Has Disney tarnished "Star Wars" so beyond repute that not even the much-ballyhooed cash-cow-to-be "Galaxy's Edge" attraction at Disneyland could save the franchise? Time will tell, but current signs do not exactly bode well for the franchise that many deemed "unsinkable."
According to FOX Business, the theme park attraction underperformed dramatically this summer, leading Disney to reportedly cut employees' hours to offset the costs.
"The new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Land made its debut to the public in May of 2019 at Southern California’s Disneyland and has become a bit of a disappointment to the theme park employees whose hours and paychecks have suffered due to lack of attendance," reports the outlet.
Though the initial reports were that "Galaxy's Edge" would be an epic hit that would help justify the $4.05 billion price tag Disney honored when acquiring the "Star Wars" intellectual property from George Lucas, word on the inside is something different.
"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," an anonymous employee told FOX Business. "As a result, the company has been forced to cut our hours. The need for us to work simply isn't there. Our hours have been cut to as 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."
The source speculated that Disneyland ushered in a fast opening for "Galaxy's Edge" without having enough features to entice people. The next major feature beyond the "Smuggler's Run" ride will not open until early 2020 — "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance."
"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," the source said. "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.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger echoed that sentiment.
"Some people stayed away just because they expected that it would not be a great guest experience,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said on a recent earnings call. "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."
Porter Bibb of MediaTech Capital Partners told FOX Business that "Galaxy's Edge" will put up big numbers for Disney in the coming fall and winter, especially with the release of "Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker."
"It experienced some malfunctions due to the complex, sophisticated features but will be a compelling attraction, especially once the new Star Wars film opens in Q4," said Bibb.