What’s the longest you’ve ever waited for a theme park attraction? 2 Hours? 3? Whether it’s more or less, it’s very interesting to sit down and look at what the wait times in Galaxy’s Edge have been like so far and what we think you can expect moving forward.
In this post we’ll explain what our latest estimates are for Star Wars Land wait times including the rides, shops, restaurants and experiences that are coming to this incredible new land and how we think Disney is going to be able to handle it all. We’ll cover both the Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios versions of Galaxy’s Edge.
Before we get into the Galaxy’s Edge wait times you can read my Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Complete Guide for more info on all the rides, restaurants, tips and strategies for touring Star Wars Land.
Current State of Galaxy’s Edge
Right now the thought of waiting 2-3 hours in Galaxy’s Edge seems laughable, but that was supposed to be the very minimum when Disney opened the most anticipated theme park land in history in Disneyland on May 31. The wait time estimates were all supposed to be beyond what we’d ever seen in a theme park before.
Early reports were saying that the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge attractions could have up to 6+ hour waits! This seemed pretty likely at the time seeing how high the expected popularity of this land was going to be.
Now is a 6+ Hour wait time unprecedented? Not at all. You just have to look back at some of the Disney attractions that have opened in the last few years and you can find multiple examples.
Frozen Ever After in Epcot and Flight of Passage in Pandora: The World of Avatar each had lines of 5+ hours in the first days of operation, with Flight of Passage’s queue keeping lines of 5+ hours even weeks after opening. Seeing that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has been hyped up 10x as much as those, it wasn’t hard to imagine worse scenarios coming in 2019 and beyond.
That hasn’t happened thus far however and Galaxy’s Edge wait times have actually been surprisingly low. All summer long, and into the Fall, journalists have been piling on top of of Disney’s newest additions, saying that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a failure due to lower than expected attendance numbers.
In ridiculous speculation, some have even suggested that Galaxy’s Edge will be re-done into an Aladdin themed land if attendance doesn’t pick up soon. This is not going to happen period. Star Wars remains Disney’s 2nd most important franchise, and with all the new trilogies and Disney+ series the company has planned, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Galaxy’s Edge.
It also is a huge factor that probably the most hyped theme park attraction of all time, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance still isn’t open yet, and when it does open, attendance numbers are going to look greatly different.
Why are Wait Times and Attendance Low?
There are many reasons why Galaxy’s Edge attendance has been so low.
One reason is that they were using a reservations system in Galaxy’s Edge for the first month which limited guests to 4-hour time windows. That really kept crowds down quite low.
Disneyland had many annual passholders blocked out for basically the whole summer, also limiting the amount of people that could enter Disneyland.
The biggest reason however is that Disney opened Galaxy’s Edge too early, and the entire land just isn’t complete. Disney wanted to get this multi-billion project in both coasts launched, and they underestimated the impact it would have opening the land without the main attraction.
Bob Iger has said as much in a recent interview when he hinted at they might have opened too soon, and guests are waiting to come until Rise of the Resistance is done. Even though that’s true, the Smugglers Run attraction has already welcomed more than 5 million guests.
Things are looking positive for the 1st quarter of 2020 too as hotel bookings in Disney World are up for the next few months. With the holiday season upon us and Rise of the Resistance close to opening, we are going to find out really soon what the real wait times will be in Galaxy’s Edge.
Let’s talk about the attractions and how long you can currently expect to wait in Galaxy’s Edge.
Galaxy’s Edge Capacity:
So right now the wait times aren’t that bad, but what happens if things pick up during the holidays or for the new ride? Will wait times get crazy like we’ve seen with other parks?
Whether or not the wait times get out of control or are manageable all depends on how many guests Galaxy’s Edge holds and how many Disney continues to let in at a time. When Disney was using the virtual queue for Galaxy’s Edge, they never let in an extremely large amount of people which has made crowds manageable.
What is the capacity of Galaxy’s Edge? Let’s look at some of the stats:
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is 14 acres in size in both Disneyland and Hollywood Studios. That is a huge footprint but we still don’t know how many people it holds exactly. I don’t know the numbers for sure but in my time there is seems like Disney has been keeping things limited to no more than about 7,000-8,000 guests at a time.
The ride queues for both attraction are extremely long and built to hold around 4-5 hours worth of people at any one time which is easily 3,000+ people each.
So if you want to talk about true max capacity with 2 restaurants, shops and walking paths, and both attractions up and running, I think we’re looking at roughly 15,000 guests at any one time in Galaxy’s Edge at max capacity. However with the virtual queue system in place and Rise of the Resistance closed still, Disney is letting in much less than that, and honestly there hasn’t been crowds beating down the doors anyways to this point.
So with all these numbers what does it come out to in wait times so far? Let’s take a look…
Let’s dive into the numbers for the attractions. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge when it’s complete is going to have 2 attractions: “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” and “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.”
However the Rise of the Resistance opening has been delayed and won’t be up and running until December 5th in Disney World and January 17, 2020 in Disneyland. However because of the lower attendance numbers, overcrowding on the Millennium Falcon haven’t been an issue as of yet.
- Normal Current Wait Times: 30 – 90 minutes
This is a flight simulator which will take guests on a unique and randomized mission in the most iconic spaceship in cinematic history. Each guest on board has their own responsibility to perform and has a part in whether the mission turns out a success or not. Think of it as Star Tours on steroids with up-to-date advanced computer processing power as the engine behind it. It’s pretty awesome tech.
Each cockpit on the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run holds 6 guests. In the whole attraction there are 4 turntables, with 7 cockpits on each one. 4 x 7 = 28 x 6 guests each = 168 guests at a time.
Disney built the attraction to be able to handle 1,800 guests per hour, and with loading and unloading and that actual ride, the total ride time is somewhere in the 5:30 – 6 min per ride. That comes out to 1,800 in an hour. It’s also estimated that the Smuggler’s Run ride queue can hold upwards of 4,000 – 5,000 people at a time. I don’t think they’ve reach that number yet so the max has yet to be put to the test.
Usually the problem is that like with Flight of Passage when it first opened up, those numbers sound great on paper, but in reality, they very rarely are able to meet them exactly the way it’s planned and it ends up being longer. Honestly it hasn’t been bad so far and Smuggler’s Run has been a pretty reliable attraction with few breakdowns to this point.
On thing to keep in mind with an attraction like Smuggler’s Run is that you have 6 people per ride vehicle who all need to work together to complete the mission.
In both versions of the ride in Disneyland, and even more so in Walt Disney World, you can have a lot of people in the same vehicle who aren’t in the same party and who don’t speak the same language. That means some are going to have a real problem understanding the instructions of what they have to do, leading to more questions and longer load times.
Up to me I haven’t experienced this, but have heard from others who have. From the initial projection of 1,800 per hour I’d say Disney has been pretty close and is probably hitting between the 1,600 and 1,700 range consistently which is commendable.
Where does that rank compared to other Disneyland attractions? Some other big E-Ticket attractions include:
- Pirates of the Caribbean (2,800 riders per hour)
- Big Thunder Mountain (2,200)
- Haunted Mansion (2,100)
- Splash Mountain (1,600)
- Matterhorn (1,500)
- Star Tours (1,300)
That puts Millennium Flacon Smuggler’s Run down in the middle or lower when comparing other attractions, but can’t really be compared to a ride like Pirates of the Caribbean which is infinitely easier to load and unload than Smuggler’s Run is.
So what do all these numbers translate to in real wait times? During the reservation period Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run had wait times of up to 90 minutes (not higher for the most part) but the average was closer to 45.
Since Walt Disney World’s version opened up, wait times haven’t often been higher than 90 minutes either, with the average wait time being around 45-60 minutes. There are many times of the day where you can find it at 30 minutes.
How to Avoid Waiting in Line
It seems like the wait times are higher in the earlier part of the day when Galaxy’s Edge first opens until early afternoon. Our experience has been that if you go later in the day you will usually find the lowest wait times.
If I was planning to go, I’d prioritize other things like Savi’s Workshop and Oga’s Cantina early in the day and then go to Smuggler’s Run later on. Get reservations for those when you can and fit Smugger’s Run in around them.
We have to think that overall crowds for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will and Galaxy’s Edge overall are going to pick up soon, but until they do you don’t have to worry that much.
- Estimated Wait Times Before Opening: 4-5 Hours
- Normal Current Wait Times: TBD
We don’t yet know the capacity estimates for Rise of the Resistance, and we still don’t know when it’s going to be open. We do know however that it will be split into multiple parts, the first part of the attraction where guests have ride standing up in a shuttle and the other in a traditional ride vehicle that holds 8 people.
It’s hard enough to get people to move INTO a ride vehicle, but if you have to move them along without them stopping in the middle it’s going to be even longer. I can already see plenty of delays from giddy fans who want to take a selfie in the star destroyer hanger bay, which could increase wait times.
While we don’t know the numbers yet, it has to be a high capacity attraction and similar in numbers to the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. There are a lot of moving parts however, and more places where things could break, again, causing delays.
So what does this mean for your chances to get on one, or both Galaxy’s Edge attractions once they are both open? In 2017 the average number of guests in Disneyland was 50,000+ per day and the reported maximum capacity for Disneyland is 80,000, which you can expect to be tested later on in 2019 and towards the holiday season.
If you can somehow squeeze 30,000 – 40,000 guests in Galaxy’s Edge throughout the day, between the 2 attractions you should be able to get on both of them, but Rise of the Resistance is such a wild card and many visitors might just be holding off until it’s open which could really test things.
The bottom line though for riding Rise of the Resistance is that your best bet is to go early and be in the beginning of the day to be sure to get on both. Make Rise of the Resistance your number 1 priority in the day!
There are 2 restaurants in Galaxy’s Edge along with 3 food stands. The thing is, there are wait times to get into some of them and reservations involved too.
Here is the rundown from what we’ve experienced in Galaxy’s Edge ourselves…
- Normal Current Wait Times: Walk-ins are not always accepted and reservations highly recommended.
This is a Bar/Lounge and the smaller of the two “restaurants.” Oga’s Cantina holds about 100-150 people with time limits of 45 minutes and 2 drinks per guest.
During the first few days, Oga’s Cantina was the hottest ticket in Galaxy’s Edge and lines were HUGE up to almost 2 hours at times. Now Disney has made reservations pretty much required to enter which can be made 180 days ahead of time in Disney World and 60 days ahead in Disneyland.
Reservations can sell out immediately, so make it a priority to wake up early and get online or on the app to book it. Once you are at Oga’s Cantina, you wait your turn until your name is called. If you show up on time you only have to wait a few minutes to get in.
I like the way Disney is handling Oga’s and I hope they continue it this way for the foreseeable future.
- Normal Current Wait Times: 5 – 10 minutes
This is a Fast Casual restaurant which has the biggest quantity food choices in Galaxy’s Edge. Definitely bigger than Oga’s and if I had to guess I’d say it probably holds about 300 people or so.
Waits here haven’t been bad at all and usually go from 5 – 10 minutes, depending on what time of day it is, maybe up to 20 if it’s close to Lunch or Dinner. I think having 3 registers open has helped a lot and we’re not getting the same slowness you typically see at Woody’s Lunch Box.
Milk Stand, Ronto Roasters, Kat Saka’s Kettle:
- Normal Current Wait Times: 5-10 minutes
These are only food stands/carts but expected wait times were supposed to be up to 20 minute for each or more. The wait times haven’t been nearly this long though and the Blue and Green Milk at the Milk Stand has definitely been a disappointment so far. Kat Saka’s is fine, but don’t expect there to be extremely long lines for popcorn.
The Blue and Green milks taste just ok at best, and that $7.99 price tag has been scaring off enough people where the lines never really goes past a handful of people except at the busiest times.
The popcorn at Kat Saka’s Kettle is one of the more interesting food items in Galaxy’s Edge which, of which they now have two flavors in each park. Lines here are never bad though.
Ronto Roasters is a great quick service location and a must-stop in Galaxy’s Edge, but again except at meal times the lines here don’t really get bad either so nothing to worry about.
Shops / Experiences:
Not only the attractions and restaurants have wait times, but also the shops. Even though some have been disappointed with guest attendance, sales of Galaxy’s Edge merchandise have been booming and spending is up in the parks because of this.
- Normal Current Wait Times: 0 – 15 minutes
This where you build you customized droids you can take home. Early on the Droid Depot was filled with people, but if you go later in the day you could literally be the only person in there at times.
No worries here, do this when you have time.
- Normal Current Wait Times: Reservations Required (20-30 minute wait when you show up)
This is by far the most difficult experience to get into in Galaxy’s Edge. First of all tons of people want to build a custom lightsaber. Secondly, this experience only holds 14 people at a time and the experience is about 20 minutes long with entering and exiting.
There is only one workshop, and so we are talking about a meager 42 people an hour out of the thousands that visit Galaxy’s Edge in a day.
Now Disney has made reservations required for Savi’s Workshop, which like Oga’s Cantina you can do online using the My Disney Experience or Disneyland app. It’s highly important you do this BEFORE you visit because it’s easy for reservations to sell out. If you are interested in the Star Wars Legacy Lightsabers, you can find them at Dok Ondar’s.
You should definitely show up early for your reservation because if you miss your window, that’s it, you lose your turn and your $200. That means you should expect to wait a solid 30+ minutes before getting into your reservation.
What this means in Disneyland:
Wait times were more of a problem during the reservation period in Disneyland for the first month. It was near impossible to do even 75% of the things you wanted in only 4 hours.
Now with the virtual queue in place and crowds lower than normal, you should be able to do everything in Galaxy’s Edge no problem without waiting in huge lines.
Things are obviously going to change big-time though once Rise of the Resistance opens up and Disneyland crowd levels return back to normal. There is not telling exactly how long the wait times will be that far out, but they will be significantly higher for sure.
Right now it’s great because Disney Imagineers worked so hard on creating a Star Wars Land that most guests will have plenty of time to walk around and explore its natural beauty without the fear of having to get in line if they want to be able to drink that blue milk.
My suggestion, is still to be one of the first people into Galaxy’s Edge in the morning to experience everything, but if you show up right now later in the day you will find totally manageable crowds. This could change at any moment, but enjoy it while it lasts.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Much like over in Disneyland, the Hollywood Studios version of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge hasn’t been nearly as crowded as was originally anticipated. Part of that is learning how to manage the crowds from the Disneyland opening, and part of that are just the lower overall numbers.
On opening day in Hollywood Studios Galaxy’s Edge was packed and wait times for Smugglers Run were up to 300 minutes, however things have calmed down since then and have been much more manageable.
Disney didn’t have a reservation system in place in Hollywood Studios and even though there is a Virtual Queue here as well, there hasn’t been much need for it.
Since the beginning of November however we have seen crowds get much higher in Galaxy’s Edge and seeing that the holiday period is upon us, we might actually start seeing some big wait times. The elephant in the room is Rise of the Resistance, and we anticipate Hollywood Studios is going to continue with above average attendance numbers even into January and beyond because of that.
We should at that point also start to hear something about FastPass in Galaxy’s Edge and how Disney aims to handle that situation. Right now it isn’t offered in Galaxy’s Edge, but the system is in place and if Disney sees higher attendance there, they may decide to bring it online.
It’ll also be interesting to see what improvements Disney makes to their Play Disney Parks mobile app to allow interactive entertainment for guests waiting in line for the Galaxy’s Edge attractions. So far their efforts in Galaxy’s Edge have been a mixed bag, but the more they improve, the more guests will have to do, which will give them more to do in line, but also keep people in Star Wars Land longer.
The thought of super long wait times shouldn’t deter you from visiting Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in the next few months, especially if you are a huge fan. I think there is a lot of buzz in the air for the new ride, and attendance will increase for the holidays, but will we see those record attendance levels? Time will tell…
Stay tuned as we continue to update more info on the Galaxy’s Edge wait times as time goes on…
For more info read our Complete Guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for a detailed look at the attractions, dining, planning and touring strategies.
I want to know what you think about the current Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge attraction wait times….
- Which attraction / experience would you be more willing to wait a long time for?
- What’s the longest you’ve waited in line in Galaxy’s Edge?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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