Disney released aerial flyover footage of the new construction site of Star Wars land at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Star Wars and Disney fans will want to see this. The park is expected to open in 2019. Disney video.
Will Disney start charging the general public for its skip-the-line passes?
In January, Disney allowed certain high-end guests at Disney World in Florida to purchase three Fastpasses for $50. At Disneyland Paris, guests may buy a Star Wars package for 59 euros ($67) that includes Fastpasses to Hyperspace Mountain and Star Tours.
It begs the question: Will Disney ask parkgoers to pay above and beyond admission for an exclusive Fastpass to Galaxy’s Edge? If so, will it lead to a rise of guest resistance, particularly among those who believe the theme park shouldn’t favor those with deep pockets?
Disney has resisted the temptation to sell priority access to its parks, a method long embraced by its competitors (particularly Universal Studios, which sells front-of-the-line tickets for roughly 60 percent more than standard admission).
That said, Disney has been happy to shower perks on those who can afford them. Guests who stay at official Disney World hotels have access to exclusive bonuses, like making ride and show reservations 60 days in advance, as well as the use of complimentary electronic wristbands (Magic Bands) that multitask as hotel key, admission ticket and charge card.
While Disney has yet to sell Fastpasses to the general public at Disneyland or Disney World, it has offered special access to the parks for additional cost.
A series of After Dark special events has proven popular in the California and Florida parks. The themed evenings run 9 p.m.-1 a.m., open only those with event wristbands.
A Valentine’s Day After Dark at Disneyland sold out, and demand is expected to be much higher for an upcoming Marvel-themed affair, the first After Dark to feature two nights. Tickets to Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble are $109.
When Pixar Pier opened at Disneyland in 2018, Disney sold $299 preview passes that allowed guests a few hours to explore the new area before it opened to the general public. Don’t be surprised if the company sells previews to Galaxy’s Edge as well.
If it is just a matter of time before Disney starts selling Fastpasses, there would be no more opportune time than the opening of Galaxy’s Edge.
There is so much pent-up demand for the 14-acre attraction that some theme-park experts are predicting more than 100,000 people will show up for the debut (compared to the nearly 30,000 who overwhelmed Disneyland when it opened July 19, 1955, a snafu-filled day that later would be referred to as “Black Sunday”).
Selling Fastpasses, either for the entire park or for specific attractions, could do more than add to the bottom line. It could also help manage the crowds.
Galaxy’s Edge to test patience
The question Disneyland fans are asking on social media is what steps will be taken to make sure everyone has an enjoyable time when Star Wars opens. Will people tolerate the eight-hour lines seen when Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Disney World in 2017? Might visitors wait even longer than that to get into Galaxy’s Edge?
Only time will tell if the limited sale of Fastpasses at Disney World and Disneyland Paris was done to gauge the public’s willingness to pay up for a better experience.
It’s anyone’s guess what, if anything, Disney will do to deal with the crowds expected to overwhelm the 14-acre Star Wars land in the months after if opens. But one thing is sure: Guests will decide for themselves if the entertainment conglomerate is using the Force for good or evil.
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