A strength of Star Wars is that it's this timeless universe that speaks to cycles and constants. Also a weakness, of course, hence the need for outside inspiration, as wherever you go across the ages, so much is the same. (Kudos to Lucas for pursuing a golden age aesthetic in the Prequels, even if his action and drama were derivative from having written inside the genre.)But the overwhelming majority of people don't engage with that stuff. I think their strategy is to have all that stuff available for people who want to seek it out, and anyone else probably doesn't care about the details, but the explanation for why what appears to be Rebels are still fighting a guerrilla war against what appears to be the Empire when we supposedly won the war in the last trilogy isn't exactly a "detail."
So I'd say most moviegoers, especially those with no exposure to the EU let alone Zahn's statement of fragile victory, approached Disney's saga pickup casually. "Oh, okay, the Empire or something like it is up to no good again. Or maybe the Ewok thing wasn't the end, exactly. I get it. Ooh, lightsaber!"
But like you note, contemplation and trivia's available to people who are interested. I myself prefer Hidalgo's fun-fact style, as it adds depth outward ("[Falthena Sharest's l]ipstick shade deliberately flouts Imperial regulations") rather than trying to invest every character with galactic significance. That helps a bit to give Disney running room.