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Is Disneyland making a mistake with the way it’s opening Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?

Is Disneyland making a mistake by opening Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in phases?
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced last week that the biggest new land in Disneyland’s history will open on May 31, earlier than pretty much everyone expected. But not everything in the new Star Wars land will open then. Fans will have to wait until later in the year to go on the biggest new attraction in Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride.
For fans who have spent the last couple years watching the construction and waiting for this land to open, Iger’s news was like hearing from your parents that you will be getting some of your Christmas presents on the morning of Dec. 25 and the rest after the New Year.
Ugh. As a fan, I want to experience the new Black Spire Outpost in its entirety. I don’t want a half-finished version. But could Disneyland actually be doing the right thing here?
By opening an incomplete land, Disneyland might entice some fans who would have queued down Harbor Boulevard on May 31 to postpone their visits until Rise of the Resistance opens, making the park’s crowds more manageable for the new land’s first few weeks … or months.
Remember that Disney’s goal is to fill its parks every day, but not to overfill them. The last thing it wants to do is to turn away paying customers. That’s why Disneyland has implemented date-specific ticket pricing, tweaked its annual pass blockout calendars and offered up one festival after another — to balance its attendance by getting fans to shift their visits from traditionally crowded days to less-crowded ones.
Disneyland is taking no chances with turning away fans who show up at the resort to visit Galaxy’s Edge. After Iger’s announcement, Disneyland revealed that people who want to visit Galaxy’s Edge during its first three and a half weeks will have to make a reservation in advance online.
Disney will not be charging for those reservations, but it hasn’t yet told us anything about how to make them. Hopefully, Disney will require that people making reservations have an annual pass or park ticket first, so that the reservation process will not be overrun by flippers.
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Having tried — and often failed — to get advance reservations for popular rides using Walt Disney World’s Fastpass+ system, I can imagine that Galaxy’s Edge reservations at Disneyland will be Disney’s toughest “get” yet. Adding flippers to the mix would make getting a reservation almost impossible for actual fans. Whether Disneyland uses a lottery or a first-come, first-served system, it should do whatever it can to ensure that Galaxy’s Edge reservations go to fans who will use them, not middlemen looking to make a quick buck.
As much as I would love to see everything Galaxy’s Edge has to offer right on May 31, I am glad that Disney is taking steps to control its expected crowds. Disneyland doesn’t need helicopter images of tens of thousands of fans spilling onto Anaheim streets to illustrate the resort’s popularity. When people finally get to experience Galaxy’s Edge, they should remember it for its attractions —  and not for a soul-draining, hours-long wait to get in.

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