dedicated Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land by smacking his fist onto the hull of the Millennium Falcon, bringing it to life. But judging from the crowd levels around the rest of the park since the Star Wars land's public debut Friday, one might be excused for wondering if the opening moment didn't involve Thanos snapping his fingers instead.One week ago tonight, Harrison Ford
Walt times and crowd sizes elsewhere around the resort have fallen to levels last seen on a sunny day at Disneyland when J.J. Abrams' top sci-fi franchise was Cloverfield. The 14-acre Galaxy's Edge has sucked in guests like the Death Star hauling in the Falcon, leaving fans to enjoy average waits of just 20-40 minutes on the resort's other "E ticket" attractions, according to Disneyland officials.
"When you add a new area to the park, it adds capacity and has a positive impact on the whole park," Kris Theiler, Vice President of Disneyland Park, said. "So there is no better time to visit the Disneyland Resort than now."
Even within the land, wait times for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run have averaged around 45-50 minutes since it opened on Friday, Disneyland officials said today. The resort has been limiting access to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to guests staying at Disneyland's three hotels and those who made advance reservations last month. The reservation-only period extends to June 23, with the land opening to all Disneyland ticket holders on June 24.
Guests with reservations enter the land at assigned times and can stay for up to four hours before they are asked to leave. While the reservation system has limited crowds to manageable levels within the land, the reservation schedule also has led to a somewhat inconsistent flow of guests through the land. Wait time for the Falcon spike up to 90 minutes whenever a new reservation group enters the land, falling to as low as 15-20 minutes just before the next group hits, park officials said.
To help prevent the need for people waiting in long stand-by queues, Disneyland has implemented a call-back virtual queue for Oga's Cantina and a return time system for people booking $200 lightsaber building sessions in Savi's Workshop. Eventually, Disneyland officials said today, the plan is to move to an advance reservation system for Savi's, much like the one now used for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. But don't expect that switch until Disney gets a better handle on what crowd behavior will be like after June 24.
In the meantime, Disneyland officials said that most visitors to Oga's Cantina are naturally finishing within 30-45 minutes, which is keeping Disneyland from having to enforce a hard time limit in the cantina beyond that. But guests also are being limited to two drinks in the cantina, which is helping to keep the crowds moving through Disneyland's first public bar.
Disneyland also is reaching out via email to fans who mistakenly booked Galaxy's Edge reservations for a party of one, missing the option to add people to their party on the reservation form. Disneyland previous allowed those guests to add a second person to their reservation and now is allowing them to add the number of guests they'd intended to bring originally, officials said.
As for operations after June 24, the goal is to use a virtual queue to limit access to the land once it hits capacity, then also to smooth guest flow within it, to avoid the peaks and valleys of wait times now found in the land under the reservation system, officials said. The current systems will stay in place for Oga's and Savi's, too... at least at first. Expect more details from Disneyland about operational tweaks within the land as June 24 approaches, and we will pass them along here on Theme Park Insider.
Disneyland is also using new and refreshed attractions elsewhere in the park and Disney California Adventure to spread crowds around and reduce overall wait times. This Friday Disneyland Forever returns and a new Tale of the Lion King live musical show opens in the World of Color viewing area at California Adventure.
The Tale of the Lion King will run several times during the day, featuring an 18-member cast of singers, storytellers and musicians in a "story theater" production where they narrate and play roles in the familiar story of The Lion King, but with an all-new script, musical arrangements, and costumes, created specifically for the Disneyland Resort and inspired by contemporary Afrobeat music. The show will run through the summer.
California Adventure also is looking to draw crowds with the recent openings of Mickey's Philharmagic in the old Muppets theater in Hollywood Land, Jessie's Critter Carousel in Pixar Pier, and the return of Soarin' Over California for June only. (Though fans might be able to extend that return... if there is enough positive, enthusiastic demand. Soarin' Over California fans, you know what to do. See ya at the DCA Chamber of Commerce office!)Tweet
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