We pick things up in Toy Story Land at 10:08am as we continue from Part 1, where we “enjoyed” the new rope drop experience and saw what it took to ride Slinky Dog Dash first thing in standby.
At this point, you might consider breakfast at Woody’s Lunch Box if the number of things on your itinerary is low. With wait times typically increasing as the morning progresses, it doesn’t make sense to stop for 20 or 30 minutes at this point in the day if you’re trying to experience more priority attractions in standby. On the other hand, if the rest of your day is mostly about shows and using your three FastPass+ experiences, then you might take a break and grab a bite to eat without doing much harm to your efficiency.
Even though breakfast is easily the least crowded of the meals, the seating section is still full of people. My full review of breakfast, including pictures and reviews of everything on the menu, is available here. With how busy it’s going to end up being, stopping for breakfast wouldn’t be too detrimental with appreciable waits at most attractions having already formed.
The shortest wait in Toy Story Land, outside of the restrooms, is typically to meet Buzz Lightyear. At 10:10am, the wait is probably about ten minutes, which may end up being less time than you’d wait for breakfast at Woody’s given the fact that it operates with just two registers.
While Municiberg officially opens at 10:30am for An Incredible Celebration, you’ll typically find the area open just before 9:30am.
While the wait for the Lunch Box might be prohibitive, there is always the breakfast cookie.
Or maybe just a $4 straw to nibble on.
This is the $5.79 “Num Num Cookie – Warm Crunchy but Gooey Chocolate-Chip Cookie Tart.” I’m unwilling to say almost all of that out loud, but this boils down to being a large, relatively thick cookie with a crunchy layer around the outside that gets softer and softer as you fork your way towards the center. They’re not nearly as fresh as they are at Disneyland, unfortunately.
As far as an easy grab-and-go dessert (or breakfast), you could certainly do a lot worse, but it boils down to being a pretty good, pretty large chocolate chip cookie.
Edna Mode begins greeting at 9:30am, even though the official star of the Celebration is 10:30am. The wait would be about five minutes here at 10:10am. For more on everything the Incredible Celebration offers, see this post.
Toy Story Land crowds are looking just about as thick as that cookie.
As I mentioned in the Monsters, Inc. Meet and Greet overview, Mike & Sulley are probably the most popular characters in the Park at the moment. Fifteen or more groups are typically waiting outside Walt Disney Presents for the official 10am start. Here at 10:15am, you’re looking at waiting 35 to 40 minutes. Potentially on the plus side, the artwork that we originally saw has been replaced with screens that show “Did You Know” facts. That makes the wait a little more interesting.
Things are already heating up for the 10:30am Frozen Sing-Along with the standby queue held outside the building. We’ll be returning for the 11:30am show.
We’re heading over to Star Tours at 10:18am.
Crowds are light as we approach the entrance, which is a nice change of pace from the rope drop onslaught towards Toy Story Land.
Unfortunately, the posted wait is already 25 minutes, which is going to be prohibitive given my FastPass+ lineup.
A lot of the time, the posted wait will be exaggerated, but that didn’t look to be the case given the fact that the standby queue was backed up well past the entrance to the building.
Here’s a look at posted waits at Star Tours over the last few weeks:
The 25-minute average that we experienced on the 2nd is above the 21-minute average for that point in the morning. More often than not, you’re looking at an actual wait of around ten minutes. We’ll actually be following another rope drop touring plan for Wednesday, February 6th, when we get in line for Star Tours right around 10:15am and wait about that much time. Since I won’t be experiencing interplanetary travel now, my two best options are to try to secure the ride as a 4th or 5th FastPass+ or return much later in the day. By 5pm, the average wait is below 20 minutes and after 6:30pm, we should experience an actual wait of under ten minutes about 90% of the time.
Here’s my FastPass+ setup:
As you’re probably aware, FastPass+ at the Studios is broken up into two tiers with each of the Toy Story Land attractions comprising Tier 1 with everything else falling to Tier 2. Only one Toy Story Land/Tier One FastPass+ attraction may ordinarily be booked in advance. Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are clearly the best choices from Tier 2, saving an average of about an hour each. My Alien Swirling Saucers’ FastPass+ is also going to come in handy given that 75-minute wait that we encountered just after 10am, not to mention the 55-minute wait prior to 9:15am. With the high crowd level, it would have potentially been smarter to push my selections back with Tower of Terror starting at 10:15am instead of 9:45am. That would have allowed me to wait in the Star Tours line for the 25 to 30 minutes it would have taken and still made my FastPass+.
As it stands, we’re headed over to Sunset Boulevard.
Crowds continue to “feel” light given the long wait times that we’ve encountered. Whoever cropped the clock slightly out of frame obviously doesn’t want us to know what time it is.
Another long wait – 55 minutes for Tower of Terror at 10:30am.
With all of the garden queue open and the line still stretching back near the entrance, 55 minutes is probably about right.
With FastPass+, I’m going to be in the pre-show less than four minutes after first getting in line.
Long posted waits typically mean a full boiler room, but even with the line backed up to just outside the library pre-show, it still took just five minutes to board my elevator.
Talk about too cool for school.
I arrived at 10:31am and was back out front at 10:50am for a total experience time of just 19 minutes, which is actually below average. That’s surprising given the longer wait in the boiler room, but I did walk right into the pre-show, making standby riders wait even longer. The website sends its regards.
For whatever reason, the crowds always seem to be heavier away from the attractions.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is posting an 85-minute wait at 10:52am.
With this many people in line, that may be optimistic.
With FastPass+, I was in the pre-show room in just under ten minutes.
Upon exiting the building, we have a moment to enjoy what may or may not be some spring colors.
I was back out front at 11:12am for a total experience time of 20 minutes, which is right around average.
The 90-minute posted wait is probably about accurate. It’s certainly a good thing that we have FastPass+. The wait for single rider was between 25 and 40 minutes for most of the morning.
Tower was up to a 75-minute wait at the same time.
Despite the long posted waits, we’re doing pretty well for ourselves, having made it through four major attractions at 11:15am. I’d like that number to be five or six and with better luck or on a less busy day, it would probably be reality. Still, at this point in the day, the attractions that I’ve experienced so far are posting a 335-minute combined wait, which is over five-and-a-half hours. We’re just over two hours into Park operation.
With more than a half hour until it’s time to use my Alien Swirling Saucers FastPass+, it makes sense to visit a high capacity attraction such as a major stage show.
I chose my favorite show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Frozen Sing-Along.
Some number of people always think that I’m kidding when I say that, but I can assure you that I’m not.
The spontaneity is legitimately hilarious and I find myself laughing out loud throughout most shows, which is something that almost never happens. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I laughed outside of the Frozen Sing-Along.
The theater is also indoors and air-conditioned with plush seating, making for a comfortable overall experience across the 30-minute duration.
With Frozen a little less popular these days, it’s typically easy to find decent seats close to show time if you’re not adamant about sitting in the middle.
Of note is the fact that Elsa does not appear until the last three or four minutes of the show. Anna also appears during that section, in addition to a minute or two at the beginning. Kristoff is also on-stage for a total of about five minutes. Instead, the Royal Historians of Arendelle move the story along with the help of plenty of jokes along the way. With shows typically scheduled at 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, and 7:30pm, it’s usually easy to fit a show into any schedule. Arrive 20 to 30 minutes early for a seat towards the center or 10 or 15 minutes early if you’re happy enough sitting further down to the left of the stage.
After the show, Star Tours was still posted at 40 minutes. We’re going to try to secure FastPass+ as a fourth selection during lunch.
Of course, if I’m looking to kill a little time in a comfortable theater, there’s always Muppet Vision 3D. Plus you can easily confirm the time of day via that clock.
It’s time to venture back to Toy Story Land to use FastPass+ at Alien Swirling Saucers.
Afternoon crowds are typically heavy, but not prohibitive. You should be able to get your bearings pretty quickly upon entering, but the Toy Story Mania entrance is ahead on the left. Woody’s Lunch Box, still operating with two registers, is also ahead on the left along with the Woody and Jessie Meet and Greet. The entrances to Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are ahead on the right. For a better look, see “Getting Acquainted with Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”
Toy Story Mania is sporting a solid hour-wait, making my wait of less than half that earlier in the morning “feel” a little better.
The queue for Slinky Dog continues to extend well past the attraction’s entrance with a mobile, 100-minute posted wait. We won’t see a wait under an hour again until much closer to Park close.
As usual, there’s quite a bit of a backup for the Lunch Box with no available tables. My advice is to head elsewhere for more comfortable surroundings, even if the food is pretty good.
The area in front of Alien Swirling Saucers remains the least congested area of Toy Story Land.
Technical problems continue to plague Swirling Saucers with one turntable still closed.
That translates to a 55-minute posted wait at 12:30pm.
And quite the backup:
Fortunately, while I was waiting, the second turntable came online and the posted wait has dropped 20 minutes. With FastPass+, my ride took 18 minutes, which is well above average. During our evening visit, you might remember that I was on and off in just six minutes in standby.
The end of the line to Slinky Dog continues creeping towards the entrance. That’s the mobile sign on the far right.
As the Land remains busy.
Since we’ve been focusing on the two newest Meet and Greets, we stop by Edna Mode, where her queue now extends outside of the building. This is still just a 15ish minute wait.
Monsters, Inc. with Mike and Sulley remains in the 35-minute range.
The Disney Jr. Dance Party has proven popular with the kids and is probably your highest FastPass+ priority as far as shows are concerned.
It’s busy enough that “literally” every table in front of Dockside Diner is occupied.
There’s always Olaf.
I typically like to schedule my third FastPass+ for right before lunch. Then, while I’m waiting in line and ignoring my family while eating, I can refresh availability in search of a priority attraction. Even so, we’ll be avoiding ABC Commissary, even if the food has improved. You can pull up my recent review here. It’s a better stop for a casual dinner.
Instead, I stopped for this $11 “Southwest Salad with Chicken – Mixed Greens topped with Grilled Chicken Breast, Crisp Wonton, Black Bean Relish and Avocado served with Vinaigrette Dressing” at Backlot Express. It was incredibly fresh and most importantly, tasted really good. You’ll want a breath mint for the salad dressing though, which was heavy on the garlic and cilantro. Backlot Express is actually doing some really good things these days and I’ll post a full review of several new menu items “soon.”
Backlot is nice for a couple of reasons, including the plentiful outdoor, covered seating. All of the quick services are slammed at the moment, but several tables out here remain open.
As I check FastPass+ availability just after 12:30pm, there’s going to be very little available for the rest of the day.
Even for one person, there’s “literally” no return times available for Star Tours, which distributes a ton of FastPass+.
Even the likes of Fantasmic and Disney Junior are showing no availability. Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror are no surprise.
By pressing the times of day at the top, you’ll refresh availability. FastPass+ that are changed or cancelled become available again for anyone to try and grab.
With just a couple of refreshes, I’m seeing availability for Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Toy Story Mania, among others. The return times aren’t much further out than an hour, either.
After about five minutes of refreshing and taking screenshots, I was able to secure FastPass+ for Star Tours for a convenient time after lunch.
The area outside the attraction remains relatively busy.
But the posted wait has come down substantially, now posting just 20 minutes.
Dagobah chic or homeless?
Standby was backed up to right around here, which means the actual wait is probably right around 20 minutes. When it’s backed up outside, you’re looking at 35+.
I arrived at 1:34pm and was back out front at 1:53pm for a total experience time of 19 minutes, which is right around average.
Crowds remain heavy.
Hollywood Boulevard just before 2pm.
And Sunset Boulevard.
Checking on posted wait times, Tower of Terror is still at 50 minutes, making our early use of FastPass+ prove all the more intelligent.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is still showing triple-digit waits, which is never good.
If there’s any takeaway from our visit, it might be to take things easy on Saturdays. If you’re planning a lazy breakfast at Boma or would like a break from consecutive rope drops, then it makes the most sense to do so on Saturday, which is almost always the busiest day of the week at the Parks. Also avoid Disney Springs on Saturday evenings when possible.
Overall, it was a bit of a frustrating day, starting out with about an hour of uncomfortable standing around, only to fall behind the initial rush to Slinky Dog Dash. Capacity issues at Alien Swirling Saucers caused hour-plus waits to develop before 9:15am, making it unrealistic to wait in standby when we normally would. Capacity issues followed us to Toy Story Mania, where we waited about 40% longer than we should have with one track closed and continued at Star Tours where we saw a 30+ minute wait before 10:30am, which is well above average. With FastPass+, I was still able to experience each of the Studios’ six rides, catch my favorite show, and eat lunch, but calling a fair number of audibles was necessary to get it all done.
Here’s how the day ended up going:
- Slinky Dog Dash: 8:45am – 9:11am
- Toy Story Mania: 9:15am – 9:59am
- Tower of Terror with FastPass+: 10:30am – 10:50am
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with FastPass+: 10:53am – 11:12am
- Frozen Sing-Along: 11:20am – 12pm
- Alien Swirling Saucers with FastPass+: 12:30pm – 12:48pm
- Lunch at Backlot Express: 1pm – 1:30pm
- Star Tours with FastPass+: 1:34pm – 1:53pm
Obviously, you can move a lot faster than I did. There’s a full half hour in between my stops at Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror and again between Frozen and Swirling Saucers, when the walking times are closer to ten minutes. That’s probably not unlike your own visits where you’ll spend a few minutes here and there taking pictures, grabbing snacks, refreshing easywdw.com for the choicest content, etc.
Here’s a look at how waits progressed throughout the day:
Pay special attending to the declining wait times towards the end of the evening. By 6:45pm, the average wait is lower than any time between 9:30am and 6:45pm and it continues to drop through Park close.
Our last afternoon arrival was on January 30th. Here’s a look at that chart:
The day’s 29-minute average, as seen in the lower right hand corner of the chart, is about 20% lower than Saturday, which isn’t necessarily an overwhelming amount. Still, I had much more success and a much easier go of it with the afternoon visit.
Personally, the afternoon visits are what I prefer, but you’ll need to stay through Park close to take advantage of the lowest wait times. That’s not always possible. You’ll also be giving up some or all of the nighttime entertainment if you’re in line for Slinky Dog Dash or another attraction at the very end of the night. The early morning visits remain perfectly viable, but standing there for an hour and then fighting your way to Slinky Dog is much less pleasant than simply jumping in line with two or three minutes until Park close. You’ll have a much easier time if you’re able to secure Slinky Dog FastPass+. Of course, you can maximize both touring strategies by arriving early for rope drop, taking a break during the busy afternoon, and returning in the evening to close the Park down.
Next up, we’ll attend the paid Early Morning Magic event at the Studios, which grants us about 90 minutes of exclusive time in Toy Story Land, in addition to breakfast now at Backlot Express.