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 mins in it’s wait times, which is normal for a popular attraction at Disneyland on a regular busy day. It’s a longer wait than what you would find in “It’s a Small World,” “Pirates Of The Caribbean,” or “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.” 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.
But you feel like you are REALLY a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, and would miss that not being a part of Batuu. Well guess what, they are a part of Batuu as well. Besides the most obvious facts that original trilogy alums like Chewbacca, the Millenium Falcon, and R2-D2, are at the Black Spire Outpost, or that you could purchase your own replica of Darth Vader’s lightsaber, there are also tons of Episodes IV - VI references and representations scattered throughout the land. How about visiting Han and Leia’s hallway kiss spot, that you saw in a scene in Empire Strikes Back, or finding an Imperial Probe Droid that you last saw on the planet Hoth? How about seeing an 8D-J8, which is a Droid you would find in Jabba The Hutt’s palace in Return Of The Jedi, or finding Ewok artifacts from the forest moon of Endor? How about seeing GNK power droids, which appeared in Star Wars : A New Hope, or encountering a Dianoga that you saw in the Death Star trash compactor? You hard core original Star Wars trilogy fans should have fun finding all those references and more at Star Wars : Galaxy’s Edge. So once again NO, it’s not only for new trilogy fans.
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 Force Awakens and The Last Jedi sucks” excuses.
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.
P.S. Let’s also give Galaxy’s Edge some credit to the fact that once you’re tired of visiting the Black Spire Outpost, there’s still the rest of Disneyland Anaheim or Disney’s Hollywood Studios (when that opens) to occupy your day. You’re not paying that expensive park ticket for just one themed land.