We pick things up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the third hour of the unprecedented three-hour block of Extra Extra Magic Hours. In Part One, we took a look at what to expect from the rope drop experience before the 6am Extra Extra Magic Hours began and then walked back to Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. In Part Two, we continued our morning by riding Smugglers Run before moving on to Toy Story Land for Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania.
So far, this is how things have gone:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run: 6:12am – 6:46am
- Slinky Dog Dash: 6:53am – 7:10am
- Alien Swirling Saucers: 7:14am – 7:22am
- Toy Story Mania: 7:24am – 7:48am
I was just about the 500th person to arrive at Smugglers Run, which resulted in a 20ish minute wait. I then waited about 15 minutes for Slinky Dog before basically walking on Swirling Saucers and then waiting ten minutes for Toy Story Mania. That’s pretty good considering the average wait for Smugglers Run is about 90 minutes, with Slinky’s average coming in around 75 minutes, Swirling Saucers at 30 minutes, and Toy Story Mania coming in around a 45-minute average. Above is the scene looking into Toy Story Land at 7:54am, or just about two hours into Extra Extra Magic Hours. With at least 90% of the people heading to Galaxy’s Edge first thing, you have a tremendous opportunity to enjoy Toy Story Land and the other attractions with short to nonexistent waits. Slinky Dog Dash’s average wait should be under 20 minutes from at least 6am to 8am, with the shortest waits before 7am. During the first half hour, from 6am to 6:30am, you should be able to ride about three times with basically nobody else there. You could then move on to Toy Story Mania to ride several times without waiting longer than a handful of minutes before experiencing Swirling Saucers as many times as you like.
After doing everything else that’s open during Extra Extra Magic Hours, you could feasibly get in line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run around 8:45am and your actual wait should be about an hour, if that. While I only waited 20 minutes for Smugglers Run between the time I arrived at the attraction and boarded, I still arrived at 5:25am and endured an unpleasant walk back to the Land first thing. We’ll give that touring plan a shot next week. I’ll be covering the Extra Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom later this week. If we ever get through Galaxy’s Edge.
I’m on my way to Sunset Boulevard for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. It would be nice if Mike and Sulley met during the Extra Extra Magic Hours time, but they don’t come on until their usual time at 10am. You might remember that Woody/Bo Peep, Jessie, and Buzz meet beginning at 7am, with Olaf and Mickey/Minnie appearing a half hour earlier, at 6:30am.
Things will continue to change at the Studios over the next several months, with Rise of the Resistance changing our plans after it opens on December 5th. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will follow, opening sometime in the “Spring” of next year. My estimation is that this is the position that the ride will fit into our touring plan – ride after the Star Wars and Toy Story Land stuff. It will be interesting to see how the FastPass+ tiers change with the opening of the second Star Wars ride along with the Railway. By that time, you’d think all three rides would be enabled for FastPass+. For the Railway, I was expecting Disney to announce an opening date, or at least an opening month, during August’s D23 event. We didn’t get it.
People continue to stream into the Park and head for Galaxy’s Edge. Ordinarily, arriving two hours after the Park opens would be a rough prospect, with waits already becoming prohibitive at most attractions. These people will actually luck out in a way, as waits for Smugglers Run are shorter from 8am to 9am than if they got in line between 6:30am and 7:30am. There’s that initial rush of people before a pretty long lull.
The scene isn’t much different on Hollywood Boulevard. You’ll remember that these pictures are from the first day of Extra Extra Magic Hours at the Studios, on Sunday, September 1st, 2019.
Looking down Sunset Boulevard right at 8am, things are as quiet as you would expect them to be at 9:30am on a day with a regular 9am open. Just about everyone in the Park remains back in Galaxy’s Edge with about a thousand now in Toy Story Land.
“Legends of Hollywood” recently reopened on the right side of Sunset Boulevard, taking over the space that previously sold Planet Hollywood merchandise.
You’ll now find a fancy Pandora store.
Along with some stuff that you’d typically find inside Tren-D and the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs:
Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine…but no Blogger.
Tower of Terror is back to running at full capacity, which means shorter waits and more FastPass+ availability. The current posted wait is ten minutes. We’ll head back this way after riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
The Guest Experience Team continues to help people out with smaller problems throughout the day. Before their arrival, it was probably the custodial staff who ended up answering the majority of people’s questions, just because they were the most visible cast members not behind a register or working an attraction. I’m guessing the Team is able to nip most problems in the bud, before they become a festering issue.
We’re going a bit old school here with these digitized wait time boards, which you’ll find at each of the Guest Experience Team locations.
The wait times above are from 8:04am, or more than two hours into Extra Extra Magic Hours. The showtimes are helpful. I’ve still got four hours until the first Indiana Jones.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was posted at 20 minutes.
With the walkway leading up to the building completely clear, the actual wait should be under five minutes, though.
Early in the morning, the ride’s pre-show either won’t be running or the door into the next room will be open, so you can proceed at your convenience. On a typical morning, you’ll only see this for about 15 minutes, if that. Once enough people are in line to fill the queue in the next room, the regular pre-show procedure is in place, which helps with crowd flow.
But over two hours into EEMH, there’s something like 20 people in line in front of me and the door to the loading area is wide open.
I arrived at 8:05am, and was back out front at 8:16am, for a total experience time of just 11 minutes. That’s about ten minutes less than the ride takes with FastPass+. With the walkway still clear, I could walk right back on if I wanted.
There’s probably about an average number of people here for Extra Extra Magic Hours at this point in the morning. The threat of Hurricane Dorian probably kept some number of people away, but it was still a weekend during a holiday and the opening weekend of Galaxy’s Edge. We’ll see how things look next week, but the number of people with access to Extra Magic Hours doesn’t change much. Disney’s occupancy is reliably over 90%, and overall crowds are driven largely by the number of people visiting from off-site. Christmas is the most crowded time of year at Disney World, but with the highest room rates of the year, Disney resort occupancy is actually lower than a weekend in September or October from December 25th through the end of the year. Heavier crowds may give people a little more motivation to get out early, but days that end up being more crowded in the late morning and afternoon won’t necessarily be busier during the EEMH.
At 8:19am, things are picking up a bit on Sunset Boulevard.
But Tower of Terror is still at ten minutes.
There’s basically nobody in front of us.
With the elevator shaft refurbishment now complete, it didn’t look like much had changed.
Perhaps the ride will be more reliable moving forward.
Only one of the pre-show libraries was running.
But that only slowed us down by about two minutes.
And we do have an opportunity to learn about some birds.
The boiler room was basically empty.
With all elevators in operation.
I didn’t notice anything different.
But I also spend the majority of my time behind a camera.
I arrived at 8:20am, and was back out front at 8:38am, for a total experience time of 18 minutes. That’s about five fewer than it takes with FastPass+.
I could ride both Sunset Boulevard rides again if that’s what I wanted. The actual wait for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster should hit 20 minutes around 9:30am before rising to an hour around 10:30am. Tower of Terror should be around ten minutes at 9:30am and 30 to 45 minutes at 10:30am.
At 8:45am, or about 15 minutes before the Park opens to everyone, there are a few resort guests arriving. In terms of actual waits, Slinky Dog is probably around a 25-minute wait, while Toy Story Mania would be around 15 minutes and Saucers is probably up to five.
The calm before the storm. Once 9am hits, several thousand more people are going to come through the tapstiles over the next hour. FastPass+ also comes into play, which means less capacity is going to the standby lines everywhere other than Smugglers Run. It makes sense to begin using FastPass+ as early as 10am if there’s more that you’d like to do. Potentially, I could hurry back now to Smugglers Run. As long as I get there before the regular guests arrive around 9:10am, my actual wait should be under an hour. You could also use your three pre-booked FP+ at another Park. If I hurried through my morning, I’d even be able to walk over and rope drop Frozen Ever After at Epcot from the International Gateway if I wanted.
We got real lucky keeping Echo Lake. There was some chatter that whatever Star Wars became would go in here instead.
It would have meant a shorter walk to the rides, which might have been nice. The new “Oasis Canteen,” offering spendy mixed drinks and a “full bar,” is now open. Well, later in the day it will be. BaseLine Tap House is opening at 10am, too.
Even with Galaxy’s Edge opening and Episode IX arriving in theaters this December, Path of the Jedi still isn’t operating. I’m not sure if anybody even remembers what this was, but it was a short film that caught you up on what was going on around the galaxy in front of the release of Episode VII. You’d think they could find something else to show in here. It’s a relatively comfortable, air-conditioned theater.
Star Tours is the last ride that we haven’t yet experienced.
The posted wait at 8:52am is five minutes. As long as you get here before 10am, the actual wait should be under ten. By 11am, you’re looking at 20 to 30 minutes.
There was “literally” nobody in line. We basically walked right on with a row to ourselves.
Demand has probably lessened for the plastic “Build Your Own Lightsaber” experience in the wake of Savi’s Workshop. On the other hand, one of these lightsabers will set you back about $160 less. If your kid isn’t very smart, they might not know the difference.
You could always get a Galaxy’s Edge shirt to go with it.
I arrived at 8:52am and was back out front at 9:07am, for a total experience time of 16 minutes. That’s about five minutes less than what’s typical with FastPass+ later in the day.
A couple weeks before Galaxy’s Edge opened, I wrote down what I expected to happen during Extra Extra Magic Hours in my Smugglers Run review. What actually happened is in red:
The morning threw me off a bit because I was expecting Disney to begin walking us back to Galaxy’s Edge closer to 5:40am. We didn’t begin walking until right at 6am, and I didn’t arrive at the attraction entrance until 6:18am. But I was within two minutes on the end time, which “feels” pretty good. I could have been quicker if I spent less time taking pictures, but you’ll probably find yourself stopping for snacks, bathroom breaks, pictures, etc. yourself. Even if I arrived at every attraction a half hour later, my morning wouldn’t have gone too much differently. I would have waited either the same amount or potentially a couple of minutes longer at each attraction.
If you are starting your day with Smugglers Run, then you’ll want to arrive by 5:20am and move as quickly as possible to the attraction. If you’re not, then you’ll enjoy an incredibly easy, stress-free day during the Extra Extra Magic Hours time. I almost never look forward to going to Hollywood Studios, but I’m legitimately excited to go to another set of EEMH and begin my morning with Slinky Dog. You’re getting the same crowds and wait times as the Early Morning Magic event, that used to cost $80 per person, basically “for free.” Three hours of Extra Magic Hours is an incredible gift. I think Disney will end up regretting it.
We’ll head back to Galaxy’s Edge to see what crowds look like after the Park has opened to all in the next post.