Star Tours Effect on Hollywood Studios Touring Plans

by josh on May 23, 2011

May 24 Update: Star Tours FASTPASSes had return windows that were between 40 minutes and 120 minutes out today.  Wait times were still in the 20-40 minute range.  Toy Story Mania hit a posted wait time of 120 minutes in the afternoon, though 60 to 70 minutes was more common and most likely more accurate.  FASTPASSes were available until about 12:30pm, which is actually later in the afternoon than usual.  That likely has more to do with the later-than-usual 10pm close, but I’ll continue to monitor return windows and wait times moving forward.  It continues to look like Star Tours will have the third or fourth longest wait times at the Studios, behind at least Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster.  Remind me to post an interesting “study” we put together on Toy Story Mania’s “actual” return times versus “posted” return times.

Though its official opening was just this past Friday, Star Tours has been open for a little over a week now in one form or another.  There were hopes amongst many that Star Tours would take some of the pressure off Toy Story Mania, particularly at Park opening.  As you may be aware, the “Toy Story Midway Mania Dash” at rope drop can be an uncomfortable experience, as thousands of people vie for the first FASTPASSes and rides of the day.  It’s not uncommon for Toy Story Mania to run out of FASTPASSes before 11am and afternoon waits are almost always north of 60 minutes, even when crowds are low.  From what we’ve seen thus far, the reopening of Star Tours has not had much of an effect on Toy Story Mania’s wait times or FASTPASS distribution.

Today, the first non-Star-Wars-Weekend day that Star Tours has been fully operational, Toy Story Mania still hit a standby wait of 70-80 minutes in the afternoon.  Would it have been higher without Star Tours?  It’s difficult to say at this point, but it certainly isn’t easing waits enough that Toy Story Mania shouldn’t remain your morning priority.  Waits at Star Tours were in the 20-40 minute range for most of the day, with FASTPASSes just two to three hours out in the afternoon.  That means you could collect Star Tours FASTPASSes at 3pm that would have a return time of around 5pm.  While that isn’t great, it’s a lot better than Toy Story Mania, which can spit out FASTPASSes with a return time three hours in the future at 9:30am.  Plus, it’s unlikely that Star Tours will become any more popular than it currently is, with Star Wars Weekends going on and the newness of the attraction.

Overall, it doesn’t appear that Star Tours will be taking the place of Toy Story Mania any time soon.  While it may lower wait times in the afternoon marginally, we also have to be concerned about the number of people who will be visiting Hollywood Studios because of Star Tours.  Keep in mind that about seven million fewer people visit the Studios than the Magic Kingdom each year.  It may turn out that the additional people that Star Tours attracts actually increases wait times at the other attractions as well.  After all, increasing attendance is Disney’s ultimate goal.  And with increased attendance comes increased wait times.

If you are trying to fit Star Tours into your Hollywood Studios itinerary, you would most likely want to do so after Toy Story Mania unless you want to ride Star Tours as often as possible in the standby line.  If one ride is enough, consider collecting FASTPASSes for it in the early afternoon, after collecting FASTPASSes and/or riding Toy Story Mania.  In most scenarios, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster should remain your second morning priority, followed by Tower of Terror.  Although the wait at Star Tours may exceed that of Tower of Terror, its proximity to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster on Sunset Boulevard makes it more convenient to do right after.  If you are trying to ride Star Tours as often as possible, you’ll want to head there after Toy Story Mania in the morning.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea May 24, 2011 at 9:50 am

This is pretty interesting. Do you think it has affected any of the other lines? I’m wondering if Tower of Terror, Rock N’ Roller Coaster and The Great Movie Ride have seen any impact from Star tours. I would have to guess no.
I wish Star Tours didn’t have a height requirement. I think that would make it a more attractive option to Toy Story Mania. Without a new Star Wars movie the Star Tours ride sort of becomes another option and not a can’t miss ride. Don’t get me wrong I like Star Wars. However, my kid is too little to ride Star Tours; so for me, it would not be a first choice ride more of if time allows ride.

josh May 24, 2011 at 10:06 am

It’s still too early to really say with certainty what effect Star Tours will have on lines at other attractions overall, since it’s only been open for a couple of days. We are seeing relatively low waits at Star Tours and similarly long waits at other attractions, so it doesn’t seem to be having much of an effect. But we’ll know more in a few weeks and then especially over the summer once Star Wars Weekends wrap up.

Meg May 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm

We were there in the early evening until about midnight and the waits were not bad at all. Star Tours was 15 or 20 minutes. Toy Story Mania was 40 (but we got plucked from the line because they had a handicapped rider and needed 2 people from the line. That was awesome!). We found that all the evenings were great for riding, especially with two Fantasmic’s going on!

CoMiGa June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

Star Tours can also hold way more people at one time and is not slowed way down by handicapped access like Toy Story Mania.

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