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.
|Alien Swirling Saucers||A|
|Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage||B|
|Disney Junior Dance Party!||B|
|For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration||B|
|Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!||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 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.:
|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|
|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|
Same plan using Extra, Extra Magic Hours and a 4-hour break
|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|
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.
- B Resort & Spa
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista
- Dolphin at Walt Disney World (operated by Marriott)
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando
- Shades of Green at Walt Disney World (for current and former US military families)
- Swan at Walt Disney World (operated by Marriott)
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney
- Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
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.
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.