We return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to assess the FastPass+ situation now that Toy Story Land has opened. In this post, we’ll check in on how hard it is to acquire Alien Swirling Saucers, Slinky Dog Dash, and Toy Story Mania FP+ at 30 and 60 days out and see what we’ll skip in the standby queues when using FastPass+ at the new rides.
Calling the Toy Story Land FastPass+ situation “dire” is probably hyperbole, but the state of affairs is similar to what we still see at Pandora over at Animal Kingdom. Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+ is akin to Avatar – Flight of Passage with FastPass+ routinely unavailable even 60 days in advance of a date. That means if you’re staying on-site or at an eligible resort, that you want to get on your computer or the My Disney Experience app at exactly 7am Eastern exactly 60 days out from your arrival date and book Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+ first thing on the day you plan to visit Hollywood Studios furthest from your check-in date. 7am Eastern is when FastPass+ booking opens up for the next day.
So if you’re checking in on October 1, 2018, and staying for six nights, then you can book FastPass+ beginning 60 days in advance of that check-in date, or August 2, 2018. But not only will you be able to book for October 1st, but you’ll also be able to book FastPass+ for October 2nd through 7th at that time since Disney allows you to book up to 14 days of FastPass+ from your check-in date when you’re staying at an eligible resort. You’ll see the most availability for Slinky Dog if you book right at 7am on one of the days later in your trip.
That’s because the closer you get to 60 days away from your check-in date, the more people that will have already had an opportunity to book that date because they’re staying even longer than six nights. In the example above, we’re able to book out to October 7th as early as August 2nd with the 6-night trip. But there’s going to be another family that booked a 13-night trip beginning September 24th. They’ll be able to book FastPass+ for October 7th 60 days out from the start of their trip, which falls on July 26th. Because they’re staying seven more nights, they’re able to book FastPass+ for October 7th at their convenience for a full week before our initial chance to make selections. And if I’m trying to book Slinky Dog Dash for my arrival date or the day after, then even more people will have the ability to book that date before me. If acquiring Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+ is important to your group, then you may want to plan on visiting the Studios on a day later on in your trip. Of course, you’re probably avoiding Hollywood Studios for a number of other reasons.
The website initiates its coverage of Toy Story Land by introducing what to expect from the various attractions with a focus on visiting Woody’s Lunch Box, Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Slinky Dog Dash at night in order to try to minimize waits. In this part, we’ll take a look around the new Land and introduce the type of touring strategies that should prove to work best.
As you may be aware, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is hosting a 7am to 8am morning Extra Magic Hour every day through August 25th. That poses a major problem for guests staying at ineligible resorts as waits at Slinky Dog Dash will already be 60+ minutes by the 8am regular open as resort guests stream into the Park with priority access. Slinky Dog FastPass+ are also booked solid 60+ days out, making it difficult for most guests booking fewer than 60 days in advance to acquire Slinky FP+. Many guests staying on-site will also be unable to secure Slinky FastPass+ as the attraction is only distributing about 400 experiences per hour over what is currently a 14-hour day. That means only about 5,600 people per day will hold Slinky Dog FastPass+ most days over the course of the summer at a Park that should see daily attendance that exceeds 30,000 guests. So it makes some sense to figure out when the best time of day to visit Slinky and other Toy Story Land rides will be. Spoiler: like almost every other popular attraction, the answer is at the very end of the night.
Before we dive into what I’m sure will be joyful Toy Story Land coverage, we’ll stop by Disney’s Animal Kingdom to see if we can figure out whether or not there’s a definitively best day of the week to visit, at least as far as wait times are concerned.
This is a followup to our previous post, which took a look at average Magic Kingdom wait times by the day of the week. At Magic Kingdom, we learned that Saturdays really do see the highest wait times of the week. While that was expected, I think most of us were probably a little surprised to see such low wait times on Sundays for much of the year. At Magic Kingdom, Sunday wait times are 22.4% lower than Saturday wait times, on average. That’s a considerable difference. Also somewhat surprising, it turns out that, on average, wait times on Mondays are lower than other weekdays, though it’s not by a particularly significant amount. There’s just a 1.6 minute difference between Monday’s low of 41.3 minutes and Tuesday’s high of 42.9 minutes.
Here’s the chart for Animal Kingdom:
We’ve been discussing big picture Magic Kingdom crowds a little bit over the last month or so.
You may have seen the above chart, which lists the average wait time at Magic Kingdom across 17 attractions each day over the last 18ish months, as part of this post. The focus there was largely on how wait times fluctuated from week to week and month to month and if the 2017 trends that we saw are continuing into 2018. The color-coding is less important for this discussion, but it indicates how much Disney is charging for a 1-day Magic Kingdom ticket on that particular date. Green days are Value, Yellow days are Regular, and Red days indicate a day with peak pricing.
We’ve probably all heard the advice to avoid Magic Kingdom on Mondays and Saturdays because they’re “always more crowded” and to visit on a weekday instead to enjoy shorter wait times and lower crowds. On the surface, it makes some sense. Local visitors are probably more likely to visit on a Saturday or Sunday than they are on a random Tuesday. But with Disney scaling staffing and capacity up and down with such fluidity, most of us have probably seen how fewer people in line can actually mean longer waits when only one side of Space Mountain is operating or two of the three Bays at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe are closed during the dinner rush.
This time around, we’ll see how wait times progress from day to day throughout the week and see if we can come to any conclusions about whether or not certain days of the week really are busier.
Edit: This review originally appeared last September, but I have updated it given the new margarita, five new beers, and addition of the steak. Since I have visited about 175 times over the last nine months, I’ve also updated my thoughts on the vibe of the place, which is pleasant and relaxing outdoors, while being pretty lame inside.
BaseLine Tap House opened back in September 2017 in what is now called the “Grand Avenue” section of Hollywood Studios to the left of Sci-Fi Dine-In and on the walk towards Muppet Vision and PizzeRizzo. The above picture was taken on opening day.
We’re still about 18 months away from BaseLine really being “needed” as Grand Avenue will be the main thoroughfare/flop house on the long journey into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Still, I’ve been surprised by how popular it is most days with a lot of people sitting around enjoying their drinks and snacks. There’s certainly a lot of people-watching potential as all of these poor guests search aimlessly for the exit out of Hollywood Studios.