Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is being called The Phantom Menace of theme park attractions by some. There was a lot of hype and excitement heading into the grand opening this past May, but this latest expansion to the Disney park has landed with a loud thud, and now it is being called a flop. Not helping matters is that Disneyland is rumored to be slashing the hours of its employees.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will open August 29 in Disney World, but the attraction debuted to the public this past May at Anaheim's Disneyland to much fanfare. Once the noise quieted down, it appeared that not as many tourists were visiting the destination as expect. The new theme land, which sits directly inside the park itself, is now being called a 'disappointment' as overall attendance is down, and some workers are seeing less hours on their time card even with the huge presence of Star Wars looming over everything.
One Disneyland employee recently opened up about the fiasco under the veil of anonymity. They told Fox Business that things were definitely not going as planned, as Luke ominously predicated in The Last Jedi. The worker had this to say.
"Wait times this summer for the new Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride were expected to be over 2 hours long all summer, but in reality, the lines have been averaging half that or less. As a result, the company has been forced to cut our hours. The need for us to work simply isn't there."
A lot of full time Disneyland employees are now finding their schedule cut back from 40 hours a week, which is causing some hardships. The unidentified employee goes onto say this.
"Our hours have been cut to as a low as 30-35 hours some weeks, even though we have both worked for the park for years. It makes life challenging when your paychecks get cut unexpectedly."
A lot of the employees make a rate of $15 an hour. With hours cut, some paychecks are falling between $600 and $450 a week. The park insider had some insight into the problem, and why Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge hasn't taken off the way many were expecting.
"I feel the problem is Star Wars took too long to build so they rushed the opening with only one cool feature. The only other big ride isn't even scheduled to open until the end of the year."
As of now, only the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run ride is operational. The Rise of the Resistance attraction is being withheld until 2020. Disney CEO Bob Iger, in an early report, concluded that people were staying away because they believed it would be too busy. But once word got out that no one was attending the park in as big of numbers as expected, that didn't encourage people to flock to the front gates of Disneyland. Iger attempted to defend the low numbers during a recent earnings call. He went onto say this.
"The second attraction in Anaheim will open in January. So we feel great about the product that we've created. It's just going to take some time for things to work themselves out in terms of how the marketplace is reacting."
The anonymous employee agreed that all the initial hype didn't help matters.
"Part of the problem too has been all the hype surrounding the new Star Wars land. Tourists fear the anticipated crowds and the Los Angeles locals seem to be waiting out the summer crowds too.. Admission to the park is not cheap either, it is $149.00 for one park or $199.00 during peak summer weekends for a park hopper ticket. For many families, that adds up real quick."
This makes sense. Who wants to spent upwards of $200 to spend all day waiting in line? About the slashed hours, Disney had something different to tell Fox Business. A spokesperson for the company offered this.
"Full-time cast members know that they are regularly scheduled between 30 and 40 hours per week and that their schedules vary depending on a number of factors."
Technically 40 hours has always been full time. So there is an anomaly in called someone who works 30 hours a week a Full-Time cast member. But I guess it's all in how you look at it. Disney hopes to see park attendance grow in the next couple of months as the summer tourists get weeded out. There is high hopes for the attraction opening at Disney World. And their should be new interest in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge as The Rise of the Resistance attraction gets ready to open its doors sometime in 2020. Not all hope is lost.