Don’t Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios Right Now

Visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios seems to be a mistake right now for the average guest. In this post, we’ll talk about why we suggest you don’t visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios right now until Disney gets a better handle on operations and the overall guest experience.

Just like anything overwhelmingly positive or negative about the current state of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, our argument stems from Rise of the Resistance. Even though Rise of the Resistance seems to be the problem, it’s not just limited to guests who want to take on the First Order.

Let’s be clear from the beginning of this post, Rise of the Resistance is an excellent experience and has set a new high bar for what Imagineering can do with an attraction. For guests who are able to get a boarding group, they will be treated to a complete, immersive experience that doesn’t blend the lines of fantasy and reality, it completely removes them. You are stepping into a Star Wars movie from the moment Rey recruits you to the second the experience is over. It’s a phenomenal attraction that deserves every bit of hype that it is receiving.

If you could wait 1-3 hours to experience it like guests do on a daily basis with Flight of Passage in Pandora – The World of Avatar, this post wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are guests who are spending thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation for what amounts to a lottery for a chance to ride Disney’s latest and greatest attraction. After visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios more over the past few months than any other park, we can plainly see one thing – this isn’t working.

The Stress – Boarding Groups

We’ll start at the beginning of the day at any Disney Park – rope drop. Thankfully, guests aren’t required to get up at some unbelievably early hour like they had to do when Rise of the Resistance first opened and boarding groups were handed out on a first come, first served basis. While we argued that the first come, first served system was better than the lottery that Disney went with, the point is moot and Disney has made up their mind.

With the lottery system in place, Disney had to try and find some amount of normalcy with the park opening time. Over the busy Christmas season, that was 6am. Then it moved to 7am for January. Then, in early February, Disney moved to an 8am opening. It doesn’t seem like a substantial change, but the move to 8am created a massive change to the competitiveness of the boarding group process. It looks like an 8am opening is much more “do-able” for families on vacation, and guests are packing into the park by the 10’s of thousands before it even opens. With an 8am opening, boarding groups are harder than ever to obtain, and the data backs that up.

With all boarding groups (backup included) being fully distributed within minutes, if not seconds, the stress of securing a boarding group is at an all-time high right now. While we’ve visited the park a lot over the past few months, we don’t often grab a boarding group for ourselves. Instead, we observe the process and the reactions of elation and disappointment are visible every single morning. It’s not uncommon for a family of four to do everything right and still not get a boarding group simply because of how fast the boarding groups are distributed.

Today, February 27th, all boarding groups (backup included) were fully distributed within 90 seconds. This is insane. Asking guests to spend thousands of dollars on a vacation to hope that the My Disney Experience app works for them perfectly in 90 seconds is insane. It’s a Thursday in February and the majority of guests who visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios aren’t able to ride an attraction that opened nearly 3 months ago.

At this point, we’re not recommending family or friends visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios right now if they want to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group, but it doesn’t stop there.

The Crowds – Early Morning Masses

As a result of the 10’s of thousands of guests we talked about above packing into Disney’s Hollywood Studios before park open to try and secure a boarding group, there are more people physically in the park at rope drop on an average day than in years past. Typically, families would be able to roll out of bed around 8 or 9am to grab breakfast at the resort and make their way to the park around 10 or 11am. This is how people use to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They simply can’t afford to do that anymore.

As seen in the graph below from, we can see just how many more people are in the park at opening than in February 2019. The red line represents February 2020 and the blue line represents February 2019.

So, even if you don’t care about Rise of the Resistance at all, it’s still way more crowded in the park at rope drop than what you likely remember from previous visits. It’s not uncommon to see triple digit wait times for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Slinky Dog Dash. Crowds are so high that Disney had to change the rope drop procedure for guests looking to ride Slinky Dog Dash.

Here’s a look at what rope drop looks like, on a daily basis, for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and Sunset Boulevard respectively.

These crowds are huge, and with Mickey and Minnie’s Runway Railway set to open in a week, it doesn’t look like it’ll be dying down anytime soon.

The Crowds Stick Around

Going back to the graph comparing February 2019 to 2020, we can see that the crowds largely stick around throughout the day, creating higher wait times until the end of park hours.

This is likely because guests are sticking around in the park until their Rise of the Resistance boarding group is called. With the majority of boarding groups handed out on any given day being backup groups, guests will likely stay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios until their boarding group is called.

We saw a similar trend for January, year over year.

Is all of Walt Disney World seeing this dramatic of an increase? No.

Here’s a look at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom wait times in February 2019 vs 2020. We can see modest increases, but nothing as dramatic as we’re seeing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Looking at the graphs above, an argument could be made that it would be safe to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios after 3 or 4pm as the delta between year over year wait times gets closer to the resort average, but why would you visit a theme park that has as much to do as Disney’s Hollywood Studios has in 2020 for just a few hours before park close? We still wouldn’t recommend a visit for the “lower” afternoon to evening hours.

No End in Sight

Until Disney modifies the operating procedure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there really is no end in sight for this madness. Like we said earlier, Mickey and Minnie’s Runway Railway is opening in a week. We probably won’t see a huge influx of crowds right away for the attraction (with the exception of the opening day or two), but if the attraction receives positive press from the start like Rise of the Resistance did, we might see even more crowds start to book trips for a Runaway Railway/Rise of the Resistance combo that might have been putting trips off.

Also, don’t forget the normal ebbs and flows of crowds at Spring Break comes in around mid-March and continue through Easter. This summer is shaping up to be a very busy one at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

What Can Disney Do?

Well, we’d be silly to think that we know better than Disney. They employ experts that are supposed to know the data forward and backward. They have the distinct advantage of knowing how many guests will visit the park each day, and they can adjust on the fly. All we can do is combine the data available to us with on-the-ground observations.

From a data standpoint, a 7am opening creates a much better experience for those guests who are able to show up that early. We wrote an entire article showing how much more difficult the process has become with an 8am opening, and we won’t rewrite it all here.

Yes, 7am is too early for some families. There’s no denying that. There are still some losers in this scenario. That said, for the guests who are actually in the park, the backup boarding groups last longer, raising the percentage of guests in the park who experience some amount of success each day. That doesn’t necessarily solve the crowding problem, but might tip the scale in our recommendation simply because you can plan a bit better and not have to rely 95% on luck like you’d have to do today.

Another aspect of this is the reliability of Rise of the Resistance. Until Rise of the Resistance can operate reliably, Disney will be stuck with the boarding group process.

Let’s consider the alternative – a standby line. First and foremost, the Rise of the Resistance queue isn’t built to handle 4 hour waits, or more. Perhaps the longest queue in use today at Walt Disney World is the Flight of Passage queue, which is built for about 2 hours worth of guests. We don’t have a good benchmark for how long of a standby line Rise of the Resistance would demand, but there’s little doubt that it would be more than Flight of Passage. There simply isn’t the physical space in the queue to hold 3, 4, 5, or more hours of guests. The line would likely have to be cut at some point during the day as Cast Members estimate how long the line is, how many hours are left in the day, and how much downtime the attraction will experience. If Disney should have to dump the queue, a process that has happened before during extended downtime, how would you ensure those guests who were in line will be able to reenter the line in the same spot? It’s just not possible. Thus, Disney is stuck with the boarding group process until the attraction becomes more reliable. Even then, it’s hard to imagine a day when Rise of the Resistance will not be the hottest ticket in town. We don’t think that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will surpass it, and until something does (or enough time passes) it will continue to be a huge draw.

Our Recommendation

Simply put – don’t visit. Our opinion for this article stems from the same opinion we form when putting out food reviews or any other reviews – would we tell our friends and family to spend hard-earned money on it.

As it stands right now, the product of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is too frustrating to recommend. From the Rise of the Resistance boarding groups to the 10’s of thousands of guests in a park earlier than ever, a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the very real potential to be frustrating from start to finish.

Of course, there is always the person who just loves standing in line for whatever reason and can brush off a two hour line at Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, a two hour wait at Slinky Dog Dash, and hour-long waits pretty much across the board from there. We’re not really speaking to that person. We’re speaking to the family that has a day or two to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and expects to be able to get it all done. Right now, operations just doesn’t allow for that.

Hollywood Studios has seen an increase in crowds that is not in proportion with the rest of the resort. Disney has created the a boarding group process that demands planning and a lot of luck for a ride that many delayed vacations for until it opened. The expectations are high, but the reality is that you’ll likely be let down by the process. Unless you have three or more days to devote to the park and are willing to roll the dice, we think that you shouldn’t visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios right now.

We want to hear from you!
What do you think about the Rise of the Resistance boarding group process and the impact it has on crowds and your ability to put together an effective touring plan for Disney’s Hollywood Studios? If you’ve visited since late-January, what did you think about your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Reach out to us on our Facebook Page or Twitter to let us know!

Mike is the owner and writer for Visiting the parks daily allows him to keep up with the latest Disney news, reviews, and photos from around the Disney Parks. You can reach him at [email protected]

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  1. Thanks for the heads up! Do you know if everyone that wants to get in a boarding group needs to be IN the park before 8am, or can we send one adult wearing all the arm bands for our family?

  2. My 2 thoughts on the “Rise” crowd dilemma: 1-The ride can only handle the same maximum amount of people every day. It’s simple supply and demand. Too much demand right now, and we have to deal with it. 2-use the boarding group system in a similar way fastpass+ is used. Have the lottery the night before, eliminating the park overcrowding.

  3. If someone spends thousands on their once in a lifetime trip, you suggest they should skip the park that has the newest additions? Seems odd

  4. With the boarding group system working through the app, similar to the fast pass process, obviously each guests information is taken every time they get or request a boarding group. I’d be interested to know how many boarding passes go to AP holders or repeat riders on longer vacations. I feel like a fair solution that could cut down on the “lottery” of it all , would be for Disney to allow AP’s one guaranteed boarding group per week and to guarantee guests staying at on property resorts one boarding pass for the duration of their visits. That way, everyone has more of an even chance at obtaining a boarding pass and even if it comes at the price of only being able to ride the attraction one time, the likely hood of every one getting that chance will cut down on some of the chaos. Since there’s already an automated system in place to hand the boarding pass out on the app, it doesn’t seem like anything other than maybe an additional line of code to block out any incoming requests from people who’ve already been on the attraction within seven days. If AP holders and in property guests could pre-schedule their one guaranteed boarding pass in advance, crowd levels could also be more closely monitored by Disney and guests wouldn’t have to just hang around in the park all day. A simple idea, but again, Disney probably knows more than any of us.

  5. If you’d rather stand in line for 6 hours like everyone did when Flight first opened, that’s your only alternative to the virtual queue. Also, the virtual queue system is exactly the same as on day one. It’s still first-come-first-serve, it’s just first through the internet. I was there on day one and also did a rope drop virtual queue recently. The process is still exactly the same, just starting later.

  6. Nobody wants to stand in a 8-10 hour line wearing a diaper. Boarding groups is the best of all the other bad options.
    Opening up the process the night before only shifts the problem. Orlando has 140,000 hotel rooms.
    A draw the night before would fill up in the same 60 seconds.

  7. Interesting article. We were there during Christmas week with the 6:00a openings and it was enjoyable (we rode RotR 6 times). We are headed back for a short weekend in a couple of weeks and have both days planned at HS with good morning FP+ both times. We plan to do our FP+ rides and then head to Epcot. I am curious ( in a bad way) to see how park opening differs between 6a and 8a.

  8. Yes, too much demand and not enough supply. If you cannot increase supply and cannot decrease demand, then limit availability. They should give top lottery priority to guests staying on site, and they should limit the ride to 3 times per person per month. I’m sad at the thought that we and others may miss out for the first time because someone else is riding it for the 13th time. I like the idea of lottery the night before, or even weeks before (so people coming from out of state or out of country can plan accordingly). We’re a family of 7 coming from Utah in June (2 grandparents who cannot and will not get up at 6AM) and we’re not likely going to even try (we go to Disneyland once a year, so we’ll probably catch it there in a year or two).

  9. Very disappointed that Disney hasn’t begun limiting the amount of times you can obtain a boarding group. Seeing YouTubers posting that they rode every day in a row for 2 weeks is infuriating. Absolutely agree that the lottery could easily take place the night before .. then families could plan accordingly.

  10. If you really want to ride ROTR, you need a teenager with lightning fast fingers in your party!! Kidding aside, how about opening boarding groups to say 50 at park opening and open up the standby. After the 50 BG are done, let the standby lines in until 6pm then shut them down. Another option maybe to blackout local AP until June 1st, which may ease some of the congestion during Spring break. Unfortunately, you can’t make everyone happy.

  11. While a lottery the night before would probably remove a lot of the stress, it is probably not seen by Disney as a good thing… You’d end up with more people than are in the lottery now, some still wouldn’t show up, and lowering attendance at the park is not in Disney’s best interest.

    Honestly, the best thing Disney could and should do is simply increase capacity. 6:00am and 7:00am opens when the park is this busy can only mean more $$$ in their pocket. So I don’t understand why they aren’t doing that. They could also extend off the other end as well and start running til 10 or 11 (in theory allowing for more boarding groups).

    Straight up what they have is a capacity vs. demand issue. And as long as demand exceeds capacity, they should be looking at increasing capacity, which right now, means more park hours. I’m really surprised they have not announced a 6:00AM open time for the 4th-10th. Without it, I can imagine families will now be double disappointed… missing both ROTR and Mickey’s new ride in some cases as demand will be at an all time high at park open, and capacity (while slightly increased with the new ride) will likely continue to be stressed to the max.

  12. You could not have explained what the current situation at the Studios is any better. Thank you. As a local AP holder I have secured a boarding pass twice since 12-5, but I would not wish the experience and the amount of effort I put into it and the frustration at the requirement of pure luck the 2nd time around, on my worst enemy. In fairness to Disney, there is room for experimentation, but odds are, not a better way to handle this. And when all is said and done, I’d still rather have these amazing new attractions than not.

  13. You could not have explained the current situation at Hollywood Studios any better. Thank you. I am a local AP and have secured a boarding pass twice since 12-5-19. I would not wish the effort I made and my experience the 2nd time around when it was mostly down to luck, on my worst enemy. In fairness to Disney, I doubt there is a much better solution and I’d still rather have these amazing new attractions than not.

  14. Would you recommend going, using the fast passes you have scheduled, watching a show or two and park hopping? My kids have never ridden slinky or toy story mania and want to do tower of terror and the new runaway railway. My plan was to try to FP slinky, mania and TOT and wait in standby line for RR, then jet out. Are you saying you would avoid this plan as well? Avid planner here, would love your insights.

  15. We are a multi generation family(grandparents to toddlers) with a trip scheduled in May 2020. We have no interest in Rise (or any of GE ) or Slinky Dog. The Important things are Disney Jr dance party and The Frozen sing along ?. We think we would like to try the new Mickey Minnie ride, but waiting on reviews to see if it is really toddler friendly. Will the crowds be greatly increased at attractions like Disney Jr DP and Frozen?

  16. Seems simple to fix build more rides and get the crowds thru multiple boarding groups. This way if one ride breaks down at least the other 2 or 3 depending on crowd capacity can still function and get thru. If you making that much money on large crowds build the rides to handle it.

  17. If you’re planning FP at 60 days out, then I’d say it’s worth going. Standby is obviously TBD for RR, but I would expect an hour to an hour and a half. As long as you use your three FP at HS, you can park hop and see what’s available at the next park. If you didn’t know, you can schedule additional FP one-by-one after the original three have been used.

  18. Annual passholde here. Unfortunately, I would avoid HS altogether unless you have fast passes for those rides. Or you are willing to wait in line for hours. For the new mania ride, the wait in line will easily be in triple digits. I would guess around 3 to 4 hours.

  19. While what the author says is true about a large influx of people at opening, Hollywood Studios is still waaaaay less crowded than Magic Kingdom. We were there a few weeks ago in early February. We were able to secure our group for Rise of the Resistance, which turned out to be early evening. Avoid Slinky Dog Dash and Star Wars Galaxy Edge in the morning. That’s where everyone goes first thing. We went to Toy Story Mania and walked right on. Slinky Dog line was ridiculous and Galaxy Edge was at capacity and we couldn’t get in. We went to other parts of the park and used our fast passes on Aerosmith coaster, Star Tours and a show just to use it, hoping we could get another….which we did for Soarin at Epcot. After lunch we took the new Skyliner, which is great by the way!, over to Epcot. Tooled around there for a few hours before heading back to HS. By that time Galaxy Edge was not crowded at all and could walk around freely. Over all a great day. Just do the opposite of what the crowd does.

  20. Carrie I was there once in Early January and then again at the end of January. Your plan sounds good. I found the park to be more crowded but not horrible. We rode Smugglers Run at night about 6:30-7. It was a lot less crowded and we were able to enjoy the ride several time. The area is very neat looking at night. We had 5 kids with us under 8 so pack patience and snacks.

  21. We visited Disney from Feb16-20th, 2020. Hollywood studios was our last day on the thursday of that week. It was by far our favorite park and best experience. The stars aligned for my family of 6. We did spend the entire day at galaxies edge with the exception of one fast pass for tower of terror. We had fast passes for star tours and smugglers run. We had reservations for ogas, droid depot, and savis light saber build. We got lucky and got boarding group #87 for rise of the resistance. The two little kids also got to do jedi training. By some miracle the day went seamlessly along. The boarding group process was stressful but getting on rise of the resistance wasnt really a deal breaker for us as we had eveything else lined up. I found animal kingdom to be the most frustrating park as we didnt have the fast passes for the better rides. We waited in line but still got to ride flight of passage.

  22. We are going to Disney end of April and we plan to visit Hollywood studios 3 times. Lol. Thankfully we have 8 day park hopper tickets so each visit will be fairly short and quick. In and out to do our 3 fast passes, our one dining reservation at Sci-fi and maybe a show or two.
    I think it’s just about being realistic about expectations.

  23. I would still do what you have planned. I was there in the last week of January with my 2 adult children. We imagined we might walk through the Galaxy’s Edge area “just to see it” but found ourselves spending most of our time in that area! If you aren’t bent about riding the “rise” wait times can be as low as 50 minutes for smugglers run. And I found the crowds in Hollywood pretty manageable overall. Epcot was our biggest disappointment as its quite torn up right now and the arts festival was going on resulting in throngs of people going from booze stand to booze stand. Magic Kingdom is always, always, always packed. I’ve simply resigned myself to it. Paying extra for an after hours event is the best thing we have ever done-btw!. We have gone annually for over 10 years. My advice:make your plans (fast passes, etc) but try to leave room for delays, how everyone feels, and what looks like it will work best any given moment. It can be a truly magical vacation if you keep expectations realistic and do your best to relax and enjoy!!!

    Good luck!

  24. Seems rather simple issue to fix, but one that Disney will not do, at least not the with current leadership. Simple have to allow less people into the Park. Return to years prior crowds levels. But they wont, why people are expending, even if they do not get to ride anything they had expected. This is modern Disney in full display; it just all about the money. The one that thought doing a CGI Dumbo movie was a good idea… Don’t get me wrong I love Disney and just spent last Xmas at MK, just noticing a trend that diverges from the Disney I grew with.

  25. Well, I have been to HS about 8 times since Rise of the Resistance opened and I have yet to ever have a chance at it. The most frustrating thing to see all day while you are in the park are the large number of sign reminding you that all of the boarding passes for ROTR have been distributed for the day. No easy solutions here but after 8 visits and no luck as an AP, you would think there might be some type of rationing to give all a shot at it. I will not be able to get at at 0-dark-thirty often to do this. I completely sympathize with anyone that has the family there for that once in a year or so big trip and can’t get things done for the group…..

  26. Visited HS last week with Galaxy’s Edge as our motivation. Got to the park at 6:30 am and in at 7:00 am. Sat on a bench until 8:00 when we got our boarding passes (hindsight is that I think we should have gone to the Aerosmith area to sit but we just went to the center of the park). I guess I was slow on the app as others around us got in earlier. We got group 56 which I assumed would be later in the day since they planned for 63. Ended up getting “called up” at 11:30. They ended up adding more groups that day. I think RotR had a “good” day that day as they moved through the groups fast. We did wait in very long lines for Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash and Millenium Falcon was the longest wait. We had no fast passes as we booked our tickets a week beforehand (spent most of the week at Universal). I am not sure what they can do to improve the situation except get the ride to work reliably.

  27. Great article…truthful, blunt, and it’s clear you’re not being paid by Disney blow sunshine up our arses. I’d really love to hear insights on Disneyland Park some day. Even without trying to get a boarding pass, it’s been a beast since ROTR opened. We’ve had our AP for 16 yrs, but sadly this will be our last year. The situation will only get worse when Avenger’s Campus opens, meaning DCA won’t be a backup when DL is busting at the seams. Yeah, I know….#firstworldproblems. But we’re spending $1k a year per pass and the return on investment just isn’t there *for us* anymore. Kudos to the people who’ll be hanging in there, though.

  28. We were there 2 days ago, and this article is 100% correct. If you’re NOT in the park by 7:30am, you’re toast. You need to be in the park by 7:30am. This means be in line outside the security and gates by 7am. Once inside, have your phone open and at 8am, launch the Disney app. Do not be tempted to have it already opened and think you’ll refresh. No. Open up the app at 8am. Then go to Rise, and select how many are in your party. They must all be in the park with you exactly at 8am, with their magic bands. You have 60 seconds to secure your Group # for Rise. By 8:01am, it’s sold out. You’re too late. We came from Seattle, and our Group # was 91. They go to 63, with 64 -102 as Standby. We were 91 because at 8am we were refreshing the app. Wrong. Must be totally out of the app and open it up at 8:00am sharp. Group 91 was called at 6:30pm. Park closed at 8pm. We made it in. I can only imagine the expense people have paid to visit from all over the world only to be shut down. You have 60 seconds, and that’s it. The solution to avoid the cattle? Disney should double their rates to $225 a day. Supply and Demand. Vail does it. If you don’t like it, or can’t afford it, don’t go. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were at capacity during mid-winter break and the parks closed at 8pm. Would like to say every going back. Way too many people. You’ll be luck to go on 4 Tier One rides total, not counting all of their filler crap rides like Mickey’s Philharmonic, or It’s a Bugs Life. Bottom line, Disney, you better double your rates, (the experience was miserable). Rise, Smugglers Run and Avatar is a 10. The rest was miserable. We’ll be spending our time over at Universal and Islands of Adventure next time we’re in Orlando.

  29. My family was just there on Feb 11th. We are from Seattle area & haven’t been to Disney World since 2005. Usually we go to Disneyland. We read up on the RoR boarding group lottery system so we arrived at 7:15am. Got through the bag check easily & into park at 7:30. Waited in a line for Slinky Dog rope drop. When clock struck 8:00, opened app on my phone, requested a boarding group & immediately was assigned group 27. We were called around 10am which was perfect as Slinky Dog was absurdly crowded & took 120 min. Seems like anyone with newer phones had no problem getting assigned boarding groups but older phones took longer to load & forced them to miss out. Weird that you might be penalized because your phone isn’t the latest model. No breakdowns the day we were there, but for sure a crowded day. Rockin’ Roller Coaster was a hit with our teens along with Tower of Terror but RoR was THE coolest ride! So grateful we got to get on.

  30. Was there two weeks ago and it was a total mad house. Be mindful that just because you retrieved a boarding group number, here’s looking at you #39, you won’t necessarily get called. The last boarding group they called was #37 before the park closed. Obtaining your boarding pass at 8:00 give or take a few SECONDS we still had such a low number, well at least low enough not to ride. Ppl were beyond frustrated. Even though you can get your boarding group number just to leave
    and comeback, many guest seemed completely unaware. My heart goes out to the hundreds of families who dont follow blogs or theme park social media channels who were showing up without a clue of obtaining a boarding group.

  31. We went to Disneyland last week and had a great time – but we could never luck into a boarding group that got called. Lines for all rides (Smugglers Run included) never got over 45min – so it’s a way better option than Hollywood Studios if you want to enjoy Galaxys Edge. Still, the anxiety of waiting to see if our group would get called really cast a pall over the whole day. They ended up stopping 2 short of our boarding group and… that stung.

  32. This article is spot on. We’re AP holders, with still no luck getting a boarding group. Couldn’t get to the parks until the 8am openings started , and it’s definitely frustrating. HS needs to open earlier, and stay open later. Our family will not be renewing our passes again this year.

  33. Looking at the crowds if ur partner has a scooter how they going to use it to get around any of these crowds to ride the star wars ride. I personally cant ride it but other people in my party would.Any suggegestions on scooter ?

  34. We did Rise of the Resistance twice over Christmas-New Years. We got there at 5 am for a 6 am opening . The key to our success was our daughter with a fast cellular data plan. I would still be trying to log on to My Disney Exp app. At that time it took 15-20 min to distribute the boarding groups. I ,see from your blog that it’s getting worse instead of better. I agree that Disney should go back to earlier opening times and reward those who can drag themselves out of bed. When my daughter was little I would dress her still asleep and carry her to the bus stop. I dislike everything depending on a cell phone app. That being said everyone in our party had their own account and had everyone else linked as family and friends so anyone could have gotten the passes. We all had different carriers which I think is important. You have to set this up in advance through the Disney IT desk.

  35. Everything the author says in the article is completely true. Even with a 7am opening the park is too crowded. My friends and I went in mid January and we’re very disappointed in the money we spent to just wait in line after line. Rock n Roller Coaster an older ride in the park stated 70 min wait when got in line. After 3 hours we were finally able to ride the 20 year old attraction. The crowds that Rise of the Resistance brings in are unmanageable by Disney staff. Do not waste your money at this park until you see a change in park attendence.

  36. The worse part that you forgot to mention is that once your boarding group is called you get to stand for 2 hours in line ( or at least we had to back on February 7th, 2020) in Disney’s most boring queue area , before actually stepping onto the ride. Which makes me think, what was the boarding group for??? As the normal Stan by line would never pass maybe 190 minutes, as most people won’t stand in a line longer than that.

  37. You won’t be able to fastpass all three of those. Studios only allows you to fastpass one ride. They’re all in the same “upper tier.”

  38. I went to HS December 29th and it was absolutely miserable. We were there before 5am and stood for hours in the pouring rain. And after all that, my app wasn’t working. I ended up getting a boarding group (in the 100s) but I wouldn’t recommend that experience to anyone. So yes I completely agree with this post. And with Mickey and minnies about to open, I can’t even imagine the mess

  39. Went in Jan. Opening time was 7. We arrived at 5:30 waited a bit to enter HS. Then waited for park opening while kids slept or played their phones. This is why we went so it was worth it to our family! We got boarding group 22 by 7:00:10 sec For our family of 6. We got called to ride about 10:30 that day but the ride broke as we were in line. We stayed in line for about 20-30 min but then were told to exit as they did’nt see the fix happening soon. They gave us FP to come back. It remained broken for over 2 hours. We were frustrated thinking we may not ride and no way to know if it was back up as it’s not listed as a ride with wait times. We did ride by mid afternoon no problems and it was great … we all loved it! We spent a good deal of time in Galaxy edge that day but rode everything but 1 main ride. I would not go now as crowd levels seem to have increased. January was crowded but our week was considered green on crowd calendars.

  40. This is a feature, not a bug, to Disney. Oh, you didn’t get to ride RR today. Come back another day and try again! Oh, you didn’t get it your whole vacation? Well, you’ll just need to book another one. Meanwhile, please continue booking lodging with us, eating our insanely priced food and drink options, and you can still buy the RR merch!

    And the money keeps rolling in. There was a time when profit was made while still maintaining the experience, but those days are long gone. I think it ended with Eisner (he was a jerk, but he was an effective jerk that realized the importance of the Disney mystique).

  41. We were at the park on the same Thursday as the article in question. We were there 30 minutes before rope drop, on the app ready to go. The very second 8am rolled around the boarding passes were gone. There was zero chance of getting on the ride. It didn’t take 15 minutes, it didn’t even take 30 seconds. We’re annual passholders but we won’t be going back to Hollywood Studios until at least the fall. I’ve never seen crowds like this in 35 years of Disney visits, even on holidays. It’s unpleasant to say the least, and I love everything about Disney.

  42. I am a annual passholder, and have been to Disney 3 times since August, we went to Hollywood Studios in August, but wont go near it now. I don’t understand the big push to for this ride. I like the Star Wars movies, but have no foreseeable interest for this attraction. Until this attraction dies down, we will be visiting Disney, Animal Kingdom and Epcot.

  43. Wow I just went 24 Feb and got pass 7 I went at 7:30 and went to toy story to slinky dog you just need to do your best been several times and never had all the issues you all have

  44. We were at Hollywood Studios on Wednesday February 26th. We arrive at 7:15AM. We waited in line for Tower of Terror to open and of course kept checking the App for the Boarding Group. At Exactly 8am… I logged in and got an error message. I refreshed and was able to “book” it. Less than 15 seconds went by during that time. I got boarding group 96. They usually only have time for around 50 boarding groups. Needless to say, we didn’t experience it. The people in front of me were doing the same thing and were quickly disappointed when they weren’t able to get anything. I’ve NEVER seen Hollywood Studios so packed. It was insane. We live in PA but have been Passholders for the last 7 years. We usually come 2-3 times a year. This wasn’t fun. Not enjoyable. Certainly not magical.

  45. They need to bring back the 6am to 9am extra extra Magic hours. We took advantage of that in September of 2019, when my husband and I visited. Granted Rise wasnt open yet but we managed to ride Falcon, Slinky Dog, Mania, Rockin and Tower of Terror between 6am and 8:50am, went back to the hotel, ate breakfast, took a nap and went back to Hollywood to do it all over again, in that order. Now fast forward to the monday after New Years. We kept our kids out of school, just for Hollywood. We arrived at the park for 6:30am, was thru bag check and band scan (no finger scan) by 6:53am. I was in charged of the app and had it up and running and did not use park wifi. At 7am, I clicked the button, chose the 4 of us and received a boarding group of 20! Whether it was luck, lottery or first come first serve, we were in. As soon as our group was called, an hour later, we went straight to the ride and walked right on. Unfortunately, we didnt get to ride the Millennium Falcon that day but my youngest built his Driod and got a picture with Chewy on a wim!
    There are no easy answers for the crowds. Look at AK, Pandora wait times have not dropped since it opened a few years go. As long as Dsiney continues to build these types of rides, the crowd will get bigger and bigger and the once off season will be no more.
    We will be back, the crowd doesnt scare us.

  46. This is why my family continues to skip Disney altogether the past few years. We get passes for Universal, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. The experiences at those parks are much more enjoyable. Lines are much shorter on average. You can do whatever you want without weeks of advance planning. We went to Islands of Adventure recently and even got on Hagrid’s Motorcycle coaster in 60 minutes each time without resorting to the single rider line. Speaking of, most major attractions at Universal have single rider lines that are much shorter than the wait time posted. Disney only has a small handful of single rider lines. Both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens have tons of thrill coasters often with very short waits. And both have incredible animal exhibits and large sections full of rides for small children. All 4 competing parks offer such a more laid back, less stressful experience.

  47. I disagree entirely! I was there Thursday the 27th. Celebrating my husband’s birthday. Walked through security at 0740 tapped in at 0750 got boarding group 45. Yes the park was crowded. Had FP for Smuggler’s, MM and ToT …scored pass for SDD.. did dessert party it was an amazing day!

  48. They should have blacked out AP like 3 days a week. Or kept EMH 2x a week. There’s just no benefit to on site resort guests and that stinks. Why did they do that at DL but not at WDW? Maybe it truly is 20k ppl from out of town staying on site. Not sure. It’s frustrating tho.

  49. Was at HS on February 29. Arrived at 6:45am. Was toward the front part of the line. It went quick. Would have preferred arriving 15-30 minutes later.

    Once inside…we avoided the crowds at Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story. Followed research online that said the strongest Wi-fi signal was at Disney Junior’s Dance Party. Only about 2-3 dozen people were in this area at the time of open at 8am. Mass crowds gather at Toy Story & Galaxy’s Edge.

    We had 4 people in our group. I tried using regular cell service(Verizon). I had no issues with cell service. I opened the app at 7:57am(background refresh of other apps off). Also, once I opened the Disney app I did not touch anything before 8am. So the park opens, I press ‘Find Out More’ and the boarding group does not become active. Get out of the app and back in, nothing. Refresh, nothing. No luck for me.

    My wife & daughter actually went into the women’s bathroom near the spot I mentioned above. The phone registered strongest cell & wi-fi in there. They were on Disney wi-fi. At 8am they opened the app, not before. We got back-up boarding group 76. The ride went down for ~45 minutes that day. We still went on the ride around 2:15pm. We waited in the queue maybe 30 minutes before starting the ride, not bad. The stress of getting a boarding pass is crazy, but the ride is incredible.

    I guess my advice is don’t open the app before 8am. The second it hits 8am open the app. Have multiple people in your group trying…at least one on cell and one over wi-fi.

    We had fast passes to Smuggler’s Run and literally walked right on the ride at 5pm while the standby was around 90-110 minutes.

  50. This article and many of the comments are a little over-the-top. I was there in late January to early February and my party rode Rise of the Resistance 3 times. Except for one day we got our Boarding Group and then left DHS to enjoy other parks until we were called back. Yes, we had to get into the park early (which wasn’t terrible, we were staying at Beach Club) and yes, we had to be ready with MDE open and waiting at 7. But every time we got a boarding group.

    While we found that GE and TSL were very busy we were happily surprised that wait times at other rides, like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror were lower than what was posted. We ended up riding both of those many more times than we have been able to in recent years.

    But lines like “Unfortunately, the reality is that there are guests who are spending thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation for what amounts to a lottery for a chance to ride Disney’s latest and greatest attraction” are a little ridiculous. Which reality is it where there are guests who spent “thousands of dollars” to go to Disney but did so with the sole expectation of only riding Rise of the Resistance and nothing else? Disney World is a huge area with many, many, many things to do that don’t require “a lottery for a chance to ride”, ha ha! Get real. There is literally one ride in Hollywood Studios, really in all of Disney World, that has that system.

    Yes, the parks are crowded. That’s to be expected. Anyone who doesn’t expect crowds and who expects to casually show up and join a boarding group will be disappointed.

    Instead of the whining people should be happy that Disney has made a ride that is so crazy popular. This is a good thing and bodes well for future attractions.

    FWIW, as of this posting Slinky is at 65 minutes, TSM is 35, Smugglers Run is 65, RnRC is 45 and ToT is 13. And the advice is “don’t visit, too busy”. Ridiculous.

  51. Wrong. When I was there just over a month ago there were many kids in DHS and on RotR who were clearly enjoying themselves.

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