The website has posted quite a bit of coverage about Toy Story Land since the new area opened back on June 30, 2018. Now that the summer is largely behind us and the Land has been open for about 11 weeks, we can probably start to get a better understanding about what the addition means for Hollywood Studios as a Park and Walt Disney World as a whole.
Before we go any further, I will say that I don’t know the answer to the question in the title. For me and you, your average tourists, the expansion is only good news. Slinky Dog Dash is a ton of fun and Alien Swirling Saucers is a fine diversion. Toy Story Mania is mostly the same other than the long walk out of the building, which now offers a nice opportunity to reflect on all of the mistakes you’ve made in your life that have brought you to Hollywood Studios. And if you don’t care about any of that, the additions pull so many people away from Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror that you’re looking at being able to enjoy at least two rides on each first thing in the morning with virtually no waits.
Every time I think things have gotten bad at Hollywood Studios, I feel like the Park laughs and bellows, “THIS IS NOT EVEN MY FINAL FORM!”
The good news is that once you actually get inside the Park, things are pretty chill on the construction front. There’s a couple of walls blocking access to what will become Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but that’s about the extent of it. Outside is another story as the bus stops have moved to a temporary location a little further away from the entrance.
Another week…another Toy Story Land rope drop; a recap of our first go-around can be found here.
Of course, just about everything we thought we knew about the opening process has changed since week one as we approach bag check in a very wide manner,
There is not much use in “reviewing” the Toy Story Land Annual Passholder event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Signups were completed back in July and every date filled up within a couple of hours. Disney typically works on a first-come, first-served system, which I’m not a big fan of, despite the fact that I am the sort of person that it benefits. The annual passholder event signups are particularly unfair because Disney sends the invitation emails out in batches. So you could receive your invitation to sign up an hour or two after others receive theirs. Or just as likely, you won’t receive the emails at all, despite contacting someone at Disney five or six times about it. To get the link to sign up within the first couple of minutes of the system going live, you’d have to subscribe to something like Twitter, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Or wait for me to mention that the event exists a couple of months after signups fill and then “review” it despite the fact that you won’t be able to replicate the experience anyway unless you’ve already confirmed your reservations.
You never really know what you’re going to get with a new Disney event. Disney has a long history of under-promising and over-delivering, but this is not always the case, often because the company underestimates demand for certain experiences. Disney announced “V.I.PASSHOLDER Nights” back in July with vague details about what the events might entail. The first event at Magic Kingdom turned out to be an overcrowded, unorganized version of evening Extra Magic Hours. For “free,” it might have been a nice little add-on if you were already in town, but anybody that traveled specifically for it was probably disappointed given the lack of any “special” offerings like unique characters or treats.
On the other hand, if there were a couple of special characters, it would have been a flashback to the Studios’ villain events that were an unprecedented clustercuss of confusion and lines. Disney could roll out 30 or more unique characters, but that can be a bit of an accounting nightmare as entertainment charges thousands of dollars per character per night, despite the fact that you could probably argue that the “real” cost is around $40 an hour for a character/attendant/photographer. Putting on an event for Disney, even when you’re with Disney, is sort of like being a patient at a hospital where you’re charged $30 for a dose of Advil even though it costs them eight cents. And if Disney does roll out a bunch of special merchandise, cupcakes etc., it turns in to a “money grab” where Disney is just trying to take advantage of their most loyal customers. Don’t offer that kind of stuff and Disney doesn’t care anymore. It’s sort of like blogging. Create content. Get harassed. Don’t create content. Get harassed.
But most of the events that Disney has added, many of them falling under the “Enchanting Extras Collection,” have been well-received by those that have actually attended. I still remember going into my first Early Morning Magic event at Magic Kingdom thinking you would have to be the absolute dumbest person on the planet to be willing to pay $70 to go ride three rides for an hour. And it’s one of the things I recommend the most. You can even listen to me talk about it in what I can guarantee you is the only opportunity to hear my voice this calendar year.
I bring this up, in part, because Early Morning Magic is coming to Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios beginning this Monday:
We pick our Toy Story Land rope drop back up following Part 1, which covered the Park’s opening procedure along with rides on the Studios’ two newest rides. To quickly recap, things are going quite swimmingly. It’s 9:19am and I’ve already experienced both Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers in standby with a combined wait of only about ten minutes.
At 9:20am, the standby queue for Slinky Dog stretches out well past the attraction’s entrance.