Disneyland Feels Less Crowded – Why?
My recent Disney reading has been filled with notes about the attendance (or relative lack thereof) in Disneyland.
And, of course, the reporters at the Orange County Register are on the case. And we trust them.
So here’s what they noted to be the “7 Reasons Why Disneyland Feels Less Crowded…”
Why Is Disneyland Less Crowded
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was expected to swamp Disneyland with visitors this summer, but just the opposite has happened with the lightest crowds at the Anaheim theme park in decades.
So what happened? Is Galaxy’s Edge not popular? Are Disneyland regulars staying away for fear of crowds? There are several reasons for the apparent scarcity of visitors that have combined to make this summer the best time to visit Disneyland… So far, Disneyland hasn’t seen a massive influx of visitors since Galaxy’s Edge opened. In fact, just the opposite has happened. By Disneyland standards, the place is a ghost town.
The Disneyland resort has not seen attraction wait times this low in decades, according to Disney California Adventure vice president Patrick Finnegan.
We are incredibly focused on delivering a great guest experience for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge… This land has added 20% more capacity to Disneyland Park, and together with all of our new offerings, advanced planning and innovative technology, has resulted in incredible feedback and satisfaction from our guests.” Patrick Finnegan
7 Reasons Why
- A big chunk of Disneyland’s annual passholder base is blocked out for the majority of the summer. Disneyland’s passholders reportedly number more than 1 million, according to theme park experts. Disneyland rarely talks about attendance numbers.
- Disneyland spent more than a year working on Project Stardust, which takes a comprehensive parkwide look at operations, infrastructure, and crowd management with an eye toward improving efficiency, traffic flow, and access.
- Disney California Adventure has added attractions that are drawing visitors across the esplanade and helping reduce the number of people in Disneyland. The return of Soarin’ Over California and the introduction of Mickey’s Philharmagic were timed to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge.
- For the first time in more than a quarter-century, the acreage of Disneyland has been significantly expanded. The last major Disneyland expansion was in 1993 when Mickey’s Toontown pushed the park beyond the berm and into former backstage territory. The 14-acre Galaxy’s Edge dwarfs the Toontown expansion. The new Star Wars land increased space in Disneyland by 20 percent.
- To state the obvious, Galaxy’s Edge is drawing people out of the rest of Disneyland. The new Star Wars land has had some unintended consequences on the rest of Disneyland. One example: The 4-hour reservation window caused visitors to extend their stay in Galaxy’s Edge.
- The new Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction has consistently had wait times of an hour or more. Smugglers Run has a capacity of approximately 1,800 riders per hour. That’s potentially 29,000 people per day. Even if wait times waver or drop, the addition of another E-Ticket ride has had cascading repercussions on wait times throughout the park, shortening lines across Disneyland.
- The opposite of FOMO is JOMO. For every Star Wars fan with a fear of missing out, there is an equal or greater pool of non-fans with a joy of missing out. The Galaxy’s Edge reservation period successfully allowed hard-core Star Wars fans to see the new land without having to brave hours-long lines. Spreading out the masses over a 24-day reservation period helped reduce crowding in the new Star Wars land.
What’s The Truth?
The above is a somewhat rosy look at the relative drop in crowds; however, one opinion piece keeps banging around in my head. This time the words are from the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, who wrote about Disney’s recent price increases:
…Disney is trying to drive some of you away.
Mickey wants tourists — a family of four who will stay for five nights and drop $5,000 on a package that includes hotels and meals and character meet-and-greets.
Not cheap locals who sneak in Ziploc bags full of Froot Loops and warm Capri Suns.
Disney is raising prices for one simple reason: It can.
Somewhere in the middle of customer satisfaction and the purposeful gentrification of the Disney experience is the truth. Hopefully, that truth is something that Disney Park fans can handle.