Walt Disney World (FL)

Downtime Details – Hollywood Studios

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A couple of weeks ago, we looked at all of the Walt Disney World downtime data from the past 5 years. We wanted to determine if downtime was really worse since the pandemic, or if nothing had really changed. Those results showed that Hollywood Studios is really the only park with significantly worse attraction downtime after the pandemic. I got a few comments and emails about the reason why downtime at this one park is so much worse than all of the others. So today we’re going to look at attraction-specific data for Hollywood Studios to find out all the whats and whys and hows!

Explain the Math

If you look up any past date in the crowd calendar, you’ll see information about capacity lost due to downtime for attractions in each park. And if you look at any wait times graphs for any attraction for any date in the past, you can also tell when a ride is down by the lack of posted wait times for a specific time period.

In this post, we’re going to look at downtime for every attraction in Hollywood Studios and compare the downtime before the pandemic to the past couple of years. This will help us answer a couple of questions:

  1. Is the increase in downtime due to attractions that opened just prior to the pandemic?
  2. Is downtime increasing at all attractions, or just some?

Overall Downtime

As a quick review, here is what the overall downtime trend looks like at Hollywood Studios:

Overall capacity lost due to unexpected downtime at Hollywood Studios, by month

Before the pandemic, overall park downtime averaged just over 2% of the park’s capacity. And then in the past couple of years, that average has doubled to 4.4% of capacity lost to downtime on a monthly basis. That’s like the whole park being closed for almost a day and a half every month.

But Hollywood Studios is complicated. Right before the pandemic, Millennium Falcon, Rise of the Resistance and Runaway Railway all opened. Do they have higher downtime than the rest of the park? Is that the reason for the increase?

Average downtime by attraction at Hollywood Studios

Even at this high level, a few interesting things show up:

  • There are definitely some reliable attractions at Hollywood Studios, including the relatively-new Millennium Falcon. So we can at least rule out that that one attraction is contributing to the remarkable increase in downtime.
  • Only one attraction has gotten more reliable with time, and that is Toy Story Mania! It’s only a decrease from 3% downtime to 2% downtime, but we’ll take what we can get.
  • Two attractions that were open for a significant period of time before the pandemic have significantly worse downtime issues in the past few years. Downtime at Slinky Dog Dash has doubled, and downtime at Rock’n’Roller Coaster has tripled. And that excludes all of the time Rock’n’Roller Coaster has had planned downtime for refurbishments. This immediately shows us that not all of the increase in downtime is due to new attractions.
  • On the other hand, Runaway Railway and Rise of the Resistance didn’t have enough data prior to the pandemic to get an accurate read on average downtime. But they both have above-average downtime compared to the rest of the park in the past few years. In fact, Rise of the Resistance has more downtime than any other attraction at Walt Disney World!

Attraction Downtime Specifics

Rise of the Resistance

Overall capacity lost due to unexpected downtime at Rise of the Resistance, by month

The bad news is that, on average, downtime at Rise of the Resistance is high. Higher than any other attraction. If we’re looking for glass-half-full commentary, back in 2022, the average was more reliably hovering around 12%, with lows barely dipping below 10%. In 2023 we started seeing some better months with just a few upticks. In fact, since the beginning of 2023, the average is closer to 10% than 11%. But 10% is still terrible. With an hourly capacity of somewhere around 1700 people, this is a big contributor to overall downtime for the park as a whole.

Runaway Railway

Overall capacity lost due to unexpected downtime at Runaway Railway, by month

Let’s start with the optimism and positivity at Runaway Railway. On average, downtime is much less of a problem here than at Rise of the Resistance. 6% capacity lost is better than 11%. But the overall trend is more worrying than at Rise, where we’re seeing things get slightly better over time. Instead, at Runaway Railway, downtime is trending in the wrong direction. In late 2021 it averaged 4.5% downtime. In 2022, that increased to 5.5% downtime. And in 2023 it was up to 7% downtime. Thankfully, 2024 has started out slower, but we’ll see what happens the rest of the year.

An interesting all-over trend here is that trackless rides are definitely above average when it comes to downtime. They are cool, and definitely the latest in technological advancement. But Rise and Runaway Railway both have significant problems – and over at EPCOT, Remy does too.

Rock’n’Roller Coaster

Overall capacity lost due to unexpected downtime at Rock’n’Roller Coaster, by month

Good news, I have identified the underlying problem. No more attractions with lots of R’s in the name at Hollywood Studios. Those are the ones that have the problems. Got that, Imagineering?

On a more serious note, poor Rock’n’Roller Coaster. It’s having a rough time. Back before the pandemic, things were actually trending in a positive direction. It still had more downtime than other attractions that were open at the time, but the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 were just peachy. Then … chaos. Since the pandemic, this attraction shares the top spot for overall downtime with Rise of the Resistance. And it has some truly horrible months like September 2023, when it averaged 20% downtime. At an hourly capacity of around 1800 people, that’s over 4000 people in a day that should be in line for this attraction but are instead forced to go find other things to do.

And the lengthy refurbishment in early 2023 didn’t help. Things are just as bad after that refurbishment as they were before. Here’s hoping the current refurbishment is more effective in keeping things running smoothly!

Slinky Dog Dash

Overall capacity lost due to unexpected downtime at Slinky Dog Dash, by month

Slinky is our first outdoor attraction on this list, so the first thing we can see is the more cyclic nature of its downtime issues. Weather is gonna weather in Orlando, especially during the summer. But the cycle doesn’t stay the same pre-pandemic and post-pandemic. Before the pandemic, the cycle hovered around 3%, with a summer peak of 7-9% and winter lows close to 0%. In the past few years, the cycle is hovering around 6%, with summer peaks between 9-11% (and even an 18% blip) and winter lows never getting much below 2%. Perhaps even more concerning, the winter lows this year aren’t that low. November was a good month, but January had 7% downtime.

What Does This Mean For You?

  1. At Hollywood Studios, more than any other park, it’s important to have a backup plan. And a backup plan for your backup plan. There are multiple headliners with significant downtime issues. So if you get unlucky, Rock’n’Roller Coaster could be down for refurbishment and then Rise of the Resistance could have an off day and an afternoon thunderstorm could roll in, shutting down Slinky Dog Dash … all at the same time. I’d bet good money on that exact situation happening multiple times this spring.
  2. Rise of the Resistance is at least reliably unreliable. It struggles early in the morning, and usually in the early or mid-afternoon. And it’s going to be down around 10-11% of the time. I like to plan around this by attempting to rope drop the attraction during Early Entry. And if it’s down during Early Entry, I cave and buy an Individual Lightning Lane. Or if it’s not that important to me, I wait until the early evening, when it’s almost always back online.
  3. If you’re using Genie+ at Hollywood Studios and you have a reservation for a ride that goes down during your return window, you’ll be rewarded with the ability to visit that ride again anytime the rest of the day, or to use the reservation at one of several other attractions in the park. This may end up working to your advantage since so many rides break down, and so many reservations book up quickly at Hollywood Studios. Study up to determine when and where you may want to use those anytime passes!

Have any of your Hollywood Studios days been marred by attraction downtime? What strategy do you use when planning your Hollywood Studios day? Let us know in the comments!

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

One thought on “Downtime Details – Hollywood Studios

  • Great info! It’s neat to be able to see this data proving or disproving fan theories!


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