Why has Disneyland been so empty, since the opening of Star Wars, Galaxy's Edge
I think the low crowds are a result of a combination of things.
1. Aggressive AP blockouts & pricing. Deluxe AP has never had so many restrictions, and with the increase in pricing more locals are opting for the SoCal select, which is blocked all summer.
2. Those who would go twice (once for Smuggler and later for Rise of the Rebellion (RotR)), mainly APs, are blocked. The tourists aren't going to pay twice so are waiting for RotR to open.
3. Before I state this I need to say it's a very immersive land and cool to see, but there has to be more in a 14 acre land than a themed strip mall, expensive pay for experiences (droid and light saber making), and one attraction. Even when RotR opens, it still means that the largest land in history only has 2 rides. Compare that to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, which are both significantly smaller, with 12 & 5 rides respectively. The other lands that only have 2 rides, like Critter Country, Adventureland....are tiny in comparison. One doesn't often realize the land is changing as you're walking around. This decision on Disney's part is not easy to rectify.
4. Pricing. The AP pricing, as stated before, affects the crowds, but $199 for one day is crazy. I paid less than that for my first AP.
5. The "hype" made a lot of people stay away because of fear of crowds.
I love Disneyland, but in the 20 years I've been an AP I have seen business decisions that seem more about short term profits. Yes paying your CMs low wages, restricting their hours, giving less benefits, and putting an upper limit on wage increases can create short term profits, but having high CM turnover, less trained & inexperienced CMs, and generally less happy CMs because of the way they're treated minimizes the customer service that Disney is known for and what makes people pay more for than for Knott's or 6 Flags. I've seen an overall decrease in customer service, especially in the new CMs. This along with these decisions to dedicate more space in their parks for purely money making activities (merchandise and paid for experiences) rather than actual attractions, which is what people come and pay to do, is finally shooting them in the foot. I think Disney is forgetting what made them successful--creating an amazing experience.
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