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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Makes Changes To Address Star Wars Galaxys Edge Crowding And Long Lines

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
June 05, 2019
June 08, 2019
Disneyland continues to make crowd management adjustments to Galaxy’s Edge queues outside the wildly popular cantina and the lightsaber and droid building shops that have drawn hours-long lines during the opening days of the new Star Wars themed land.

Modest crowds overwhelmed the new 14-acre land on opening day as fans who waited overnight to be the first visitors faced snaking queues that grew so long Disneyland was forced to cut off access to the popular spots.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge visitors are restricted to a 4-hour time limit in the new land during the “soft opening” reservation period running from May 31 to June 23. On most days, that means 3,000 to 4,000 new visitors enter the land every three hours at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

From a storytelling standpoint, Disney has created a ticking clock with a countdown that begins the moment visitors step foot in the new Star Wars land during their 4-hour window.

Making adjustments

The wildly popular Oga’s Cantina that generated hours-long standby lines and forced Disneyland to turn away patrons on opening day now has a virtual queue.

The text message return system allows cantina patrons to return later to a shorter “buffer queue” with a wait time of approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

The goal of the new system: Let Star Wars fans spend more time experiencing the new 14-acre land and less time standing in line.

“What we’re trying to do is diffuse the long queues so that people don’t feel like that’s how they have to spend their day,” Disneyland vice president Kris Theiler said.

Visitors who provide their name, smartphone number and the number of people in their party will receive a text message to return when space becomes available in the cantina. Bar patrons are limited to 45 minutes in the cantina and a two-drink maximum. So far, Disneyland has not had to enforce the 45-minute time limit in Oga’s Cantina, theme park officials said.

The Jedi weapons from the $200 lightsaber building experience at Savi’s Workshop remain the most-coveted item sold in Galaxy’s Edge.

Disneyland has begun issuing color-coded cards with suggested return times for Savi’s Workshop. The system will only be used at select times. At other times, prospective lightsaber builders will wait in a standby queue that can stretch to several hours.

Disneyland plans to institute a permanent reservation system for Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop that is similar to the theme park’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

The $100 droid building experience at the Droid Depot shop will continue to employ a walk-up queue that can extend to 90 minutes or more.

Galaxy’s Edge visitors will not be able to enter the queues for Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop or Droid Depot after their 4-hour reservation time period has ended.

Disneyland has no immediate plans to turn on the FastPass system for the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run flight simulator ride. The queue for the lone attraction in Galaxy’s Edge has stretched throughout the land past Oga’s Cantina, the Blue Milk stand and the Droid Depot shop to the Ronto Roasters restaurant.

Wait times for the E-Ticket attraction ebb and flow based on when new groups enter the land at timed intervals. The line for Smugglers Run can range from two hours to walk-on status.

Opening day crowds

Wave after wave of new Galaxy’s Edge visitors overwhelmed Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop — Handbuilt Lightsabers and Droid Depot on opening day.

The spaceport cantina proved even more popular than the Smugglers Run attraction at times when the new Star Wars land debuted on Friday. Wait times for the E-Ticket ride dropped to as little as 5 minutes on opening day while the wretched hive of scum and villainy maintained a lengthy line of thirsty intergalactic travelers throughout the day.

“Oga’s Cantina is very popular,” Theiler said. “She is quite the proprietor.”

The queue for Oga’s Cantina grew so long during the 4-hour time slot starting at 8 a.m. Friday that Disneyland employees cut off the line at 9:30 a.m., turning away additional visitors anxious to see the intimate Star Wars cantina.

Visitors entering the land for the first time on Friday and heading directly for Oga’s Cantina encountered a 90-minute line and Disneyland employees turning new patrons away. Visitors were instructed to return in 20 to 30 minutes only to discover that the reopened line had filled back up in 1 to 2 minutes.

Things were nearly as bad at the lightsaber and droid building experiences in Galaxy’s Edge.

On opening day, the standby line for Savi’s Workshop stretched to as long as 4 hours for the $200 lightsaber building experience. The shop repeatedly cut off the line throughout the day until the queue shortened.

Things were a little more manageable on opening day at the build-your-own droid workshop, where a 90-minute queue snaked back on itself.

On Wednesday, Galaxy’s Edge visitors with 2 p.m. reservations to the land who went directly to Oga’s Cantina to secure a spot in the virtual queue were met with a long line of like-minded drinkers. The line to secure a spot in the virtual queue moved quickly and lucky visitors were told they would be texted to return in about 75 minutes (which turned out to be less than 60 minutes). Returning patrons waited about 15 to 20 minutes to enter the spaceport cantina.

Visitors who waited until 3 p.m. Wednesday to secure a position in Oga’s virtual queue were told there were no more spots available during the 4-hour reservation period and were turned away disappointed.

Developing a strategy

So what should you do if you want to do it all?

Star Wars fans with reservations during the initial 24-day “soft opening” period will want to make Oga’s one of their first stops to get a spot in the cantina’s virtual queue.

The next stop: Savi’s Workshop to get a return time for the $200 lightsaber building experience (if time slots are being issued).

After that, you’ll want to jump in the Droid Depot standby line. Disneyland has no plans at the moment to add a virtual queue, return times or wait list for the $100 droid building experience. Lines can stretch to an hour or more for those waiting to build their own droid.

The best time to get in line for the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction is during the second or third hour of your 4-hour window when the queue can drop to walk-on status. The line can stretch to two hours or more in the first hour of each window. Keep in mind another group will be entering the land during the fourth hour of your 4-hour window.

Save the shops, restaurants and Blue Milk stand for your last hour. That way you don’t have to carry around your purchases for four hours. And Disney employees are less likely to ask you to leave the land when your time is up if you are spending money in the shops and restaurants. Besides, you will have worked up an appetite by then.

Disneyland employees will tell you there’s no need to line up more than 15 minutes before your 4-window begins. But if you wait until the last minute you’ll be behind 3,000 to 4,000 people heading straight for Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop or Droid Depot to secure a coveted spot in the drinking and shopping experiences.

To control the mad rush, Disney has assigned a cast member that will walk patrons in an orderly fashion to get in line for the Oga’s Cantina wait list. Sprinters will be sent to the back of the sign-in line.

Disneyland officials said the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was a “great success” that generated positive visitor feedback.

“The crowding issues that many of you and I think many of our guests anticipated just have not come to fruition thanks to the efforts we have put in place. They are non-existent really,” Theiler said Wednesday during a call with the media. “The additional 14 acres of capacity for Disneyland park have had a hugely positive impact on the park itself.”

Galaxy’s Edge increased the public land space within Disneyland by nearly 20 percent and has helped reduce E-Ticket wait times in the rest of the Anaheim theme park.
Attractions Referenced

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Restaurants Referenced

Milk Stand

Oga's Cantina

Ronto Roasters

Shops Referenced

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Droid Depot

Savi's Workshop

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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