Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is expected to officially open in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in fall to late-fall 2019. One of the most anticipated additions in Walt Disney World history, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge should see enormous crowds and huge wait times.
But just how large will the crowds be that descend upon Hollywood Studios?
That’s a difficult question to answer. Common sense suggests the park will reach capacity and lines will be some of the largest ever seen at Disney. A preview of what’s to come will be seen over at Disneyland as their version of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is slated to open first in Summer 2019.
However, the best comparison we may be able to draw could sit over in a rival theme park – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
The first phase of Harry Potter at Universal officially opened on June 18, 2010. Despite soft openings, the first day saw enormous crowds. Waits just to enter the land exceeded eight hours.
That led to this infamous photo from the Orlando Sentinel.
Massive crowds swarmed the park trying to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The front gates opened at 6am and people still waited several (if not a dozen) hours waiting just to get in, let alone experience the attractions.
That photo may be a preview of what’s in store for Hollywood Studios. It remains to be seen how Disney opening two nearly identical Star Wars lands on two different coasts will impact crowds, but we’d bet guests will still see massive lines at Hollywood Studios.
One hint suggesting what kind of crowds Disney is expecting might be found in their nearly-completed work on Hollywood Studios’ transportation plaza. Along with a new bus stop area, a fairly large restroom area was also constructed.
Aerial look at the new portion of the Epcot Resorts walkway. Arrow at a temporary diversion due to scaffolding at a bus shelter. Green building is new restrooms. This path is near mile 24 in #WDWMarathon next month. pic.twitter.com/UOT5Bpuo8D— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) December 15, 2018
These restrooms will serve the new bus area, but they could also be utilized by the large crowds Disney expects to be waiting outside of the gates when the park inevitably hits capacity.
While Disney is addressing some of the potential problems caused by large crowds in its transportation system by revamping the bus area and adding the Disney Skyliner, there remains unsolved problems in the park itself. Hollywood Studios does not have enough attractions to handle what’s coming in fall 2019.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (set to open in 2019) replaces the Great Movie Ride, resulting in a one-for-one swap that won’t improve overall capacity. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will be a new offering, but that’s about it as far as new additions designed to assist with crowds are concerned. Unfortunately, Hollywood Studios won’t have enough for the larges crowds to do, resulting in even longer wait times for attractions once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. The wait times will be insane regardless, but they’ll be even longer as guests find that there just aren’t enough options in the park.
Summarized: Brace yourself. Huge crowds are coming.