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Disneyland Article
How Long Will You Have To Wait In Line To Ride New Millennium Falcon Attraction

Pirates Of The Caribbean
Mercury News
Brady Macdonald
December 06, 2018
December 13, 2018
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The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run flight simulator coming to Star Wars: Galaxy Edge this summer will only have enough capacity to allow about half the people that visit Disneyland on a typical day to ride the highly anticipated new attraction.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run will accommodate up to 1,800 riders per hour when the new 14-acre themed land opens in summer 2019 at the Anaheim theme park. That works out to as many as 28,800 daily riders on Disneyland's busiest days.

Disneyland attracted 18.3 million visitors in 2017, for an average of 50,100 visitors per day, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association. Disneyland attendance is expected to spike immediately following the grand opening of Galaxy's Edge.

The ride capacity numbers for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run come from a tweet by New York Times reporter Brook Barnes after he rode a test version of the attraction at a Walt Disney Imagineering facility.

"I tried a test version of the Millennium Falcon ride as part of reporting," tweeted Barnes, posting a photo from inside the cockpit of the ride. "Built in a CA warehouse. I must say, pretty amazing. You're in the cockpit with only a few others. But they will have enough pods to handle 1,800 people/hour."

Sam Gennawey, author of "The Disneyland Story," an unofficial history of the Anaheim park, said "1,800 riders would be ideal, but that rarely happens."

A theoretical 1,800 riders per hour would put Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run near the middle of Disneyland E-Ticket attractions in terms of ride capacity. Pirates of the Caribbean (2,800 riders per hour), Big Thunder Mountain (2,200) and Haunted Mansion (2,100) would be on the higher end, Gennawey estimates. Space Mountain (1,600 riders per hour), Matterhorn Bobsleds (1,500) and Star Tours (1,300) would be on the lower end, according to Gennawey. Indiana Jones Adventure, with an estimated 1,800 riders per hour, would be the closest comparison to the anticipated ride capacity of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run.

The new E-Ticket attraction will put riders in the cockpit of the iconic ship as they battle Imperial tie fighters during a mission to bring back a pile of loot to a vengeful space pirate. The flight simulator will use real-time video rendering technology that responds to the way riders manipulate 200 cockpit controls.

Highly anticipated new Disney attractions always attract huge lines when they first open, no matter how high the ride capacity. The Avatar: Flight of Passage flight simulator at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida generated 6-hour queues when it debuted in May 2017 before settling down to 2- to 3-hour average wait times.

Touring Plans, which uses big data and statistical analysis to calculate daily crowd sizes and ride wait times at theme parks, anticipates visitors could encounter 6-hour waits for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run and the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance trackless dark ride on opening day of Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland.

In the early years of Disneyland, "capacity was your friend," Gennawey said in an email interview. "No matter what you did with the line, keep it moving. That lesson has been lost over the decades."

Creating shortages in order to maximize profits is now Disneyland's operational model, Gennawey said.

"Big lines are not bad anymore," Gennawey said. "They provide opportunities."

Disney rarely comments on attendance figures, ride capacity numbers or attraction wait times.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens in summer 2019 at Disneyland in Anaheim and late fall 2019 at Disney's Hollywood Studios near Orlando, Florida.

The new themed land will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the remote planet of Batuu, located on the outer rim of the Star Wars galaxy.
Attractions Referenced

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Haunted Mansion

Indiana Jones Adventure, Temple Of The Forbidden Eye

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Space Mountain

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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