When Orlando Rising spoke to Len Testa, founder and president of Touring Plans, in March about how Walt Disney World will manage crowds when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in August, he expected that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway would be open by that time to take some of the pressure off the new land.
“However, if it’s not, I’d pray for the cast members,” Testa said. “Because at that point, there’d be 50,000 people in a park with only 7 rides. And of those 7 rides, only 2 of them would be without height restrictions and thus appropriate for small children.”
It’s now time to start praying.
In a blog post announcing the attraction would be added to Disneyland in Anaheim in 2022, Disney confirmed rumors first reported by BlogMickey.com that the ride’s opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is being delayed. Originally scheduled to open this fall, its debut is now been pushed back to spring 2020.
“It’s not uncommon for us to see the construction timelines shift,” a Disney spokesperson told Orlando Rising.
Testa said Touring Plans had already gotten word of the delay and has begun updating its wait time estimate models for its popular subscription service, which offers customizable itineraries to help avoid long lines at Disney and Universal parks.
Without a new attraction at the front of the park to divert some guests from Galaxy’s Edge — which itself is opening with only one of its two rides — Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have significant capacity issues. Excluding Galaxy’s Edge, Testa said the rest of the park’s attractions can handle “maybe 15,000 people per hour, tops.”
“So that actually reduces how many people can get in the park, because Disney doesn’t want three hour lines for Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” he said.
There also may not be enough places for guests to eat in the park, Testa said, further exacerbating the crowd issues.
For Disney, this is a problem without an easy solution. The quick fixes — like additional showtimes for the park’s stage productions or adding more character meet-and-greets — can’t make up for the loss of a high-capacity ride starring Walt Disney’s most famous creation.
“I’m not sure what the plan is at this point,” Testa said. “Disney opened that Lightning McQueen show, but it has failed to attract crowds and looks dead in the water.”
One option would be to implement a reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge, like the one required at Disneyland for the weeks following the land’s May 31 opening in Anaheim.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will likely to be a major draw when it does open — and the fact that it’s being duplicated in Disneyland shows the company is high on the concept. Disneyland Resort editorial content director Michael Ramirez said the ride, based off the newer Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts seen on the Disney Channel, utilizes “state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to transform the cartoon world into an incredible and immersive multi-dimensional experience.”
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