Star Wars: Galaxy Edge now has official opening dates on both coasts, and we all have questions about how this will impact wait times, the Crowd Calendar, and the Touring Plans.
First, note that a lot is still unknown about new lands. I’d like more details on how entrance to Galaxy’s Edge will be controlled, and we need to know when exactly Rise of the Resistance will open, since that will likely bring another wave of guests to the resorts. As we learn more information, we may make further adjustments to our predictions.
Here are some of the questions we’ve received, along with our responses:
When can we expect an update to the Crowd Calendars?
We are working on it. Crowd Calendar updates will be published on Monday, March 11, 2019.
Will Florida’s Galaxy’s Edge open in phases?
Yes. The press release confirms that both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will open their new lands with only a single attraction: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Dining and shopping venues will also be open, but the second attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, will open on unknown later dates.
Any thoughts on changes to crowd levels or wait time forecasts for the end of August now that the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is announced for August 29 at Walt Disney World in Florida?
Once the land opens on August 29, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be jam-packed with guests. The parking lot will be busy, bag check will take longer than usual, and restaurants will be hectic during meal times. However, wait times at the attractions that are not in Galaxy’s Edge will be manageable. Based on what we saw when Animal Kingdom opened Pandora, I think we can expect a 12% to 20% increase in wait times at existing Hollywood Studios attractions. This sounds like a lot, but if you follow one of our optimized touring plans, you won’t really feel the difference. Most of that increase will be felt in the middle of the day, and the touring plans usually get you through those bottlenecks in the early morning.
How bad do you think it’s going to be across all parks?
I don’t think Magic Kingdom and Epcot will experience a significant bump in wait times as a result of this announcement. So many of the extra guests heading to Walt Disney World will be focused on experiencing the new land that I think there will be a willingness to sacrifice the other parks to get it done. Animal Kingdom will see a bump, I think, because Pandora still has appeal as the previous new land.
Any thoughts as to how this might impact crowds during June and July at Walt Disney World?
I don’t think crowds during June and July will change at Walt Disney World based on this announcement.
Will Disney World crowd levels in late August go down on dates before Star Wars opens?
No. Crowd levels in late August are already low on the Crowd Calendar, and I don’t think it will go down as a result of this announcement. If anything, it may go up, especially if there are special previews before the official opening.
We had a Walt Disney World trip planned for late September or October, and we were trying to avoid crowds by traveling before Galaxy’s Edge opened. Now I have to decide if the crowds are going to be crazy!
If you don’t plan to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on your trip, I think you will be fine. Follow your touring plan, experience the rest of Disney Hollywood Studios, and move on to another park.
How will the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway impact wait times at Disney Hollywood Studios?
We were anticipating that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway would open in late summer and would get a few months of operation under its belt before Galaxy’s Edge opened. Now it may open around the same time (all Disney has said is “Fall 2019”). This is still good news for guests. If the capacity of Runaway Railway is similar to that of Great Movie Ride, it will occupy a lot of guests each hour who might otherwise be standing in line somewhere else.
How will the May 31 opening date impact crowds at Disneyland in California?
Our assumption for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland Park was June 19. We only missed by a couple weeks, so the changes to our Crowd Calendar will be minimal. Obviously, dates between May 31 and June 19 will see a jump in crowd level. However, the fact that Rise of the Resistance will not be open is a factor. I think that will damper the insanity a little.
Got any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments.