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The SATURDAY SIX looks at the REAL Reasons why Disneyland “Feels” Less Crowded this Summer

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the REAL reasons why Disneyland “feels” empty after the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! TouringPlans has been leading the way on coverage from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge out in Disneyland. From Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run, to merchandise, to food at Docking Bay 7, to even the garbage cans, we’ve covered every square inch of the new 14 acre land. TouringPlans had all hands on deck because – like everyone else – we expected the opening of Galaxy’s Edge to be the biggest event in the history of Disneyland. Going in, most had the mindset of “pack a lunch, because you’re going to be waiting a while to get into what will surely be the most popular theme park land ever created.”

But then a funny thing happened. The crowds didn’t come.

This past week there was an article posted online giving 7 reasons why Disneyland feels less crowded this summer after the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Don’t get us wrong; it was good, but it wasn’t quite good enough. We here at the SATURDAY SIX aren’t completely onboard with the idea of the opening of Emotional Whirlwind at DCA being a legitimate reason why the Indiana Jones Adventure and Pirates of the Caribbean have become a “walk on.”

So we put our heads together and came out with even MORE reasons why Disneyland feels less crowded since Galaxy’s Edge opened starting with…

# 6 – Disney banned loose ice. What did they think would happen?!

Back in May, Disney implemented some major changes at the theme parks. They banned larger strollers, smoking, and loose ice. Not since the halcyon days of selfie sticks have we seen a change that affected such a large amount of guests.

On the ice planet of Hoth, Luke considers his options after seeing USH has soft-opened Jurassic World: The Ride and introduced roaming dinosaurs into the park. (huge art assist shout out to @dizwire)


# 5 – It’s California. People arrive “fashionably late” for things. Everyone knows this.

In Game of Thrones, the Dothraki have a saying: it is known. One thing that is known about the residents of California is that they show up late for everything, so why should the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge be any different? It’s not “cool” or “hip” to be early. NAY NAY, if you want to show true measure of status you show up late. If that mentality applies to sporting events, red carpet events, and Hollywood parties, why wouldn’t it also apply to the theme parks? It just makes sense.

Los Angeles Dodgers crowd is well known for showing up late. The good news is that they also leave early to beat traffic!
Los Angeles Lakers using a time honored tradition of the pro wrestling business and darkening out a light crowd while waiting for everyone to arrive.


# 4 – Disneyland Social Clubs still upset about merchandise put into Main Street Cinema

On June 17, Disneyland transitioned the fabled Main Street Cinema into a merchandise location. The general reaction to this change was – to put it lightly – not kind. While not admitting it was due to overwhelming negative response, on June 21, the merchandise “test” was removed.

For those of us immersed in the world of theme parks, we know how invested the Disneyland Social Clubs feel about “their park.” A change to the Main Street Cinema, especially one that involved throwing in generic merchandise, was going to grind their gears. Unfortunately this may be the future of Disney parks, and is the direct result of corporate restructuring. In the past “Parks and Resorts” and “Consumer Products” were two completely separate divisions of the company. Now, they are combined into one: Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products. What does that mean? It means that bags of popcorn are strategically placed in the queue of the Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run to help generate sales for Kat-Saka’s Kettle. It also means places like the Main Street Cinema are going to need a find a way to “generate revenue” to justify their existence in this whole new world. (And speaking of whole new world, you can read about the new Aladdin tea pot for sale here.)


# 3 – Yeah, there’s lightsabers and blue milk on Batuu, but turns out everyone just wanted the sporks

There are a lot of great things to buy in Galaxy’s Edge. The lightsaber experience at Savi’s Workshop has earned rave reviews from everyone who has done it. Guests who have built their own droid love the amount of options they have for their creation. Blue milk? Well, at least it doesn’t taste as bad as the green milk does. But the biggest surprise hit of the entire land were the metal sporks used during the opening preview days of Docking Bay 7. With a unique look that evokes the design of the Death Star, these sporks just looked cool (despite being a relatively impractical eating utensil).

Metal sporks at Docking Bay 7. Photo taken on May 31. By June 3 they were replaced by the same type of plastic forks you would get at KFC.


Within days, the sporks were replaced with normal plastic forks. Disney has not given any reason for this change, but word on the streets is that most of the sporks “walked away.” In fact, many of them walked straight to eBay. A check of the auction site reveals that many of these stolen sporks are being resold to the highest bidder. Not just sporks either, if an item wasn’t nailed down, someone was going to take it and try to resell it.



# 2 – Potential guests still stuck in line at Hagrid’s Magic Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Okay, we know that crowds in Disneyland are light, but have we considered it’s because many potential guests are still in Florida stuck in an “inhumane” line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure?! The principal behind Occam’s Razor is that the simple solution is generally the correct one, and we know that Universal is packed. If Universal is packed, it means that we know what people are doing: Enjoying Volcano Bay, riding the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, or Googling “signs of a possible cardiac arrest” after eating the Voodoo Doughnut Burger. If Universal is packed it also means we know what they aren’t doing: going to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Line for Hagrid’s can stretch….(photo by Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop)
and stretch….(photo by @bioconstruct)
and stop at any time. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
If Hagrid’s is “at capacity”, it means a lot of people are in a line at Islands of Adventure and NOT in a line over at Disneyland’s Batuu! (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Uh oh! (photo by @bioreconstruct)


# 1 – FOBO – Fear Of Bloggers Outside

We’ve all heard of “FOMO,” the Fear Of Missing Out. A recent article explaining the “feeling” of low crowds at Disneyland blamed it on JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out by non-fans. At the SATURDAY SIX we feel the issue goes deeper and even more sillier than that, with FOBO, the Fear Of Bloggers Outside.

You see, while in the grand scheme of things there may not be many people inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the one demographic that the land is filled to the brim with is BLOGGERS. These bloggers are some of the hardest working men and women this planet has to offer, but some of them may lack what conventional wisdom refers to as “social skills.” So while the planet Tatooine may be home to a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the planet of Batuu is home to a group of individuals who may scare people even more: bloggers and vloggers.

Star Wars fans are able to quote “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” from memory, but the phrase you’ll hear the most on Batuu is “HEY GUYS!” as various “theme park personalities” film every square inch of the land for their dedicated audience. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, but most importantly: RUN!

(Ryan Grover of ThrillGeek)
(Guy Selga)
(Brian McNichols and the Grand Poohbah of TouringPlans, Len Testa)
(Craig Williams of the DIS Unplugged podcast)
(Jackie and Matt Roseboom of Attractions Magazine)
(Seth Kubersky of The Unofficial Guide series)
(Vincent Vision of his must-watch YouTube channel)


Honorable Mentions – We’re not done yet….

After our brainstorming session, we realized there had to be even MORE legitimate, 100% completely true reasons why the Disneyland resort “feels” less crowded. Here’s some of our top choices:

  • Marvel fans still at movie theater trying to help Avengers: Endgame pass Avatar
  • Google Maps hasn’t updated location of new Pixar parking garage
  • Everyone at Church (Sundays only)
  • Weather not good
  • Weather too good
  • Costume ban keeping out all the real  Star Wars fans
  • No avocado toast on Batuu making it a barrier of entry to Millennials

So there you have it: The 100% Completely REAL Reasons Disneyland Crowds Are Low! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 


The SATURDAY SIX Looks at STAR WARS at Walt Disney World

How to Survive STAR WARS WEEKENDS in 6 Easy Steps

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Minnesota’s third favorite son and creator of Little Tiki Hut on the Prarie  @dizwire, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Mr. ‘Ohana Tim Grassey, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it?That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION!Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!

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7 thoughts on “The SATURDAY SIX looks at the REAL Reasons why Disneyland “Feels” Less Crowded this Summer

  • Why, did the comic at the end of #4 remind me so much of Gangs of New York…….

  • Did one of the Disney Bobs run over Derek’s dog or steal his lunch money or something? It’s like he can’t even pause to properly assess anything related to Disney or Galaxy’s Edge anymore.

    I just listened to last June’s E-ticket podcast where Derek insisted that Disney was going to screw things up by ignoring the crowds associated with Galaxy’s Edge and life would be hell at the parks… Instead, Disney blocked a huge percentage of APs for the first several months of the land opening, rolled out the land in waves, had an effective soft opening (for which all the slots were gobbled up in a couple hours) to make it less of a cluster.

    I realize that overall Disneyland attendance has been lower than in previous years but most of that can be attributed to tourists fearing crowds (and not booking long ago when they would have planned their vacations) and APs being blacked out. Mystery solved. All will right itself eventually and then Derek can go back to complaining about something else (maybe how crowded Disneyland is and how they suck at managing the crowds?).

    BTW – I’m really curious how much the 1000s of Central Florida teenagers in line at Hagrid’s (4000 of which actually get to ride the coaster in any given day) really affect the bottom line at IOA. Other than the unintended consequences of the rest of the park being slow, Disney seems to be making bank in GE and guest satisfaction has to be hitting the roof because people can do whatever they want. Most lower tier APs don’t spend a lot in the park so the actual numbers would be interesting to see.

  • Awesome! I knew you would bring the correct and most important enlightenment to the issue. I think you are discounting the success of Emotional Whirlwind though:) Luckily, it will be sucky busy by the time I make it there for the D23 Expo.

  • Oh my goodness! I actually dragged my kids into the Cinema this time (early June) and was like, what travesty is this?! Good they took out the march. There’s one area to sit in in the middle – which says for children only (now). So, it was bizarre to just stand around in a cramped space, filled with racks of stuff to buy. Also, the lighting was def up so you could make purchases. 100% bad idea.

  • Yeah this opening isn’t going well from Disney’s perspective. I think demand isn’t at all what they expected for Star Wars and prices are too high for those that may be interested but aren’t super into Star Wars. Much more demand for Harry Potter’s one ride over Galaxys Edge. Plus there’s only ride open and the rest is an expensive mall. Will be interested to see if the Main Street Parade draws many crowds. Even if it does it’s still not a win for Disney really because they are having to spend more money just to get people into the park. Once blackouts are over there will be crowds from APs but it’s getting pretty clear that Star Wars isn’t bringing in tourists.

  • But wouldn’t just be, because everyone thinks it’s going to be crowed, so they are not coming? Also, at this time of year it is never really crowed. (After 4th of July) But also, what if anyone just.. was stuck in star wars land? It could also be, some people just think that its just reservations still. I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem that Disney is doing very good with this new upgrade


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