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Disneyland’s second Star Wars land ride is delayed until January

Disneyland’s second Star Wars land ride is delayed until January
The only attraction operating when Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened at Disneyland on May 31 was Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. (Amy Sussman / Getty Images)

Disneyland announced Thursday that the second attraction at its new Star Wars land won’t open until Jan. 17 — after the peak winter holiday season.

The Anaheim theme park had previously said the Rise of the Resistance ride would launch this year.

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The ride is designed to put parkgoers in the middle of a fierce battle between resistance fighters and the evil forces of the First Order. An identical ride will open in December at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the largest expansion in the park’s history, opened May 31 with only one ride in operation, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, an interactive simulator attraction that makes visitors feel as if they are flying the iconic spaceship.

Bob Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney Co., had previously promised Disney fans that Rise of the Resistance would open in 2019.

Instead, Disney said on its website Thursday that the much-anticipated Rise of the Resistance will open first at the Florida park before the Christmas holiday vacation and then at Disneyland in January, when families will have returned to work and school after the winter break.

Disney’s website suggested that the California attraction would open later than the one in Florida because Disney engineers and ride developers can open only one ride at a time.

“As soon as work is completed at Walt Disney World, Imagineers will head back to California to complete their mission at Disneyland Resort where Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will open on Friday, Jan. 17,” the post said.

Many Disneyland fans expressed frustration on social media over the timing of the opening at the Anaheim park.

Meanwhile, fans of Walt Disney World Resort, cheered the news that they will get to visit the new ride first.

Disneyland representatives declined to elaborate further on why the second attraction will not be ready to open this year at the park.

The announcement comes amid a whirlwind of rumors among Disney followers that the Anaheim park’s opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has failed to draw as many visitors as management expected.

To support such assumptions, Disney fans point to social media reports of staff layoffs or a hiring freeze at Galaxy’s Edge, along with announcement that the resort recently lifted the restrictions that kept employees from visiting the park during the busy summer months.

A Disney spokeswoman rejected the online rumors, noting that the resort continues to hire employees and said that the resort lifted the blockout dates for employees after it was clear that staff could visit Galaxy’s Edge without exacerbating normal park congestion.

“The land is performing better than expected,” said resort spokeswoman Liz Jaeger, adding that crowd management fixes throughout the land have helped ease crowding and improve pedestrian flow. “Guests are loving the immersiveness of the land and interactive experience with our cast members.”

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