First Impressions and Crowd Levels for an 8am Opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Rise of the Resistance Tips

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.

Bag Check

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.

The Takeaway

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.

Mike
Mike is the owner and writer for BlogMickey.com. Visiting the parks daily allows him to keep up with the latest Disney news, reviews, and photos from around the Disney Parks

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the update today! We’re visiting on 3/23 with a still posted 9a opening which I know will slide back to at least 8a.

  2. Will be curious to see how this plays out. First day of our trip in July has a park opening at 9am with EMH at 8am. So either they’re planning to transition to FP by then, give the shaft to those staying off property and not eligible for EMH, or they haven’t figured it out yet and will adjust at a later date factoring in run away railway and it becomes a free for all mad dash to 1 of the 5 new rides.

  3. You have to get in a boarding group only once at the park via the app? And that can only be done once the park opens? Just want to be sure. Headed there Sunday.

  4. We were in Hollywood Studios today (2-4-2020) and the opening time was 8:00 am. We didn’t get into the park until 8:20 and got boarding pass 122. Our boarding pass was called at 6:18 PM and the queue and ride took about 55 minutes. Finished the whole process at 7:13 PM. Getting in the park earlier will help getting an earlier boarding pass and showing up too late will make sure you don’t have an opportunity to ride.

  5. I’m confused on something. If the boarding pass become available at 8am or park opening. Can you go make the line for smugglers run and while waiting refresh the app to get a boarding pass. That way you get to do both attractions.

    Is there a guide that will help accomplish this.

    Sorry if it’s a dumb question. Lol

    • Not a dumb question. You will be held outside of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge until 8am park open. Right at 8am, you’ll essentially be trying to get a Boarding Group while at the same time walking back towards Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

    • They probably would not allow you access that far into the park prior to OFFICIAL opening time. They had the crowd stopped at the end of Sunset Blvd (we walked that way) AND at tunnel to Galaxy per this article. They will allow access to some areas but not all. If you’re trying to get a ride in first thing it would be after trying for a boarding group.

  6. Thanks for the updates! I’d the Millenium Falcon rope drop is at galaxys edge, does that mean you can possibly sign up for Jedi training before rope drop or is the sign ups not manned yet?

  7. Sorry if this is a stupid question but is the boarding pass separate from the fast passes and how exactly do you get the boarding pass??

  8. We also attended that first 8am opening. Staying at Riviera. Left resort 7:08 via Uber. Skyline was posted to begin service at 8am. We did see buses at pick up but opted for Uber as we had one shot at Rise. We planned to be bag free and walked right though both the check & tapstyle. Had 20ish minutes to go before boarding groups were available. Got lucky and rose with group 45. Did close and reopen ap once post 8am during boarding try. Ap stated groups 63 & below would be standard, above 63 as backup. This was an 8am – 9pm day. Headed back to hotel for some breakfast. Group was called about noon (4 hours after park opening) I liked arriving after the sun was up. I’m a fan of later opening with extended evening hours rather than earlier openings. Good luck !

  9. Does it matter where you stand when not using Disney wi-fi in regards to your internet connection? I had planned on going to try and go to Slinky after rope drop so I would be accessing the app there. I had heard it’s better to try for Smuggler’s later in the day as a single rider due to the ride having such a small capacity. Any advice on this?

    Thanks:)

    • If not using Disney Wi-Fi, it would depend on multiple factors such as provider, signal strength, network congestion and more. It’s hard to answer that, but it would likely be easier to access the internet than it might be in a more densely packed area like in front of Cinderella Castle during the fireworks.

  10. We were there yesterday. Arrived at security at 7:50. Attempted to reserve boarding group at 8:15 (account mix up prevented us from trying any earlier). We got group 120 (so no guarantee) and were called at 7pm.

  11. We were there this morning before 8 got group 99 and they only made it to group 67 (63 and up was backup)
    We had a party of 11 and the had to reload app

  12. I’m planning on driving down from Tacoma wa and Disneyland/Anaheim on March 17th. I’m handicapped I use a Walker (the one with wheels) I’m bringing my collapsible cane but I can’t stand with it for more than 10 minutes. I was told by Disney that since I’m a single rider I’ll get a boarding pass, is that true?

    I plan on arriving early, before 8am. Do I need a boarding pass for Millennium falcon ride? and most importantly can I take my Walker in the rides closest to where I have to sit?
    If I don’t get a boarding pass it won’t be the end of the world, I suffer from neuropathy and degenerative joint disease aka arthritis in all my joints and my spine and it’s just going to get worse, this will be my last trip anywhere.
    Thanks for the help on here.

  13. Was there last week. Arrived to the park at 630. Ended up with boarding group 75 and was called back around 1pm. The app was confusing bc when refreshed I was not able to “join a boarding group”. I had to select “check my status” and then was able to join a boarding group that way – just in case Anyone encounters the same experience. Thankfully someone next to me was nice enough to help me!

  14. Quick question..heading there next week…i was told it is better to try to get a boarding group on two phones at the same time as the first one getting one will block the other account getting one. I know it works if two adults have two MDE accounts (and each have the other one in its party) but can you do it with kids below 13 ?

  15. We were also there on 2/4 for opening and definitely thought the 8am open while a more pleasant wakeup was over all a far worse day.

    We had done a 7am open a few days earlier, gotten a guaranteed group 63, rope dropped toy story land to ride slinky dog and I got the little guy on alien swirling saucers while waiting on the ride swap. Got on several more rides that morning and met all the toy story characters without bad waits. Group got called around lunch but due to malfunctions we never got on rise(per one of your other posts that day was one of the worst downtimes since opening) although were in the queue when they declared it was down for the day. Complementary fast passes got us on a few days later but the 4 days of trying to get on and running into downtime every time we made it back to the park tainted the experience and we came away thinking “it was alright” despite loving star wars.

    Fast forward to 2/4, as you mentioned no problems at the front of the park but massive crowds everywhere else. Got a backup group 96 which was eventually called around 530 (evidently backup groups only get a 1 hr call back by the way). Due to everyone taking advantage of the later open to try to get rise, massive lines all day. Smugglers run was at 70 minutes by the time we got far enough through batuu to see it(I.e. about 810). The line I saw looked like that was an underestimate, it went to toy story land and wrapped most old the way back to the falcon. Even alien swirling saucers was at 50 minutes as the shortest wait in the park. We basically hit our fast passes and bailed for epcot, nothing else was worth the wait.

    I hope the 8am crowds have calmed down since then. What we experienced I would have expected for peak season, not early February.

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