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I've done my fair share of tours at Disney World, that's for sure. From private VIP day tours with only myself, my husband, and our two boys, to group tours that Fast Passed thirty of us through a day of thrilling rides or a night of exciting adventures. In all this time, I've never done a tour that focused on only a few rides or only one section of a park. So, on my last trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, I decided to change that and do Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land. (read more)
EARLY MORNING MAGIC AT TOY STORY LAND REVIEW
As much as I love Disney World and all the parks therein, I have to tell you that I'm not a fan of waiting in line. Yes, I'll do it, but only with the help of a Touring Plan. If I can figure out a way to not do it, especially if it costs me less than $100 and includes a meal, I'm probably going to jump at the chance.
Now, if I were going to Disney (either Florida or California) and I didn't have a tour booked, I would not go without a Touring Plan, period. So, if you're planning a trip and haven't already made your own Touring Plan, go over to their site and do it. You'll save a ton of time, a ton of hassle, and you'll ride 25 more rides than anyone else in the park in the same amount of time. (I'm probably not even exaggerating there).
This is doubly so for a new part of the park, like Toy Story Land. The only time I've ever ridden Slinky Dog Dash was while I was on the updated Ultimate Day of Thrills tour. I've never waited in line for it, I've never even come remotely close to finding a Fast Pass for it, and I counted myself seriously lucky when I found out they added it to Ultimate Day of Thrills. I would put it on a Touring Plan, but since I've done the tours, I just leave it off unless I'm going tour free.
That said, Ultimate Day of Thrills is not cheap, and since I've done it four times; I have a really hard time justifying the cost, especially if I'm going to be in the Disney bubble for more than a few days.
So when I found out that I could do Disney Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land, and that I could get 15% off the price with my annual pass, I thought it was a great idea!
Yes, it is only about an hour and a half of park time, but it's in an area of the park where you only have three rides to choose from, and all are in close proximity to one another. Add in that you also get a full breakfast, a half hour (or more) to focus on that food, and this becomes a really reasonably priced way to get more out of Hollywood Studios.
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TOY STORY EARLY MORNING MAGIC REVIEW - GETTING THERE AND CHECKING IN
Let's start from the top!
First off, your access to Hollywood Studios is going to start a full two hours before the park opens. This is great because the crowds are LOW!
It's not great because you can't really rely on Disney Transportation to get you there. I think the busses might be running, but we didn't want to chance it, and I don't think you should chance it either. So, my recommendation would be to get your Uber or Lyft app ready and plan to leave your resort hotel with enough time to get you to Hollywood Studios around 6:45 a.m.
That's SO early! I know!
We left All Star Movies at 6:30 a.m. and were pulling into an almost entirely empty drop off area by 6:45 a.m.
Exit the car, and proceed exactly as you would were you visiting the park during normal hours.
You're going to go through security then head over to the tapstiles. You're probably going to see a few clusters of people gathered around Cast Members holding tablets.
Go say hi to a Cast Member, tell them you're there for Early Morning Magic, and let them scan your band. They will verify that your name is on the list, then they'll put a special wrist band around your wrist so everyone there knows you are good to go.
Once you've got that wrist band you're going to head over to a tapstile, scan your band/card and fingerprint like normal, then head into the park.
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TOY STORY EARLY MORNING MAGIC BREAKFAST
The park is going to be empty with a capital E. There will be Cast Members positioned at various points to make sure you're headed in the right direction and to prevent you from wandering off to places that aren't yet open to the public.
These Cast Members are going to direct you over to Backlot Express where you can enjoy some super tasty food, all of which is included in the price of your ticket.
I'm going to put a little caveat here just so no one gets mad at me. I believe there were some alcoholic drinks available on the menu. I didn't order any, but you should be aware than if you choose to partake, that's probably going to be an extra charge.
There are a few choices available as meals, and also a full Continental breakfast in addition to any meal you choose.
For example, I had an egg with guacamole, salad, and french bread. I also stuffed myself with pastries and coffee. I believe you can only order one main meal, but you can visit the Continental breakfast buffet as many times as you like.
Ordering is done just as you would any quick service at the parks. Head to one of the cash register lines, look up at the board above your head, place your order, take your ticket, then give that ticket to the Cast Member manning the counter in front of you.
If you have allergies, be sure to mention it to the Cast Members. I was traveling with a friend who has a gluten allergy. They were able to accommodate her, no problem.
Her breakfast was every bit as good as mine, and she even got some lovely looking chocolate muffins. I didn't try them, but only because I figured she's got enough food restriction going on without me trying to eat off her plate. If you're wondering what a gluten free breakfast looks like, check out the picture below.
I know you're thinking, "That's a lot of food!" It was, and she loved it.
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EARLY MORNING MAGIC TOY STORY LAND GLUTEN FREE FOOD
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS TOY STORY EARLY MORNING MAGIC
Early Morning Magic Hours Toy Story - 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.
Once the toys wake up (at 7:30 a.m.), the Cast Members will let you know that you have the all clear to head into Toy Story Land.
Again there will be Cast Members making sure you don't get lost, so don't worry if you don't know where you're going. This is always a concern of mine no matter how many times I've visited the parks, but don't fret. The Cast Members want to make your life as easy as possible! Just look out for them, listen to their instructions, and enjoy your crowd free morning.
Before you get to the rides, you're going to notice that there are characters out and about! The lines are short, the Photo Pass Cast Members are plentiful, so go get those awesome pictures without waiting a half hour in hundred degree heat.
That's me on the right, and my gluten free friend and Disney Travel Agent on the left.
Look behind us in the picture, see the crowds? No? That's because there aren't any. It's pretty empty!
I swear by my Pomchie and my easy to stow LED light string to make sure I never lose my stroller at Disney World, but (had my kids been with me), they would have been completely unnecessary during this event.
Since I get a load of questions about the shirts you see in my pictures, I'm going to tell you that I get them on Etsy, but you probably knew that.
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TOY STORY EARLY MORNING MAGIC REVIEW - LET'S TALK WAIT TIMES
We didn't really have any method when it came to riding rides. Somewhere in my head I had decided that it would be best to start at Toy Story Mania. Definitely, if you love Toy Story Mania Early Morning Magic will let you do it over and over. I figured most of the crowds would likely head over to Slinky Dog Dash since it's undoubtedly the most popular ride in the land. I figured we'd give those folks a chance to ride and then head over to other rides, letting us have a shorter line at Slinky Dog Dash.
I don't know if it worked.
Toy Story Mania was our first stop, and while it wasn't "walk on", it was a very short line, maybe 10 minutes, but likely less than that. It was faster than the Fast Pass line the last time I went through, of that I am sure.
We rode Toy Story Mania, and for the first time in my life I was NOT the best in the car, but only by 500 points, so my ego isn't too badly damaged.
After Toy Story Mania we decided to head over to Alien Swirling Saucers. I'd never been on this ride, being that it wasn't included in the Ultimate Day Of Thrills tour and I never considered spending a Fast Pass on it.
It's a FUN ride, I really enjoyed it!
There's me on the left, Missy on the right.
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TOY STORY EARLY MORNING MAGIC REVIEW - SLINKY DOG DASH
With the first two rides under our belts, we decided to head over to Slinky Dog Dash. We figured the line would be super short and we'd be able to ride it a few times before things wrapped up and the other guests were allowed into the park.
Our first walk through the line was disheartening. I think it took every bit of a half hour.
Here is a picture I took when we'd been in line for about ten minutes. We were close, but still 20 minutes out from being on the ride.
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The longer than expected wait was tempered by the fact that we got to sit in the front row on our first ride. It also helped that it wasn't blazing hot out yet.
There we are, number one!
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And here we are enjoying the backward pull before rocketing off on the second half of the ride.
We rode Slinky Dog Dash twice more, and each time the line was no more than five minutes, so I think we either just timed it wrong on the first go round, or people began migrating toward the Toy Story Land exit so they could start lining up to hit the front of the line on other rides they want to ride once general park opening occurs.
We had some fast passes for the morning so we stayed put and kept enjoying the emptiness around us.
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Don't forget to smile for your picture!
TOY STORY EARLY MORNING MAGIC REVIEW - LEAVING THE LAND
We got off our third ride of Slinky Dog Dash around 8:57 a.m. Once we walked out the exit we could see that non Early Morning Magic guests were lined up and ready to go, so we called it a day on that part of the park.
I believe you could easily ride all three rides at least twice in the hour and a half you have for the event, or you could ride your favorite over, and over again, it's whatever you want!
You can also head to Backlot Express afterward, all the way until 10 a.m., so you can enjoy some more food on the house, as long as you are still wearing your wrist band.
Check out the start of the line for Slinky Dog Dash! I caught this picture as we were leaving. It was WAY far away from Toy Story Land! That's Voyage of The Little Mermaid in the background. I can't even imagine what the wait time was at this point, but I was GLAD not to be in it.
IS EARLY MORNING MAGIC AT TOY STORY LAND WORTH IT?
This is one of those great things you can book online, unlike Ultimate Day Of Thrills and Ultimate Nights of Adventure.
Toy Story Land Early Morning Magic Tickets - Just head over to the Disney World web page and find Early Morning Magic. If you don't want to go search, just click here, I've taken care of the heavy work.
You're welcome. :)
I would recommend booking WELL IN ADVANCE. I don't know how many tickets are sold for Toy Story Early Morning Magic, but the spaces are limited and that's good because you actually want to be able to ride the rides you want to ride.
If you are working with a Travel Agent, ask him or her to book it for you, they will, no problem.
Toy Story Land Early Morning Magic Cost - How much is Toy Story Early Morning Magic? The cost is $79 per person, a bit less expensive for kids, and then 15% off of that if you're an Annual Passholder.
Toy Story Land Early Morning Magic Sold Out - If you get this notice, I'm not sure there's any way to get a ticket. I did accidentally book the wrong date and was able to cancel and rebook, so I would imagine you might have a chance if you keep checking back, right up until two days before you want to go, which is the cut off time for others to get refunds.
Toy Story Land Early Morning Magic Dates - The dates do change, depending on when you're going, so definitely go to the Disney Link (just click there) and look at your dates to see if Toy Story Early Morning Magic is available. I believe it is only offered two or three days each week, so depending on how long you are there, you're likely to find a slot, but only if you book early.
Is Toy Story Early Morning Magic Worth it? In my opinion, this event is worth every penny. I would caution those of you traveling with very small children to pay attention to both height requirements and temperament of your child.
I caution the height requirement because I was in line and watched a Cast Member tell a family that their daughter was too short for Slinky Dog Dash. That's a lot of money to spend if you aren't going to be able to ride all of the rides you thought you'd be able to.
I only talk about temperament because this is an EARLY adventure. You're going to need to leave your resort no later than 6:30 in the morning. If your kids are like mine, this could make for some grumpy faces and meltdowns in the lines (no matter how short those lines are).
The most important thing is that you are able to make the most of Toy Story Land while you've got that early morning access.
I hope you have a great time!