Our visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios continues after spending the first 60ish minutes of Extra Extra Magic Hours in Toy Story Land. My time didn’t go as well as I would have liked – we got going more than ten minutes late and Slinky Dog Dash was initially down, throwing a wrench into our plans.
I ended up doing:
- Toy Story Mania: 6:19am – 6:41am
- Alien Swirling Saucers: 6:44am – 6:50am
- Slinky Dog Dash: 6:51am – 7:13am
That’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things – all three Toy Story Land rides in less than an hour. If we had started our walk over to Toy Story Land at 6am, as should ordinarily be the case, and if Slinky Dog Dash was running first thing, then we would have been able to add a second or third ride on Slinky and another ride on either Swirling Saucers or Toy Story Mania and still be done around the same time. We started our day in Toy Story Land to avoid the initial, uncomfortable “rush” to Galaxy’s Edge for Smugglers Run. To see what that process looks like, check out this post. Today, our plan is to get in line for the space simulator just before the Park opens to all at 9am.
We’ll see how it goes.
We pick things up at 7:21am on the morning of Wednesday, September 11th, 2019.
I’m rocking my wide angle lens, the Canon 11-24mm f4l. It doesn’t make a tremendous amount of sense to shoot most of these pictures this wide, but when you carry a very heavy, very expensive lens, you typically use whatever attributes make it unique. In this case, it’s shooting at 11mm. The new iPhone that comes out this week is supposed to shoot at 13mm, which is just about as wide as this. So my pictures may fit in a lot better in just a few days and some of these wonky angles will become “the new normal.” But with the wide shot, we can see that Disney is in the process of bringing out the stage in front of the Chinese Theater and there are very few people heading over to Galaxy’s Edge at this point in the morning off to the left. I think I see seven total people.
We still don’t have a date for when Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open, but it should be sometime between February and April of next year. I’m looking forward to it.
11mm. It’s just dumb.
At 7:23am, not a lot of people are arriving for Extra Extra Magic Hours. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run typically opens to a 60-minute posted wait, which drops to 40 minutes around 7:15am. I could head over now and my actual wait should be about a half hour.
If you’re itching to see Galaxy’s Edge, it would certainly be viable to head over now.
With the Land’s placement in what used to be the Streets of America, it would be a trek to go there and then backtrack all the way to Sunset Boulevard for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror; it makes logistical sense to head down Sunset Boulevard instead.
Both Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror will be walk-ons for the 3-hour duration of Extra Extra Magic Hours. There may never be a better time to visit these attractions than during the EEMH time through November 2nd. Disney After Hours, which I review here, are also three hours long, and will set you back $125 per person. I’m going to see fewer people at these rides during the early hours than I did during that upcharge event. A family of four would pay $500+ to attend Disney After Hours. Or, you could visit “for free” during Extra Extra Magic Hours, at least after ignoring the price of the tickets and the resort room.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is posted at five minutes.
There’s virtually nobody here.
And we’re now a full 90 minutes into Extra Extra Magic Hours. You would see even fewer people here before now. You could ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster about 20 times in three hours.
It’s difficult to see, but only the front and back rows are occupied on this limousine.
over 90 minutes into extra extra magic hours, only four people are on rock n roller coaster. the front and back rows are occupied. after, there is nobody waiting in the boiler room at tower of terror. 150 minutes into eemh, literally nobody is waiting for star tours. and gertie pic.twitter.com/bpWpOPvRdR
— josh (@easywdw) September 14, 2019
And there might be ten people waiting for the next one.
We were assigned the front row without even needing to ask.
We arrived at 7:29am and were back out front at 7:37am. We got right back in line and were back out front again at 7:46am. That’s two rides in 17 minutes, which is almost unheard of. A single ride with FastPass+ typically takes about 20 minutes with the pre-show and then far more people waiting in the next room to board. You could watch the pre-show during EEMH, but most people elect to head straight through. You can still yell, “HOW ABOUT SOME BACKSTAGE PASSES?” It’s funnier every time.
I could walk right back on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster again, but I’m old and tired.
Tower of Terror is posted at ten minutes.
But we’ll be able to walk right on it too.
There’s nobody in line:
It’s not every day that you get an entire elevator to yourself. We arrived at 7:49am and were back out front at 8:05am, which includes an extra minute or two for picture taking.
We got right back in line at 8:06am with a few more people.
I THOUGHT THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A LOW CROWD TIME.
We were back out front at 8:22am for a total experience time of just 16 minutes, which is five or six minutes fewer than the ride takes with FastPass+ later in the day.
I could re-ride Tower or Roller Coaster again if I so desired.
I’ve got 30 to 35 minutes before I want to be in line for Smugglers Run.
We’re about a month away from temperatures that fall below 70 degrees.
There’s actually a bit of a breeze in the air from time to time. Typically, I would be on the record as saying I prefer the late morning and afternoon, when the sun has had an opportunity to burn through some of the humidity. But the mornings “feel” a little better these days. November is right around the corner. And then it will be July again.
At 8:26am, few people are streaming into the Park.
Our plans for Smugglers Run look promising.
We’re banking on few people arriving and getting in line between 8am and 9am.
That will give those who arrived earlier in the day plenty of time to clear out.
Our success will be in large part due to the lack of FastPass+ being offered at the time being. That means nearly 100% of the ride’s capacity will go to standby. If the ride was offering FastPass+ during regular hours, then we’d want to get in line for Smugglers Run closer to 8am. FastPass+ is never offered during (Extra) Extra Magic Hours, which is part of the reason why we’re having so much success. If you’d like to ride Smugglers Run twice during the EEMH, then you’ll probably want to get in line around 8am. The first ride should take about 40 minutes, which means you’ll have plenty of time to get back in line before those arriving from the main entrance for the 9am regular open.
It doesn’t make a tremendous amount of sense to ride Star Tours right now.
The ride won’t see an actual wait of more than ten minutes until at least 10am, and probably not until 11am or later with crowds this low. From an efficiency perspective, I would be better off riding another attraction again.
But riding earlier does afford an opportunity to enjoy the ride with basically nobody else around.
If you do run into someone, you can always let them pass.
After a moment or two, it’s just us.
In 10+ years of riding Star Tours relatively often, I had never been selected as the rebel spy. That all changed on this fateful morning. It was a proud moment.
It looks like most people’s lightsaber building destinies can be found at Savi’s Workshop in Galaxy’s Edge.
I’m approaching the only entrance to Galaxy’s Edge on Grand Avenue at 8:48am. Later in the day, what is currently an exit only from Galaxy’s Edge in Toy Story Land will become an entrance.
At one point, I think most of us thought that Galaxy’s Edge would already be hitting capacity at this early hour.
That’s very much not an issue. It will be interesting to see if we do see capacity closures come Christmas. Until then, it “feels” like there’s virtually no chance of that happening.
The marketplace was wide open.
There’s nobody ordering popcorn at Kat Saka’s Kettle.
There are even empty tables at Ronto Roasters. Part of the problem may be a lack of signage. It’s not very clear what anything is, though plenty of cast members are around to hand you menus and point you in the direction of something that you might have heard about. But even then, if you’re not looking for Kat Saka’s, you probably won’t even know it exists.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is located in the back left of Galaxy’s Edge. The easiest way to get there is to walk through the Marketplace after you enter the Land, then continue through past Ronto Roasters, and down the stairs.
Smugglers Run is posted at 50 minutes at 8:54am. Single Rider is also a viable alternative – the wait would be one or two minutes. I wouldn’t recommend doing that on your first ride – you’ll bypass the majority of the queue, which is neat, along with the Hondo pre-show.
I’ll just about be able to walk right into the Ohnaka Transport Solutions building.
Which is air-conditioned.
But most of the external queue is at least covered.
Without FastPass+ in use, the line moves quickly.
I spent exactly six minutes outside.
And now I’m winding my way around:
We arrived at 8:54am, and were in the Hondo pre-show area at 9:16am, for a wait of 22 minutes, or less than half of what was posted. You might remember that back when I rope dropped Smugglers Run by arriving at 5:20am and heading there first, that I didn’t actually arrive at the entrance to the attraction until 6:18am. That’s almost an hour from arriving to being at the ride, and it included an uncomfortable walk back with over a thousand other people all angling for space, trying to get in front of you. Going to Toy Story Land first and then heading here just before 9am is a smarter play, in my estimation.
The four people who we were paired up with spoke exactly zero words of English and had absolutely no idea what they were supposed to be doing. We crashed. And we crashed. And we crashed again. My advice is to request the pilot positions, even if it’s your first time riding. The right pilot, who moves the Falcon up and down, is an easier position. That person also gets to pull the lever to send the ship into hyperspace, which is really neat.
We were back out front at 9:35am for a total experience time of 41 minutes.
The whole process is a lengthy one, taking 19 minutes from being in the first pre-show to being back outside the building.
Amusingly, the posted wait has dropped since we got in line, meaning there were not a whole lot of people coming in from the main entrance.
The line looked to be just about as long as when we got in line before 9am.
That means a 20- to 25-minute wait, which is almost unbelievable for a new ride at Walt Disney World based on Star Wars.
Granted, it’s September, but you could feasibly enter from the main entrance, walk back to Galaxy’s Edge, and get in line for Smugglers Run. You could even go and ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror first and then head back here. If you’re able to get FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash, then you’d be taking care of that with ease. You could use a 4th and 5th FastPass+ at Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers. With my early arrival, I don’t need to use any FP+ at the Studios. I could either schedule them here for attractions that I wanted to do again or book FP+ elsewhere. At 9:37am, I’ve already done all of the rides, including Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror twice each. That’s pretty awesome.
There’s still nobody here.
Other than Chewbacca, who is still trying to fix this ship. It’s already been 2.5 weeks. It might be time to call in the experts at Tires Plus.
You can either exit into Toy Story Land or back out the way you came.
By 10am, long waits will begin to accumulate. Even in September, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is posting 45 minutes with Tower of Terror at 40 minutes at 9:45am. It doesn’t take very many people in standby for those waits to take hold with about 70% of the attractions’ capacities going to Fastpass+. I waited a little over 20 minutes at Smugglers Run, but if FastPass+ was in use, that wait would have been over an hour with the same number of people waiting in standby.
Star Tours is posting ten minutes, but should continue to be a walk-on.
Over the next 6ish weeks, starting the day in Toy Story Land is your easiest bet. If you’d like to start the day in Galaxy’s Edge, then you can certainly do so. The walk over there is just mildly unpleasant. And long.
Jedi Training signups remain a lower priority with plenty of availability into the late morning and afternoon.
It will be interesting to see what Disney does with the Extra Magic Hours program after November 2nd. There’s likely a 0% chance that the Studios will continue to open at 6am. A daily morning EMH from 8am to 9am seems somewhat likely, but the Extra Extra Magic Hours program will end up being a terrible mistake for the company. Opening and operating these theme parks is incredibly expensive, and virtually nobody is on-hand for 7am openings at Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom and 6am here. That’s why we’re having so much success. If Disney had known how much of a bust the opening of the Land was going to be out in Disneyland, there’s no way they would have expanded the operating hours this much in Florida.
Of course, this is largely good news for those of us able to visit during the Extra Extra Magic Hours period. This is how my day ended up shaking out:
- Toy Story Mania: 6:19am – 6:41am
- Alien Swirling Saucers: 6:44am – 6:50am
- Slinky Dog Dash: 6:51am – 7:13am
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 7:29am – 7:36am
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 7:36am – 7:46am
- Tower of Terror: 7:49am – 8:05am
- Tower of Terror: 8:06am – 8:22am
- Star Tours: 8:33am – 8:48am
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run: 8:54am – 9:36am
And that’s with a considerable amount of bad luck at opening, with the late start and Slinky Dog Dash being down first thing due to promotional filming. Click here if you’d like to read about what you can expect if you’re still planning on going to Galaxy’s Edge first thing. Click here to see what you can expect at Animal Kingdom during Extra Extra Magic Hours with Flight of Passage first thing.
We’ll move on to Extra Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom.