For almost as long as we've known that something called "Star Wars Land" was on its way, we've been anticipating an absolutely mad rush of fans trying to get in to the new theme park experience. While there certainly have been some crazy crowds who want to be among the first to experience the land, the early word is that Galaxy's Edge might actually feel less crowded than other parts of the park and that lines haven't been nearly as bad as feared.
Theme park fans are no strangers lines. They are the unfortunate consequence of the popularity of attractions and while numerous different ideas, like Disneyland's FastPass system, have been implemented over the years to alleviate them, and do to a large extent, it's basically impossible to avoid lines entirely.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was looking to have even more lines than usual. Due to the reservation system that is required for the first three weeks of the land's operation, there are lines just to get into the land before you even try to experience anything inside Batuu. However, Polygon reports that those lines have been little hindrance to enjoying the experience.
The first line, to check in for your reservation, takes place at the building that houses the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland. That line was apparently quite long but moved incredibly quickly. This was followed by the crowd waiting for their reservation time at the Critter Country entrance to Galaxy's Edge. This was apparently less a line than a mass of humanity, but guests were polite and didn't get too pushy, making entry into the land fairly easy.
However, what's more surprising may be the fact that lines were also less of an issue inside Galaxy's Edge. Wait times for the land's one E-ticket attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, apparently rarely hit an hour, which meant many guests were able to hit the ride multiple times during their four-hour window on Batuu. Since there are multiple roles to perform in the attraction, and your performance is graded, there is a lot of potential value in doing the ride multiple times beyond simply the enjoyment of it.
While the attraction has a FastPass queue built into it, the system has not yet been activated, and at this point we don't know when it will be, so the standby line is the only way to get on.
The only places where lines apparently are an issue is at Savi's Workshop, where one can build a custom lightsaber, and at Oga's Cantina, the one place at Disneyland park where the public can get an adult beverage. Both areas reportedly had to stop taking new customers early as the wait list for each four-hour window was hitting capacity.
While few organizations have had more practice managing queues than Disney Parks, it's still a bit surprising to hear of things going quite this smoothly. Few battle plans survive contact with the enemy, and whatever Disneyland was ready for, you'd expect something unexpected would still happen. But overall, it sounds like things are going as Disneyland has hoped.
The fact that Space Mountain has a longer wait time than Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is probably the most surprising fact. It's unclear exactly why this is. It's possible that the attraction is just so efficiently designed that it moves through its crowd with incredible speed. It's also possible that the rest of Batuu simply has guests so excited that a lot of people aren't rushing to check out the attraction, even though it's the only one currently running in the land.
The other possibility, is that Disneyland isn't letting nearly as many people into Galaxy's Edge as the land can technically handle, making it all feel a little less crowded. It wouldn't be surprising if the park was using this three-week reservation period as a sort of soft opening, and that it was keep the crowd artificially low in order to specifically not overburden the land or the cast members. Once Disneyland is sure that everything is working as intended, they can open the floodgates and let the crowds go crazy.
When I visited Galaxy's Edge as part of a media preview, I found the place to be absolutely magical in the way it transported you to an alien world. However, a large part of that was exactly because the land did not feel crowded, though I had similar issues getting into Oga's Cantina. It's easier to believe you're on an alien planet when you're not surrounded by crowds of obvious tourists.
Batuu needs guests to fill it because part of the appeal is the atmosphere that you're in a place where many different sorts of people from all over the galaxy have come to mingle, shop, and trade. However, Batuu is also supposed to be a place on the edge of the galaxy that isn't a major hub of activity, so if too many people are there, that feel is lost.
It seems that Disneyland has taken this idea to heart. The park certainly could have sold more park tickets and crammed as many bodies as possible into the area, but instead, the decision was made to keep things more manageable. It will be interesting to see if this keeps up.
Keeping Batuu's crowds down will likely mean keeping some sort of waiting list system in place for the foreseeable future, if not permanently. It means selling fewer park tickets, and while Disney Parks certainly want to bring in lots of guests, if those guests don't have a perfect experience, then the net result isn't positive. If you've ever stayed at a Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort hotel you know that a lot of things get taken care of to make sure the needs of every guest are met.
In the end, positive word of mouth about the Galaxy's Edge experience is probably worth more to Disney than selling more tickets and filling the space would achieve.
While the public reservations for Galaxy's Edge are gone, you can still secure yourself a four-hour trip to Batuu by booking a room at a Disneyland Resort hotel during the next three weeks. Beginning June 24 no reservation will be required to visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.