It was announced in March 2019 (subtly, through an update on the Disney website that the community later discovered) that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions, once they open, will not be offering FastPass availability.
It came as one simple line that read: “Disney FastPass+ service is unavailable for the attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”
Keeping in mind that that’s all the information we have to go off of, it’s unclear if this is a permanent/indefinite decision or just temporary while the land and its attractions are new.
(Remember, only one ride will open on opening day – the second of two will open later in the year.)
Your first instinct might be to panic and think that it’ll be impossible to get on the new rides now, with standby lines being too insane for anyone but the most die-hard fans to wait in. Don’t fret – the lines will be bad, but Disney actually made a smart decision here.
To explain why, I need to give a primer on how FastPass works at an attraction (I’ll be using the traditional ride as an example, and not a show, because those work differently).
FastPass Service 101
There are two types of people waiting in line at Disney’s attractions: those who have FastPass and those who not, aka Standby (let’s assume there’s no Single Rider line for the moment). They go into the ride queue in separate lines and stay separate for awhile. Standby folks are likely to immediately be standing in a line that moves slowly towards the ride. FastPass folks are probably going to keep moving through the queue quickly, possibly never stopping, or maybe stopping for a few minutes max.
The main stop for FastPass folks is at the merge point. This is where the FastPass and Standby guests merge together and become one line. There’s a cast member working at the merge point, letting one line go through while the other waits a bit. They will not alternate between lines evenly, though. No, the FastPass line will empty/move forward at a faster rate than Standby.
It’s hard to tell if there’s an exact ratio, and it varies by ride and also by cast member (and how busy the day is). 2:1 seems reasonable – 2 FastPass people go through for every 1 Standby, and it could honestly be higher on the FastPass side. If you have more details, please share!
News Flash: This is what makes Standby lines so long. It backs up Standby while FastPass dumps.
The proof? Go on a ride that doesn’t have FastPass available. It’s harder to find at Disney World because most rides have FP service. At Disneyland, the dark/slow rides in Fantasyland are Fastpass-less as are some of their other slower/less popular rides. Yes, there’s a wait for those Fantasyland rides like Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Peter Pan’s Flight but it’s much less than what their counterparts (or replacements in some cases) have at Disney World where FastPass is a thing for them. Peter Pan’s Flight had the longest wait every time at Disneyland, but that’s a mystery to solve for another day (I seriously don’t get why it’s so popular on both coasts).
When there’s no FastPass on an attraction, the Standby line doesn’t have to stop at a merge point and just keeps going to the ride. The wait time is purely determined by the amount of people in line and how many people can ride in each run-through. It *does* run faster.
(I mentioned single rider lines – those work by going past both FastPass and Standby in a separate line, straight to the ride loading area, and looks a lot shorter. They may not be though, because you’re waiting on an open seat to be created by the numbers of parties in the merged Standby/FastPass line. It doesn’t impact the wait time on the main line at all.)
What does this mean for Galaxy’s Edge?
Okay, so that’s the basics of how FastPass works and why it’s honestly not so great of a feature to have. It’s awesome for those that have it – but it creates a worse experience for everyone else. As for Galaxy’s Edge, I hope you’re starting to put together why not having FastPass available inside the land was a smart decision by Disney’s team.
The Standby lines will still be long – there’s no doubt about that and we should all accept that fact now and be as patient as possible later.
The nice part is, it won’t be as long as it *could* be if FastPass was there. Sure, none of you will be able to skip the long wait by getting lucky with a FastPass. But honestly, most folks wouldn’t get one anyways. Only those paying to stay on property (likely just for this FastPass) and the most determined would squeeze in. In a way, this evens the playing field and gives everyone the same access and opportunity – removing what is essentially an indirect paywall.
Imagine if they’d done this with Pandora… it’s still next to impossible to get a FastPass for Flight of Passage, even if you’re staying on property. I booked FastPasses last month (I’m staying at Pop Century) for my trip in April, and I could only get FOP for one of my days and not on the day I wanted to do Animal Kingdom. I’ve only rode FOP once before, and that was in Standby at closing (rode after the park closed, actually) and I’ve been to Animal Kingdom many times since the ride opened.
It’s refreshing to see Disney is taking note of what’s happened with previous land openings and recognizing that Star Wars will be even more high-demand than Pandora – and honestly Toy Story as well. They’re making smart choices and now that you know the details, you’ll be ahead of the game of people expecting to get a FastPass and then not finding any.
Do you agree with Disney’s decision to not offer FastPass in Galaxy’s Edge?