Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land
Mark and I were in Walt Disney World last weekend for a quick whirlwind visit, and the highlight of the trip (by far!) was Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land. If you haven’t heard of it, Early Morning Magic is a new ticketed event that gives you access to Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios on select days from 7:30-8:45am, before the park opens at 9am. It’s billed as a dining package, because it also comes with an all-you-can-eat breakfast that’s available till 10am.
Not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours, which allows Disney Hotel guests to enter specific parks an hour earlier (or later) than regular guests at no extra charge, Early Morning Magic is an event that requires the purchase of a special ticket, on top of a park entry ticket. Our tickets were around $85 per person, though prices may vary based on availability and date.
I’ve gotten a ton of questions on the Early Morning Magic event, so I wanted to do a full review of the experience (all the pros, all the cons, and all the little bits in between) so you can see if it should be on your WDW To Do list, too!
How it works
We purchased our tickets online, a few weeks before our trip. You can technically purchase tickets up until the day of, but if this is something that you know you’re interested in, I highly recommend getting tickets in advance. They currently only offer this event on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and they do cap attendance at a pretty low number.
The event doesn’t start until 7:30am, but you definitely want to get there earlier than that. We took a taxi from the Grand Floridian around 6:30am, and were one of the first people in line at the Hollywood Studios security. They scanned our park tickets, then checked our names off the list of event attendees and gave us special wristbands. At about 7am, they let us in and allowed everyone to walk over to the breakfast area to grab food before Toy Story Land officially opened at 7:30am. Since Mark and I were still very much on West Coast time (and eggs at 4:30am didn’t sound too hot), we skipped out on food and hung out by the Chinese Theatre, where cast members were waiting to walk us to Toy Story Land.
At 7:30am sharp, we were in! Cast members walked us into a magically EMPTY Toy Story Land, and we were free to ride the rides, take in the sights, and enjoy the land to our hearts content.
Obviously the biggest perk of this event is the opportunity to visit Toy Story Land without the usual hordes upon hordes of people. As soon as we walked into Toy Story Land, we hopped onto the Alien Swirling Saucers ride. And, if we wanted, we could’ve hopped right back on the Alien Swirling Saucers ride again and again and again. Toy Story Mania was also at a 0 minute, walk-on wait. And there weren’t lines of strollers clogging up the pathways, or masses of people clogging up the stand-by lines — it was all free and clear and glorious.
Even the characters were out to play, and at one point Woody and Jesse made a point of running in circles down the pathway cause they were so excited at how empty the place was. Very cute.
The only downside was… Slinky Dog Dash. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Ok, the downsides. Well, downside — singular. There was really only one downside of the event, but unfortunately it was a pretty big one: Slinky Dog Dash was down for most of the event. And let’s be real, getting to ride Slinky Dog Dash without a monstrous wait time is the the main reason people pay for tickets to this event in the first place.
As they were walking us into Toy Story Land, we were told that Slinky was “sleeping,” but that they were hoping he’d “wake up” in no time. So everyone dispersed, and headed for the other two rides that were open: Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania. After riding those, and taking some time to wander the land and take photos, Slink still wasn’t open.
By 8:15, more than halfway into the event, Slinky Dog was still down and everyone was getting pretty antsy. As a make-good, the cast members told us that our event wristbands could be used as a FastPass to any ride in the park (including Slink, if it opened) until 10am. It didn’t really do much to appease the crowd, but I suppose it was better than nothing.
We were starting to give up hope, but then — lo and behold — the ride opened! By this point, it was about 8:45am, the time that the event was set to end. After they walked us through the queue and we had our first ride on Slink (sooooo much fun) the park was officially open and the rest of the crowds had funneled their way to Toy Story Land.
Since our event wristbands had been turned into FastPasses by the Disney powers that be, we were able to hop on Slink two more times by using the FastPass line. So, even though the wait time skyrocketed to 130 minutes once the park opened, we were able to get on twice more in less than 20 minutes.
It certainly wasn’t the best case scenario (I’d read reviews of this event where people rode Slinky Dog 6-7 times, easy, and never waited more than a couple minutes), but at least we got to ride it at all! And three times is way better than zero times.
After getting our fill of Slinky Dog, we rushed over to grab breakfast. They had a bunch of options, from the standard continental breakfast to hot eggs and tater tots, and even avocado toast.
Sounds good, right? Well, it wasn’t. The continental breakfast was really just sugar-filled boxed danishes, the eggs tasted like instant, and the avocado toast was actually guacamole and toast chips. But honestly, we had low expectations of the breakfast and weren’t really disappointed. We found the food to be on par with most of the quick service we’ve experienced at Walt Disney World (read: bad). Whereas Disneyland has AMAZING park eats (fresh, delicious, and wildly creative), Walt Disney World still has a long ways to go…
Bad food and Slinky Dog issues notwithstanding, I still highly recommend the Early Morning Magic event. It was such a trip being able to experience Toy Story Land without the crazy crowds, even if it did mean a craaaaaazy early wake-up call. We had a blast wandering through the empty pathways, saying hi to Jesse and Woody, riding Alien Swirling Saucers for the first time, and getting on Slink three times in a row.
It was also pretty awesome to see what we we got to skip once the park opened up. Slinky Dog jumped immediately to a 135 minute wait, with a line that wrapped all the way out of Toy Story Land. Wowza. And instead of spending 2+ hours in line, we got to head back to hotel, having gotten our fair share of thrills and very much ready for a nap.