All eyes turn to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has opened in California. In this Walt Disney World photo update, we’ll share progress on the latest changes at DHS, and what else is on the horizon as the park prepares for what’s to come once that blockbuster new land opens.
For starters, we’ll remind you of our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Grand Opening coverage. Those of you who don’t care about Disneyland might’ve glossed over it, but it’s worth reiterating that the two lands are nearly identical. The only differences are minor and cosmetic–basically, just the pathways leading into the land. The substance is totally the same, save for whatever gets axed between now and August 29, 2019 because it simply “didn’t work” in California. (Sporks, we’re looking at you!)
In terms of what Walt Disney World has announced thus far to handle Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge crowds, it’s basically just Extra, Extra Magic Hoursat this point. Not to diminish those, as we think early arrival will be huge. You can bet you’ll see us waiting outside Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 5 a.m. numerous mornings in September and October.
Thus far, we also know about the Huge Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tier Changes. That one hasn’t been as well received, but it’s a necessary check on crowd distribution…everyone complaining about the new tiers would be complaining a lot more if they got to the park and literally couldn’t navigate the walkways to get anywhere. We still don’t know about timed entry reservations (highly unlikely) or any sort of FastPass-like boarding pass system (here’s hoping!).
Moving on to the substance of the update, let’s start outside the park…
From best I can tell, the Skyliner station at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is finished.
It looks nice; my second-favorite of the bunch in terms of blending with its surroundings.
This appears to be signage that’s covered until its grand unveiling.
Too bad we can’t see through the cloaking materials or deduce what it says based upon its surroundings. I guess we’ll find out what it says in a few months. I can’t wait!
The new bag check area that was under construction last month is now finished and open.
Even at half-capacity on a moderately busy day, the bag check process was smooth.
The other side, which was previously the only bag check area, is now behind this wall.
Once this is finished, the total permanent space devoted to bag check will roughly double. Between that and the new metal detectors that don’t require removing anything from your pockets, this experience should be better. (Still not as good as with bag scanners, but it’s a start.)
Inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, several facades are behind construction walls.
This is similar to Project Stardust at Disneyland, except scaled back. That’s in large part because Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t need as much help on the crowd-flow front. This park needs capacity.
As with Disneyland, you can expect to see a lot of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge merchandise sold outside of the land itself.
Disney won’t want to miss out on merchandise sales from those who can’t enter Galaxy’s Edge. (Personally, I think it’d be mildly amusing if some items were sold exclusively in Epcot–the ultimate redistribution of crowds!)
This is across from Tatooine Traders.
I have zero idea what (if anything) is being built here.
No clue what’s happening here, either.
My assumption for all of this is “general crowd flow enhancements” but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a pop-up shop or two.
Speaking of which, here’s a look at the new store at the exit of Toy Story Mania. It…uh…exists?
We’ve been critical of Toy Story Land, and I know some readers don’t like that…but I think once Galaxy’s Edge opens, the sharp quality contrast between the two will be more readily apparent. (That, and there are just so many ‘unforced errors’ in Toy Story Land.)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been fairly busy–or so it seems if you’re going by wait times.
The park itself doesn’t feel too bad. Busy, but not oppressively so.
It was a very hot day and Dinosaur Gertie’s was not open.
Fortunately, the ice cream stand over by Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular was open. Disaster averted…even though we all know ice cream tastes better when served from a giant dinosaur.
Also not open: MuppetVision 3D at 6:10 pm!
I know this is not a new change, but when the headliners all have triple digit waits, it’s more than just annoying that this park is closing attractions early.
One of my new favorite photo angles for Tower of Terror is over by Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. I’m still playing with the angle; this shot probably shows a bit too much of the lower portion of the building.
Let’s just round this update out with a few more photos from around Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
That’s a wrap! I know what you’re thinking: “BUT Tom, you haven’t even covered the return of PizzeRizzo or quasi-table service dinner at ABC Commissary!!!” I know you’re all on pins and needles, but we have an upcoming ABC Commissary reservation (three words I never thought I’d type next to one another), so we’ll report back on that soon.
What are your thoughts on the changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as it prepares for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Think this park is ready for the onslaught of crowds? Thoughts on anything else we covered in this update? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!