Star Wars Land – Galaxy's Edge Crowd Survival Guide
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Survival Guide to DLR Spring/Summer 2019
If you’re a fan of Disney Parks (or have caught any news in the past two years), you know that Star Wars land is coming Disneyland Resort in Summer 2019. This news follows Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 and the immense success of Star Wars brand integration into the Florida-based Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, where record numbers and new guests of the theme parks flooded in for themed food, nighttime spectaculars, and meet-and-greets. Now, Disney is expanding past the existing themed attractions such as Star Tours and implementing a dedicated Star Wars Land in both Disneyland Resort in California and Disneyworld in Orlando in 2019—an exciting change, but one that begets planning by the privy parkgoer.
What is Star Wars Land? Officially the colloquially-known ‘Star Wars Land’ is dedicated “Galaxy’s Edge,” and will comprise a new land on the west end of the park beyond Big Thunder trail featuring new attractions and dining experiences. Set in a ‘timeless’ intersection of the Star Wars Universe, guests will get to enjoy two new ride experiences, unique themed dining, and special immersion opportunities as they explore. Guests will have an opportunity to ride in Han Solo’s rig on “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run” or fight the First Order via “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.” Just like the existing locations of Fantasyland and Frontierland, Galaxy’s Edge will offer another themed escape into the world of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
What does this mean for crowd levels? No one can predict the exact surge in attendance Galaxy’s Edge is sure to attract, but you’d be wise to anticipate the potential volume of visitors new to Disney theme parks captured by their love of Star Wars, much less the existing high demand from theme park regulars excited to experience a new offering. While the opening of Galaxy’s Edge will expand much of the park’s capacity that was lost during the closures of the northwest areas of the park a couple years back, the increased demand it will drive will almost certainly overwhelm that allowance to the point that it’s reasonable to expect extremely high volumes of guests in its opening months. From past new-land openings, you can expect delayed entry and long waits to enter the land, and subsequent congestion throughout other areas of the parks. If you are not dead-set on seeing Galaxy’s Edge opening month, it would be wise to save a Disneyland-specific visit several weeks after opening.
If I’m not in a rush to see it, is California Adventure a good option? Yes! Many Annual Passholders and regulars will either rush to experience the new land, or try to avoid the parks altogether in an attempt to let the lines die down. These would be perfect times to take advantage of the hopefully less-impacted Disney’s California Adventure Park, or less popular attractions freed up by the surge of guests headed for Galaxy’s Edge.
Are there other changes I should be aware of? Disney tends to raise prices to modulate anticipated crowd surges, both daily based on expectations (Value vs. Regular vs. Peak Pricing) and seasonally when demand drives wait times too long. Annual Passport and ticket pricing has already jumped twice in past year, and likely will jump again before and potentially after Star Wars Land’s opening. Disney has also introduced park-specific blackout dates in anticipation of the Galaxy’s Edge crowds. If you plan to go in the next year, buying a multi-day ticket in advance could save you, as they are honored typically at least through the end of the calendar year.
Bottom Line: if you’re a visitor eager to see Star Wars Land opening day, come on over but plan to arrive early and anticipate crowds. If you’re not in a rush, enjoy DCA or other parts of the park in the Summer, and plan for more time in Galaxy’s Edge once crowds cool down.