Touring Walt Disney World After Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opens

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Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in less than two weeks, and many changes are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. August 29-31 the park will open at 6 a.m., and September 1 through November 2, 2019, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open at 9 a.m., with Extra, Extra Magic Hours starting at 6 a.m. Currently, all major attractions (not shows) are scheduled to be open for Extra, Extra Magic Hours, but that could change.

FastPass+ tiering also changes at Hollywood Studios starting on August 29, 2019. As usual, guests can pre-select three FastPass+ attractions, and only one of those can be for an attraction in “Group A” below. What’s different starting August 29 is that “Group A” now includes all rides except for Star Tours. The “Group B” attractions are all high-capacity shows.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Attractions
ATTRACTION GROUP
Alien Swirling Saucers A
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage B
Disney Junior Dance Party! B
Fantasmic! B
For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration B
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! B
Muppet*Vision 3D B
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith A
Slinky Dog Dash A
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue B
Toy Story Mania! A
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror A
Voyage of the Little Mermaid B

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is opening with only one ride, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and it will not have FastPass+. A few other shopping and dining experiences (Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop, and Oga’s Cantina) in the new land are taking reservations. These reservations are like a FastPass+; the main difference is that the reservation requires a credit card to hold your spot. If you cannot get a reservation, keep checking. People have to cancel their reservations 24 hours in advance to avoid paying a no-show fee (for the droid and lightsaber, no-shows allegedly need to pay the full cost of the missed assembly experiences). You can use the TouringPlans Reservation Finder to look for Oga’s Cantina reservations.

The three Galaxy’s Edge reservations and FastPass+ for attractions outside Galaxy’s Edge are not available during Extra Magic Hours, so the Extra Magic Hours period may be the only time you can get into the Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop, or Oga’s Cantina without a reservation.

What’s Not Changing

Early fall has the lowest crowds of the year. This will still be true after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. Fall break will bring in the crowds, but wait times will be lower than during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The second Galaxy’s Edge attraction (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance) will not be open until December 5, 2019. Many people will wait to visit Walt Disney World until after this date, when the land is complete.

Extra, Extra Magic Hours Wait Times

Having 3 hours of morning Extra Magic Hours for 73 days straight is unprecedented. The closest thing we have seen before is when Toy Story Land opened. From July 1 to September 2, 2018, Hollywood Studio had 64 days straight of 1-hour morning Extra Magic Hours. The every-day Extra Magic Hours gives a huge advantage to onsite guests since offsite guests have no chance to be at rope drop and be ahead of the crowds.

Having Extra Magic Hours every day also helps spread out the guests using the Extra Magic Hours. The every-day morning Extra Magic Hours should help keep morning wait times reasonable. Slinky Dog Dash, the new headliner, quickly jumped to 30 minutes during its first summer, but wait times stayed below 60 minutes until the park opened to the public at 8 a.m. Other attractions had low wait times, too, with a slight increase as the morning progressed.

With 3 hours of Extra Magic Hours every day and the park having the extra capacity of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the wait times at non-Star Wars attraction will be low. We expect that there will be an initial peak around 6:30 a.m., and then wait times will drop off. After 7:30 a.m., wait times will increase. On specific days the magnitude of the curves on the graph will be different, but each day will have a similar pattern.

Let’s Be Real

Most guests will find it challenging to be at Hollywood Studios in time to enter the park at 6 a.m. when Extra, Extra Magic Hours begin. Families are on vacation and they don’t want to wake up before 5 a.m. to be a the park before it opens. I would not be surprised if wait times are even lower than our models are predicting. Most people who do arrive before the park opens will likely head straight to Galaxy’s Edge, leaving the rest of the park empty.

Afternoons

Afternoons are going to be the pinch point at Hollywood Studios. People will have experienced Galaxy’s Edge and will be looking for other things to do. If you don’t have a reservation or a FastPass+, it would be a good time to leave the park.

Touring with and without Extra, Extra Magic Hours

Guests not staying at an Extra Magic Hours-eligible hotel, or who cannot make it to Hollywood Studios before 9 a.m., are going to be behind the crowds. Wait times at Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will peak in the early morning. It will be better to wait to go to Galaxy’s Edge later in the day if you cannot arrive before 8 a.m.

Example Plan starting at 9 a.m.:
STEP ARRIVAL WAIT
1) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Use FastPass+) 9:06 am 9
2) Toy Story Mania! 9:28 am 36
3) Frozen Sing-Along Celebration 10:18 am 12
4) The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 11:48 am 12
5) Lunch
6) Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage 1:41 pm 19
7) Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy 2:27 pm 19
8) Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! 3:03 pm 12
9) Muppet*Vision 3D 3:48 pm 13
10) Star Tours (Use FastPass+) 4:19 pm 3
11) Savi’s Workshop (Use Reservation) 4:50 pm
12) Oga’s Cantina (Use Reservation) 5:50 pm
13) Ronto Roasters 6:50 pm
14) Alien Swirling Saucers 7:53 pm 42
15) Slinky Dog Dash 8:40 pm 43
16) Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run 9:32 pm 90
PLAN TOTALS: 310
Same plan using Extra, Extra Magic Hours and a 4-hour break
STEP ARRIVAL WAIT
1) Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run 6:10 am 35
2) Slinky Dog Dash 6:56 am 12
3) Alien Swirling Saucers 7:13 am 6
4) Toy Story Mania! 7:24 am 9
5) The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 7:50 am 2
6) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Use FastPass+) 9:00 am 8
7) Muppet*Vision 3D 9:19 am 12
8) Star Tours (Use FastPass+) 9:49 am 3
9) Frozen Sing-Along Celebration  (Use FastPass+) 10:05 am 25
10)  4-hour break ~ Pool or nap 11:50 am
11) Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage 3:51 pm 9
12) Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! 4:30 pm 15
13) Savi’s Workshop (Use Reservation) 5:21 pm
14) Oga’s Cantina (Use Reservation) 6:07 pm
15) Ronto Roasters 6:53 pm
16) Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy 8:05 pm 19
PLAN TOTALS:   155

Doing the same attractions, you can wait half the amount of time using Extra, Extra Magic Hours.

More Extra Magic Hours

In addition to Hollywood Studios having Morning Extra Magic Hours every day, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will have everyday Morning Extra Magic Hours from September 1 to November 2. Tuesday, September 3, is the first time all four parks will have Extra Magic Hours, and Thursday, September 5, will be the first day ever where all four parks will have Morning Extra Magic Hours. This weekly pattern continues through November 2. The people who use morning Extra Magic Hours will be spread across more parks on more days. This means morning Extra Magic Hours will be less crowded than normal. The most efficient touring will include Morning Extra Magic Hours. I highly recommend going early and taking an afternoon siesta.

Thursdays this fall are going to be interesting. People who want to use Morning Extra Magic Hours at Epcot will have to go on Thursday. This will reduce the number of people using Extra Magic Hours at the other parks. I would avoid Epcot’s Morning Extra Magic Hours.

If you are not staying at a Disney hotel, there are other options. Here is the list of non-Disney hotels that include Extra Magic Hours privileges.

FastPass+ Strategy

After using your initial three FastPasses you can make an additional FastPass+ reservation using the My Disney Experience app. Availability of FastPass+ reservations is reduced as the day proceeds. Getting extra FastPasses works best at the Magic Kingdom because it has the most attractions and does not use tiering. Don’t assume you will get additional FastPasses, especially for the most popular attractions.

Instead, assume you are only going to get three FastPasses a day and book your FastPasses for the afternoon. Use the Morning Extra Magic Hours and early park hours to tour the parks without FastPass+. Make your FastPass+ reservations at whatever park you will be at in the afternoon.

Park Hopping

If you are using park hopping and using Morning Extra, Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios, just skip FastPass+ at that park. Enjoy the low waits in the morning and then use your FastPass+ selections for a different park in the afternoon. The same strategy will work at the other parks as long as you leave by noon.

Beyond November 2

Disney has not announced an extension to Extra, Extra, Magic Hours, and presumably, the company will monitor how it goes this fall. I expect that Disney will decide that having three our four parks all with morning Extra Magic Hours on the same day is not useful. My guess is that the Extra, Extra, Magic Hours will be extended but reduced. For example, Hollywood Studios could reduce its Morning Extra Magic hours to 1 or 2 hours, and each park may only have Extra Magic Hours 3 or 4 days a week.

Disclaimer: This blog post is written before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Crowd patterns and wait times are predicted based on Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge, other attractions, and other lands. After the new land opens we will learn more about how Hollywood Studios will operate. Our recommendations and predictions will evolve as time goes on. 

Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

22 thoughts on “Touring Walt Disney World After Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opens

  • August 19, 2019 at 11:57 am
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    Are you expecting early morning magic dates for HS and MK to resume starting 11/2?

    Reply
  • August 19, 2019 at 12:03 pm
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    Do you know if either of the Galaxy’s Edge rides will be offering single rider lines?

    Reply
    • August 19, 2019 at 1:17 pm
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      Smuggler’s Run in Disneyland opened with a single rider line, and I would assume the same will be true in Florida. We don’t have any information on a single rider line for Rise of the Resistance. I personally don’t think it will have a single rider line. During the experience guest will be changing ride vehicles. I don’t see how a single rider line would work for Rise of the Resistance.

      Reply
      • August 19, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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        Just to back up what Steve said, Saturday at AP previews in Florida, there was a single-rider line open for Smugglers Run, so I would expect that they will continue to use it after the area is fully open.

        Reply
        • August 19, 2019 at 2:02 pm
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          So, at Disneyland (and presumably Disneyworld) Do single riders on SR get stuck in the engineer role?

          Reply
          • August 20, 2019 at 6:22 pm
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            Typically yes, unless you convince the other passengers to swap with you.

  • August 19, 2019 at 12:32 pm
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    We are staying offsite and only doing a day at MK and a day at AK. So we plan to be there all day and get there a half hour or so before park opening and then just have low expectations for our trip 🙁 It’s our first trip to DW so hoping it will be ok. We probably won’t get on SDMT or FOP but hoping to have fun still. So hoping crowds are all at HS.

    Reply
    • August 19, 2019 at 2:58 pm
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      You can ABSOLUTELY still have fun at both parks even if you don’t get on either of those rides! There are plenty of other roller coasters and rides to enjoy, plus all kinds of other in-park entertainment and activities.

      If you can end up scoring some fastpasses as you get closer, great. If not, just make a plan for the other amazing rides and attractions and have fun!

      Reply
    • August 20, 2019 at 12:50 pm
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      Mags, a little off topic, but if you can find time to get on FoP (even if it requires a 2 hour wait) try to do so. It’s worth it! But if not, there are plenty of other things to experience on your first visit!
      Keep trying to modify your Fastpasses. On our most recent trip we got some at 20 days out.

      Reply
  • August 19, 2019 at 5:19 pm
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    When will the touring plans be optimized with the above proposed times? I just re-ran mine and nothing before 9 am changed…i.e. 45 min wait at 8am for RR

    Reply
    • August 19, 2019 at 6:03 pm
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      There will be some variation from day to day. Send me the URL of your plan and I can take a look at it. (steve@touringplans.com)

      Reply
      • August 19, 2019 at 6:11 pm
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        We’re not there till October, so I have plenty of time to play around…. https://touringplans.com/plans/print?id=3791080
        I was also trying to figure out how to spend 6-8 in SWGE and not optimize that portion but I couldn’t figure it out, so I changed the start time to 8

        Reply
        • August 19, 2019 at 6:19 pm
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          Starting your plan at 8 is as good as anything. You could add a “break” for the time you want to explore SWGE.

          I’ll look at the data and see why 8 am wait times are getting so high. After a few weeks of data, the models will do have a better estimate of what the EEMH wait will be.

          Reply
        • August 20, 2019 at 10:54 am
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          The wait times during Extra, Extra Magic Hours are well below the peak wait times during the day. Fall break crowd will be at there peak in mid-October. I do think the models’ predictions are too high. The next update will include new model predictions using data after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. This will cause the models to have better predictions.

          Reply
  • August 19, 2019 at 9:46 pm
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    When I was at Galaxy’s Edge Saturday they have 2 signs for Droid Depot, a sign for guest with reservations and for walkup guests. The CM says they intend to have both options available.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2019 at 11:16 pm
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    Do you have any idea what WDW is going to do after Nov. 2 for GE? Will be there on Nov. 12th. We have reservations at Oga’s for 3:00 pm and the Lightsaber build at 5:10. Will there be any kind of Extra, Extra Magic Hours or will they do something else? Thanks

    Reply
    • August 20, 2019 at 9:35 am
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      We don’t know anything about park operations after November 2. Disney is taking a wait and see attitude. I expect the Extra, Extra Magic Hours will be reduced.

      Having reservations for Oga’s and Savi’s will give an advantage on touring.

      Reply
  • August 20, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    I have a reservation mid day for the Cantina. Will I be able to go right into Star Wars land shortly before the reservation time? thanks <3

    Reply

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