Review: Toy Story Land Early Morning Magic at Disney Hollywood Studios

Today, we head to Disney Hollywood Studios bright and early on a Monday morning for Toy Story Land Early Morning Magic. We previously took a look at the Magic Kingdom Fantasyland version of the event which you can check out here!

The Hollywood Studios version is going to give us the same benefits, allowing us to knock out the most high demand attractions before official park opening, with little to no waits. It will also allow us to avoid the Toy Story Land rope drop mob which is quite unpleasant, and requires arriving an hour prior to in order to avoid a long wait for Slinky Dog.

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The event is offered on Mondays and Wednesdays and cost $79 per adult / $69 per child, plus tax. This is in addition to your regular park admission.

I arrived at Hollywood Studios at 6:40 am to a parking lot with about 20 or so cars already there.

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Unfortunately, it was a dreary overcast day which doesn’t allow for many eye popping photos.

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There are 2 reservation times for each event, 7:00 and 7:30 am. The idea is that the 7:00 crowd will eat the included breakfast before the 7:30 opening of Toy Story Land, while the 7:30 reservations will eat breakfast after. In reality, both reservation times can enter at 7:00 and eat either before or after, their choice.

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The Disney Skyliners were testing bright and early on this morning! I was worried they would be a bit of an eyesore, but they look fine and add a kinetic energy as you approach the park entrance.

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You can see on the left side of the photo below, the walls around the new tram loop which has since opened.

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The walk up to and through the bag check is nice and stress free this early in the morning.

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Check in for the event will be right on the other side of the Hollywood Studios sign and ticket booths.

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We enter to find a mainly empty Crossroads and Hollywood Blvd.

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At just after 7:00, a line is forming near the Chinese Theater which will be led over to Toy Story Land for the 7:30 opening. In reality, the line begins to move closer to 7:20 and you can be on your first ride by 7:25 if you choose to wait. Instead, I am heading over to breakfast first.

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The included breakfast is offered at Backlot Express from 7:00 – 10:00 am. I suggest grabbing breakfast first as it will allow you to take advantage of the low crowds (outside of TSL) during the 9:00 – 10:00 hour.

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Most folks seem to be planning on eating later as there is barely anybody here.

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Unlike the MK version where everyone is offered the same breakfast platter, you have a choice of 6 different options here.

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Various pastries, fruit, cereals and breakfast drinks are offered buffet style as well.

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For my entree, I went with the “Maple Glazed Chicken and Donuts”, served with sweet potato barrels. Because who wouldn’t want to eat this at 7 am? The chicken was fine, just basic quick service chicken tenders w/ the maple glaze adding a subtle sweetness. The donuts were a bit on the hard side.

I also grabbed a few pastries for the sake of research. They were all very good; fresh, light and fluffy.

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Another option, should you not want to head to breakfast first, is to tour the park from 9:00 – 9:45 and return just before the breakfast ends at 10:00.

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I actually returned at 9:50, even though I had already eaten, and gave the Mexican Egg Bowl a try. This was a solid option. Even though the eggs were standard Disney powdered eggs, the toppings were fresh and the flavors all worked well together.

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The crowds to order were much larger at the end of the event, and seats much harder to come by as well. At the very least, I recommend stopping by and grabbing a drink and a pastry or two to go before the breakfast ends.

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Heading to Toy Story Land right around 7:25, the line which had been waiting has already been escorted into the land.

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I had to stop and take a quick photo of  the theater. I absolutely hate the Disney keeps that ugly mobile stage in front of the theater for most of the day, especially since its only purpose is the sub par “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away” show.

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Here is the crowd I have to deal with upon entering Toy Story Land.

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This is a paradise compared to what you can expect if attempting to rope drop the land. Josh over at Easy WDW has several great posts highlighting that experience, with his most recent being here.

Here are some of his photos from that post:

toy_story_land_slinky_dog_dash_rope_drop_disney_hollywood_studios-65Photo by Easy WDW

toy_story_land_slinky_dog_dash_rope_drop_disney_hollywood_studios-68Photo by Easy WDW

toy_story_land_slinky_dog_dash_rope_drop_disney_hollywood_studios-70Photo by Easy WDW

As you can see, its a far cry from what we are experiencing here.

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Instead, our entry in the land is nothing short of pleasant. The gates to the temporary Incredibles mini land were open, with no cast members guarding the path which was a bit surprising.

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As we enter the land, Buzz already has a pretty long long for his Meet and Greet. The characters by far have the longest waits during Early Morning Magic so if they are important to you, you probably want to get on the line closer to 7:00 and do both meet and greets as soon as you arrive at the land.

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The land itself is wide open. This will not be like this for a single minute during regular operating hours.

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We pass Toy Story Mania which has a 5 minute wait. I recommend skipping this for now. It will still have a short wait later in the event, and the queue / exit are such long walks that this can eat up a good chunk of your time.

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The wait for Woody and Jessie are easily up to a half hour plus just 5 minutes into the event. This is expensive time in line as you are paying a little under a dollar per minute for the event. At least you get 90 minutes here instead of the 75 you get at Magic Kingdom.

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At least you’ll finally be able to grab a seat at Woody’s Lunch Box.

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The majority of people head right to Slinky Dog Dash upon arrival, so I am going to do the opposite and head for a spin on Alien Swirling Saucers.

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The queue is completely empty and the ride is a walk on.

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What a life.

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This “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree” reskin is fun enough for what it is. You could easily ride multiple times if you like.

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We’ll head over towards Slinky and see what the waits look like about 20 minutes into the event.

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Slinky is posting a 20 minute wait, the same which 7DMT was showing during out MK event. We ended up waiting about 12 for Mine Train and will have a similar result here.

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The line was backed up about 50 people shy of the fast pass merge point. Since there are no fastpasses during the event, the line moves quickly.

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We were on board just over 10 minutes after getting on line.

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The ride is tons of fun and deceptively thrilling (for a family coaster). It surpassed my expectations, which were admittedly low, in just about every way.

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I decided to take a 2nd ride where I waited almost the exact same amount of time.

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Here is a look at the main path in the land at around 8:20 as we head to Toy Story Mania.

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We arrive to see a 5 minute wait still posted.

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You will utilized the fastpass queue which is still a very long walk.

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The ride itself continues to be fun, though I wish Disney would add more games and randomize it a bit. It seems like it would be super easy and not all that expensive to do.

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I got lucky and there was nobody waiting to board when I got back to the station so I went around for a 2nd play through.

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And back outside for the long walk back to the land.

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It’s now just shy of 8:40 and we are going to exit the land to take advantage of rope drop at Sunset Blvd.

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As we exit, Buzz still has a decent wait.

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Have I mentioned I love the Chinese Theater? This area will be swamped once Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens in early 2020.

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You can see the rope drop crowd being held at the end of Hollywood Blvd above. If you are a part of that, expect to be crammed in like sardines for a good half hour in the Florida humidity.

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We are able to get a head start on the rope drop crowd as we can go as far as the Legends of Hollywood shop before being held by Tower of Terror cast members. This is incredibly valuable in its own right.

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Much like the MK Early Morning Magic, the Hollywood Studios version definitely has some value if you’re willing to pay. By riding all of the Toy Story attractions during the event, you are pretty much guaranteeing yourself a productive day.

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That being said, you could potentially accomplish a similarly effective touring plan if you are willing to arrive at the park entrance an hour before rope drop, and deal with the uncomfortable crowds (on a non Early Morning Magic day).

If you can manage to be among the first riders on Slinky then  you should be able to knock out Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania with short waits right after that as well. You may need to punt on the meet and greets in that scenario though.

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Still, being able to avoid the long wait at the front of the park, as well as the angry mob march over to the land definitely has its selling points. The breakfast being offered is solid as well and you can even double up by eating at both the beginning and end of the event if you like.

We will continue with part 2 in the coming days to look at what we were able to accomplish after park opening, having already knocked out Toy Story Land. Until then, thanks for reading and bye for now!

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