Disneyland Putting Limits on Annual Passholders for 2019…May Be Hinting at Possible Opening of Galaxy’s Edge

Today Disneyland announced what may be the first of sweeping changes coming to its annual passport program.  For the first time, Disney may limit which parks some passholders can visit on specific days.

These changes come at a time when officials for Disneyland Resort are debating what is the best way to manage enormous crowds that are expected when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens next summer in Disneyland.

It’s being reported that Disneyland will be sending out, possibly as early as today, an email to passholders explaining the new program.  Sources say that they will be creating two new admission calendars.  This means that some passes will be good at certain parks on certain days, but not necessarily both parks on the same day.

According to Disneyland spokesperson Liz Jaeger, “As our business evolves, this is the first step in reshaping our Annual Pass program, which will better manage the guest experience and allow all Disneyland Resort visitors to have a great visit, particularly as we look forward to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in summer 2019.”

Reportedly, starting next June, passholders will see two calendars,  one for each park. Passholder will then need to check both calendars to see which park they can visit on which day. It’s being reported that the biggest changes will be coming to holders of the Deluxe passport, while higher levels experiencing no change at all.

As what happens currently, annual passholders will go online and use drop-down menus to see which park or both they can visit on a chosen date. A green date means yes. Gray means no.

With this announcement, Disneyland is extending its planning calendar to 13 months to allow passholders to look now and see which days they can visit in June 2019. Normally the calendar would only have been visible through May.

According to Disneyland the current two-park-per-day system on a single calendar will continue intact for the coming year and then through the end of May 2019.

The SoCal Annual Passport, which is geared to Southern California locals, admits these passholders only on weekdays and during the off-season. The highest level, which allows visits every day of the year, even the most crowded ones, which are typically around Christmas.

Ticket type June 2018 admission days (both parks) June 2019 admission days (both parks)
So Cal Annual Passport (on hiatus – only renewals) 19 0 (20 for DCA only)
Select Annual Passport 4 0 (3 for DCA only)
Deluxe Annual Passport 25 13 (Plus 17 for DCA only)
Signature Annual Passport 30 30
Signature Plus Annual Passport 30 30

Currently, if they are not blocked out, passholders can visit either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure or both. It’s common for people to hop between the parks in one day.

With the change announced this today, Disneyland is hoping to reduce crowding in Disneyland during the summer of 2019, by sending many visiting passholders to Disney California Adventure instead.

According to the new calendar for June 2019 Deluxe passholders (currently priced at $729/year) will be able to visit both parks on 13 days, while on 17 days they can visit only California Adventure, for a total 30 days of admission.

This compares to this June, when Deluxe passholders could visit either park on 25 of the month’s 30 days.

This is where speculation for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comes in.  Some astute Disney observers are speculating that the highly anticipated land will open on or shortly after June 21st.

With the announced changes, Disney experts are saying that the changes were much less draconian than was speculated, and that they expect to see another big price increase as well to control passholder levels.

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Disney Announces “Opening Seasons” for Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The galaxy that was far, far away and a long time ago just got a little closer.

On Tuesday, Disney announced that the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in summer of 2019 at Disneyland and in late fall 2019 at Walt Disney World.

Up until this point, all Disney has said about possible opening dates for either location was they would open in 2019.

While the announcement does not indicate a month or a date for the openings, it does indicate a couple of things.  First of all, it somewhat coincides with a lot of the rumors that the Disneyland version would open sometime during the summer next year.  With the statement of “Late Fall 2019” for the Florida version, this seems to confirm that construction there is behind Disneyland’s, which is in line with what many of us thought.  There had been rumors that construction at Walt Disney World had been closing the gap.  Either that speculation was wrong or if they have closed the gap that construction was even further behind than we had thought.

No specific date summer date was announced for the Disneyland opening.  There have been rumors that the actual date may be as early as late June or early July.  There also has been speculation, especially with how the return of Fantasmic in 2017 was handled, that Galaxy’s Edge may not open until sometime around the D23 Expo which returns to Anaheim August 23-25, 2019.

At this point, it’s all speculation and no one really knows.  Hopefully we’ll get more detailed information soon, but I personally would expect anything substantial until early spring 2019.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Opens New Arena…Are Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular’s Days Numbered?

On Friday Walt Disney World opened The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports, a new multi-purpose arena at the sports complex, further expanding the 220-acre sports venue that is widely regarded as the leading facility for youth sports in America.

The new 300,000 square-foot venue will host a variety of sports for girls and boys, such as basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and, in particular, cheerleading and dance competitions. The use of the space started with the prestigious UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship that took place this past weekend. In fact, the 8,000-seat arena is one of the largest in the country designed specifically for cheer and dance events.

This is indeed a wonderful addition to the facilities at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but I have to wonder what this means for the future of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

While not an opening day attraction for the then Disney-MGM Studios, it did open a few months later on August 25th of 1989.  Despite a six-month rehab in 2000 and the change out of Nazi Swastikas for stylized Greek Crosses on vehicles, aircraft and uniforms in 2004 the attraction has existed pretty much unaltered for nearly 30 years.

The attraction is still extremely popular, with shows being full or nearly full, yet the show is showing its age.  With the re-imagineering of the park which includes the addition Galaxy’s Edge, known to many as “Star Wars Land,” could this space be better used for newer and possibly Star Wars related shows or attractions?

Undoubtably one of the reasons this show has remained, essentially untouched for as long it has, is because of its popularity and its ability to “eat people” or occupy the attention of a lot of people.

One of the other reasons that Indy has remained, according to some sources is that Disney has needed the space for the above mentioned cheer and dance competitions.  According to the same sources, the space has been booked out for years.  Without another venue for these competitions Disney has been forced to keep Indy around.

With the opening of The Arena, does Disney still need Indy to stay?  My guess is that Indy probably sticks around until at least when the opening of Galaxy’s Edge.  With all of the construction going on and the limited amount of attractions available, Indy needs to stay so guests have something to do especially families with kids.  After Galaxy’s Edge opens I say all bets are off.  Could this area be used for a Phase 2 of Galaxy’s Edge?  Or maybe a new Indiana Jones area will use the space.

How about you, what do you think?

Star Tours Gives Guests First Peek at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Planet

Scott Trowbridge, Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, released a statement in the Disney Parks Blog regarding the new Star Tours sequence that is debuting today at both Walt Disney’s World and Disneyland….

“This morning, guests on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue boarded Starspeeders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park to discover a thrilling new journey to the farthest reaches of space and found themselves landing unexpectedly on a planet in the outer rim of the Star Wars galaxy – a planet known to C-3PO, and now to us, as Batuu.

This remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but its prominence was bypassed by the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer to stay out of the mainstream, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe haven for those intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order. While Batuu may be new to us, it is clearly already familiar to many characters from the Star Wars saga as a stepping off point for epic adventures.

As the Creative Executive on these projects working alongside so many talented Imagineers and Lucasfilm partners, I look forward to sharing more updates from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as we further explore the stories and adventures you’ll be invited to discover when our new lands open in 2019.”

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge & Toy Story Land Models to Preview at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the park is truly in the middle of an exciting transformation.

The One Man’s Dream attraction is currently being reimagined into Walt Disney Presents, which like its predecessor, will continue showcasing historic items from Walt Disney’s history, such as sketches, photos and storyboards. But wait – Walt Disney Presents will also act as a preview center where guests explore what’s next for the park. Starting in mid-September, you’ll be able to view concept art, ride vehicle maquettes and a never-before-seen model for Toy Story Land. A portion of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge model also will be on display, as well as concept art for the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction.

The attraction will also continue to host greetings with characters like Star-Lord and baby Groot, plus special sneak previews of upcoming Disney films.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Announced as Name for Star Wars Lands

On Saturday at D23 Expo 2017, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, revealed the official name of the Star Wars-inspired lands that are currently under construction at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, and shared details on the immersive experiences guests will be able to enjoy when the lands open in 2019

The lands, both called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life – and where guests will find themselves in the middle of the action.

The lands will feature two major attractions that put guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Each attraction – and even the land itself – will offer guests the chance to immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe like never before.

One attraction will make you feel like you’re on a Star Destroyer inside a hangar bay. It’s an attraction built on a scale we’ve never done before.

The second attraction will give guests the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon, piloting the ship, shooting blasters or preparing for hyperspace – all while completing a critical mission. But how you perform on the mission holds even bigger stakes: perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos’s list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina!

Guests will also encounter many familiar faces inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, including BB-8, Chewbacca, members of the First Order and – among many others – Rex, the troublesome pilot you may remember from the previous version of a certain Disney attraction who takes on a new role in this land as the DJ at the cantina.

And speaking of the cantina, here guests will be able to try unique concoctions like blue milk. Nearby, they’ll also be able to acquire trinkets and treasures from across the galaxy.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in 2019, first at the Disneyland Resort and later in the year at the Walt Disney World Resort. (No further opening dates have been announced yet.)