Disneyland has already announced that its Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land will open on reservation-only basis on May 31. But now we've learned more about how Disney will handle access to the land over its first months.
No, we don't have an answer yet as to when reservations will open, or how to get them. But Disneyland officials said that they do not plan to escalate the number of reservations they issue daily during the reservation-only period. And there will be more reservations held for the public than for the on-site hotel guests who have been promised an entry into Galaxy's Edge during their stay. (Disney also would very much like fans to know that hotel rooms remain available for many dates during the reservation-only period.) However, there are no plans yet to create separate "pots" for annual passholders or DVC members versus the rest of the public going for those reservations. Time in the land also will be limited during the reservation period, though Disney officials could not yet say how they will be enforcing that.
Starting June 24, when the land opens to all Disneyland ticket-holders, the park will implement a virtual queue system to control access to the land. No standby access will be allowed. Spots in the Galaxy's Edge virtual queue will be available for claiming only after guests enter the park, until the advance reservation system that Disney will use between May 31-June 23. With a virtual queue, guests wanting to visit Galaxy's Edge will not have to waste hours waiting in a physical queue to enter the land and can instead enjoy the rest of the park until their turn is called.
Not that there won't be a physical queue for the land. As with Fastpass and other ride reservation systems, there will be a holding queue outside the land for people whose virtual queue times have arrived, but Disneyland officials expect the wait in that queue to be short. Basically, the exterior queue is there to maximize the capacity of the land, in case stragglers don't arrive precisely at their virtual queue return time. Disneyland will instead stack the next incoming group of visitors in that exterior queue, then load the land once that group is filled, so that the land does not drop below capacity.
Once inside the land, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will not have Fastpass when it opens with Galaxy's Edge, nor will Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, when it opens in the land later this year. (Both attractions might add Fastpass in the future.) So everything in the land will be available on a first-come, first-served basis once you are inside Galaxy's Edge.
Now that probably means long waits for experiences inside Galaxy's Edge, even with capacity controls in place for the land itself. So Disneyland will introduce the "bathroom pass" system recently introduced at Walt Disney World's Flight of Passage ride for use in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
(All of this information was provided to Theme Park Insider by senior Disneyland officials in a private presentation to five news outlets last week. The information was given under embargo until 3am PT today.)
Elsewhere in Disneyland, officials are tweaking the Fastpass system in preparation for the Galaxy's Edge crowds flooding the park. When an attraction you hold a Fastpass for goes down, you soon no longer will receive a "Multiple Experiences" replacement (the so-called "Golden Fastpass"). Instead, on certain attractions, you will be limited on which rides or shows you can use your replacement Fastpass.
In other words, ride tiers are back at the Disneyland Resort, at least when it comes to replacement Fastpasses. An Disney will now call them that in the Disneyland app, using the much clearer term "Replacement Fastpass" instead of the often-confusing "Multiple Experiences." If you held a Fastpass for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Indiana Jones Adventure, or Space Mountain, for example, you will be able to use your Replacement Fastpass on any attraction, as those will be the new top tier in the system. The second tier will include Big Thunder, Buzz Lightyear, Roger Rabbit, Small World, and Splash Mountain. You can use a Replacement Fastpass on any attraction in the same tier or lower, but you can't move up.
And the line-up of attractions in each tier may change over time, Disneyland officials said, noting that Haunted Mansion Holiday is a likely candidate for top-tier status when it returns next fall. The idea behind the change is to reduce the overload on popular attractions when other attractions in the park go down, and everyone then treats their replacement Fastpass as an upgrade to a "sold out" Fastpass.
While these changes will easiest to understand for visitors using Disneyland's Maxpass system to manage their Fastpass reservations through the Disneyland app, the changes will be explained as well on the back of the paper Fastpass tickets that guests get if they are not using Maxpass.
Finally, Disney will be making one more physical tweak in preparation for Galaxy's Edge by removing the curbing around the outside of the hub on the west side of the park — the side on which Galaxy's Edge stands. Curbs will remain on the inside edge of the hub, around the Partners statue, but the plans is to eventually eliminate the curbs all around the outer perimeter. But the curb removal on the east side will have to wait until next year's refurbishment season.
Follow the links below for more of today's "Project Stardust" news from the Disneyland Resort.
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