While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge phase 1 is already open at Disneyland, we have to wait until August 29 for it to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even then the Star Wars-themed land will open with only one of its two marquee attractions – Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. We now know when the second major attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, will open and this time Walt Disney World comes first.
Rise of the Resistance will open on December 5th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and January 17th at Disneyland.
According to Disney, “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will blur the lines between fantasy and reality and will put guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Guests will be recruited to join Rey and General Organa at a secret base. Along the way, they will be captured by a First Order Star Destroyer. With the help of some heroes of the Resistance, they break out and must escape the Star Destroyer, protect the secret base, and stay one step ahead of Kylo Ren.”
Sounds exciting. But why is it opening in Orlando ahead of Anaheim, which started its construction first and has already opened the rest of the land? One rumor is that a problem with construction was identified in Anaheim early enough that they were able to fix it in Walt Disney World, which was 3-4 months behind. That sounds possible.
The decision to open Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World first may also have something to do with a drop in hotel reservations. Disney probably wants to get the entire land open as soon as possible and hope that rips off the band-aid and opens the flood gates of guests back into the parks. There are a lot more Disney resort hotel rooms in Orlando than Anaheim, so that impacts Disney’s bottom line a lot more.
The biggest reason for you to wait until December to visit is you won’t have to make a return visit to experience “Rise of the Resistance.” So if your travel budget only allows one visit to Walt Disney World every year or two, I would postpone until I can book a room after Phase 2 is open and functioning without regular periods of down time.
On the other hand, Disney is already experiencing a softening of its hotel bookings, so there are likely so good deals to be had now, even before Galaxy’s Edge opens.
When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge phase 1 does open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios it will open simultaneously with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Since those two parks are within walking distance of each other, it will make for a perfect pairing for theme park fans.
Don’t forget about the twin holiday hard ticketed events at Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are always fun and the perfect cap to your non-park day. MNSSHP starts even before Galaxy’s Edge opens on August 16 and runs through November 1. MVMCP starts up almost immediately after that on November 8.
Mid-September is traditionally a time for lighter crowds at Walt Disney World. Schools are usually back in session by Labor Day and weather is starting to cool off a bit. There still might be some severe weather, but if Disneyland’s attendance levels for the first month after Galaxy’s Edge opens are any example, you might find extra short lines at the other parks while crowds flock to see the new Star Wars Land or just stay home and wait until December to see the entire expansion.
Later in the fall, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth says farewell on September 30 and the first showing of Epcot Forever starts the next day. That makes that week a prime opportunity to visit. While the crowds at Epcot may be higher during that time, it’s a go for the rest of the parks.
Thanksgiving crowds will start to arrive around November 22 and remain until around December 1st. We recommend avoiding this time unless you absolutely love Disney during the holiday season and really don’t mind crowds. Likewise December 17-Jan 5 for the Christmas and New Years holidays.
Your first chance for some lighter crowds after Rise of the Resistance opens is weekdays in January and February. The parks tend to fill up around the weekends as Disney books a tone of sporting, dance, and cheer events at this time.
Obviously, if FOMO is a big thing in your life, you’re a huge Star Wars fan, or you just like to keep up with the latest changes at the parks, get yourself to Disney World as soon as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at the end of August. There are a lot of benefits to staying on property, but the most important one in this case is the ‘Extra, Extra Magic Hours’ that will get you into Galaxy’s Edge hours before other guests.
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