find the lands accessible, but without one of their premier attractions. I will likely fall into this group with a planned (but not yet booked) trip to Disneyland for late July/early August. However, I understand the risk of planning a trip so close to a huge debut like this, which is why we were deliberately allowing at least a month of buffer between the projected opening (late June) and our planned visit. Not having RotR open would be a big disappointment, but not a deal-killer for us. We'll still take our chances since we cannot shift the trip any later in the year, and will still have plenty of new attractions to experience since our last visit to SoCal in March 2003. The fact that the same exact attraction will be open at DHS, a place we visit every 2-3 years (versus every 5-8 years for California) lessens the disappointment. So I'm personally a little torn because the bumped up debut of the land guarantees that we will get to walk through Galaxy's Edge when we visit Disneyland, but the announcement could mean that we might not experience RotR for another year or longer.

However, this announcement to seemingly accelerate the opening of Galaxy's Edge, particularly at WDW, is going to significantly affect those guests that have already booked trips to get ahead of the Galaxy's Edge debuts. There are a lot of folks out there that visit WDW frequently (or may be planning once in a lifetime trips) that want no part of Galaxy's Edge, and booked fall trips or bumped up annual November/October trips into September with the explicit reason to avoid the Star Wars crowds. Opening Galaxy's Edge at DHS before Labor Day means that DHS is pretty much a no go for guests that want to experience the park during the slower September period. Personally, if I were anti-Star Wars, I would see this as a HUGE opportunity to get easy FP+ reservations for the other top DHS attractions (SDD, ToT, TSM, etc...), but I do know that there are a lot of folks out there that plan trips during the early fall to try and avoid the crushing crowds. What was once expected to be a quiet, relatively stress free trip to WDW in September/early October is now turning into prospective madhouse full of stress and angst after this announcement.

To be clear, if I personally had a trip already planned for the "early fall" timeframe and found out that Galaxy's Edge was actually going to be open (in addition to the discounted room I probably got along with EPCOT F&W and MNSSHP - and maybe even MMRR), I'd be on cloud 9, but there are plenty of people out there that are freaking out knowing now that their trip to WDW during an expected slower time of year is going to be a mob scene (at least at DHS).

March 8, 2019 at 8:17 AM

I will say it is more like the iPhone releasing but you can only receive calls but not make calls. Of course we all knew this would happen. Vacation planners have been warning clients about this especially due to the absence of how FP+ would work, and now that is still somewhat vague. I suppose we call remember history with the Haunted Mansion having the facade built but vacant for years, and we know they will not let it go that long. While I have my fears, and they are getting worse, I am going for a week in a week. There are few greater Star Wars fans than me, and I cannot imagine attempting it for at least two years after opening. At least.

What would be super cool is when it opens they fool us with the most game changing industrial engineering ever created. Innovative crowd control. All trash cans have the serial number 3263827 stamped on them. And in true Emperor fashion the Rise attraction was fully armed and operational all along.

March 8, 2019 at 9:25 AM

Not SO very much different from New Orleans Square opening with Pirates, then having an empty Haunted mansion waiting there to get filled, 3 long years :-)
Nothing turned out badly in the end !
:-)

March 8, 2019 at 11:05 AM

Russell ..... it's an interesting theory about the easier availability of the top tier FP+'s at DHS come the time MFSR opens at GE, but those passes are going to be gone in a blink of an eye with the opening of the window at 74 days. Even the 60 dayers may have problems getting one. What then? SDD, TSM and ASS (gotta love that ... :) .. ) will quickly go, and pass holders like me at 30 days out will still struggle to get them.

I'm going to assume the 3 top tiers will remain and RotR and MFSR will be added. Don't see why not, as Epcot has 5, so Disney will still limit people to 1 of the 5 top tier FP+'s during the first 3 choices. That would suggest SDD, especially, will still be hard to get hold of.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes me to get a MFSR fast pass !!
I'll keep you posted ... :)

March 8, 2019 at 11:03 AM

@Makorider - That seems to be what a lot of people who booked trips to avoid Galaxy's Edge are worried about, and why there's so much consternation swirling from guests not wanting to deal with the Star Wars crowds. However, when PtWoA opened, FP+ reservations for the other top DAK rides (Safari and Everest) seemed to be easier to grab and change - at least from my experience in October 2017. As long as they add the Star Wars attractions (and maybe even MMRR) to the current list of Tier 1 attractions, I think guests will have an easier time getting FP+ reservations for the older rides. It certainly won't be a piece of cake, but I think getting SDD and TSM FP+ reservations will at least be more feasible than it is now.

March 8, 2019 at 11:13 AM

RM writes: "That seems to be what a lot of people who booked trips to avoid Galaxy's Edge are worried about, and why there's so much consternation swirling from guests not wanting to deal with the Star Wars crowds."

I Respond: Where is there evidence that such people, with such concerns actually exist? Are there comments posted from a substantial amount of people who indicate that they have "booked trips" and suddenly "are worried about" having "to deal with the Star Wars crowds"?

March 8, 2019 at 11:27 AM

Russell .... thanks for the reminder, I forgot about MMRR .... should make it interesting. TSM is always much easier to get than Aliens, so unless Disney runs with 6 top tier, I can see them dropping TSM to 2nd tier, and the other 5 will form the new top tier ?

The real test/proof will be at my 30 day mark. As yet I have not been able to find a SDD that far out, so it will be interesting to see, come end of July, if I can find a SDD when I look. It's not an issue for me, I just take an Aliens, modify it on the day of, and go ride Slinky after work ... :)

March 8, 2019 at 12:43 PM

"Where is there evidence that such people, with such concerns actually exist?"

My sister-in-law for one, who booked her family's very first WDW trip for October at the end of last year. Her boys have little interest in Star Wars, and her oldest has autism, so stifling crowds are a significant concern for her, especially for a first visit.

A lot of the Disney message boards exploded yesterday after the announcement with lots of posts from people who took advantage of the room discounts and free DDP. The comments were split pretty close to 50/50 between guests that are thrilled that they get to unexpectedly experience Galaxy's Edge on their trip and those that are freaking out that their attempt to get one more pre-Star Wars craziness trip to WDW was for naught.

I invite you to scan through the various Disney message boards, and you will see a plethora of comments on both sides of this aisle, but it's pretty clear that there are a significant number of WDW visitors out there that weren't terribly thrilled about yesterday's announcement that Galaxy's Edge would be opening almost 3 months earlier than initially anticipated. Disney was very clear at D23 that DHS's version of the land was going to open "late fall", so opening on August 29 kind of turns the previous announcement on its ear.

This is not necessarily how I feel about it, but it's definitely not an isolated or trivial point of view.

March 8, 2019 at 11:47 AM

My Death Star wasn't completely operational and we all saw how that turned out.

March 8, 2019 at 11:55 AM

@DarthVader - And that's why you will always be inferior to Deadpool, who is always fully armed and operational ;)

March 8, 2019 at 12:04 PM

"TSM is always much easier to get than Aliens,"

Which is a phenomenon I simply do not understand. It's a spinning whip people!! How much of a moron do you need to be to waste a FP+ reservation on what is essentially a glorified carnival ride (regardless how long the standby line gets). I bet if Disney installed 100 of those quarter operated bouncing rides you see outside of a K-Mart themed to Woody and Bullseye, that FP+ demand would top TSM too, because the Drones are just that stupid.

March 8, 2019 at 1:25 PM

TSM is ripe for demotion. It's been around for 10+ years, so if they do decide to have the top tier at 5, that's the most likely to go. I also do not understand the fascination with Aliens, but the standby line is always longer than that for TSM.

MMRR is now slated to open after GE, so that's going to make things very interesting. Any chance RotR and MMRR opening at the same time ?? Surely not !!

March 8, 2019 at 2:24 PM

Might want to check Disney official FAQ page for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World- says Fast Pass+ will NOT be offered on either attraction and that this may be offered at some future date. Guess Extra Magic Hours will indeed be the best bet for WDW Resort Guests since The Mouse has spoken and Fast Pass+ won't be an option. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/fast-pass-plus/star-wars-galaxys-edge-fastpass/

March 8, 2019 at 2:34 PM

@RM: I will take you at your word regarding the plethora of posts on message boards but I must conclude that (from a true demographic measurement) board posts are more anecdotal than a measurement of significant shifts. Those who would be clocking an ambiguous announcement at D23 ("late fall") fall into the column you have labeled as "drones". Additionally, I am not sure why anyone would be all that angry about GE opening during their September visit. No doubt the new DHS attraction and land will canabalize the surrounding parks. This is ancient history, but I worked at the Magic Kingdom when EPCOT opened. MK became a ghost town. In 1998, UO announced Men in Black to prevent USF from being deserted by fans of IOA. And check out the post Potter TEA stats. While IOA attendance jumped astronomically USF burped up a speed bump of an increase.

I have no doubt some are concerned about the arrival of the Death Star and its impact on crowds. But if I nailed down a good room rate I couldn't be bothered as to whether or not GE is up and going. ESPECIALLY if WDW decides to implement that "by reservation only" admission in the month of September.

I appreciate the scenario you are trying to paint, but as far as PR challenges go, this would be/should be quite manageable. And a year from now DHS will be breaking attendance records, Disney will completely dominate the Florida market and those angry drones will be booking rooms, standing in line and paying far too much for those glorified flashlights known as light sabers ... Or laser swords ... Or .. whatever.

March 8, 2019 at 2:39 PM

Hadn't seen that yet Dave. That means those that wanted nothing to do with Galaxy's Edge but are now stuck visiting during its debut months will not only have to deal with obscene crowds, but won't even get the benefit of those attractions sucking away some of the FP+ demand for the non-SW attractions.

It makes you wonder if Disney might be rethinking FP+ altogether if they've deemed it incapable of effectively managing crowds for Galaxy's Edge.

"Guess Extra Magic Hours will indeed be the best bet for WDW Resort Guests"

I'm guessing the ultimate best bet will be whatever hard ticket morning and evening ERT events Disney comes up with...and the prohibitively expensive Star Wars Hotel of course.

March 8, 2019 at 2:35 PM

Check out their FAQ, has that FastPass+ info and plenty more for the Florida version of Star Wars:Galaxy's Edge.
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/fast-pass-plus/star-wars-galaxys-edge-fastpass/

March 8, 2019 at 2:38 PM

@TH - Honestly, I was quite surprised there were so many folks out there annoyed that the Death Star was arriving 3 months early at WDW. As you note, I would have assumed that most guests that took advantage of room discounts and promotions would have been thrilled to find out that not only did they save some money on their trip, but they get to see Galaxy's Edge too (without having to make a trip later in the year or future years). But there they were, a lot of them frequent visitors and proclaimed DVC owners (Drones) that were ready to strangle Iger for seemingly ruining their fall vacation. These are the same people that freak out when Disney doesn't post show schedules exactly 3 months in advance, so they're quite fickle, but do represent some of the most loyal and ardent fans of WDW.

I can sort of understand, because I too like to avoid the crowds whenever possible, and September/October timeframe can be a great time to see softer crowds than the summer with the added benefits of EPCOT F&W and MNSSHP. While the fall is not nearly as quiet as it used to be, it's still nothing compared to the holidays, Spring Break, or heart of the summer, yet those are the crowd levels that are likely to descend on WDW this fall. I definitely don't share this point of view, just noting that it exists, and that Disney made more than a few people upset by moving the debut of Galaxy's Edge into what is typically a less crowded time of year.

March 8, 2019 at 2:38 PM

Dave .... thanks for the link. I can't believe the initial period will be too long. The length of the stand-by line has the potential to be as long as the park is open !!

Where the hell is the line going to stretch too ?? Maybe into Toy Story land ... or ... dare I say this .... !?!? ..... to Infinity and beyond ... LOL ... :)

March 8, 2019 at 2:41 PM

...or how early people will show up in the parking lot (people were arriving at DAK 3-4 hours before opening for PtWoA the first few weeks it was open.

I'm putting the over/under at midnight.

March 8, 2019 at 2:53 PM

Very true Russell ... and opening at the end of August also takes away the possibility of the sweatliner being used from Epcot as a means to get to the park.

It's going to be very interesting to see the local news reports when we get closer to opening, and of course to see the madness and mayhem at Disneyland a couple of months before.

March 8, 2019 at 3:13 PM

If Disney announced that everyone who arrives at the parks in September will be personally greeted by George Lucas and be given a free Tie Fighter "more than a few people" would be upset. That's the nature of the business. The fans are like Veruca demanding a second Gobstopper.

March 8, 2019 at 3:16 PM

These are good decisions, to deal with the expected madhouse that will descend on the new land. Let`s not forget that Diagon Alley opened without its main attraction.

March 8, 2019 at 9:16 PM

@Still a fan: that’s not entirely true. Yes, Diagon Alley soft opened without Gringotts, but it was still operational on the official opening day. It was plagued with technical and capacity issues to be sure, but that’s standard procedure with any new ride (one that both attractions in Galaxy’s Edge will almost certainly face).

March 9, 2019 at 1:01 AM

I’m very sorry for believing the Millennium Flacon Ride would be delayed.

I shouldn’t have made a comment suggesting that opening Galaxy’s Edge with only one of its announced attractions open would attract any controversy or backlash.

March 9, 2019 at 9:22 AM

TH, I think your analogy on the Gobstopper is spot on, and really is the one overwhelming reason a Disney park can be less than fun unfortunately. It's not the park or the staff, which are always beyond out of this world, it is the massive amount of crowds and the people that come in and spank their kids when they aren't having fun, yell when their coffee spills, and hit you with their strollers filled with everything Nathen R. Johnson pulled out of his office from the Jerk. Of course I exaggerate, but they really are a victim of their success. You say they will dominate the Florida market. They already do. They will continue. You are correct in that DHS will break attendan records.

The real issue is one of PR. What do they do when a middle class family of four spends $10,000 that aren't as educated as the people on this board comes down there with the sole purpose of visiting the Star Wars land and fails to be able to ride an attraction? I also do not see the likelihood of other Disney parks being vacant or less crowded like Universal. I was at Universal when IOA opened. I adore Universal, but it really is apples and oranges, and it is so due to the demographics. There will be a sea of people at EPCOT, and the busses elsewhere will be swamped. I have said this before, but this is Star Wars, the popularity will be huge. They will need their A game throughout all parks. This land is getting coverage in areas other than just theme park sites. Video game sites, tech sites, sci-fi sites, movie sites, any place that has a passing interest to Star Wars, not just theme park related.

There will be people that have never been to a theme park and have never considered going to a theme park that will go just because of this. I know this, because someone in my office is this person. They thought, hey, Star Wars is open. I can just fly to Orlando and fly the Millennium Falcon. There will be many people like that that won't have a massive theme park nerd next to them.

Certainly, everybody should also expect this to happen. It took four hours just to get into Hogsmead before even getting into a line for an attraction, so they need some leaway for a while. I know I am contradictory in the extreme, but I am hopeful that they will see the writing on the wall and come up with some massive Jedi mind trick on the crowds. I just know the current system is not going to cut it.

March 9, 2019 at 5:14 PM

Over the last couple of days I have been drawing impressions from my 37 years in theme park operations and construction ... And very suddenly I am concerned about how Disney is going to effectively (and safely) manage the tsunami that is about to hit the beach.

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