Even with the D23 Expo wrapping up a few days ago, news keeps trickling in. So, instead of an originally planned restaurant review, we have a smorgasbord of topics to cover. We’ll start with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge news, with it opening in just a few short hours at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Virtual Queue
News has quietly leaked out in recent days that Disney World will be using a virtual queue to enter Galaxy’s Edge when necessary. Essentially, when the land is at capacity guests will be able to register to get into the land via the My Disney Experience app. Once the time comes for your group to get into Galaxy’s Edge, the app will notify you.
The boarding pass will save your spot in line while you go do other things around Hollywood Studios (and maybe Epcot?). We expect the virtual queue to be heavily in use over the weekend and throughout busy times this fall. There will, or at least should be, plenty of signage throughout Hollywood Studios to let you know whether virtual queues are in use).
I’ve been really impressed at how prepared Disney World and Disneyland has been for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Of course, it turns out that it was completely necessary at Disneyland but I’d still rather the company be overprepared than the alternative. Between the virtual queues and Extra, Extra Magic Hours, I expect operations to be relatively smooth at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios.
Fantasmic! Ending at Tokyo DisneySea
Word broke a few days ago that Tokyo DisneySea’s nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic!, will be ending on March 25th, 2020. This comes as a surprise to nearly everyone and there has not been a replacement announced yet. Fantasmic debuted in 2011 at DisneySea, replacing an original show called BraviSEAmo!
DisneySea certainly doesn’t rest on its laurels. Fantasmic! is a wonderful show in a beautiful setting at DisneySea, with the main harbor acting as a circular theater for the show. Despite being shown at both Disneyland and Disney World, DisneySea’s version feels unique and didn’t show any signs of age unlike the version at Hollywood Studios.
But, there’s something to be said about changing out shows every few years. There’s no doubt that certain shows can grow stale and stay long past their welcome. I’m not saying that would have happened with Fantasmic! but Tokyo Disney Resort simply won’t let big shows get to that level. The resort has recently switched out a well loved parade, several stage shows, and now Fantasmic! While the replacement is sometimes worse, I applaud the ambition.
As a general rule, swapping out shows every 5-10 years makes a lot of sense. If you want to see what happens when parks don’t do that, look at the state of Hollywood Studios over the last few years. As a whole, Tokyo Disney Resort does a nice job of keeping classic attraction while changing out shows. I’ll miss Fantasmic! at DisneySea but I’m anxious to see what comes next for the park.
D23 Expo Recap
We’ve covered the D23 Expo announcements in depth over the last few days. If you missed out on those posts, click here. I wanted to add just a couple more thoughts on the subject before we officially move on.
An interesting aspect of the Epcot news that I didn’t bring up is how Figment or the Imagination Pavilion wasn’t mentioned at all. With the new neighborhoods announced for the park, it’s hard to see where the pavilion fits in. Thematically, it probably fits into World Celebration the best. Geographically, it’s hard to see how it isn’t a part of World Nature.
After scouring some concept art, it does seem like the pavilion is there. That doesn’t really mean anything and kind of adds to the confusion. That the Imagination Pavilion wasn’t mentioned at all should be very concerning to Figment fans.
While I’m excited to see the park finally have a plan, albeit one I’m not fully on board with, I would be very sad to see the Imagination Pavilion go. It’s a beautiful building with an original ride in it – a ride that has a good amount of history and a cult following. A big hope I had heading into the Expo was that we’d get an announcement of an update to the ride, because it certainly needs help. Unfortunately, it was just silence and that doesn’t seem to bode well for the future of Epcot’s favorite character.
Overall, I was lukewarm on the D23 Expo announcements. Compared to previous years, there were fewer announcements. That might be because the previous expo’s were unprecedented in terms of number of announcements. Still, I thought the Disneyland Resort announcements were exciting while Epcot was a mixed bag.
The most discouraging part to me was how nearly every announcement had an IP attached to it. This is a subject I’ve covered many times on the blog so I won’t rehash it here. I wasn’t surprised by the lack of creativity but I was disappointed. Theme parks created by Disney used to be distinctly Disney without hitting you over the head with other entertainment they’ve created. With every year the company is moving further away from that in the name of synergy. That synergy is handcuffing Imagineers and getting in the way of a park’s actual theme. All of that may boost a park in the present but hurt it in the long run.
I’ll avoid ending this on an ominous note by stating that today (August 29th) is a great day for the Disney Parks. While there’s more work to be done at Hollywood Studios, the park has rebuilt itself. Our most popular post on this blog over the last few years centers around the question of whether guests should take the time to visit Hollywood Studios when going to Disney World. Starting today, the answer to that question is unequivocally yes.
What are your thoughts on the news? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!