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New Park Opening Procedures at Hollywood Studios

New Park Opening Procedures at Hollywood Studios

Due to the low crowds Disney World has experienced, the park opening procedure has changed at Hollywood Studios. How long will this last and will other parks do the same? Here’s what we know!

Low Crowds

July 2020 in Fantasyland. Credit: Kenny

I feel like a broken record when I say the last few weeks have been unheard of since last July! The parks have grown busier as the months continue on. September is historically a great time to visit, but it looks like this slow season began a few weeks ago.

Whether it be people canceling their plans due to the variant or simply holding off until the 50th anniversary celebrations begin, this is not the typical September crowds we see.

As a result, Hollywood Studios is modifying its opening park procedures. However, we need to back up a bit first so I can explain how it has been since rope dropping returned earlier this summer.

Regular Park Procedures

Credit: Monica

When rope drop returned earlier this summer, we returned to the traditional process of waiting at various points. First, you would be held at security, next at the official park entrance, and then you were held at various points in the park depending on what attraction you wanted to ride first.

You can read about my rope drop experience at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Donna covered Animal Kingdom as well.

Credit: KtP writer Donna

I much preferred the way things were during the initial months of the pandemic. From last July up until June, you were basically not held anywhere due to social distancing concerns. You could enter the park an hour before official park opening and knock out a few rides!

In order to try to space people out, guests who were driving to Hollywood Studios could not park until park opening.

Low Crowd Park Procedures

Credit: Disney

Because of the low crowds, it appears Disney is wanting to spread pixie dust to those visiting.

The traditional rope drop has disappeared for the time being! Now, cars can park earlier than official park opening. Those who are using the Skyliner or walking have the biggest advantage with bus transportation being next.

Credit: Monica

Additionally, instead of holding you at all these various spots and slowly moving everyone ahead, Cast Members did what Kenny calls a “hard open.” This means everyone was held at the taps until 8:30 am with a posted opening of 9 am.

Then, at 8:30 the park opened – including the attractions. There were no actual ropes or Cast Members guiding the crowds to various holding points in the park. Kenny headed to Slinky Dog Dash, and he says Cast Members only walked the crowd from the entrance of Toy Story Land to Slinky Dog.

We have not heard if other parks are doing the same thing or if this is only for Hollywood Studios. A Cast Member Kenny spoke with said this should continue for most of September, but Labor Day weekend is still undecided.


Credit: Kenny the Pirate

This is a huge advantage to arriving early! If you are following Kenny the Pirate on Twitter, you know he is attempting a EveryRideWDW challenge today, August 31. I’ll lay out how his morning went below using the new park opening procedure outline above:

  • 8:30 am let in to the park and headed to Toy Story Land
  • 8:37 am on Slinky Dog Dash
  • 8:49 am on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • The park opens and Kenny has already knocked out the two most popular rides in Hollywood Studios!
  • 9:07 am on Tower of Terror
  • 9:16 am on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • 9:33 am on Toy Story Mania
  • 9:46 am on Alien Swirling Saucers
  • 10:09 am on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
Credit: Disney

He only has a few rides left before he completes every ride in Hollywood Studios!

Whether or not you are doing a challenge, arriving early is always an advantage. Your whole party could be done with all the attractions by lunch on a day like today!

Do you like the new experience today or do you prefer rope drop? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

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Wednesday 1st of September 2021

I agree with you it’s awesome why battle the crowd in October when you can always come back when things calm down. Hope for the same rope drop when I come on September 10 -15.

Anita M Wallace

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

I find these ride times very hard to believe for a typical visitor who is walking around the park without special treatment. My husband used to really feel like pixie dust made him fly through the park but he could never do it this fast in September, and even with the previous fastpass program. And I'm seeing the pixie dust fade every time Disney takes something away and replace with a fee service instead. This assumes the person walked straight on every ride with no waits. I'm sure the wait times are low but I'm doubting this person walked straight on every ride without pulling some strings. Plus Disney has outpriced the place for regular families looking for a good time. I'll be surprised if October has big crowds. My family would go to Disney 2-3 times a year, and use the magical express, fastpass, See shows and parades, etc, without nickeling and diming families. March 2021 was our last visit and I'm not sure when or if we will ever go back and only if Disney starts waking up to bring back the true magic of Disney. As the year goes on, Disney deteriorates. Sad.

Monica Street

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

I can assure you Kenny did not have to pull any strings to ride all of these. He has photo/timestamp proof on his Twitter (linked in the article), and all wait times are always posted on the My Disney Experience app. He has a proven strategy that works. You can see his touring plans on Crowds have been basically non-existent the last few weeks.


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Actually everyone is waiting until October 1st. Most resorts are sold out. Why go in September? Foolish not to wait until October with all the special things happening


Tuesday 31st of August 2021

Yeah pretty sure no one wants to go in the worst surge ever


Tuesday 31st of August 2021

This is awesome!! I'm hoping these crowds & this rope drop style are still occuring for my next trip! (September 8-12) Thanks for some positive news!

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