Is Star Wars Land actually empty?

If you’ve gone through the geek fandom side of the internet, you’ve probably run into a statement suggesting that it’s supposedly a “ghost-town” at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, Anaheim. You know what? Saying that Star Wars Land is "Empty" is starting to sound like fake news. 

People who actually went to that place that tell people it's empty, have apparently changed that word to mean that "it's not the shoulder to shoulder crowd traffic that I expected to see.” I've been to that place multiple times now, and I wish it was actually as "empty" as the internet claims it to be. Despite what has been suggested, it actually still manages to get crowded, but it's at least tolerable.

Some things of note… Millenium Falcon : Smuggler's Run is averaging 60-120 mins, which is normal for a popular attraction at Disneyland on a regular busy day. The Cantina and the Lightsaber building workshop requires reservations just to experience because of high demand, which automatically takes out two of the four "attractions" available there right now for those who couldn’t get reservations (the other 2 being the Falcon and the $100 Droid building). Merchandise are selling out much faster than expected, and that’s even though they limit the ability of buying things in bulk for collectors. Those are just some examples to it being "not empty." It’s the most active land in all of Disneyland Park right now. 

Demand to get in Star Wars Land may not be as apocalyptically crowded as originally advertised, but this was actually the ideal outcome from Disney's strategy. Right from announcing the land, they promptly warned people in advance to consider avoiding the crowds and to plan ahead; like to come back some other year instead. They outpriced most customers, by making it cost $149 for just one adult ticket, and that isn’t even the park-hopper pass which cost $199. Disneyland also blocked out most of the annual passholders, which is a huge chunk of the resort's attendees. They used a reservation system prior to official opening date to show high demand, and to pull in as many of the Star Wars enthusiasts into a controlled 4 hours visit. They talked about a boarding pass system that limits the amount of people that can be there at a time (about 4000 people), which I believe has only been used once during opening day. Then there are those YouTube videos of mass crowds entering that land during the first public day, to scare people off. Thanks YouTube! It only has one ride attraction available; which admittedly is likely an unintentional strategy. It doesn't really have any kid friendly attractions, short of the interactive experience with Rey and Chewbacca, plus the expensive light-saber / droid building options.

Several bloggers have stated that Galaxy’s Edge is slow, because it’s not “their Star Wars” as it’s part of the new trilogy, and that’s the reason why people aren’t showing up (it’s really not because of the price?). I’d like to flatly say NO. The fact that Galaxy's Edge is supposed to be "emptier than expected" isn't an indictment against the new trilogy. It's all about Disney theme park logistical strategies at work. People who don’t like the new trilogy may be boycotting going, but you’ll be kidding yourself if you think that’s the main reason for it being supposedly “slow.” 

As it's been pointed out. Disney's strategy for "Star Wars Galaxy's Edge" is that it's going to be an immersive experience first and foremost. They went more for the idea that you are actually visiting a planet in the Star Wars universe, and not being in a themed park anymore. It has its own lingo that includes greetings and terminologies, which draws upon how it can feel like when you are traveling to a foreign land. Merchandise are intended to look like things you might actually find on an Outpost on a distant planet, and not products made on earth. Employees are in character and don't acknowledge "Earth stuff" or "Disneyland stuff," and you are encouraged to play along with the make believe. There aren't many theme park centric markers like obvious queue lines, or obvious theme park layout designs (except for the safety stuff). It's suppose to be an outpost on a planet you've never been on, and it looks and acts like an outpost on a planet you've never been on. It's essentially the renaissance faire, but for Star Wars. Hard core fans get to pretend to be in Star Wars (acting skills may vary), as the story that takes place in Galaxy's Edge is actually canon to the mythology (specifically takes place between VIII and IX). To be immersive was the goal. 

You can't have an immersive Star Wars Land and have it primarily based on the original trilogy. With that said, you will still find artifacts and references to the original trilogy, prequels, or TV shows, that are all scattered all around the land. Hard core fans of Star Wars should get a kick finding all those easter eggs. Now if you were expecting to interact with Dark Vader, Clone Troopers, or Darth Maul, you can’t. Why? Because how could they be around, on a planet that already has Kylo Ren and Rey in it? 

Having Darth Vader alone immediately breaks the immersion just from a story continuity level. You can't have Han Solo there, because then you can't have any characters or items post The Force Awakens show up at the Black Spire Outpost. You can't have the planets Coruscant, Mustafar, Hoth, or even Crait, at Star Wars Land, because Batuu is a desert & forest planet (the Falcon could potentially travel to those planets though). You can't recreate locations from the movies, because it's never going to be truly accurate to the source material, and that'll break the immersion.

Immersion is the key to why Star Wars Galaxy's Edge exists, and those are factors that can't be ignored. You want those prequel or original trilogy interactions? That's what Star Tours, Tomorrowland, Star Wars Launch Bay, and the VOID at Downtown Disney, are for.

I’ve given you reasons on why you should go visit the Black Spire Outpost, but just to be fair, here are some complaints you could legitimate make about the place. You can complain that you don’t like how Blue Milk or Green Milk tastes like. You can complain that you feel that riding Smuggler’s Run with strangers ruins the experience. You can complain that it’s hard to get into Oga’s Cantina or Savi’s Workshop. You can complain that they ran out of legacy lightsabers a little too fast. You can complain that kyber crystals and droid personality chips are all sold out. You can complain that the merchandise are expensive, and that you’ve also heard that there has been cases of them breaking faster than expected. You can complain that one ride is just not enough for you. You can complain that Star Wars Launch Bay is all the way at Tomorrowland, and that’s the only place you could meet Darth Vader. You can complain that Disneyland tickets are too expensive. Those are all logical reasons that may keep you from going to Galaxy’s Edge, but come on now with the “it’s a ghost town because The Last Jedi sucks” reasonings.  

Since comparisons to the Wizarding World is commonly made when Galaxy's Edge is brought up. You have to admit that you can't say that Harry Potter Land is truly immersive, when the rides look like rides, and the locations are obviously not the same as they actually are in the movies or books. Yes, you do get to interact and experience the many different aspects that encompasses the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but that's Universal's strategy for recreating that franchise. Disney's strategy is to go for the immersive factor with the Black Spire Outpost, and soon to be Star Wars Hotel. To each their own, but I really appreciate Disneyland's approach.

See these Movies of 2018

Out of all the movies I've seen that were released in 2018, I've seen 162 of them. 10 more than in 2017. I didn’t even need to drive to Hollywood to watch some of those limited release films this year either. Of course that meant that as of this list below, I haven’t seen Destroyer starring Nicole Kidman, or On The Basis Of Sex starring Felicity Jones playing Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and several other movies on my to-watch-list like Free Solo or Slice.

2018 was truly the year that proved superhero movies are here to stay. With successes from Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse, teen titans go to the movies, Incredibles 2, Avengers Infinity War, Black Panther, aquaman, ant-man and the wasp, venom, and even psychokinesis.

2018 was also the year Netflix flexed its muscles even more in getting more people to watch their movies. Bird Box, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the Kissing Booth, Set It Up, The Christmas Chronicles, the Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, Bandersnatch, the Princess Switch, the Night Comes For Us, Cam, and the Cloverfield Paradox, all were successful in getting moviegoers to check them out. Despite the quality of some of those movies that is.

2018 was surprisingly also the year where movies really stopped being afraid to let their characters sing on screen. Mary Poppins Returns, Anna and the Apocalypse, Vox Lux, Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, Been So Long, Teen Titans go to the movies, Mama Mia Here We Go Again, Hearts Beat Loud, and even Holmes & Watson, as well as Ralph Breaks The Internet and the Ballad Of Buster Scruggs got some song numbers in them as well. Plus there’s also rap action, with movies like Bodied, and The After Party.

The numbered list below are all the movies I gave a grade of "Loved It” and “Enjoyed It” on my isawthatmovie blog, and that’s 73 movies out of the 162 I’ve seen in 2018. There were actually only 12 movies that I gave a “Loved It” grade, and that's equivalent to an A or A+. 94% and up, 9 out of 10, 10 out of 10, two big enthusiastic thumbs up, two snaps, a twist, high fives, and a booty shake. An “Enjoyed It” grade is equivalent to a B, B+, or A-, and it’s also where most people would give a grade of 8 out of 10, or an 84% to 93%.

Either way, I recommend any of these movies below. Click on the movie to get directed to my no spoilers review of it. Now I know everybody has different tastes of course, but I believe that any of the movies below are definitely worth checking out.

  1. Spider-man into the Spider-verse

  2. Searching

  3. Teen Titans Go To The Movies

  4. Black Panther

  5. Mission Impossible: Fallout

  6. The Favourite

  7. A Simple Favor

  8. Avengers: Infinity War

  9. Won’t you be my neighbor

  10. Sorry to bother you

  11. Widows

  12. Incredibles 2

  13. Isle of Dogs

  14. Deadpool 2

  15. Bumblebee

  16. Aquaman

  17. Overlord

  18. Ralph Breaks The Internet

  19. Ant-Man and the Wasp

  20. Crazy Rich Asians

  21. Instant Family

  22. Hereditary

  23. A Star Is Born

  24. Set it up

  25. To all the boys I’ve Loved before

  26. Anna and the Apocalypse

  27. If Beale street could talk

  28. Bird Box

  29. Upgrade

  30. Cam

  31. BlackKklansman

  32. the Christmas Chronicles

  33. Ben is back

  34. Mary Poppins returns

  35. Bodied

  36. Eighth Grade

  37. Roma

  38. Beast

  39. American Animals

  40. Suspiria

  41. Bandersnatch

  42. First Reformed

  43. Ready Player One

  44. the Hate U Give

  45. Solo: A Star Wars story

  46. Psychokinesis

  47. Bleach

  48. the House with a clock in its walls

  49. Blindspotting

  50. Three Identical Strangers

  51. Hearts Beat Loud

  52. Tag

  53. Annihilation

  54. Christopher Robin

  55. All About Nina

  56. Leave No Trace

  57. Creed II

  58. the Oath

  59. Prospect

  60. Bad Samaritan

  61. You were never really here

  62. Halloween

  63. Colette

  64. Fahrenheit 11/9

  65. A Quiet Place

  66. Unfriended: Dark Web

  67. Mirai

  68. RBG

  69. the Old Man and the Gun

  70. Green Book

  71. First Man

  72. the Tale

  73. Tully

If you want to check and see if any of these movies are available to watch on a streaming service, feel free to do a search on JustWatch.com to find out where.
- https://www.justwatch.com/

You can follow along to the movies I watch on my isawthatmovie blog. Let’s talk movies!
- https://www.whowhatwhereswhy.com/isawthatmovie

Happy New Year 2019 Everybody! Enjoy a whole New Year of watching movies.

P.S. Just for fun, here are the bottom 6 movies that I just did not like in 2018…

157 - Extinction
158 - Batman Ninja
159 - Den Of Thieves
160 - the 15:17 to Paris
161 - Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
162 - Mile 22

I want more mini-vacations

Most recently, I gave myself a "mini-vacation" from anything whowhatwhereswhy related for the July 4th Holiday week. It was about 72 hours of "me time" that started on the night of July 2, and ended on the night of July 5. I even took days off from my day job, which meant that it was a legitimate time off away from any kind of work for me. It was amazing! This is something I've never done before since the genesis of this website, and now I kind of want to do this more often now. I may not even wait until Holiday weeks. Easier said than done perhaps? 

For context at how much I'm close to burning out with all of this... My day job alone eats up 40 hours a week. If you count travel time, then it's really about 50 hours a week. All the work I do for whowhatwhereswhy, from writing my movie reviews, recording podcasts, editing / uploading podcasts, writing / drawing the comic strips, to all the misc things I need to do for the website, adds up to approximately and additional 24 hours a week. I'm not even bothering to count the hours I have to spend going to and watching the movies for those reviews. Plus all those TV shows as well. 

There's 168 hours a week, and 74 hours of that is dedicated to my working life already. I average 4-6 hours of sleep a day; let's say 5 hours, so that's about 35 hours a week. That leaves me with 59 hours a week, with a good chunk of that going to Saturdays and Sundays with my wife. Needless to say, be it my day job or the website, I'm always doing something every day. Which leads me once again to the title of this blog post. I want more mini-vacations. 

I'm seriously trying to figure out a way to give myself "a weekly weekend" away from whowhatwhereswhy. If you've been following the updates, I make it a point for the most part to give you all at least one new thing every day. 2-3 new podcasts a week. 2-4 movie reviews a week. 1 comic strip a week. The occasional blog posts. I want that to change, even if that means less content for the website. 

If you've been following my Instagram, then you've also seen that I had intentions of pursuing putting content out for IGTV. Obviously, it's looking like I'm changing my mind there. I want to still do IGTV content, but the idea that it would be weekly uploads is starting to look unreasonable to me. I really want to do those short videos, but it is extra work for me. So right now, IGTV is still going to happen, when I feel like it's going to happen. Just ignore what I said about it being a weekly thing, but know that I'm not going to completely abandon it. 

I really want more mini-vacations. 

Despite what I said in the last blog post, about how there isn't going to be any further changes to the website, well it looks like I'm taking that statement back. With IGTV, I will be at least start doing some video content for this 4th year of the network, except it's not going to be on YouTube like I originally intended years ago. That new addition is definitely a change. Now the biggest change perhaps is that I've re-branded the name of the company. Instead of "Who What Where's Why" it's now simply going to be "whowhatwhereswhy." I realize that there are still going to be accounts and what not with the original name, but I'll change those to the re-branded name when I'm able to. 

There you go. The summer update for whowhatwhereswhy. Here's to a happy and enjoyable Summer Season! 

P.S. the whole website is averaging 2500 daily subscribers now, since the last time I mentioned subscribers back in May. Thank you! Spread the word! Let's try and keep those numbers going up. 

Update

Alright, I think it's time I give you all an update on what's going on with Who What Where's Why. I was going to call this a "Spring Update" but I think we're so close to Summer, that I decided not to name this post that. 

First off, I followed through with what I wrote on the last update regarding the changes made to the "isawthatmovie blog." I've freely used the "LIKED IT" grade; as I said I would. I also have been watching less movies in theaters than I used to, which I implied might happen. While time management is a reason for that, it also has a lot to do with the lack of films that I genuinely want to see it. Let's see if the Summer Movie releases changes the frequency of my going to the movies. I have been watching more straight-to-streaming movies though, so that's a plus. 

"Spoilers Pleeze" is chugging along as well as it does. It's averaging around 1000 daily subscribers at the moment, which makes it our most listened to podcast at this point. Besides my running joke of introducing the wrong movie at the beginning of the episode, there really isn't any changes to the show. If it ain't broke... 

As what could be broken is the Patreon account we have. We simply don't have any patreons on that. Due to that fact, I really shouldn't have a reason to keep that account going. Yes it holds the "Extra Stuff Extra Spoils" podcast; which is a nice supplement to our other podcasts, but it seems that everybody is satisfied with just listening to the preview version of the show. The WonderCon episodes definitely had a lot of listens, which is very much appreciated. One of my main highlights from that event was the interview I had with cosplayer Joanie Brosas, which can be found on part 1 of the WonderCon episodes. If I do drop the Patreon account, Extra Stuff Extra Spoils may or may not end as well. 

We're almost coming up to the one year anniversary to when me and Louis started "whowhatwhereswhy - The Comic." Just for you all actually reading this blog post, how about a scoop? Our weekly comic strip might be made into a book to be sold on amazon. I'm hoping we go through we it, but we'll see... 

Now the biggest change to the network is undoubtedly "The Stuff & Junk Show." After years of my Spoilers Pleeze co-host Jiaming acting as the primary backup co-host to the show, I finally went and got a permanent regular person to fill that role. My cousin Ruthy is officially the co-host for The Stuff & Junk Show. She does live in New York so hopefully you all don't mind the fact that we are recording the show via VOIP. I understand that the quality isn't the best because of that, but we're trying our best there. How are you liking my cousin being a regular part of the show though? Our chemistry on air is still a work in progress, and you can just tell the difference when I'm on with Jiaming instead. However, I like the opportunity the show now has for having both the male and female point of views, as well as the west coast and east coast perspective as well. 

Besides the new regular co-host, the format for the Stuff & Junk show has changed into the style that I played around with on Episode 169. The show is divided into four (five) primary segments now, as opposed to how it was before when we only focused on one topic for the whole episode. It now also has audio drops and character voices also make appearances. I understand that there are those of you that prefer the old format, and would probably want me to go back to that. I won't be doing that though, because believe me when I say that this new format is actually less stressful to produce than the old one. Selfishly, that makes the biggest difference to me, and I hope you understand.  

I mentioned this on the podcast before already, but my original plan for Who What Where's Why is to do it for at least 5 years at a minimum, or 10 years at the maximum. I'm less than two years away from that 5 year mark, and I'm honestly willing to go past 10 years if i'm still up to it. Out of the 2000 something total subscribers the website apparently have, I know there's really only about two dozen of you that I would genuinely consider regular listeners / readers. If you're reading this, I would like to have your input as to the state of the website at this point, because I have a feeling that there isn't going to be much changes in the future (short of some potentially new logos). This is how it's going to be for a long while, so I hope you all are still joining me on this journey. 

State Of The isawthatmovie Blog

If you've read movie reviews from critics on a website, or in magazines, or in newspapers, you probably noticed that they don't do reviews on all the movies they've seen. So how come when it came to me and my "I Saw That Movie" blog, I was ambitious enough to think that I can do written reviews for ALL the movies I've seen since I started this website? It was a worthy goal to try and achieve, but wow did that eat up a lot of my time! That's time that I could instead be spending watching a movie or TV show that I can talk about on the "Spoilers Pleeze" podcast. That's also time that I could just relax at home, spending time with my wife and dog. That could be time when I get some much needed sleep. 

Although those movie reviews I do only consist of about two to four paragraphs, the time it took for somebody like myself to produce written work that I was satisfied enough to share to the rest of the online community ate up a lot of my daily hours. Far more than I prefer, for work that is mostly done for free. Yes, I am aware that there are in fact some people reading those reviews I've written, and truly I am thankful. However, most of those people that I am aware of that has read them, can actually personally talk to me in real life anyway. Seems almost unnecessary to spend the chunk of time writing them, if it's easy to just ask me about a movie in person. 

Where's my incentive to keep the #isawthatmovie blog going the way it was originally created for? If anything else, these past three months where I literally did not do written reviews for several movies that I've seen, actually gave me more incentive not to continue the blog. I still did write reviews for certain movies, so it wasn't that I completely abandoned it. So that give and take is maybe the way it's going to go from now on. 

My new intentions with the I Saw That Movie blog... 

  1. On a weekly basis, I will still write at least one or two full non-spoilers movie reviews. Presumably the big movie releases of the week, or a film I feel really passionate enough to write a full review of.  
  2. Other movies that don't get full written reviews, will get general bullet points on the positives and negatives, plus a grade. 
  3. If a reader would really prefer me to write a full review of a movie, they are welcome to contact me via email (whowhatwhereswhy@gmail.com) or social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), or on the website posts themselves, and I will make that extra effort to write one. 

Another big change for the #isawthatmovie blog is the grading system. Instead of the current five grading options, there will now be six of them, since I am now adding a "LIKED IT" into the mix... 

  1. LOVED IT - equivalent grades of an "A+" or "A" 
  2. ENJOYED IT - equivalent grades of an "A-," a "B+," or a "B".   
  3. LIKED IT - equivalent grades of a "B-," or a "C+"  
  4. IT'S OKAY - equivalent grades of a "C" or a "C-"  
  5. IT'S MEH - equivalent grades of a "D+" or a "D"  
  6. IT'S TERRIBLE - equivalent grades of a "D-" or an "F" 

The reasoning behind adding the "LIKED IT" grade, is because the previous model was apparently not precise enough. When I grade a movie with a "LOVED IT" or "ENJOYED IT," it was obvious that I'm saying it's a good to great film. However sometimes there are movies that while I think deserve to be considered great, I myself don't necessarily love them. Using 2017 as an example, there were a couple of movies I gave the "LOVED IT" grade, but I should have really given an "ENJOYED IT" instead. Now that I'm including the equivalent grade of an "A-" into the "ENJOYED IT" grade, I can freely toss in more movies into that distinction. 

Adding the "LIKED IT" grade also serves a similar purpose. There are many movies that I thought deserved a "B-" or a "C+" that were more than just "OKAY," because I did find them very entertaining to watch. It left me having to debate on whether those movies have to be an "ENJOYED IT" or an "IT'S OKAY," which is where the "LIKED IT" tag comes in. Most people tend to react poorly to movies that are deemed "OKAY," and see that grade more in the mediocre average range of a "C" or "C-," so that's where it's going to be now for sure. 

The rest of the grades of "IT'S MEH" and "IT'S TERRIBLE" more or less stays the same, and people generally aren't confused on how to feel about those distinctions. 

So there we go. I would still prefer to write full movie reviews as much as I can, and that also applies to the past movies I've seen that I still did not do one for. However, there is a slight weight off my shoulder with the knowledge that I'm not forcing myself to write reviews for all the movies I see anymore. Who knows? I might change my mind again later on. 

Top 40 Favorite Movies of 2017

As it's been a tradition with me for many years now. During the very last days of December, I always share what I consider my most favorite movies of that Year. Some years it's just a top 10, some years I go for 25 entrees. This year, I'm going for a Top 40.

Keep in mind that there are still some movies that I was not able to see before this list was compiled, but I'll add an edit if necessary. Included with the listed movie, there are hyperlinks to my non-spoilers written reviews from the #isawthatmovie blog, and another link to go with the spoilers discussion about the movie from the #SpoilersPleeze podcast

So out of the 152 movies that I've seen that were officially released in 2017, here are my picks for what I consider my Top 40 Favorite movies of the year... 

  1. The Big Sick  (sp 125)  

  2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  

  3. Star Wars: the Last Jedi  (sp 142)  

  4. Colossal  (sp 109)  

  5. Logan  (sp 102)  

  6. It  (sp 128)  

  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming  (sp 120)  

  8. Lady Bird  (sp 140)  

  9. Get Out  (sp 101)  

  10. Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2  (sp 111)  

  11. Coco  (sp 139)  

  12. The Lego Batman Movie  (sp 99)  

  13. The Shape Of Water

  14. Wonder Woman  (sp 115)  

  15. Thor: Ragnarok  (sp 136)  

  16. Last Flag Flying

  17. The Breadwinner

  18. Okja  (sp 119)  

  19. Wind River

  20. Wonder

  21. Molly's Game

  22. Blade Runner 2049  (sp 132)  

  23. Brigsby Bear

  24. A Ghost Story

  25. Raw

  26. Kong: Skull Island  (sp 103)  

  27. A Taxi Driver

  28. Beauty & The Beast 2017  (sp 104)  

  29. Baby Driver  (sp 118)  

  30. Band Aid

  31. How To Be A Latin Lover

  32. Blade Of The Immortal

  33. Patti Cake$

  34. The Florida Project

  35. I, Tonya  

  36. The Post

  37. John Wick : Chapter 2  

  38. A Dog’s Purpose

  39. Cars 3

  40. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

For fun, I've also included the bottom 10 movies that I consider my least favorites from the year, with No. 1 being the worst. Have at it. 

  1. Transformers : The Last Knight
  2. The Snowman
  3. Suburbicon
  4. I Do… Until I Don’t
  5. The Only Living Boy In New York
  6. Girlfriend’s Day
  7. Rings
  8. Beatriz At Dinner
  9. The Circle
  10. Rough Night