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.
We’ll cover rope dropping Hollywood Studios both for morning Extra Magic Hour to Toy Story Land and also to Sunset Boulevard for regular Park open in the coming days. The morning EMH experience is an unpleasant one with the Park typically opening up at 6:15am with guests eligible for the morning EMH allowed to head as far as the Trolley Car Cafe Starbucks here on Hollywood Boulevard at 6:30am. At about 6:38am, the pushing-and-shoving EMH crowd is let loose to Toy Story Land where the rides will begin to operate right around 7am. So to ride Slinky Dog Dash during the morning EMH without a long wait, you’d need to arrive no later than 6am, probably via your own transportation/taxi/Uber and then be prepared for a very crowded, very humid morning.
We’ll be doing things differently in this post, arriving here on July 3rd, 2018 at 6:45pm. What a life.
If bag check is busy, look to the right for additional screening opportunities. Sometimes taking twelve extra steps to the far right line can save you ten or more minutes in line.
Don’t concern yourself with the hours-long waits just to enter Toy Story Land that some unfortunate souls experienced on the first day. Pandora over at Animal Kingdom was the same way on opening day. Since then, there hasn’t been another day where the popular alien land has filled to capacity and there has been a wait just to go inside. Toy Story Land capacity closures certainly shouldn’t prove to be common either, if it even happens again before Galaxy’s Edge opens.
To get to Toy Story Land, you’ll proceed down Hollywood Boulevard and then take a right around the Chinese Theater.
You’ll head through the archway and take an immediate left.
Toy Story Land is located in between Walt Disney Presents and the old Pixar Place.
Basically, you’ll head towards what used to be the entrance to Toy Story Mania and then take a right. Mania’s new entrance is inside Toy Story Land.
A choice opportunity to lock yourself into 50 more years of this at the Disney Vacation Club booth.
A picture with Sheriff Woody Pride is the first thing that you’ll see.
That’s it on the right. The cast member working the line loves it when you ask him or her if it’s the “fast track line” to the “woody woodpecker roller coaster,” so you might put in your inquiry, even if you’re pretty sure that it’s not.
There’s the backdrop during the day.
Moving forward, the first attraction we’ll run into is the new entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania on the left.
There it is, not very far into Toy Story Land.
To the left of Toy Story Mania is the main stroller parking area. To the right is the Woody/Jessie Meet and Greet with the line stretching far out of frame to the right.
There’s the pair heading in our direction now on the way to one of their many, many breaks.
On the Toy Story Mania front, it’s good news as waits have remained relatively reasonable after Toy Story Land’s opening. Here at 7pm on July 3rd, it’s posted at just 35 minutes.
Here’s a look at posted waits over the last month:
I’ve highlighted the dates after Toy Story Land opened in orange and you might remember that the attraction was down for a week in the middle of June, which is the reason for so many blank spaces there. We’ll take a look at wait times before 9am in a moment. Toy Story Mania’s 70-minute average wait on the Land’s opening day is the highest over the last five weeks, but July 3rd’s 52-minute average is equal to or shorter than nine out of the first ten days of June, when Toy Story Land’s opening was still weeks away. It’s obviously too early to say with any certainty that Toy Story Mania’s wait times are going to remain similar to what they were prior to Toy Story Land opening, but it certainly doesn’t “feel” like there’s going to be a major, sudden uptick.
Moving on, this is the backdrop for the Woody and Jessie Meet and Greet.
That line extends back to the right of where they meet as you look towards them.
The good news is that they currently meet late into the evening, but you’re probably looking at a 30-45 minute wait in the sun just about any way you look at it with the number of breaks that they take. Jeans, hats, handkerchiefs, long-sleeve shirts, cowboy boots…in July…outside…uncovered…in Florida…you’d be looking for the way out sooner or later too.
Just up ahead, things get a little convoluted as we have Woody’s Lunch Box, the Land’s principal quick service, on the left. Just past that is the walkway to Slinky Dog Dash on the right. This is 7:03pm so we’re probably right around peak dinner time.
At the Lunch Box, the queue to order at a register or to pick up your mobile order is located down to the right of the seating area and the quick service building itself.
This is all past the walkway to Slinky Dog with Woody’s Lunch Box on the left and then with the Restrooms and the entrance to Alien Swirling Saucers, both of which you’ll find at the very end of the walkway, where there’s currently a wall separating Toy Story from Galaxy’s Edge construction.
I realize this is a bit labyrinthine, but Slinky Dog Dash is down the first walkway that you’ll encounter on your right, after passing by Toy Story Mania and the Woody and Jessie Meet and Greet on your left.
Here it is from the sky. Slinky Dog’s entrance is your first right and really the only major point of interest that isn’t immediately visible from the main walkway.
Don’t worry, you won’t be the only person headed towards Slinky Dog Dash.
Over the last couple of days, the standby line has routinely spilled out of the regular queue and back into the Land. Here, the wait is currently posted at 105 minutes at 7:10pm.
When the standby line isn’t backed up outside the entrance, you’ll enter the queue up ahead.
If you have a Slinky Dog FastPass+, you’ll scan it up here. Or if you don’t have a FastPass+, but want to delight the cast member and bring everyone around you to joyous applause, then you can still scan your MagicBand only to be told that you had an 11:40am Voyage of the Little Mermaid FP+ for which you’re already ten minutes late. You’ll get many pats on the back if you hilariously exclaim, “hey you just never know!” and waste everyone’s time.
It’s obviously way too early to talk with any certainty about what wait times will look like at the new Toy Story Land attractions, but here’s a look at posted waits at Slinky Dog Dash over the first five days of operation:
Operations have gone remarkably well so far with the new ride seeing far less downtime and mechanical problems than what Avatar Flight of Passage or Frozen Ever After experienced over their first couple of weeks.
Last year, outdoor attractions were down for an average of 46.2 minutes per day for lightning in July. We see about an hour of downtime during a storm on opening day, plus an hour on the 3rd and two 90ish minute stints on the 4th. But there has been no downtime for mechanical problems thus far, which bodes well for the future.
Otherwise, waits have already come down considerably from what was almost a 4-hour average posted wait on opening day. 93 minutes on July 3rd is still a long time, of course, but it’s far less than Flight of Passage’s 128-minute overall average from last month. Slinky Dog’s 72-minute average wait yesterday is also lower than Na’vi River Journey’s overall average wait since June 1st, which comes in at 80 minutes. We won’t be comparing Pandora and Toy Story Land a lot – they are two very different lands trying to do two very different things in two very different theme parks, but Toy Story Land does not appear to be experiencing Pandoran Pandemonium, at least from the perspective of excessively-long wait times. We will of course continue to monitor the situation and I’ll talk more about theme park strategy in the next post.
Once you move past the walkway to Slinky Dog Dash and the line into Woody’s Lunch Box, you’ll see the Restrooms on the left and the entrance into Alien Swirling Saucers down on the right. I’m sure we’ll be making fun of this juxtaposition in due time.
If you’re looking for one of those two things, continue walking through the Land until you get to the wall that blocks access to what will become Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Come late next year, my estimation is that we’ll be seeing an awful lot of this area as we set up our tents and wait.
The Restrooms will work in a pinch, but I probably wouldn’t plan on using them if I could help it. They’re on the small side and it’s typically a little inconvenient to push through the crowds if you have the opportunity to use a set outside Toy Story Land.
Those would be a good choice.
The entrance to Alien Swirling Saucers is there on the right.
There’s a large Buzz Lightyear marquee that has proved popular with guests snapping photographs.
While we’re in the vicinity, this is a look at Alien Swirling Saucers posted wait times since opening:
Saucers is obviously Toy Story Land’s secondary attraction, posting an average wait of under an hour each of the last two days.
While the entire ride has only gone down for a handful of minutes over the first five days of operation, one of the two sides has been down in the evening most nights so far. I’m hoping that’s opening day jitters and not planned downtime, as it brings the standby line nearly to a halt after 8pm. We’ll discuss that more in the next part, along with what to expect from each of the rides.
Here I am looking in the opposite direction back towards the lone entrance/exit into/out of Toy Story Land with Swirling Saucers on my left and the Restrooms on the right.
You can get a very good look at the ride experience before arriving at the entrance to the Saucers.
Next up on the right is Woody’s Lunch Box.
Across the way on the left is Slinky Dog Dash.
Here’s Disney’s own overhead map again.
After passing the walkway to Slinky, it’s the line for the Woody/Jessie Meet and Greet on the right.
Then we pass by Toy Story Mania, also on the right.
And we’re waving goodbye, just like that.
Overall, finding your way around Toy Story Land will probably be a little chaotic the first time. Traffic flow isn’t great with the single entrance/exit and all of the things to see and do on both sides of the walkway. But this should offer a glimpse of what to expect.
In the next part, I’ll discuss touring strategy, how to minimize waits as much as possible, what to expect from the FastPass+ booking experience, and see how well I do trying to visit all three Toy Story Land rides in standby with an early evening arrival.
I hope this helps!