Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has opened at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's next big deadline is the same ride's opening at Disneyland next month.Now that
But is the west coast version of Disney's new Star Wars ride really one month behind its Florida sibling? Walt Disney Imagineering's Scott Trowbridge answered that question in Orlando yesterday, and his response is giving Disneyland fans hope that they might get on what I consider the world's best theme park ride before its official January 17 opening date.
"California is pretty much in the same place that Florida is right now," Trowbridge said. "So we're just testing and adjusting."
Could that mean soft opens in the near future for Disneyland's Rise of the Resistance? Probably not right away. The Florida original continues to suffer frequent downtimes, with Disney working to coordinate the four ride systems and complicated show timing that help make this such an impressive attraction. If Disney's crew can watch and learn from what is happening in Florida, there's no need to suffer any potential PR fallout from Southern California fans seeing Rise - a potential attendance boon for Disneyland - instead as an attraction that's just down much of the time.
Let's consider the indisputable reason why Disney decided to open Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Florida first. It needed to save Christmas at the Walt Disney World Resort. Attendance is always wall-to-wall at Disneyland from the start of Halloween Time through the end of Holidays at the Disneyland Resort. There's simply no good business reason for Disney to open a major new attraction at the Disneyland Resort during the final four months of the year... ever. It'd just be gilding the lily — overloading an already pack-to-the-rafters resort.
But Florida is different. Dependent upon out-of-market visitors instead of locals, Walt Disney World needed its potential guests to stop putting off their Disney vacations while they awaited the full opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Disney did not want to see its recent U.S. attendance slide continue through the especially lucrative holiday season at industry-leading Walt Disney World. So it moved Rise of the Resistance's opening in Florida ahead of the Christmas holidays in Florida while allowing it to slide in after the holidays in California.
That said, even though Disneyland has no need to promote a new attraction opening during the holiday season, it certainly could use all the capacity it can generate in the parks during that time. Remember that there's a hard blockout of all but the Signature Plus annual passes during the two weeks around Christmas and New Year's. That would be a perfect time for Disney to drop in some unannounced, limited-time soft openings for Rise of the Resistance when the vast majority of AP holders are unable to flood the park immediately when they hear that news.
But for the time being I think that it's more likely that Disneyland's Rise of the Resistance remains a test mule for the Florida version, allowing operations and maintenance teams in Anaheim to test a wider variety of adjustments that their colleagues can with the ride open to the public in Florida. If they hit upon a solution that allows both installations to perform more consistently, perhaps then Disneyland will get the green light for a soft opening.
Otherwise, the Resistance will begin accepting recruits at Disneyland on January 17, 2020.Tweet
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