Disney World needs Galaxy’s Edge to be successful
A galaxy “far, far away” is finally within reach of customers of Disney‘s (NYSE: DIS) sprawling Florida beach resort. Previews for premium Disney World pass holders kicked off this weekend for Star wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, before the official opening to all park visitors on August 29. Previews for theme park employees took place earlier this month.
All eyes are on Florida after Disneyland’s similar 14-acre expansion failed to generate an initial pop in turnstile clicks. Disney shares took a hit after the company announced a surprising decrease in attendance at national theme parks. Things will be different this time, and let’s be frank: this is only the first disney phase Star wars-powered expansion on both coasts.
The chatter earlier this month than Star wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a failure is wrong on almost every point. Until the last week of Disney’s fiscal third quarter, Disneyland limited the availability of the new land to people who made reservations – a process that filled in less than two hours weeks before the official debut – in one of its three hotels on site.
In preparation for this ambitious opening, Disney has decided to sharply increase prices and block summer visits for many of its Disneyland pass holders. disney world prices have also increased, but late summer debuts occur after peak travel season, so pass holder blackout periods no longer apply. Disney World will also not require a reservation for the sci-fi update, which will allow anyone in the park to check it out until it hits capacity.
Disney World is also take it all out to make life easier for guests at its two dozen on-site resorts. Guests staying overnight at Disney World hotels will have three hours early morning access To Star wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the first two months after the first weekend. The decline in Disney National Parks visitation in its last quarter came as a surprise, but it would be a shock if we revisit it for the current quarter and the following quarter.
Star wars: Galaxy’s Edge is not a failure. The only ride available at the moment receives mixed reviews, but the true star attraction is not expected to open until December in Florida and January in California. And while the upcoming debut of the elaborate Rise of the Resistance doesn’t raise the bar, Disney won’t be short of options. Theme parks are changing. Operators are learning. Have we all forgotten that one Star wars hotel goes up in Florida?
No one has been as successful as Disney in this niche, and there’s no point in calling them a loser before the game has even started.
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