Disney has revealed one of the ways it will handle the huge crowds expected when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this year: giving Disney hotel guests early access after the land’s initial debut.
From August 29 to 31 — the first three days Galaxy’s Edge is open — the Studios will open at 6 a.m. for all guests, whether they’re staying on or off Disney property. Beginning September 1, Disney hotel guests will enjoy special “Extra, Extra Magic Hours” from 6 to 9 a.m., during which time Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land and some other attractions will be available.
Even with the early access, Disney is warning guests that Galaxy’s Edge “and its experiences subject to capacity.”
This means the best bet for getting inside Galaxy’s Edge is staying at a Disney hotel and getting up early.
To help spread out the crowds around the Disney parks, “Extra, Extra Magic Hours” will also be offered daily at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom from 7 to 8 a.m. beginning August 29, the day Galaxy’s Edge opens. The only park left out is Epcot, which will retain only the usual Extra Magic Hours offered on select days to on-site hotel guests.
Recognizing the demand for the 14-acre “Star Wars”-themed land, Disney is trying some different approaches to control crowds. The area will open with only one of its two attractions — Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run — in operation, and the ride will not offer any Fastpass+ reservations.
The land is opening first in Disneyland To control crowds from its May 31 opening through June 23, Disney required guests to obtain a reserve a free four-hour time slot inside the land, guaranteeing spots for those staying in Disneyland’s three on-site hotels. Those reservations were gone in less than two hours when they went on sale Thursday.
The “Extra, Extra Magic Hours” at Disney World makes it less likely a similar reservation system will be used in Central Florida. But in contrast to Disneyland, Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t have the ride capacity elsewhere to handle the higher crowds expected to pour into the park — especially now that the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has been pushed into 2020.
“Shows and live entertainment should be the core of Disney’s strategy for dealing with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge crowds,” Len Testa, founder and president of Touring Plans, a popular subscription service with customizable Disney World itineraries, told Orlando Rising in March. “They made a huge bet years ago not to increase the park’s ride capacity beyond Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. We’ll see how that works for them.”
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