Disney announces opening dates for its next Star Wars ride

July 11, 2019, 12:00 PM · Disney this morning announced the opening dates for its two installations of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the delayed new attraction at its Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Galaxy's Edge opened at Disneyland first — on May 31 — but it will get Rise of the Resistance last. And it won't be getting the dark ride "later this year," as Disney initially announced. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will open first at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios on December 5 (Walt's birthday) and then at Disneyland on January 17, 2020.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens at Disney's Hollywood Studios on August 29 this year, following an opening at Disneyland that seems to have resulted in declining attendance across the resort rather than the surge of new visitors that Disney had anticipated.

Disneyland opened its installation of the new Star Wars land on a reservation-only basis, with fans snapping up all available times for that 24-day period in less than two hours. But Disney only needed its new virtual queue system for the land for less than one day after Galaxy's Edge opened to all park ticket-holders on June 24. The land has been wide open to all guests ever since then. Wait times for the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride have stayed below two hours, and wait times for other major attractions throughout the parks have been declining, as well, as Galaxy's Edge draws away some fans and other stay away from the resort entirely... perhaps due to the aggressive price increases Disneyland implemented before the land's opening.

Disneyland now is trying to boost attendance by offering annual passholders the opportunity to buy $99 one-day Park Hopper tickets (which normally sell for $199 in the summer), but cast members are reporting that the resort is cutting labor hours as crowd levels continue to remain below initial forecasts.

Walt Disney World previously delayed the opening date of its other new attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios — Mickey's Runaway Railway. Initially announced for a late 2019 debut, Disney announced in April that it would open in spring 2020 instead.

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Replies (33)

July 11, 2019 at 12:28 PM

This announcement screams to me that Disney World is concerned about its advance bookings for this Christmas season and is trying to encourage more people to commit to visiting then by promising that Rise of the Resistance will be open for them.

And that Disney is writing off the year at Disneyland and banking instead on Rise helping boost the numbers in 2020... when the new Marvel ride will be opening at DCA, too.

If that also doesn't get delayed, of course.

July 11, 2019 at 12:45 PM

We never planned to go to Disneyland in 2019 (for the GE opening) for multiple reasons.

1st, The lack of transparency regarding the dates and soft timelines.

2nd, The word "ambitious" came up so many times I made me believe they would need more time to sort it out.

3rd, Project stardust and all the construction walls are not the image I want when I go to Disneyland.

4th, My mindset has shifted from paying for short term park day passes to an annual pass (with more carefully planned usage). Price was not so much a concern as value.

5th my wife and I started planning out our next two years of travel because I was concerned that Disney continued to be vague and unsubstantiated in their public communications. In other words, I suspect like many, we planned around Disney. (I would be concerned for this too because our travel interests have begun to shift)

We elected to make a visit to WDW in 2018 to see new attractions (Avatar/TSL/MK Fantasyland and decided we would move off the next Disney visit (in CA) until late 2021 or 2022.

July 11, 2019 at 12:47 PM

It would be interesting to know why Disneyland's version of the ride is opening second when the building was completed first. Was there an incident during testing experienced at DL that caused an extended delay that has been avoided at DHS? When the construction/testing timeline for RotR was not going to allow it to open with the rest of Galaxy's Edge, did Disney decide to give DHS's version some exclusivity since DL opened the land first?

The Disney Parks Blog notes that Imagineers will complete work on the DHS version before going back to California to get DL's version online. My question would then be, why are the same Imagineers leading both projects, and why aren't there individual project teams working on both coasts? With DHS's version of Galaxy's Edge opening on August 29th, which is when Imagineers would be handing off the land to Operations, why is it going to take another 3+ months to get RotR up and running, and why aren't they doing that work in California once DHS's Galaxy's Edge is open (assuming there's just one main project team working on both lands simultaneously) since the West Coast work has been further along since Day 1.

There definitely seems to be some strange project management techniques going on with these additions.

Personally, having firm dates is great news for us. It ensures that we definitely won't have any chance of riding RotR when we're at Disneyland in a couple of weeks. Before today, the opening was nebulous and rumors strong enough to make me want to mill around the deserted Resistance side of Galaxy's Edge hoping to be be a guinea pig for the new ride. Now, we can safely bypass this area and dedicate our time to the operational areas of Galaxy's Edge with the knowledge that we definitely will be able to ride RotR when we visit WDW early next year.

The question is will this now cause guests visiting WDW in October and November to delay their trips a few weeks knowing that Galaxy's Edge will be fully armed and operational at the beginning of December? Disney has not been nearly as aggressive with pricing and blackouts at WDW as they have been at DL, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some guests that lucked into pre-planned October trips that happened to be after DHS's Galaxy's Edge debut that might be willing to push it back just a few weeks to experience RotR. Also, with a debut date of December 5, you better believe that guests will be speculating for the next 5 months whether Disney will do any soft opens for the attraction over the busy Thanksgiving rush the prior weekend.

July 11, 2019 at 12:52 PM

Part of me believes that the focus (at WDW) is on the international travelers, extremely soft resort bookings, and trying to tap into the pass-holders.

No pun intended but their strategy regarding these GE openings is "Goofy".

July 11, 2019 at 1:08 PM

My assumption is that they thought they were done at Disneyland, moved on to WDW, then got the call that things weren't working right at Disneyland. They're finishing up at WDW with the now updated and corrected plans, before they go back to Disneyland where they'll need to do a more lengthy tear out and reinstall.

July 11, 2019 at 1:17 PM

WDW is the biggest resort (aka money-maker). If it's going to be as empty as Disneyland it is a smart business move to put all your resources (technical people, the company who build the ride, etc.) to the biggest, most profitable resort. Sure it sucks for DL but Disney clearly doesn't care.

July 11, 2019 at 1:22 PM

Agree with OT completely (And Robert in the context that DLR has been written off for 2019) this is the only move they have left.

July 11, 2019 at 1:31 PM

Dec 5th gives Disney a week or 2 to iron out the kinks, and get it ready for the madhouse that is WDW over the Christmas period.

It's approx 3 months between opening of SWGE and RotR, so the likelihood of that time period being relatively empty is quite high I'd guess.

Regular-visit pass holders are not going to be too interested in the rides until they both get included in the FP+ selection. The DHS FP+ changes to be implemented on Aug 29th will likely be only temporary, and once RotR and MFSR get included, the tiering will again change giving pass holders the opportunity to book FP+'s and not have to wait hours and hours in line. Certainly that applies to me and the other pass holders I know.

It'll be interesting to see if the new tier roll out will occur before the arrival of MMRR, or if Disney will wait until that opens to make one big change, and then see how it goes.

July 11, 2019 at 2:39 PM

It sounds like the quality of Galaxy's Edge is not the problem, based on the reviews of those that have gone there. Is it possible that Disney finally hit critical mass in terms of their price increases? Or have they just SO overcompensated in preparation of the crowds, that they are victims of their own success? I, personally think it is the former reason.

We were planning to go to WDW in early 2020, once the Galaxy's Edge crowds had died down (looks like that might not be a problem). I'm a huge Disney fan, and a huge Star Wars fan, so I have been looking forward to this plan for some time. But, I've been pricing out what it would cost for a seven day resort visit, with full park hopper tickets and a meal package and flights (around $1600 to fly for my family). It comes out to around $8000.00 - when, the last time I did a full Disney vacation like this about five years ago, it was closer to $5000.00

Now, I have also just priced out what it would cost to fly to Venice, stay for two nights in a hotel, and take a seven day cruise around the Greek Islands. That price is around $9000.00 - and includes all the liquor I can drink! I'm now leaning towards the cruise.

Its a shame, because I love going to Orlando area theme parks so much, and love the way Disney treats you. People have always complained that Disney had become too greedy, but I always used to think that the quality of entertainment & enjoyment balanced out the considerable cost. I'm afraid they have exceeded that. It has come to a point that the artificial fantasy of Disney has come into to line with extravagant real world experiences.

Sorry Disney. You might have to start rethinking your pricing strategy.

July 11, 2019 at 1:55 PM

@B Goodwin exactly! At the price point they are now asking there are so many other real world experiences I'd rather have. There was a point for sure when Disney was underpriced for what you got, but they've ran past the tipping point in the last couple of years. After over 20 years, I won't be renewing my pass to Disneyland. Just not worth it.

July 11, 2019 at 3:15 PM

Russell Meyer:..... Insider, Disneyhead, on Inside Universal, whose info is generally pretty accurate, had this to say today. "WDI only has one team that programs these rides and that was the reason for staggered openings. At first they were going to do Disneyland's first then do DHS. Because of Disneyland's tech issues, things have been flipped" ...on DL's tech issues..."because Cal/OSHA is requiring them to install some sort of locking mechanism (on the elevators)"

July 11, 2019 at 3:18 PM

You build a star Wars land - but no vader, Luke Skywalker, etc

Utterly ridiculous.

July 11, 2019 at 3:40 PM

B Goodwin, good reasoning.

We have been taking alternatives like Seattle, New Orleans, SF, and other places. Were returning with more dollars in our pocket. Our next long term trips have been planned and they're not to Disney. Could this be the palace revolt with people's frustrations boiling over? (I booked, I Went...It wasn't open, I booked... I cancelled, I re-booked)

Is it just the money, or have people started to value the time they invest to plan just as much as the time to enjoy an experience? I have never had people tell me they cancelled their Disney trip other than for severe weather and now I have people telling me they are cancelling all the time or holding off on buying tickets. (Or I'm waiting another 2 years)

To me, this trend started with Avatar. They announced in 2011 and then.... 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and then finally (May 17). Rivers of light anyone? They missed a whole summer season plus. Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway... who knows?

July 11, 2019 at 3:46 PM

I'd much rather spend $8k to go to WDW than $9 grand to go to Venice and Greece (granted I wouldn't want pay that much to do either, but if I had to pick one i'd pick WDW). At least WDW is fun, Italy and Greece are dumps and Venice about as close as you can get to hell on earth.

July 11, 2019 at 3:47 PM

So, ROTR opening later in the year actually meant opening very early the following year for Disneyland.

July 11, 2019 at 4:49 PM

I love Star Wars... so I cannot believe this is Star Wars saturation nor the shift towards promoting Disney's version of it in the parks.

I think they left too many vacation planners hanging for too long with too little information and they are paying the price.

July 11, 2019 at 6:09 PM

Lol, this.. from our friend the__man

"I'd much rather spend $8k to go to WDW than $9 grand to go to Venice and Greece (granted I wouldn't want pay that much to do either, but if I had to pick one i'd pick WDW). At least WDW is fun, Italy and Greece are dumps and Venice about as close as you can get to hell on earth."

- In my head I can only imagine Ron Swanson typing this :)

July 11, 2019 at 7:12 PM

@fattyackin LOL

July 11, 2019 at 7:40 PM

I agree completely with Andrew. For the same reason the Last Jedi and Solo had lackluster box office results. Abrams is scrambling to bring as much nostalgia into ep. 9 for that reason. Disney is not delivering anything the core Star Wars fans actually want to see. Universal on the other hand continues to hit home runs with their WWOHP expansions.

July 11, 2019 at 7:55 PM

That's rough for Disney, though it's far better than the April 2020 rumor that was going around yesterday. Honestly, it just makes my decision to discontinue my pass last spring even easier to sit with. TBH, the offerings at the California parks have felt stale to me for the last couple years, and based on the lack of crowds at the parks right now I'm guessing I'm not the only one who feels that way. It's clear that Disney vastly overestimated the number of people who would be willing to shell out $150 to visit a half-complete land, and the announcement that Rise of the Resistance won't be open until January likely means we'll see the lightest holiday season at Disneyland in years. Regardless of the quality of Galaxy's Edge, I think it's pretty safe to say that the launch was completely botched and they should have held off on an opening until Rise of the Resistance was ready to go.

As far as why to focus on Florida's attraction first, the answer is likely demographics. In California, a vast majority of the resort's visitors are locals, and they can easily push back a trip or visit again if the ride isn't ready. By comparison, many WDW visitors plan their trips 6-12 months out, and with Disney advertising Galaxy's Edge as opening in in 2019 for some time, they could face either a lot of cancellations or a huge PR blowback if they fail to deliver on that. My hunch is that those working on the project in California determined it was unlikely they'd be able to get the ride ready by the start of the holiday festivities, so Disney decided to cut their losses and sent all hands to Florida to ensure that one is ready to go on schedule. Perhaps what is learned there will make getting California's installation up and running easier.

July 11, 2019 at 11:46 PM

HAHAHAHA!!!

Sincerely,
Universal

July 12, 2019 at 2:01 AM

IMO this isn't as big of a problem for Disney as people are making it out to be. At least not yet.

Yes it is going to make them look bad to Wall Street in the short term and they may have some explaining to do, BUT if Avatar can be such a big success and rake in huge crowds years after it opens I think once the Rise of the Resistance ride opens crowds will pick up substantially. Unfortunately for Disney the weaker attraction is the one that opened with the land and its kind of a buzzkill on the opening. WDW is still very busy which tells me that Star Wars may actually be keeping people away from DLR. I mean if I were a GP would I really want to pay the peak summer pricing of $150 a person to go see the land without its main attraction?

July 12, 2019 at 9:38 AM

Twitter speculation is that the initial issue(s) was identified at Disneyland before they really got going with the WDW installation, allowing them to address it up front, rather than go back and adjust what was already built. That leads me to believe it's a physical issue, rather than a programming one. But hey, it's all speculation, right?

July 12, 2019 at 11:27 AM

I think the low crowds are a result of a combination of things.
1. Aggressive AP blockouts & pricing. Deluxe AP has never had so many restrictions, and with the increase in pricing more locals are opting for the SoCal select, which is blocked all summer.
2. Those who would go twice (once for Smuggler and later for RotR), mainly APs, are blocked. The tourists aren't going to pay twice so are waiting for RotR to open.
3. Before I state this I need to say it's a very immersive land and cool to see, but there has to be more in a 14 acre land than a themed strip mall, expensive pay for experiences (droid and light saber making), and one attraction. Even when RotR opens, it still means that the largest land in history only has 2 rides. Compare that to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, which are both significantly smaller, with 12 & 5 rides respectively. The other lands that only have 2 rides, like Critter Country, Adventureland....are tiny in comparison. One doesn't often realize the land is changing as you're walking around. This decision on Disney's part is not easy to rectify.
4. Pricing. The AP pricing, as stated before, affects the crowds, but $199 for one day is crazy. I paid less than that for my first AP.
5. The "hype" made a lot of people stay away because of fear of crowds.

I love Disneyland, but in the 20 years I've been an AP I have seen business decisions that seem more about short term profits. Yes paying your CMs low wages, restricting their hours, giving less benefits, and putting an upper limit on wage increases can create short term profits, but having high CM turnover, less trained & inexperienced CMs, and generally less happy CMs because of the way they're treated minimizes the customer service that Disney is known for and what makes people pay more for than for Knott's or 6 Flags. I've seen an overall decrease in customer service, especially in the new CMs. This along with these decisions to dedicate more space in their parks for purely money making activities (merchandise and paid for experiences) rather than actual attractions, which is what people come and pay to do, is finally shooting them in the foot. I think Disney is forgetting what made them successful--creating an amazing experience.

July 12, 2019 at 12:33 PM

WDW Cast Member preview for Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at Studios announced August 1 through 16, sign up begins July 22. CM can bring 1 guest, pick specific date and time for 4 hour windows. C

July 12, 2019 at 3:56 PM

“Italy and Greece are dumps and Venice about as close to hell on earth as you can get”

Sheesh. As a UK resident we are told that Americans are parochial-minded but I never expect to see that confirmed as generally I find the standard of debate on sites such as this to be intelligent and well-informed. But this comment?

As someone who is has spent vast amounts of money visiting Disneyworld (and is spending a huge sum next year to do so again) but who has also travelled extensively in Italy and to a lesser degree in Greece I can categorically say that Italy, depicted it’s chaotic politics, is one of the most enchanting countries on earth with a rich culture, divine architecture and art to rival anywhere in the world. And Venice, if you avoid the summer crowds, is simply stunning.

Spending a bunch of money on a tour or Italy’s great cities and landscapes will leave the traveller immensely rewarded. To be frank it is every bit as good a use of $10000 than two weeks at Disneyworld. Only you’ll be seeing the REAL Doges Palace......

July 12, 2019 at 4:10 PM

We`re going to WDW in October, so I`m a little disappointed. On the other hand, if this means reasonable crowds during our trip, I`ll take that tradeoff.

July 12, 2019 at 4:21 PM

@ Daniel....In terms of Last Jedi & Solo's box office results....I think (especially) in Solo's case, it was due to over saturation. It was too much way to soon, which is why Disney wisley scrapped the other spinoffs.

The Last Jedi was divisive, but it was almost guaranteed to make less than Force Awakens.

Attack of the Clones made less than the Phantom Menace at the box office.

Empire Strikes Back made less than Star Wars at the box office.

And it should be noted, Empire wasn't universally loved upon its original release. In fact, many of the reviews (from critics & fans) were harsh.

The HP film series is ALSO seeing diminishing results at the box office with the Fantastic beast films....It doesn't necessarily mean there's a drop in popularity with the overall property.

Even if Galaxy's Edge had Luke, Vader, etc. We'd still, for the most part, be seeing the same result. In DL case, the land is actually in the park, so it's not the same as if Galaxys Edge is an independent theme park that fans are choosing to go to.

I'm not saying that Disney was 100% correct in how they went about doing the narrative for the land, I'm just saying people are placing a tad too much weight on the reaction to the newer films.

July 12, 2019 at 5:38 PM

It was just a lesson learned, they communicated poorly, they should have set the dates further out in 2019 or just bailed until 2020. People don't plan trips on "maybe", they plan trips on "open".

The rest of this is semantics. They did learn from this. When both are open and have all rides at full capacity, the crowds will gradually build.

July 12, 2019 at 6:48 PM

For David Brown and others abroad, no, not all of America shares that absurd opinion or parochial views on international destinations. We don't tend to all agree on these forums regarding theme parks either. Love Venice and certainly don't consider Greece a dump or Venice a hell on earth at all. Plenty of global travel enthusiasts are USA Passport holders and some of us know to visit overseas theme parks on those trips abroad while also enjoying what the world beyond our borders has to offer.

July 13, 2019 at 12:03 AM

Jay R. and Dave Bakas, I'm with you

July 13, 2019 at 1:40 AM

We're going to have to agree to disagree here. I've visited 20 countries and speak three languages. I definitely don't qualify as a stereotypical ethnocentric American who doesn't travel outside the region and only speaks English. I am third generation American with my family from Greece and my wife is second generation American with her family from Italy.

And I don't hate Europe, Alton Towers and Europa are two of my favorite parks, and I love the food in Greece.

But WDW is more expensive to visit than going to those places because it should be. I'm looking at pictures from my recent trip to Italy and Greece and most of the pictures make Compton look clean. Seriously there is graffiti EVERYWHERE all over both countries and no one does anything about it. There is so much economic depression in those countries it seems like people just don't give a **** about anything anymore, especially in Greece.

That kind of mentality doesn't fit my personality. If someone was tagging my house I would tag them in the ribs with a Louisville Slugger :)

July 15, 2019 at 12:26 PM

@Rob Pastor - The Cal/OSHA theory seems very plausible, and I could definitely see Imagineers abandoning all work and testing on the California version until contractors and in-house engineers can come up with a solution that can pass through the more rigorous standards. Aside from that or a situation where extensive disassembly and reconstruction is needed (and subsequently not needed in Florida since it was not built before the flaw was discovered), there isn't a logical reason why an installation that was at least 3 months ahead would end up opening almost 6 weeks later.

I still stand by my comments regarding project management. It's been clear from day 1 that there are 2 separate sets of contractors/crews that have been working on the individual installations. While the individual ride system manufacturers may only have 1 set of engineers to test and hand over the systems, Disney should have the manpower and resources to work simultaneously on both coasts unless they're really pinching pennies, which would seem absurd for what is rumored to be a $1+ billion investment. I could see that delays in finishing the DL version of RotR hit a "drop dead" date where it would then start to affect the ability of Disney to deliver the DHS version before the end of the year, but it simply doesn't make sense that Disney would not have the additional resources to address such a contingency without abandoning progress in California. Given that the much larger WDW resort is liable to see a more sizable bump in revenue from Galaxy's Edge than DL has seen, it would make sense for Disney to do their final assembly and beta testing on the Florida installation and carry those lessons learned back to the DL version once its cleared any regulatory or unforeseen engineering hurdles.

I do still think that Disney has put itself into a pickle with the way that they demand guests book and schedule Disney vacations so far in advance, but they cannot accurately provide attraction opening dates. I understand it's impossible to predict how cutting edge ride systems will behave, but it's disingenuous for them to force guests to plan out trips to the nth degree months in advance when Disney can't accurately predict what will be open 3-4 months from now. Disney cannot have it both ways, and perhaps some of the muted response to Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland is a result of guests getting fed up with paying obscene amounts of money for a vacation that is filled with question marks but demands extensive pre-planning. At some point Disney must recognize the hypocrisy in all of this right?

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