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Disneyland Article
Crowded Or Not What Is Disneyland Like Now That All Passholders Can Return We Have The Numbers

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
October 02, 2019
October 08, 2019
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Disneyland continued to remain uncrowded in September after lighter-than-expected crowds following the launch of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and a brief midsummer attendance spike, according to data from a theme park tracking company.

Disneyland rarely talks about attendance numbers. But Touring Plans, an online subscription service that lets users create custom theme park itineraries, tracks daily crowd sizes at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure using big data and statistical analysis.

“Based on the lines for rides, it looks like attendance was up slightly at Disneyland, down slightly at DCA and flat across both resorts,” Touring Plans President Len Testa said of summer crowds at the Disneyland resort.

Touring Plans’ Crowd Calendar service, which predicts attendance levels for Disneyland visitors making travel plans, uses a 1 to 10 scale to rate crowd levels — with 1 representing the lowest crowd level and 10 the highest.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuted May 31 at Disneyland with a three-week reservation-only “soft opening” period designed to manage crowds in the new land and the Anaheim theme park. The reservation-only period worked so well that Disneyland experienced some of the lowest summer crowd levels in decades.

Touring Plans anticipated crowd levels in the 9 to 10 range for the first two weeks of June during the Galaxy’s Edge reservation-only period, but shockingly the crowd levels stayed in the 1 to 2 range. The crowds ticked up slightly during the final week of reservations, but only to the 2 to 3 level.

Touring Plans once again predicted a maximum crowd level for June 24 on the first day reservations were no longer required for Galaxy’s Edge. The result was just the opposite. Actual crowd levels were at the minimum level on June 24 and for most of the week that followed, Touring Plans data shows. A Galaxy’s Edge virtual queue system instituted following the reservation period once again gave the impression Disneyland would be overwhelmed by crowds and visitors stayed away.

The additional capacity of the new 14-acre Star Wars land and the introduction of the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run E-ticket attraction had an impact on the rest of Disneyland, reducing crowding along walkways and lowering ride wait times throughout the park. A multi-faceted Project Stardust initiative also helped make the park feel less crowded.

Crowds were modest during the four-day Fourth of July weekend, usually one of the busiest times of the year in the theme park industry. Things picked up considerably in the last two weeks of July with crowd levels in the 7 to 8 range and a few days hitting the peak 9 and 10 levels, according to Touring Plans.

Disneyland brought back the Main Street Electrical Parade on Aug. 2 to provide a midsummer boost to lagging attendance. The classic nighttime parade helped hold the crowd levels in the 6 to 7 range for a week or so in early August, according to Touring Plans.

Around that time, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced during an earnings report that light summer crowds had resulted in a 3 percent decline in attendance at Disneyland. Iger cited a number of factors for the drop in attendance, including a summer-long blockout of several lower-priced annual passes.

Disneyland crowds were expected to return when passholder blockout dates lifted for Deluxe (Aug. 19), Southern California (Aug. 26) and SoCal Select (Sept. 3) passes. But that didn’t happen. Disneyland crowd levels steadily declined during the last three weeks of August until they reached the 1 to 3 level, according to Touring Plans estimates.

The launch of Halloween Time and the return of the Halloween Screams fireworks show helped modestly boost weekend attendance in September, but weekday crowd levels during the month have been in the 1 to 3 range, according to Touring Plans.

Across the promenade, Disney California Adventure saw the same downturn in attendance as Disneyland after the soft opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Crowd levels at DCA stayed in the 1 to 3 range in June, Touring Plans data shows.

California Adventure’s attendance picked up considerably in July and early August with levels in the 6 to 8 range and several days reaching into the 9 to 10 range, according to Touring Plans estimates.

The lifting of the annual passholder summer blockouts at Disneyland in late August appear to have put a dent in DCA’s traffic. September crowds at California Adventure have mostly been in the 1 to 2 range, Touring Plans data shows.
Attractions Referenced

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Parades Referenced

Main Street Electrical Light Parade

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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