What exactly is going on at Disneyland Anaheim and Galaxy’s Edge? We talked about an alleged lack of visitors to the theme park before, when several YouTube videos were released that showed a surprising lack of people in the park. Some commenters here on JTA pointed out how the YouTube videos were taken early in the morning, when the park is more empty than later in the day. But on Twitter several people also pointed out how empty both Galaxy’s Edge and Disneyland Anaheim seem to be this summer, and one mother of a theme park employee even posted that Disney is cutting down working hours for some employees, due to a lack of visitors.
But now AZ Central has posted a story on their website using aerial photos of company Nearmap. The photos were taken on July 4th and show Galaxy’s Edge from above, with individual people clearly visible. And the park is more or less empty. These photos were not taken early in the morning, but in the afternoon, as you can tell by the shadows. Click through for more info!
The blog Theme Park Insider also talks about the lack of people in Disneyland and Galaxy’s Edge this summer and offers their own explanation for the surprising lack of people both at Galaxy’s Edge and Disneyland: increase of ticket prices by 10% for daily tickets and 10%-22% for annual passes. While in recent years Disney always got away with raising ticket prices it may be that the last price hike was maybe one too many, with the theme park simply becoming too expensive for families. It also needs to be mentioned that the merchandise, especially at Galaxy’s Edge, is quite expensive too, and on top of that you also have to pay very steep prices for food and drink.
Here’s a a photo of the Millennium Falcon and the surprising lack of people:
And finally a photo of Disneyland:
So it may be that Disney miscalculated here and that the price increase was just too much, and that even with the added new attraction of Galaxy’s Edge not enough Star Wars fans who absolutely must see the theme park, can make up for the number of people who stay away from Disneyland because they simply can’t afford it anymore.
Blog Theme Park Insider also mentions increased competition by other local attractions, such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Legoland California, that may, in combination with very steep prices, convince people to rather go elsewhere this summer.
And a quote by “Theme Park Insider” about Galaxy’s Edge:
“Now that the land is open, I am hearing more complaints about the lack of original characters, unfamiliar world building, and frustrating interactivity than I am hearing praise for the land’s build quality, opportunities for interactivity, and opening up of the Star Wars universe.
Ultimately, it seems to me, that most people like Galaxy’s Edge but too few love it — at least not enough of them love it to create the critical mass of fans reaction that drives people to say, “to heck with the cost” and plan a visit.”
Even pronounced Disney Star Wars fan and YouTuber John Campea, who cannot be mistaken for someone who is anti Disney or anti sequel trilogy, tweeted the following:
“Been to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge twice now (going for 3rd time on Sunday) and it’s great. Love it (the main ride isn’t even open yet). However, I will say, especially after the 2nd visit, it was a BIG mistake not to incorporate original trilogy stuff into the park too.”
Even he complaints about the lack of original trilogy references, there are some in the park, but only few, and most importantly all the iconic characters are missing entirely, in favor of sequel trilogy characters, only exception here is Chewbacca.
Maybe it’s time Disney rethink their overall approach for a Star Wars theme park. Expensive ticket prices are not helping at all and it may be that many Star Wars fans find a lack of original trilogy characters disappointing. This is basically like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter only including the character Newt Scamander and his friends from the Fantastic Beasts movies and not Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid or Dumbledore from the original Harry Potter movies, no one would be too happy about that either. Who thought it would be a good idea to not include Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 in a Star Wars theme park?
Time will tell if more people will come to Disneyland and Galaxy’s Edge again, despite increased prices, and if this is a just a temporary issue.
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