Crowds Remain Low Despite Lifting of Annual Passholder Blockout Dates Across Disneyland Resort

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Despite Disneyland opening one of the most anticipated lands in modern history, crowds at Disneyland have remained below average. Even months after opening, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has failed to drive the needle at Disneyland for reasons that seem to baffle management.

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As of today, September 4, all Disneyland Passholders can enter both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. This includes the cheapest “Southern California Select” as well as the no longer sold “Southern California” pass.

This issue seems to plague all of Disneyland as attractions in both parks are seeing below-average wait times for attraction. For example, Twitter user @hastin noted that at 3:00 p.m. PDT yesterday, the first day of no Passholder blockouts, wait times were in single digits for some popular attractions.

Check out this thread from @hastin about how low wait times at Disneyland were yesterday:

Management is clearly noticing the lack of crowd, as Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park is only being shown once per day. In addition, the dining package isn’t even being offered, indicating low crowds trying to enter the park.

Disneyland may have initially meant to deter Passholders and guests from Galaxy’s Edge to avoid overcrowding, but it seems to have had a much larger domino effect:

  • By delaying the opening of Rise of the Resistance, guests are deciding to avoid visiting the new land until they can experience both attractions.
  • Controlled openings and forcing guests to purchase a hotel room to visit the land initially rubbed many Passholders the wrong way.
  • Prices at on-site and off-site hotels have been raised for the anticipated crowds, which seems to have also deterred guests from visiting Disneyland.

Will Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ever draw the crowds many people expected, like Harry Potter at Universal, or will it always remain a mild draw to Disneyland?

In any case, Disneyland is definitely suffering from a dearth of guests, and is growing desperate to draw in crowds. At least Walt Disney World can blame Hurricane Dorian for not meeting quotas this quarter.

About the author

Derek Sterling

Contact Derek at [email protected]

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Marc
Guest
Marc

The ticket prices are to blame for sure, but the amount of upselling once you get into the park is ridiculous. Fifteen dollars per-person for Maxpass, two hundred to build a lightsaber and cuts to entertainment are only going to hurt Walt’s Park. People are finding entertainment and making memories elsewhere for way less.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Raising prices just before the lands opening and blackout dates won’t win anyone over.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

I definitely agree with your reasons on low crowds. It is Star Wars, which is way more popular than Harry Potter, so we can expect to see MUCH larger crowds when Rise of the Resistance opens. 10 hour lines at Universal is an indicator of a failure by management to implement crowd control measures.

rbzfan
Guest
rbzfan

You can’t be serious. That is the most damage controlling thing I’ve ever heard. The fact at the end of the day is, Jurassic World has crowds waiting to ride it while most of Disneyland and especially Galaxy’s Edge is empty. There’s clearly something going on.

Seattleite
Guest
Seattleite

You shouldn’t compare 1 ride to an entire land. The only thing new at Universal was that 1 ride. Everything in GE was new, so people had other things to do.

Jana
Guest
Jana

10 hour lines? Because the Disneyland horde suddenly decided to go to Universal Studios, instead. Disney needs to take responsibility for their errors and stop hiding behind lame excuses and finger pointing.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Star Wars is way more popular than Harry Potter? I guess maybe if you are only looking at dudes in their 40s. Pretty sure everyone younger than that prefers Harry Potter.

David
Guest
David

As a pass holder and Big Star Wars fan, I have appreciated the lower Park attendance. Having been to Batuu many times now the biggest problem i see is they created a huge gift shop with one ride. Disney enthusiasts such as myself enjoy all of the various experiences. The food the art the characters the shopping and the rides are awesome. But the Casual fan is mostly there for the rides. One new ride is not worth $150 ticket. If Batuu had opened with 3 rides, things would be much different in my opinion. The average person on Batuu… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

Well said

Kate
Guest
Kate

It will be interesting if crowds stay low. I do think Disney has frustrated their fans with price increases. There is a limit on what people will pay. There’s a whole world of other experiences to be had elsewhere.Sure Star Wars is popular but I don’t think it’s nearly as popular as it used to be. People used to camp out for movie theater tickets for Star Wars movies even. Harry Potter is far more popular with younger adults and kids.

Tom T
Guest
Tom T

I don’t agree. There are literally thousands and thousands of annual pass holders which make up the majority of people who come to the park. You don’t lose this many people who have already paid for it and blame it on the pricing. It was already paid.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Yes a large percentage of DL guests are APs. Some of those will have had to renew at the new higher prices. Others may be frustrated at Disney’s growing disregard for their middle class guests and their thirst for the well heeled guests. Disney in my opinion is driving away their own guests with their greed.

Ken
Guest
Ken

As more time passes since the price increase many longtime pass holders will no longer renew (my family included) the value is just not there. And as such the number of attendees will drop off like water going over a fall. So if 5-10 thousand less passes have renewed over the last 5 months a massive decrease in attendance is to be expected.
The greed of the mouse will be it’s own doom.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

I wouldn’t really say Harry Potter is more popular. It’s been a while since the last Harry Potter movie and Star Wars movies continue to dominate the box office. The 10 hour wait times at Universal is simply because they did absolutely nothing to limit crowds, whereas Disney did.

Kate
Guest
Kate

We have tried many times to get our kids interested in Star Wars. It’s a non starter. They love Harry Potter as do all of their friends. Planning a trip to the U.K. and there is an entire travel industry around Harry Potter. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to see Harry Potter sites even though it has been years since the last movie or book. It’s still extremely popular. I’m almost 40 and I keep hoping JK Rowling starts writing more books on the Harry Potter world. Don’t care to see more Star Wars anymore. Way too much Star… Read more »

Kman
Guest
Kman

I was at GE in Orlando on Day 2. Place was pretty empty. There was no crowd limiting going on, there was just no one there.

We didn’t even plan to go, just figured we’d give it a shot and on day 2, I was shocked. The wait for Smuggler’s Run barely climbed beyond 70-80 minutes.

adam
Guest
adam

thats another good point you brought up too though about starwars not being as popular as it used to be. and the same thing is about to happen to marvel too and thats cuz Disney has very publicly been trying to control their fandoms and attacking them when they dont fall in line and instead of marketing toward them and the fans are getting very frustrated with that too

Eric
Guest
Eric

My three kids are in elementary school and high school and none of them are interested in Star Wars. They were lukewarm to the originals and even less interested in the latest crop. Our little one is going down to WDW with my mom in the near future, so it’ll be interesting to see his response to Galaxy’s Edge. He’s excited to go back to Universal and see Harry Potter again though. It seems like DL guests are talking with their wallets and they’ve finally hit a ceiling when it comes to pricing. I’m personally disgusted by where Disney management… Read more »

jak
Guest
jak

I was in LA over the weekend, and on a whim we decided to head to Disneyland on Saturday. We were halfway there before we I realized that the tickets were going to be $149/person for 1 park, no MaxPass and no parking. I’m not one of the one’s always whining about how it’s too expensive and not what Walt would have wanted – I fully get supply and demand – but I think they probably misjudged the tiered pricing model in an attempt to discourage people from visiting on days they deemed to be ‘more valuable.’ I know it… Read more »

B Wayne
Guest
B Wayne

The big difference with Universal/Harry Potter is that Universal didn’t gouge the prices for everything else when the Wizarding World opened.

Shane
Guest
Shane

The discontinued So Cal pass has been able to enter the land since August 26th not barely September 4th

Dirk Jensen
Guest
Dirk Jensen

So everyone has complained about the crowds and the long lines for years, and when will Disney do something to solve it. They finally did it, and everyone is complaining that there aren’t any crowds. I don’t get it, make up your mind. Stand in line on a hot day for two or three rides or get more for your money and have a happyer day.

Dee Knutson
Guest
Dee Knutson

The only thing Disney did was raise the prices. When Igor took over as CEO he said he was going to raise the prices every year and he did just that but he started getting greedy and people can’t afford it anymore. If they don’t stop him Disney will eventually go under

Kris
Guest
Kris

As a passholder parent with a toddler that just turned 4 towards the end of summer, I’d like Disney to explain how I’m supposed to tell him he can’t go into Disneyland and only California Adventure because he has a deluxe pass? I know other families we spoke to said the same thing and therefore we rarely went to California Adventure because it wasn’t worth the tears of my then 3 year old and my frustration of his crying. If I was given the option like the flex pass to reserve a spot with the deluxe we would have visited… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

This is exactly why we’re finally letting our passes expire after having them for 9 years. No appreciation for the pass holders that kept their parks busy and turning. We too found another park that has attractions, parking, and an annual pass for less than a restricted day pass at Disneyland. They have gotten too greedy and priced middle class right out of their magic kingdom. Maybe they should change the name to elite kingdom?

Dee Knutson
Guest
Dee Knutson

Agree with you completely

Carol Chaffee
Guest
Carol Chaffee

My husband and I have also have not renewed our passes. Our passes expired the day after we were allowed to return back into Disneyland. We have been Disney passholders for many years, but now we are really starting to feel not appreciated.

Tammy Revard
Guest
Tammy Revard

Attendance is down because of the way they designed Galaxy Edge. In my opinion it was designed wrong it should have been more futuristic. The Cantina only.holds 160 people.The space between the bar and the drinks is way to.large they could easily do another row of seating if they moved it in…..only two appitizers to choose from strange crackers or jello with pop rocks…… The people that got to go early and on previews felt so overcrowded …it was clostropic walking in the stores. The merchandise is not exciting. I’ve taken many friends been there at least 6 times all… Read more »

WCH
Guest
WCH

If you’d actually GO to Disneyland – rather than just rely on things you’ve read on Twitter, you’d know that despite the fact that crowds were down last June, they’re pretty much back to normal for this time of the year.

The real story is Hong Kong Disney. With millions protesting in the streets every day for the last two months. The airport and public transportation affected, With HKD employees not reporting for work to join the protests, and the Chinese army preparing for a possible intervention, one can only guess how attendance has been affected.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I’d say right now school having just started and near 100° temps are more to blame.

Ann Marie
Guest
Ann Marie

Agreed! Myself, my spouse & 2 teenagers are AP but with the scorching heat we are experiencing in So Cal right now, so NOT the typical weather for us….that has been a huge deterrent. I prefer not to swelter @ the parks!

Annie Pascual
Guest
Annie Pascual

I stopped going to Disneyland about 10 years ago. It’s just not a family friendly place anymore.

Seattleite
Guest
Seattleite

Here’s why attendance is low:
Price gouging
Kids in school
Merchandise is over priced, out of stock or constantly breaking
1 out of 2 rides open
The land is focused more on non-movie cannon (SW Rebels) which the general population isn’t familiar with.

JONATHAN R GERBRACHT
Guest
JONATHAN R GERBRACHT

I’ll be there next Sunday! My first time at Galaxy’s edge! Last time I was there was in May. I have the discontinued socal pass. I hope the crowds are still thin :)

Billy
Guest
Billy

I heard stars wars land is not that great. (Which is too bad cuz I’m a huge sw fan) With only one ride open, there’s just not a lot to do except shop in their expensive extra overpriced shops. Bad oversight by Disneyland. Quit being so greedy. :(

Michael
Guest
Michael

I believe Disney has a reckoning in its future. They have been slowly selling their souls and deviating from what once defined the Disney experience. Walt nearly bankrupted the Disney company several times by ignoring profits abs staying true to his vision if delivering pure family oriented entertainment. in 2019 a trip to Disney world includes touring Epcot with the soul intention of getting drunk. even the “new” children’s movies and updated rides seem geared to millennials. The company seems to think its more important to be politically correct, than focusing on staying true to what built the Disney company… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Many here have hit the nail on the head, one ride and countless gift shops. I have been a huge Star Wars fan since childhood and when I went over the summer I did not feel any magic nor goosebumps. One of the problems is that Disney is using “their” version of Star Wars and not the one we grew up with. I understand why they are doing it but its just not gelling with the old school fans who have the drive or want to visit the park. For example, when I was in Oga’s I thought it was… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I agree that this was a huge mistake in Disney’s part. WWHP is so popular because it feels like you’ve stepped into the movies and there’s a lot of nostalgia. Batuu is not nostalgic. There’s no Darth Vader even! Come on Kylo Ren is a sniveling kid. He’s not scary.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I agree, nothing about Galaxy’s Edge screams Star Wars, except the altered Falcon. Us old school fans have be thrown to the corner. Sorry, Disney but this is your Frankenstein’s monster

Sam
Guest
Sam

I agree. Historically, I think people tend to invest their time and money in things they are passionate and/or nostalgic about. That said, why would anyone be nostalgic about a new land some Imagineers just dreamed up a few years ago. The people who grew up with the original Star Wars are now in their early 40’s and mid 30’s and have families and kids of their own – myself included – and most of us have money to spend. If Disney’s ultimate goal is to build a mousetrap that relieves consumers of our hard-earned dollars, why wouldn’t they build… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

Batuu isn’t the star wars I know. I had my opportunity to see it in a few passholder preview, but I spent about one hour in the land. I just likened it all to a huge mud colored shopping mall. I loved star wars before Disney bought it, but Galaxy’s edge doesn’t have re visit value to me

Sean
Guest
Sean

I quit going when they banned smoking / vaping. I’ve read many other posts saying the same.

jjjj
Guest
jjjj

There is an easy solution, It’s the way they handle smokers in Disney Japan. But I guess ALL INCLUSIVE is only for snowflakes and drinkers. have a magical day.