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Angry the Clown

Disneyland/World and Universal parks discussion thread (where the magic never ends... until a ride you loved is knocked down and replaced with something lame)

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A couple of co-workers were at the media preview.  I need to see what they thought of it when they get back.  (At least one of them is a Star Wars fan, so I'm extra curious what her thoughts are).

 

I'm most curious as to how the park handles actual crowds.  It looks great during the preview videos they aired on the news... but I really want to know what happens when you cram the park to capacity.

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I think the scheme of pre-allocated time slots to get in ends in June, so we'll have an idea of crowd congestion in a month or so. That's when it well and truly becomes a beta test for the Florida version (though I think Florida will be doing pre-allocated entrance for its first month as well).

 

In Anaheim they've been rotating group access at all 3 entrances to the land (Fantasy Land, Frontier Land and Critter Country) every four hours. Longest wait I have read of under the limited access circumstances was 100mins for Smugler's Run, but they also said due to the way the ride loading system works the queue is pretty much always moving. 

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A few interesting takeaways from Galaxy’s Edge walkarounds on Youtube:

 

“Bright Suns” is the greeting for hello in the land.

 

The Cantina looks to be pretty small, already commanding up to one hour wait times even with restricted guest access. It almost has an Adventurers Club vibe to it though!  Likewise the two quick service locations don’t seem to be that big (I thought the hanger one would be really big but it doesn’t seem to be).

 

They seem to have, for now, abandoned the free roaming droids around the land as I haven’t seen evidence of them being there at all.

 

The layout of the land itself seems quite ingenious and spacious enough to handle the crowds (at least once the mass hysteria settles next year). I’m not sure how the little market trader shops will cope though. They really are tiny. I want one of the "hand stitched" Porgs. 

 

Probably fair to say that we’ll never experience the land in as quiet and peaceful a state as press and vloggers have this week, outside of maybe extra magic hours and (in Florida) extra early access for Star Wars hotel guests. Even peaceful extra magic hours would surprise me as you’d figure anyone staying on property with such access will descend upon the land first for years to come.

 

Smugler’s run has fastpass and single rider entrance lines in place, but as previously announced fastpass is not in use for now.

 

As well as the training ball and blast visor, there is also an (empty) Porg nest on a shelf on board the Falcon. 

 

No sign of cast members picking up on your Smugler’s Run performance  in the land beyond those guiding you off the ride.

 

You can buy a full sized remote R2-D2 at the Droid Depot for $25,000. 

 

The blue and green milk is more milkshake in texture. Sounds like the flavouring of the blue could do with a rethink.

 

The area where the First Order tie shuttle has landed looks like it might be where future expansion/third ride could be(?)

 

There are apparently directional sound effects around the land to give the impression of local wildlife moving around you in the trees and ships flying overhead.

 

Nothing much seems to change about the environment at night like Pandora. I also haven’t seen anyone trying the app/land interactivity elements (though I did see a DJ Rex video where he suggests you can submit music requests on a certain radio frequency, which if an actual hint at an interactive element would obviously mean your smartphone/app).

 

My concern about the land being so at odds with the park as a whole may end up being the reason why it actually works. Aside from some sightline points where you can see big thunder (am guessing there will be no sightline issues in Florida), the fact it is so enclosed and detached almost seems to make it an attraction unto itself in a way, and the disguised entrances into the land seem to help sell it as a separate experience.

 

 

Anyone pick up on anything else from the stuff online?

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Rex has an operational meltdown in this video. There are some cute callbacks to his old programming :)

 

 

 

You hear him reference the possibly interactive music request feature at the start there. 

 

The atmosphere definitely channels the old Pleasure Island Adventurers Club I think (just a shame it's not bigger. Expanding into an upstairs section, and having more nooks and crannies with hidden things and animatronic elements and more heavily costumed role playing cast members might have been a good idea. I feel like they have seriously underestimated the popularity of the Cantina).

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Ride queue walkthrough for Smugler's Run plus pre-show with the really impressive Hondo animatronic. There's on ride video here too if anyone wants to avoid spoilers (I don't think it's anything we have not kind of seen or been told about before, and the footage at the end here is Disney supplied PR video anyway. It's really Rise of the Resistance that I want to try and avoid spoilers for after it opens):

 

 

It'd be wise to note that it relies on "up is down" flight controls.  :)

 

Anyone else surprised there are not more animatronic elements in the queue? Star Tours has the upper hand in that respect. I figured there'd at least be some maintenance droids busying themselves here. Some animatronic Jawas scavenging would be fun too. It's weirdly uninhabited. Perhaps they couldn't get things like that finished in time and they will be added in future. No indication of interactive queue elements there right now either.

 

The illusion of boarding the ship and stepping into the cockpit is really very clever, with 28 cockpits in rotation on four carousels (and six riders per cockpit so 168 riders at roughly any one time. You can see how that would mean the queue will be moving regularly. You can also see there are two specific wheelchair accessible ADA cockpits as well). This is apparently how it works:

 

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Can we assume there will be different mission experiences over time? Has that already been confirmed at all? Seems to just be launching with a Corellia mission but post Star Tours 2.0 it would seem crazy if Smugler's Run does not evolve into having multiple branched experiences to keep people coming back. 

 

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I’m watching a live stream right now. The crowds seem completely manageable, and maybe even a little lighter than I would have expected.

 

It seems they have done a great job with this aspect and everyone can wander around comfortably and enjoy the land. 

 

Chewie and Rey were also just wandering around the land. They weren’t being mobbed, Rey wasn’t even being handled. Chewie played a little roaring game with the people that were around. The guy doing the stream walked up to Rey and talked to her. 

 

Chewie did a little show with his handler, trying to fix the Xwing that is in the land, and there was another little show with Stormtroopers and a resistance spy (who also wanders the land). 

 

I hope these kind of atmosphere elements remain. 

 

There was a girl I saw with the droid in the backpack you can get, and it had its head poking out. It looked pretty cool actually. 

 

Seems like everyone is having a good time and there are tons of people walking around with droid boxes and other merch. 

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One of my favourite things I’ve seen, is the droid roasting the meat in Ronto Roasters is very much like the droid that is burning that poor droids feet at Jaba’s in ROJ. 

 

 

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This is the first video I’ve seen with the full ride of Smugglers Run. 

 

 

It looks fun. 

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44 minutes ago, Graeme said:

One of my favourite things I’ve seen, is the droid roasting the meat in Ronto Roasters is very much like the droid that is burning that poor droids feet at Jaba’s in ROJ

 

 

Yes, and he’s roasting meat on a pod racer engine! I meant to mention that on my list above.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Graeme said:

This is the first video I’ve seen with the full ride of Smugglers Run. 

 

 

It looks fun. 

 

The cast member’s little gag as the door closes was very good. 

 

Does the ride reflect the actual time day you board? Take off and landing on Batuu is night in that video, but daytime in the PR footage. That’s neat if there’s a real time clock for the ride.

 

Just a group of four in that video too which is interesting.

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5 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

Does the ride reflect the actual time day you board?

 

I think I read somewhere that it does. 

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The lack of music anywhere seems like an odd choice. There are times (especially in the ride queue) where the silence seems almost deafening. I wonder if it was strictly a “realism” choice or if there are other reasons. Maybe the other sounds are enough when you’re there, or you just don’t notice, but it seems like it could really add to the environment. 

 

Would be be interesting to see if that changes. 

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There’s a distinct native Batuu variation on Williams’ GE theme as you enter though the tunnels, but beyond that yes it seems eerily quiet. On Pandora walk around videos I’ve watched I can very clearly hear subtle variations of Horner’s Avatar film score themes quietly playing (the music is there and yet not there), and there’s distinct alien wildlife sound effects but I can’t really hear anything like that in Galaxy’s Edge videos.

 

As noted earlier, one video review I watched mentioned directional audio tricks to give the illusion of ships taking off and landing around you, but I’ve watched nothing that is as audibly immersive as this:

 

 

That really is exquisitely done (both visually and sonically). Shame Blackspire doesn’t transform similarly at night.

 

Again, the biggest oddity to me is actually that the whole land seems oddly uninhabited and devoid of much life whether you’re on the streets or in the ride queue which isn’t what I thought we were being lead to expect. Right now Galaxy’s Edge looks lived in, but doesn’t look alive! Even without the roaming droids I thought there would be a lot more stationary animatronics all over the place, and roaming cast members in costume as alien creatures, bounty hunters...etc. Maybe that’s to come and is missing as a consequence of them opening a little sooner than expected. Compared to Pandora I am surprised there’s no imaginative alien plant life and wildlife scattered around either.

 

As I wrote yesterday, there’s only so far they can push the immersion narrative. There’s music on the ride, guests are going to have strollers and Mickey ears, the market stores sell familiar Earth looking apparel, the menus all breakdown the actual familiar ingredients of what you’re ordering...etc...etc. Hopefully all this stuff is absent due to time, or will be added in response to feedback.

 

 

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https://www.npr.org/2019/05/31/728754858/star-wars-galaxys-edge-opens-with-a-cosmic-soundscape-bringing-it-to-life

 

NPR has a 4 minute clip, all about the sound and music in Galaxy's Edge with sound bites from imagineers in charge of it. Worth listening to (or reading the transcript) if you're curious about the sound and music in SWGE.

 

Like most real places, music doesn't play everywhere the way it would in, say, a traditional fantasy park. Music here is motivated. It's directed. It comes from a source. It doesn't - you know, we don't have an orchestra playing out of a rock.

 

I just watched a video of the Lightsaber building experience, and there is wonderful music used through that. I'm still bummed there isn't a way to experience that without having to buy the Saber.

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I watched the Touring Plans video from this morning. Brian was part of the 11-3 group, and the crowds were much more dense. Part of that was the rush of people walking in at 11, part of that was the 8-12 group still lingering. But I wonder if the 11-3 group was larger, because it seemed like way more people. Apparently Sumgglers run was down to a 5 min wait at one point, and then shot up to 70mins.

 

10 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

There’s a distinct native Batuu variation on Williams’ GE theme as you enter though the tunnels, but beyond that yes it seems eerily quiet. On Pandora walk around videos I’ve watched I can very clearly hear subtle variations of Horner’s Avatar film score themes quietly playing (the music is there and yet not there), and there’s distinct alien wildlife sound effects but I can’t really hear anything like that in Galaxy’s Edge videos.

 

As noted earlier, one video review I watched mentioned directional audio tricks to give the illusion of ships taking off and landing around you, but I’ve watched nothing that is as audibly immersive as this:

 

There is wildlife, one of the streams I watched experienced some in the Resistance forrest area which was very noticeable. It's probably not going to be the constant envelopment like it is in Pandora, because the environment is different. It will mostly be in the Forrest area I would bet. There's also the ships passing overhead, people talking from windows overhead, chimes etc. The sound effects seem great, and I've heard a lot of praise for it, its just that there seems to be areas where there is nothing, or it needs to be complimented. I feel like in places like the Market, it needs sounds of people bustling and talking and yelling, even if it's not full, just to make it seem like there is more life than there is. 

 

I also agree that there should maybe be more "streetmosphere", just having Cast members walking around in costume, pretending to shop, interacting with guests, working on the ships, and just adding more life to everything would be fantastic. Allowing guests to dress up would go a long way to accomplishing this also.

 

There are lots of little animatronics around the land, but they are confined mainly to shops and restaurants (Doc Ondar is pretty incrediible). The droids would really go a long way out on the streets.

 

I really do wonder if all the extra elements they talked about for forever will actually come to reality. Droids roaming the streets, bartering with Doc Ondar, your reputation following you around, characters approaching you because you wrecked the Falcon. Has this all been left for another time, or has it just been forgotten about because they couldn't get it to work? Will I need to stay at the Star Wars Hotel to really experience this kind of role playing stuff? If so, it isn't quite the "Live your own Star Wars adventure" they've been promising. It seems like a lot of this is still being talked about, but it's not the reality.

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I'll be very curious to see people start experimenting with Smugglers run to see what you can and cannot do in it. Most of the videos I've seen, have been pretty similar, but slightly different.

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1 hour ago, Graeme said:

I watched the Touring Plans video from this morning. Brian was part of the 11-3 group, and the crowds were much more dense. Part of that was the rush of people walking in at 11, part of that was the 8-12 group still lingering. But I wonder if the 11-3 group was larger, because it seemed like way more people. Apparently Sumgglers run was down to a 5 min wait at one point, and then shot up to 70mins.

 

Interesting. We shouldn’t forget that the timed entrance/exit windows run for a month. It wouldn’t shock me if they decided to extend that period, but it won’t be until it ends and we see an unrestrained flow people in and out of there that we’ll get a sense of how bad this could be for a while. July could be obscene.

 

 

Quote

 

I also agree that there should maybe be more "streetmosphere", just having Cast members walking around in costume, pretending to shop, interacting with guests, working on the ships, and just adding more life to everything would be fantastic.

 

 

I thought this was precisely the immersion they were promising and that concept art hinted at. You’re in a bustling galactic outpost... so where the hell is everybody?!

 

I also thought all this stuff was supposed to be a test bed for what guests we’ll see and experience in the Florida hotel in a few years too as that’s supposed to be targeting a pretty full on role playing experience.

 

Again, I have to believe all this will be coming to the land but as you say, either some of it logistically isn’t working like they planned just yet, or simply having opened the land a little sooner than we expected has meant the interactive details aren’t in place (and it may well be they don’t intend to begin layering them until until they get a true sense of crowd sizes once the controlled time limited entry period is lifted).

 

It could be a year or so before we see Galaxy’s Edge operating as intended.

 

 

Quote

 

Allowing guests to dress up would go a long way to accomplishing this also.

 

 

I totally get why they can’t do this though. Cosplay can be so high end these days, and even the $200+ robes you can buy in the land itself are extremely high quality, that they’d have a hard time being able to have regular guests distinguish between who is a CM and who is just a guest in an elaborate costume. This, as we know, is precisely why they only let kids enter the parks in character costumes and never adults.

 

The exception could come for Star Wars hotel guests though since we’ve heard the plan is to allow them exclusive access to the land during certain hours (either before park opening and/or after park closing), so staff have a better chance of keeping tabs on guests in costume.

 

Magic bands can play a bigger role in tracking guests at Hollywood Studios too, whereas they don’t exist in the California resort of course. Indeed, I wonder if that will make the Florida GE more interactive than the Disneyland version in general (with California purely having to rely on smartphone interactivity). 

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Speaking of the Star Wars hotel:

 

 

 

 

You can really see how much smaller it is compared to other Disney hotels. That’s going to be a very exclusive experience for sure.

 

 

Also a fantastic view of Tron:

 

 

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7 hours ago, Graeme said:

I just watched a video of the Lightsaber building experience, and there is wonderful music used through that. I'm still bummed there isn't a way to experience that without having to buy the Saber.

 

Was it the Blog Mickey video? They have a good one:

 

 

That’s genuinely charming. Honestly, I kind of like that it’s an exclusive experience for those coughing up the $200. Hell, I think it’s convinced me to do it whenever I go where as previously I would have dismissed it entirely as I don’t need anything like that sitting around doing nothing AT ALL. Build materials are more solid than I thought too. Not sure how I’d pack it to fly home with even with the blade detached though. 

 

I’m sappy enough to have felt rather emotional by the fact the host is delivering her spiel in time to music and you hear the force theme when she produces a sabre hilt for the first time. 

 

REALLY hope we get an EP of more music from the land as the variations and new recordings of some existing music there are really nice. 

 

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Here’s a close up look at exactly what you get for your money outside of the building experience itself:

 

 

Watching the building video I wasn’t sure what, if anything, dictated the style of pieces the cast member presents you with but the reviewer notes that it is all tied to a decision you make upon entering where you choose a little disc that represents certain personality styles (heroic...etc) so it’s nice to know how that works.

 

All the little sound effects and lighting flashes on impact are really neat. Even the crystal, once fitted, makes a sound.

 

His summary at the end makes a fair argument for the price and he doesn’t even account for the build experience in determining the value there, he’s just sizing it up against the Force FX models. 

 

Price will probably have doubled to $400 without the protective sleeve case by the time I ever get to visit Anaheim or Orlando again. 🙂

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I’m not ENTIRELY sure about the First Order store in Galaxy’s Edge. Flags, costumes... Step right up for your faux fascist paraphernalia! 

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1 hour ago, Angry the Clown said:

I’m not ENTIRELY sure about the First Order store in Galaxy’s Edge. Flags, costumes... Step right up for your faux fascist paraphernalia! 

 

Shhh. 

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8 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Interesting. We shouldn’t forget that the timed entrance/exit windows run for a month. It wouldn’t shock me if they decided to extend that period, but it won’t be until it ends and we see an unrestrained flow people in and out of there that we’ll get a sense of how bad this could be for a while. July could be obscene.

 

The expectation after the reservation period is that Disney will implement a virtual queuing system. Once the land hits a certain capacity, you will need to get a return time before you’re allowed to enter. This would allow them to keep crowds to at a manageable level using the information they have gathered this first month. The big difference is that there (probably) won’t be a 4 hour time limit. This is similar to what Universal did for Wizarding World. 

 

They may also be able to introduce a similar system for the Cantina and Lightsaber, which I think would be a great idea. 

 

This first month with the reservations seems like a very smart move by Disney in so many ways. They get to show the world how great SWGE is, and claim it is now open, yet it’s almost like a month long soft open. They have control of crowd sizes, can have different sized crowds to see how the land handles them, the diehards that NEED to see it right away get their chance to do so they won’t be descending on the park en masse when the reservation period ends and they’ll hopefully have all the data they need to keep it operating smoothly going forward. 

 

Even still, it will be interesting to see what happens in July. I honestly don’t think it’s going to be the shit show many people think it will be. 

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