When Disney World opened up Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge back in August of 2019 without the FastPass system supporting the first ride, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, we knew it was only a matter of time before it would take FastPass+ reservations. We just didn’t know how long that would be. Well, it turns out the wait is 174 days or February 19th. That is the day that the Hollywood Studios FastPass+ tiers will change and Smugglers Run will be added to the FastPass+ system. In this post we’ll tell you how the tiers are changing and what it means for your plans.
Before we get to the details, we did want to point out that MyDisneyExperience is open for FastPass bookings under these new rules as of today, but only for park visits starting on February 19th.
What’s Changing with Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tiers?
The Hollywood Studios FastPass+ tiers are actually reverting back to something closer to what they had been for years, until they made the FastPass+ changes leading up to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. In fact, I’d say the changes make planning your Hollywood Studios FastPasses even simpler.
To break it down, the FastPass+ tiers at Hollywood Studios now look like this:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Tower of Terror
- Star Tours
- Frozen Sing-Along
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- MuppetVision 3D
- Disney Junior Dance Party!
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Implications for Touring Hollywood Studios
So, what does it mean? Well, one thing is certain, wait times for Smugglers Run are going to escalate. And potentially exponentially. Josh over at EasyWDW has a great article on what wait times for Smugglers Run could look like, so I won’t rehash that here.
If you have to wait in the standby line, our guess is that two plus hour waits are highly likely. We’ve never had to wait that long, with our longest wait running about and hour and a half. Usually our wait averaged around an hour.
So which Tier 1 Hollywood Studios ride should you select? I’d say pick whatever is a priority to you. Slinky Dog Dash doesn’t exactly have a short wait time, with it constantly running long waits throughout the day. An hour and 30-minute wait time is not uncommon for Slinky. For the tier 1 ride you don’t score a FastPass+ reservation for, we recommend you rope drop the ride or do it late at night.
Smugglers Run has a history of wait times waning late in the day, but the introduction of the FastPass+ option may change that. Nonetheless, we think an evening or near park closing ride time would work. Also, don’t forget that Smugglers Run has a single rider line that you can take advantage of. Just remember that single rider likely means you have no chance of being a pilot and a slim chance of being a gunner. If you’re okay with being an engineer, then this may be a good option to save time.
The choices open up substantially for your two tier 2 reservations. Based upon wait times, we think Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror are the clear choices for FastPass+ reservations. After those three, we would prioritize Star Tours and Alien Swirling Saucers. If you can’t score any of these FastPasses, you may want to consider going to Hollywood Studios on a different day. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line.
Don’t forget, if you can’t get one of the tier 1 FastPasses you will be able to select three of the tier 2 FastPasses.
What About Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway?
Noticeably absent from the Hollywood Studios FastPass+ tiers are Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Let’s talk about Rise of the Resistance first. The ride has been open for about a month and a half, yet it still continues to have reliability issues. In fact, it went down for several hours just a few days ago. For now, and probably for a while, Disney will still use the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance. The virtual queue allows Disney to control the flow of crowds into the ride by cutting off boarding groups should there be any issues with the ride.
As for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, all signs point to it opening on March 4, 2020 without the FastPass system being available for it. Whether Disney World uses a virtual queue for the ride or not, remains to be seen, but we think not. Rise of the Resistance is and will be the headline attraction at Hollywood Studios for the foreseeable future. Having people in the park at park open trying to join a virtual queue for two different rides just seems like a disaster in the making. Our guess is Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open with the standby line as your only option for riding.
It is highly unlikely that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be without the FastPass+ option for as long as either Galaxy’s Edge attraction. But it could be the summer before it joins the FastPass+ tiers at Hollywood Studios.
Of course, this is all just our best guess based upon previous ride opening protocol at Disney World and our current experiences with Rise of the Resistance.
All of This Is Temporary, But It’s A Positive Step
Building off the thread above, our guidance here is only a guess and it will change again once Disney World adds Rise of the Resistance to the Hollywood Studios FastPass+ tiers. It is a certainty that Rise of the Resistance will be a tier 1 ride when that happens. We also think it is likely that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be included in that tier. Time will tell though.
In our view, these changes are a massive positive. When Disney changed the FastPass+ tiers last year, we thought it was unnecessary. Moving rides like Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror back into tier 2 will allow guests to experience more of the in-demand rides if they plan ahead. Fail to plan ahead and your experience touring Hollywood Studios could be worse….a lot worse.
We’ll be at Hollywood Studios shortly after Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens in March. After we experience things first hand, we’ll report back!