day crowds at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland
in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, May 31, 2019.
— Now may be the perfect time to visit Disneyland — as
long as you have no interest in checking out the park’s
Star Wars expansion.
of the much-anticipated 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
drew so many visitors since it opened May 31 that it
substantially reduced wait times at all the other
attractions in the Anaheim theme park.
first week after the Star Wars land opened, the wait at
all the other park attractions declined to an average of
about 14 minutes, down 28% compared with an average of
just under 20 minutes in the week before it opened,
according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times based on
wait times compiled by the travel site Touring Plans.
compared with the first full week of June a year earlier,
the drop in wait times was even more dramatic, declining
46% from an average of more than 26 minutes, according to
on the ride, Disneyland fans could have saved more than
half an hour of wait time by visiting the park when most
of the crowds were taking in the new Star Wars land.
example, the average wait time for Splash Mountain was 53
minutes during the first week of June 2018, according to
the Times analysis. After Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
opened, the average wait time for the flume ride dropped
to just under 21 minutes.
Lightyear, an interactive ride based on the 1995 animated
film “Toy Story,” the average wait time was slightly
more than 29 minutes during the first week of June 2018
but dropped to just under 10 minutes after the opening of
the Star Wars land.
Mountain, the average wait time in the first week of June
2018 was about 64 minutes but dropped to slightly under 45
minutes in the week after the Star Wars land opened.
visitors noticed the decline in wait times and began
touting it on social media in the days after the new
analysis was based on nearly 85,000 wait times posted on
the Disneyland website for each ride and collected by
Touring Plans. Disney representatives noted that such data
do not take into account the wait times for visitors who
use the virtual queueing system called FastPass, as well
as the wait times for guests who board the rides through
the “single rider” lines.
The drop in
wait times was a happy side effect to the overwhelming fan
excitement over the opening of the $1 billion Star Wars
anticipated so much demand that the park required all
visitors to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to have
reservations during the first three weeks after the
opening that limited them to a four-hour window.
also adopted a plan, dubbed Project Stardust, that sought
to reduce gridlock and choke points by shrinking or
eliminating tree and flower planters, moving lines,
banning extra-wide strollers and eliminating designated
smoking areas, among other changes.
reservation system at the Star Wars land, Disneyland
executives had to adopt a few crowd-control fixes after
the opening to handle lines that grew up to two hours long
to enter the land’s cantina and a shop where visitors
can build a custom lightsaber.
The drop in
wait times at Disneyland was expected, said Martin Lewison,
a theme park expert and business management professor at
Farmingdale State College in New York.
parks add new attractions or overhaul aging rides, he
said, fans flock to the latest ride, thus reducing the
lines at older existing attractions.
major new attraction is going to draw people away from old
favorites,” he said. “That is the nature of things.”
the “Star Wars”-themed attraction probably increased
overall attendance to the park, the opening of the 14-acre
land also expanded the total size of Disneyland by about
20%, giving the normally crowded theme park extra room to
absorb more visitors.
that increased capacity, continued investment in Disney
California Adventure, and a wide range of new products and
offerings, guests are enjoying a great experience
throughout the Disneyland Resort,” Disneyland
spokeswoman Liz Jaeger said.
land, the largest single expansion since the opening of
Disneyland in 1955, is designed to resemble a remote
settlement named Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu,
occupied by space outlaws, smugglers and rebels battling,
or hiding from, the evil Empire.
features two rides, four eateries, one space-themed
cantina and five retail shops. Only one ride, the
interactive Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, is in
operation. The second attraction, the multi-vehicle Star
Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is promised for later in the
wait time for the Millennium Falcon ride for the week
after the land opened was just over 32 minutes. When
California Adventure Park opened its Guardians of the
Galaxy — Mission: Breakout in May 2017, the average wait
time in the first week was 118 minutes.
predicted that the new Star Wars land will continue to
draw park fans away from other attractions for six months
to a year before lines throughout Disneyland edge back up
to pre-Star Wars levels.
near term that is going to remain a hot thing,” he said
of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.