We’re headed back to Hollywood Studios today to check out Star Wars Weekend crowds and see the Star Wars Motorcade Parade. Orlando is really beginning to heat up this week. Up until this weekend, we had enjoyed relatively cool temperatures with highs in the low 80s. Tomorrow’s high is 96 degrees and we’re looking at highs over 90 for the foreseeable future (as in foreseeable months). The good news is that the lovebug season is mostly behind us, with just a few strays mingling about.
Although Hollywood Studios has been less crowded than expected (both by Disney and your author), crowds have still been significant. We saw waits in the triple digits at Toy Story Mania in the afternoon and they held strong over 80 minutes for most of the day. Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster had waits in the 40 to 60 minute range, though I saw them top out around 80 minutes in the early afternoon. Star Tours has been been successful in churning out happy riders by the starspeeder-full. Wait times have almost always been lower than Toy Story Mania, even with the hoopla surrounding the opening and the sizable Star Wars Weekend contingent. Overall, it looks like we’re safe in our assumption that Star Tours will continue to play second-fiddle to Toy Story Mania. That isn’t necessarily because Toy Story Mania is “more popular (just slower-loading),” but it does mean that Toy Story Mania should remain most people’s utmost priority. Star Tours waits should be moderate in the afternoon with FASTPASSes available throughout the afternoon. I will continue to monitor waits and FASTPASS return times moving forward. Considering that the ride should be at peak popularity now means that waits should only decrease, especially into the latter half of June and into July.
We pick our tour up at 11:30am today.
People streaming in, but not too bad.
There were already people lined up for the Star Wars Motorcade that would begin at 12:40pm. If you have a choice, you’ll want to be on the left side of the road ( (as you’re looking towards Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat)) because the buildings help shield the sun. You’ll find yourself smack dab in the middle of the sun’s glowing beams if you stand on the right side. More on this later.
Wait times at 11:30am according to the chalk board. Not necessarily the best place to be today if you want to enjoy the attractions with the shortest possible waits, as the May Crowd Calendar indicates.
Not a ton of people out and about on the walk over past Sounds Dangerous and American Idol Experience to Star Tours.
I am decidedly not an Anthony Daniels fan, as fabulous as he may or may not be. I think he’ll be the only “celebrity” throughout all of Star Wars Weekends that won’t sign whatever you bring with you. He’ll only sign that little black and white picture – nothing else.
Looks like we found the crowds outside Star Tours. Even with this many people around, the wait time was still around 60 minutes.
Still no use for the six-hour queue Disney decided to build along the Streets of America.
Darth Goofy is my favorite of the Disney characters out and about for Star Wars Weekend. Keep in mind that they close the lines to the characters around 12pm to prepare for the 12:40pm Parade.
Here we are lined up for the Star Wars Motorcade Parade at 12pm. I took up position near the wait times board in the very location that I don’t recommend. It was so hot, I honestly almost left.
Here we are at 12:15pm.
12:30pm. At this point, they had mostly cut off people that were just entering the Park from walking down Hollywood Boulevard.
12:32pm. Hollywood Boulevard mostly cleared.
Here we are at about 12:42pm, right before the Parade started. There will be a small introduction on the stage in front of Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat. The Parade begins near the entrance and only runs to Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat. It does not continue toward Star Tours. This is extremely unfortunate because there are a TON of people who want to see the Parade (justifiably so) and there is simply not enough space for even a quarter of them to see. Arrive 60+ minutes early to secure spots along the curb. I arrived 40 minutes early and was behind two very tall people in the worst possible location.
I made a separate post with the pictures from the Parade just in case you don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Check them out here if you’d like: https://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/star-wars-weekends-motorcade-parade-at-hollywood-studios-may-21-2011/
After the Parade, I galloped off to have lunch with Len Testa and Henry Work from TouringPlans.com and The Unofficial Guide to Disney World. It was at the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club. The food wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t at all busy and it was nicely air-conditioned. I was so excited to meet them that I forgot the tip was included with Tables in Wonderland and ended up tipping a pretty lousy waitress $22 on a $45 check =[
We pick up our tour again at 3:10pm. Not a lot of people streaming into the Studios.
Back just in time for the 3pm Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade.
100 minute wait at Toy Story Mania.
Line out the door at Backlot Tour.
Still no need for the extended queue.
Star Tours’ wait was purportedly 75 minutes at 3:45pm.
Not a ton of people walking out and about. Most people head to an attraction after the Parade and there was a show in the Premier Theater at the same time.
Overall, it was certainly a busy day at the Studios, but it wasn’t as crowded as Disney probably would have hoped. Like I said yesterday, they built that extended Star Tours queue because they seriously thought it would be full of people. Unfortunately(?), those crowds didn’t form. I assume they’ll take it down, but we’ll see what they decide to do.