Sharing our experience of Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando.
What we did, who we met, the breakfast we ate, and what we would recommend to you if you are heading for Early Morning Magic yourself, or thinking of booking this event.
Early Morning Magic was recently added to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Florida. This add-on ticketed event now joins the Early Morning Magic at Fantasyland Magic Kingdom, as a way for you to benefit by having a section of the park for a limited period of time with a capped number of people. Giving you very light to minimal queues and the event also includes a breakfast, but its all for an additional cost.
So is it just another way of Disney squeezing money out of us? Or did we feel it was worth the extra cost?
Priced at $79 per Adult (aged 10+ is classed as an Adult at Disney) and $69 per Child (aged 9 and below), plus your regular park ticket, Early Morning Magic can certainly add up if you are a family of 4 or party of several people.
How to Book
You can book Early Morning Magic by calling Disney on (407) 827 7350 (USA) or, if like me, you prefer to book most things online then you can book via the Walt Disney World website, I also find it easier to book online with living outside the USA. Early Morning Magic is open to anyone, you do not need to be staying at a Walt Disney Resort to be eligible to book this. As long as you have your regular, valid park ticket for the day you wish to go (we booked the Ultimate 14 day ticket for Disney as part of a UK resident package). You just book Early Morning Magic as a separate event, paying in full at the time of booking (there is a cancellation policy on the Disney Website too). The number for this event is capped (I have heard it to be approx 400/500 people, but don’t quote me on that!). Once a date is fully booked it would just be a case of checking back to see if any cancellations become available.
Days/Times – Currently Early Morning Magic for Toy Story Land is available to book for Monday and Wednesday mornings with some Friday mornings also available during holiday or peak Seasons. This of course is all subject to change especially with Stars Wars Galaxy Edge opening on August 29th 2019. We attended this event on a Wednesday morning last month and it was held from 7:30am until 10am. They actually let you into Hollywood Studios around 7am and we have found that Toy Story Land for Early Morning Magic opens at approx 7:20am. Hollywood Studios opens to the public around 9am (sometimes 8:45am when they start letting in people), so realistically this event gives you Toy Story Land to yourselves from 7:20am up until about 8:45/9am.
Our Early Morning Magic Experience…..
Early Morning Disney Transportation: Getting up at 5:30am and waking the kids up at 6am is something I can gladly say we don’t do very often but when at Disney getting up is never really a challenge, heck its Disney!
We were staying at the Disney Resort ‘Art of Animation’ and we headed over to the Hollywood Studios Bus Stop there for around 6:20am thinking we would use the Disney Transportation Bus to take us to the Park. Well…..we waited and waited, in fact we waited for 40 minutes for a Hollywood Studios Bus to come along which was pretty frustrating, especially when you are stood there watching 3 empty Magic Kingdom buses come and go in that time.
Initially I had hoped to be at Hollywood Studios for 7am at the latest, but as the bus didn’t arrive at the resort until that time it was about 7:15am when we eventually arrived at Hollywood Studios and made our way to the entrance. A little annoying as we would have just driven to the park had we have known (the Disney app wasn’t giving any times for Hollywood Studios buses that morning either).
Checking in for Early Morning Magic: Once you arrive at Hollywood Studios and you’ve gone through security, scanned your Park Ticket/MagicBand/fingerprint and all that jazz, you will then head over to a couple of Disney Cast Members who have Ipads (and when we were there they stood to the left of the entrance area). Here they will check you in and put your Early Morning Magic wristband on and point you down Hollywood Boulevard for you to head towards Toy Story Land. There were a few Cast Members dotted around to usher you towards Toy Story Land as you walked through the park. Sections of the park will be cornered off until park opening but it felt really cool walking through an empty park and being able to take in the surroundings without masses of people around.
Checking in for Early Morning Magic:
Once you arrive at Hollywood Studios and you’ve gone through security, scanned your Park Ticket/MagicBand/fingerprint and all that jazz, you will then head over to a couple of Disney Cast Members who have Ipads (and when we were there they stood to the left of the entrance area). Here they will check you in and put your Early Morning Magic wristband on and point you down Hollywood Boulevard for you to head towards Toy Story Land. There were a few Cast Members dotted around to usher you towards Toy Story Land as you walked through the park. Sections of the park will be cornered off until park opening but it felt really cool walking through an empty park and being able to take in the surroundings without masses of people around.
We made it to Toy Story Land! We were all really excited as we approached Toy Story Land, it was the first time any of us had been and as you turn the corner and see the giant Woody, you will start to see the rest of the colourful and incredibly brilliantly themed area and I have to say its quite a sight. We could hear quite a few ‘oohs’ and ‘wows’ from people close to us as we were walking along.
You’ll be greeted with some of Woody’s favourite phrases as well as classic Toy Story songs as you pass the giant Woody at the entrance. As we walked in we could also see Slinky Dog Dash was already up and running.
Time-wise for us we hit Toy Story Land about 7:30am, as mention above I have heard it does actually open about 7:20am (even though they tell you 7:30am). So if you want to be one of the first to ride the rides then my advice would be to make sure you are right there at Toy Story Land for about 7:20am. Be sure to give yourself that extra time to get to the parks, especially if you are taking Disney transportation!.
Meeting the Toy Story Characters
Woody and Jessie – I had read that meeting Woody and Jessie (who meet together) was one of the activities in Toy Story Land that more often than not had largest queue during Early Morning Magic. As this was a huge must-do for our girls who both adore Jessie, we met them first before hitting the rides. We were actually very lucky that we just happened to be stood there taking in Toy Story Land and were discussing if we should head straight to Slinky Dog Dash first, when we spotted Woody and Jessie coming out and heading over to pretty much where we were stood.
Huge Tip for meeting Woody & Jessie! – We were amongst the first group of people to meet them that morning and honestly if your children or anyone in your party want to meet them then I would highly recommend doing this first, because not long after we met them the queue was pretty long and that only grew as Early Morning Magic went on. I think they came out about 7:30/7:35am time so if you happen to get into Toy Story Land at 7:20am then you could maybe get in a quick ride before meeting them, or like we did meet them first then head for the rides. That way you won’t spend a chunk of your Early Morning Magic time queuing to meet characters.
Buzz Lightyear – We met Buzz after we had been on all the Toy Story Land rides and we only waited about 5-10 minutes to meet him. There really wasn’t much of a queue to meet him during Early Morning Magic and I have heard others say the same. So I think if you want to meet Buzz he is one you can fit around your plans.
Where to meet the Characters
Slinky Dog Dash – I think most people when they first enter Toy Story Land will head straight for Slinky Dog Dash, its the first ride you see and to be honest is probably the biggest draw of the area. We rode this after meeting Woody and Jessie so it was around 7:40am when we headed there, at that point there was about 10/15 minute queue, they directed us through the Fastpass line for all the rides.
We loved Slinky Dog Dash, it was our eldest daughter’s favourite ride in the whole of Disney (she is aged 7). She actually got to ride Slinky Dog Dash 3 times during Early Morning Magic (could have quite easily have ridden it 5 times). Our plan was to ride all the rides once, making sure we had met Woody, Jessie and Buzz, then the kids could choose what they wanted to go on again for the remaining Early Morning Magic time. At this point our eldest chose Slinky Dog Dash which I think by this time it was about 8:30am, so she went on once with my husband and then again with me and both times it was pretty much a walk-on with less than a 5 minute wait. We could easily have squeezed in another ride or two on Slinky Dog if we had wanted to at that end as well (especially if you are more hard core when it comes to rides than us). We found the queue for Slinky Dog Dash reduced as the Early Morning Magic time went on which is also something to consider.
Alien Swirling Saucers – The second new ride to Toy Story Land and the second ride we went on. This one is at the furthest end of Toy Story Land (and opposite the restrooms) and it was so much fun. We only did this ride once, but again this was basically a walk on.
Toy Story Mania – I remember this ride from my last trip to Disney before Toy Story Land opened, they have moved the ride entrance into Toy Story Land and I have to say the attention to detail in the queuing area is incredible. We all loved this ride, especially our youngest who is 4 years old. Another walk-on with no queue, we went on this ride twice (and we got quite competitive with the scoring!).
Popsicle Wall – If you are an Instagram or #DisneyWalls fan then you may know about the ‘Popsicle Wall’. You can find this wall towards the end of the Toy Story Mania ride exit (when you are outside).
Park Opening Time
By 8:45/9am we were pretty much done and dusted with Toy Story Land, we had had so much fun at a pretty leisurely-4-year-old-walking-pace, with no stress or rush – seen, met and rode everything we wanted to and were ready to fill our tummies with food.
We sat in the ‘Andy’s Lunchbox’ area in the shade watching the sea of people entering Toy Story Land at park opening. It was quite a sight watching this swarm of people heading towards you, and by 9:10am the queue for Slinky Dog Dash was already at nearly 2 hours! Insane to think our daughter had just been on Slinky Dog Dash 3 times in the space of an hour (plus everything else) with little to no queuing and could have easily gone on again during that time.
Although Andy’s lunchbox (a counter service outdoor eatery) is not open during Early Morning Magic, there was a coffee stall just by it offering free coffee and water should you need a pick-me-up or refreshment during the Early Morning Magic event.
The morning we attended Early Morning Magic, the breakfast was served over at the Backlot Express Restaurant which is pretty much at the other end of Hollywood Studios, so at park opening we headed over there. With your Early Morning Magic wristband you will be directed to an area where you can choose from a selection of breakfast offerings:
- (Adult Menu) Mexican Corn Chilaquiles and Eggs Bowl
- (Adult Menu) Shrimp and Southern Grits Bowl
- (Adult Menu) Fried Chicken and Cinnamon Sugar French Donut Bowl
- (Adult Menu) Smashed Avocado Toast and Egg Plate
- (Adult Menu) Breakfast Charcuterie Platter – smoked salmon, chopped hard boiled egg, Debreziner sausage, cured salami crostini
- (Kids Menu) – Fried Chicken and Cinnamon Sugar French Donut
- (Kids Menu) – Scrambled Eggs and Sweet Potato Barrels Bowl
Plus there is a buffet of pastries, yogurts, cereals and a refillable drinks station with coffees, teas, water and juices.
Having been up and out since 5:30/6am that morning, eating at 9am sort of became brunch really and we treated it as such. None of us in our family have a big appetites at all and we always struggle with American portion sizing to be honest. My husband actually chose a kids meal as he couldn’t face anything else in the heat and humidity at that time, but the rest of the food offerings did look good.
I chose the Breakfast Charcuterie Platter which was delicious and not to heavy making it ideal for the rest of the day in the park. Our kids (and the Hubbie) all chose the Scrambled Eggs and Sweet Potato Barrels Bowl.
We skipped the buffet completely as the breakfast meal filled us all but if you can eat way much better than we can, then there is certainly plenty of choices and food available.[/one_half_last]
I am so glad we booked this event, it was one of our favourite mornings of our whole trip. We loved Toy Story Land and thought the theming and attention to detail was incredible. I know going to Disney involves a lot of queuing but with little ones (and just because we are rather impatient) if there is a way to limit or avoid these queues then we would happily take it.
The cost is not cheap and as mentioned it will certainly add up depending on your family or party size, however we would book this again in a heartbeat. Toy Story Land was always a must-do for us and being able to see and do everything we wanted with the girls at such a leisurely pace, with very little queues and all together in one go, it was well worth the money.
I know it may not be for everyone and the Early Morning Magic offered at Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom certainly offers more rides and character greetings, but for us Toy Story is a massive favourite and because it is so hugely popular right now with most rides having well over an hour wait, we honestly felt it was well worth the extra cost. It also freed up fastpasses and time we then spent on the rest of the park, so I feel we got to see and do so much more of Hollywood Studios than we would have done had we not booked Early Morning Magic. I know quite a few people do Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land and then Park-Hop over to one of the other Disney Parks to use their fastpasses at which is also another great idea, especially if you are limited to half a day in a park.
I know it may not be for everyone and the Early Morning Magic offered at Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom certainly offers more rides and character greetings, but for us Toy Story is a massive favourite and because it is so hugely popular right now with most rides having well over an hour wait, we honestly felt it was well worth the extra cost.
It also freed up fastpasses and time we then spent on the rest of the park, so I feel we got to see and do so much more of Hollywood Studios than we would have done had we not booked Early Morning Magic. I know quite a few people do Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land and then Park-Hop over to one of the other Disney Parks to use their fastpasses at which is also another great idea, especially if you are limited to half a day in a park.
I have to say that we also preferred spending our money on Early Morning Magic over some of the character meals, we personally felt we got a lot more value for money with Early Morning Magic.
If time is limited during your stay, or like us the thought of facing hour long queues for rides and character greetings fills you with a bit of apprehension and the budget allows…then I could not recommend Early Morning Magic enough, we absolutely loved it.
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