As you may know, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has changed their park opening time from 7am to 8am today. Ever since Rise of the Resistance opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the operations team has been constantly adjusting the park hours in an effort to meet guest demand.
We decided to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios early this morning to document what an 8am opening looks like (right now) and how you should plan if you’re visiting in the coming days and weeks.
We’ll talk about timing your arrival in a bit, but we’ll start with the first “opening” that you might experience, and that’s when bag check opens.
We’ll start with a relatively big caveat right now and that’s what we’ll call a transitionary period where Disney still staffs like a 7am opening as they try to wean guests off of the 7am openings and move to a standard 8am opening, or later. We’ve built an entire arrival guide and more on a 7am opening that looks to be a thing of the past, but guests we spoke to today were unaware that the park was opening at 8am today instead of the 7am opening that we’ve all been use to. While guests get use to an 8am opening, we anticipate seeing some of the operations decisions change in the next few days or longer.
Ok, all that said, bag check opened this morning at 5:52am for an 8am opening. This is likely unreasonably early and we’ll likely see that shift more towards 6:30am in the coming days.
As you can see in the photos below, the crowd really didn’t amount to much of anything.
This was as big as the crowd got. Much, much smaller than in the previous two months, but they also arrived much earlier relative to park opening.
Crowds Build and An Early Park Open
With so few guests inside of bag check 2 hours before official park opening, we actually saw Disney open up the tappoints earlier than ever (relative to official park opening). In recent weeks, Disney has typically opened up the tappoints about 30 minutes before official park opening. Today, Disney opened the tappoints 1hr and 15min before park opening, right about 6:45am.
By opening the tappoints so early, the crowd shrunk relatively quickly and made entering the park a breeze. Here is a look at the crowd building between 6am and 6:45am. We ended up taking pics every 5 minutes, but it became such a slow build that it would become tedious for a post like this.
Crowds built to a level that might look like a lot in the photo below…
…but it never really amounted to much as seen when we change our vantage point.
We actually saw the crowds dissipate so quickly that we didn’t both to try and enter the park right away. We walked back outside of the bag check to simulate a later arrival than our original 5:30am arrival. There was also a nice sunrise. Here’s a look at 7:05am.
The crowd is now mostly inside of the park and any lines that you would encounter are a result of normal rope drop crowds that you might find at any other Walt Disney World park this time of year.
Slowly making our way into the park at about 7:15am, or 45 minutes prior to official park opening. Of course, we continue to mention official park opening and while it’s important to note that attractions won’t be open until official park open, the more important thing is that you won’t be able to secure a Rise of the Resistance boarding group until the park is open. For more on the Rise of the Resistance boarding group process and our tips, check out our Rise of the Resistance boarding group virtual queue guide.
Back to the park entrance, any lane below won’t take more than 5 minutes for you to get through. Crowds at the entrance to the park are insignificant 45 minutes before official park open.
Hollywood Boulevard looks surprisingly calm with just 40 minutes until guests start refreshing the My Disney Experience app at 8am.
New Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Rope Drop
New today, Disney stopped guests at the Grand Avenue entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge instead of closer to Star Tours.
If you care about riding Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, perhaps you don’t stroll into the park like we did, and try to walk with a purpose towards the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge rope drop. While Hollywood Boulevard seemed calm just a few minutes ago, we finally found all of the crowds.
At 8am, expect a very slow march into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was operating well this morning.
If we had to sum up our experience, we’d say that an 8am opening is vastly better than a 7am opening.
By allowing guests to enter the park 1hr and 15min before official park open, there wasn’t a push to try and get into the park in just 30 minutes like in weeks prior. If we had to write up a new guide on when to arrive to ensure that you get a boarding group, we’d still suggest 60 minutes. Many of you don’t have the luxury of “trying again tomorrow” like some frequent visitors, so we want to make sure our recommendation is solid advice.
That said, if you want to try and press your luck, arriving 30 minutes prior to park opening should suffice too.
We’ll continue to monitor the transitionary period over the coming days to put together the best 8am park opening guide that we can. We hope that this first impressions post gives you a better idea of what to expect going forward.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news and photos from around the Disney Parks.