Alien Swirling Saucers

Early Morning Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Review of Early Morning Magic at in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida

Review of Early Morning Magic at in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida

My daughter and I just spent got back from our Mother-Daughter trip to Disney World and I highly recommend the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Early Morning Magic.We had a blast!! Yes, I know you can arrive at the park early to get back to ride Slinky Dog Dash, but we rode it 9 or 10 times, plus did Alien Swirling Saucers (not as fun) and Toy Story Mania. We just rode the rides and walked around before the park opened and once the floodgates were opened. I’m not kidding when I say floodgates, hat’s exactly what it looked like! We could see the crowds coming back while we were on Slinky Dog! Once it was 9am and the park opened to the general public, the wait time almost immediately went to 85-minutes and the line stretched back to the Star Wars Launch Bay area outside of Toy Story Land. It was CRAZY! For the record, Slinky Dog Dash is now my 2nd favorite ride at Disney World.

Breakfast: The breakfast was at the ABC Commissary (one of the park’s quick service restaurants) and had some delicious choices. It was nice that they kept serving the breakfast until 10:00am so we didn’t have to waste any of the pre-park opening time eating. You could order whatever you wanted from the menu and they had a continental type buffet. We ordered a couple of the different menu items so we could see if they were good or not. I loved the charcuterie plate! This was Emily’s favorite day so well worth the money I paid for it.

Early Morning Magic is a separately ticketed event that is different from Extra Magic Hours, which are open to all guests at the official Disney World hotels (admission required). This is offered on select Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 to 8:45AM. There are a limited number of tickets sold and only the Toy Story Land attractions are open. You must have valid theme park admission ticket in addition to the Early Morning Magic ticket.

Cost:

  • $79+ tax per person age 10 and older

  • $69+ tax per person age 3 to 9

  • You must also have valid theme park tickets

Disney World has a similar Early Morning Magic Event on select mornings in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom.

Note about the author:  Monica is our most experienced travel agent and has been to the most training events of anyone in our office.  She is a whiz at helping people plan fantastic Disney vacations. 

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Tips For Riding Slinky Dog Dash Without Spending Hours In Line

Disney World Tips & Secrets: How to ride Slinky Dog Dash without spending hours in line / Toy Story Land - Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

Slinky Dog Dash is definitely the most popular attraction in the new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park; it is currently seeing mid-day waits of 60-80 minutes, even though crowds are moderate now that the kids are back in school. Here’s the good news: we can probably help you get onto both of the new attractions without long lines but it is going to mean waking up early!

Avoiding Long Lines at Slinky Dog Dash With FastPass+

You can book FastPass+ reservation up 60-days prior to arrival when you have a reservation at an official Disney World hotel and at select "Good Neighbor" hotels when you have a vacation package that includes tickets or you purchase your tickets prior to your trip and register them on your MyDisneyExperience account. If you’re not staying at a Disney World resort, you can still book your FastPass+ reservations up to 30-days prior to arrival by purchasing your tickets prior to your trip and registering them on your MyDisneyExperience account. You can make up to three (3) FastPass+ reservations prior to arrival but Disney has a tiered system for FastPass selection that only allows you to select one of the new Toy Story Land attractions. If you plan to ride Slinky Dog Dash, you’ll definitely want to make this your FastPass+ choice because it is the more popular ride and gets the longest lines. The challenge here is that there are a limited number of FastPasses available for this attraction and you might not get one.

Stand-by lines are much, much shorter for the new Alien Swirling Saucers ride though Toy Story Mania! remains popular with the second longest waits in the area by virtue of it being a fun ride and the only ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios that does not have a height restriction so that it is my second choice for a Toy Story Land FastPass if Slinky Dog is not available.

Avoiding Long Lines at Slinky Dog Dash When You Don’t Have FastPass+

Here’s what we did on our recent visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a morning that did not have an Extra Magic Hour, the park was opening at 9:00AM and where we did not have a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash. TouringPlans predicted low to moderate crowds but we would say that Disney’s Hollywood Studios felt much closer to moderate than low. We were able to get 9:45am FastPasses for Toy Story Mania:

8:10AM - We arrived at the park got through security quickly and lined up close fairly the front gates.

Tip for getting through security: Ideally, you should avoid taking any bags with you so that you can just sail through the "no bags" entrance. If that just isn't possible, do a quick scan of the available security lines to see if one appears to be moving faster or have people who don't appear to be bringing all of their earthly belongings into the park. Be sure you have all compartments of your bags open and ready.

8:35AM (25-minutes prior to the posted opening time) – We were allowed through the gates and down Hollywood Boulevard to where it intersects with Sunset Boulevard. If you don’t already have a park map and Times Guide, you can get those on the rack at the Crossroads kiosk that has Mickey Mouse on the top.

This tip will only work if your group is small and able and willing to move quickly: When you get in line, if all of the gates are not open, try to get in the leftmost line unless there is a compelling reason to avoid it because they may open additional lines as crowds are forming. Watch for that to happen and quickly move over when they do if it gets you closer to the gates. Once they let people in, start moving to the right side of the crowd.

Tip: When they let you through, you can usually move farther forward if you are on the edges of the crowd than if you are in the middle of the road. Try to be on the right side of the street, if at all possible but the left side is fine too - just go as far forward as possible.

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At 8:45AM (15-minutes prior to posted opening time) – They opened the park and began leading guests at a very brisk walk to Toy Story Land. There were also people headed to the registration for Jedi Training Academy and there were others who were headed to Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. Some people headed to Toy Story Mania! which is close to the front of Toy Story Land and doesn’t have a height restriction but most people were lining up for Slinky Dog Dash.

Tip: We lost time in the bottleneck of the smaller hole through the arch. It may make sense to aim for the larger entrance unless you’re stuck behind a convoy of strollers and scooters.

9:02AM – We rode Slinky Dog Dash after waiting less than 10-minutes. We weren’t at the very front of the line but we were fairly far forward in the crowd.

Disney World Tips for Riding Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In this 10-minute video, Steve and Brian of TouringPlans.com checked out Slinky Dog Dash at park opening in Disney's Hollywood Studios and came out with a pretty good plan. So you know, this was filmed Saturday, September 15 with a crowd level of 4.

Ride Something Else if the Park Is already open when you arrive

The thing about this recommendation is that it only works if you arrive BEFORE the park opens and you are in the first wave of riders. The lines and waits for this ride get long quickly so, if you arrive after the park opens and you don’t get that first wave, early arrival advantage, you’re better off taking advantage of shorter lines at other rides early in the day and riding Slinky Dog Dash later.

The Rest of Our Morning

Alien Swirling Saucers at Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

9:10AM – We rode Alien Swirling Saucers with no line. This is the farthest ride back in Toy Story Land so it takes a little longer to get busy. We would’ve ridden Toy Story Mania! next if we didn’t have a FastPass for it because it’s position near the front of Toy Story Land which causes the lines to get longer earlier and then ride Alien Swirling Saucers after that.

The lines were posted at over one hour for Slinky Dog Dash by now but we could’ve easily gotten onto Alien Swirling Saucers in a timely fashion for a second ride if we’d gone back into the line. Instead, we decided to get a Raspberry Lunchbox Tart at Woody’s Lunch Box and to visit restrooms before using our 9:45am Toy Story Mania! FastPasses. We also took time to watch the Green Army Men stop and train some young recruits.

Toy Story Land Tips for avoiding long lines on Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! / Disney World

By 10:00AM, we had seen and done everything Toy Story Land has to offer. The day was getting hot and the people who don’t know to arrive early were coming in droves. The lines for both Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are outside, with only some patio style umbrellas along the route to provide shade so we were happy to be done and to head towards some indoor, air conditioned shows and attractions during the heat of the day.

Tips for avoiding long lines for Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Disney World.

Tips: Watch the weather; Slinky Dog shuts down for lightning - For research purposes, we went back in the afternoon and got into the line which had a 65-minute posted wait. We had gotten far enough forward to be under the covered area close to the ride when a lightning storm and heavy rain caused them to temporarily shut down the ride. Those waiting in the open were told to leave and take shelter and those of us under the covered area were given the option of leaving or staying. With no estimate of when the ride would reopen, some of the people in the covered area opted to leave but most, like us stayed. we ended up waiting 89-minutes to ride.

Slinky Dog Dash at Night / Toy Story Land / Disney’s Hollywood Studios park / Walt Disney World Resort

The park was scheduled to close at 8PM so we returned to Toy Story Land at about 7:00PM to see what it was like after dark. It is delightful! We puttered around taking pictures and headed back to Slinky Dog Dash at about 7:40pm to check out the lines at that time. The posted wait was 60-minutes but we got through and rode in about 20-minutes but you should probably keep in mind that the earlier downpour had caused some people to leave early. Slinky Dog Dash usually stays pretty busy all day long.

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Toy Story Land To Open June 30, 2018 At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios will open on June 30, 2018 / Walt Disney World news. 

Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios will open on June 30, 2018 / Walt Disney World news. 

Disney announced today that the new Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort will open on June 20, 2018. Disney has not given a date when FastPass+ reservations will be available for the new attractions but, based on normal FastPass+ availability, we suspect it might be right around April 20 - 22 for guests whose trips will include June 30th.

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The new Toy Story Land will include: 

As I have mentioned before, being there for the opening of a new attraction or land is exciting if you get to Disney World on a fairly regular basis and you don't mind spending hours in line just for the excitement of being one of the first to experience a new ride or attraction but it can actually be a bit of a bummer if this is a once-in-a-lifetime type trip or if you don't get to Disney often because park hours may get modified as Disney hosts media and travel trade events to build up buzz about the new area.   When Pandora opened last year, there were technical glitches with the new rides that had to be worked out in the days immediately following the opening.  For some people, it makes sense to give it a little time before you visit.

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In other related news, Disney has also announced that they will not be changing the name of Disney's Hollywood Studios in the foreseeable future.  Back in 2015, Bob Iger said that a new name might be in the works for the park that has already had one name change back on January 7, 2008 when the name was changed from Disney-MGM Studios to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  

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