What we know (and don't) about the Galaxy's Edge opening

March 7, 2019, 8:24 PM · After today's announcements and the reactions, let's recap what we know — and don't — about the impending openings of Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands.

In case you missed the announcement, Disney CEO Bob Iger said this morning that Galaxy's Edge would open on May 31 at Disneyland and August 29 at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. But the lands' biggest attraction, the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, won't open on those dates, debuting instead "later this year." And visitors to the Disneyland installation will need to get an advance reservation to enter the land between May 31 and June 23.

So we are getting a phased opening, starting with reservation-only visits before a public debut on June 24, then a full opening with both attractions later in 2019. Walt Disney World is skipping the reservations phase, moving directly to the public opening on August 29, followed by the full opening later.

Today's announcement means that — unless another park does something stupid — there will be no conflict with competing attractions opening at the same time, as we are seeing later this month with Legoland Florida and SeaWorld Orlando opening new kiddie lands on the same date, or as we saw in 2017 when Disney World scheduled the media event for Pandora: The World of Avatar on top of the media event for Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay. The closest thing to competition for Galaxy's Edge — the new coaster at Islands of Adventure's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure — will open on June 13.

That's what we know. Here's what we don't know:

1) When Rise of the Resistance will open. If you are a family that can afford to make just one trip to see Galaxy's Edge — and want the complete experience — you still don't know when to book your trip, despite today's announcements. Perhaps that's by design. By holding back Rise of the Resistance, Disney has created a big incentive for many fans to postpone their Disney Star Wars adventure, taking some crowd-management pressure off the lands at their launch.

2) How to get one of those Disneyland reservations. The resort said that these reservations will be available at no cost, and that instructions will be forthcoming. But will annual passholders or DVC members get an early crack at the reservations, or will their reservations come from a different pool of times than those for the general public? People staying at the three on-site Disneyland hotels will get a reservation for Galaxy' Edge during their stay. But for everyone else, we're still guessing.

3) How people will react. Will one, moderate-capacity ride (Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run), a first-for-Disneyland bar, a couple food stands, and stores themed to a location no one's ever heard of satisfy fans of one of the world's most popular and beloved franchises? Or will the opening of these new attractions simply amplify the hype for the debut of Rise of the Resistance?

If Disney was hoping that Galaxy's Edge would dethrone The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley as the current industry favorite, reestablishing Disney as the clear creative leader in themed entertainment design, it's going to be tough for the land to do that before it's fully open. Even if what opens on May 31 blows everyone away, it's going to be tough not to defer some judgment about Galaxy's Edge until Rise of the Resistance opens and completes the land.

But as the undisputed leader in theme park attendance and revenue worldwide, Disney can afford to wait for its accolades. If holding back Rise of the Resistance keeps crowd levels manageable and the ride wows everyone when it does open, no one except a few geeks and scolds will remember the phased opening for Galaxy's Edge. Ultimately, this land will succeed or slide by (failure isn't really on the table here) on the quality of the experience it delivers. If people really love it, they will wait for it, no matter how long that takes.

And that, we know for sure.

Replies (8)

March 8, 2019 at 3:31 AM

Niles: "Ultimately, this land will succeed or slide by (failure isn't really on the table here) on the quality of the experience it delivers. If people really love it, they will wait for it, no matter how long that takes. And that, we know for sure.

I Respond: Ahhhhhh-men ...

March 8, 2019 at 7:52 AM

I think one perspective that is missing from the strategy to open all but one of the land's attractions is what would have happened if the whole land opening was pushed to later in the year. Disney knows one of it's attractions will take more time to deliver, so does it hold the opening of the most anticipated theme park land of all time and anger fans who have been promised a mid-year opening, or does it launch almost everything while perfecting its crown attraction?

To put it into perspective, let's take Diagon Alley. If the rest of the land had opened months before its primary attraction, knowing that Gringotts could have been tested further to avoid breakdowns, would it have been worth it compared to the headache that actually occurred on opening week?

March 8, 2019 at 8:03 AM

Maybe the late Rise of the Resistance opening is delayed only at Disneyland, and will open simultaneously at both parks, since it's more of a story based attraction, as opposed to the interactive and semi-"choose your own adventure"-like Smugglers run, to not spoil the story of the ride. This delay would generate a post-launch buzz at Land, and an extra incentive for an off time opening in Orlando. Also, while not a big thing, isn't the Jurassic World revamp at Universal Hollywood opening sometime this summer? While not a whole new ride, Jurassic is certainly Universal's biggest in-house IP, so it would be providing some form of competition. I might be wrong though; I'm an Orlando frequenter, not Cali.

March 8, 2019 at 11:23 AM

I think you nailed it. By delaying the opening of Rise of the Resistance many will delay their visit, creating less demand (However it will still be insane) when the land opens on the 31st.
I imagine Resistance is closer to being ready to open than we may be lead to believe. I think this is a very smart move on behalf of the Mouse to do this.

March 8, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Walt Disney World Resort's officialy FAQ page for Star Wars:Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios says there will be no FastPass+ for the two attractions when they open in Florida.
Also has many official answers for other questions in this thread, at least for the east coast version. Link is https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/fast-pass-plus/star-wars-galaxys-edge-fastpass/

March 10, 2019 at 6:30 PM

Dave, if that`s true, that`s a pretty radical step. The line will move faster, maybe by a lot, but everyone will always wait at least an hour, at least for the first year or so. I`m not crazy about this, I think I`d rather pick my time to breeze into the rides.

I just looked up the link. It says that FP+ won`t initially be offered for those rides. My guess is that they will offer it starting in 2020.

March 14, 2019 at 10:51 AM

Thank god the Star Wars attractions are not going to offer Fastpass at first, I agree 100% with that decision. IMO no new attractions should offer Fastpass until a few years after it opens or another new ride opens in the same park. I think UO has always been smart to do it that way.

The big problem is WDW has so many rooms what happens when people book hotels way in advance (at WDW hotel prices) and they still can't get FP. I think this is a big reason why Avatar had EMH literally every day for the first summer it was open and i'm sure Star Wars will too. With FP I think the expectation for those staying at really expensive resorts like Grand Floridian or Animal Kingdom Lodge is that they would get preferential FP over those staying somewhere like Pop Century or All Stars and that opens up a big hornets nest for Disney.

On a semi-related note I think it's time for Disney to start offering EMH to multiple parks at the same time, there are so many rooms that have access to EMH now it's not even a benefit anymore. Here is the list of people that now have access to EMH (I got the room counts from wikipedia and included DVC suites).

Pop Century - 2,880 rooms
Caribbean Beach - 2,112 rooms
Animal Kingdom Lodge - 1,307 rooms
Saratoga Springs - 1,320 rooms
Port Orleans - 3,056 rooms
All Stars - 5,444 rooms
Coronado Springs - 1,915 rooms
Art of Animation - 1,120 rooms
Polynesian Village - 872 rooms
Grand Floridian - 1,014 rooms
Wilderness Lodge - 910 rooms
Yacht Club - 630 rooms
Beach Club - 865 rooms
Boardwalk - 908 rooms
Contemporary - 1,083 rooms
Old Key West - 761 rooms
Fort Wilderness - 800 camp sites / 409 cabins
Riviera - 300 rooms

The following are not Disney resorts but they do have access to EMH (i'm assuming they pay Disney for their Guests to have access)
Swan - 758 rooms
Dolphin - 1,509 rooms
Hilton (Disney Springs) - 814 rooms
Hilton Buena Vista Palace (Disney Springs) - 1,104 rooms
B (Disney Springs) - 394 rooms
Best Western (Disney Springs) - 325 rooms
Double Tree (Disney Springs) - 229 rooms
Holiday Inn (Disney Springs) - 323 rooms
Wyndham Garden (Disney Springs) - 626 rooms
Four Seasons - 443 rooms
Waldorf Astoria (Bonnet Creek) - NA
Hilton (Bonnet Creek) - NA
Four Seasons
Golden Oak members - NA
Club 33 members - NA

How the in F is being in a park for 2 hours with all those people considered a benefit?

March 14, 2019 at 9:11 PM

You're presuming 100% occupancy of every WDW on site resort, all choosing the exact same EMH- which didn't happen ever so far. Forgot to list Shades of Green, which certainly has EMH just like Swan & Dolphin and the Hiltons. Worked many dead, quiet EMHs at the parks, especially the evening versions where plenty who did not have entry were day guests left disappointed when they figured out Cast scan your Resort MagicBand or ID for attraction entry. Worked wonderfully for those who were all about Pandora and Frozen, likely will work correctly yet again.

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