With the massive demand for the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, Disney has made some more modifications to the Hollywood Studios Hours in February, March and April 2020, and now it changes your strategy for getting there early.
Updated 2/24/20 – Disney has just announced that Hollywood Studios will be opening 1 hour earlier than previously listed for more dates in March. From now through March 28, all mornings are switching to an 8:00 am opening time. This is 1 hour earlier than the previously listed 9:00 am openings.
Disney had previously pushed up Hollywood Studios opening hours for the first half of March from 9:00 am to now 8:00 am, and it was clear that would have to continue. It seems like Disney is settling in at 8:00 am being the ideal opening time for the park as they recently moved back an hour from the 7:00 am openings in January.
It doesn’t look like Disney is going to be doing any more 7:00 am openings as they have delayed the Hollywood Studios hours by one hour in the morning to 8:00 am.
Also, Extra Magic Hours in Disney’s Hollywood Studios have recently been changed from Morning Extra Magic Hours to Evening Extra Magic Hours through August 2020.
Starting in May, these Evening Extra Magic Hours will be from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm, giving guests even more time to enjoy the park with all its new additions.
Rise of the Resistance will NOT participate in Evening Extra Magic Hours, however (more on this below).
Disney has extended evening hours by 30 minutes for some dates at the beginning of the month, starting at 8:30 pm. This change is for March 2, 4-7, with March 1 getting Extra Magic Hours pushed back and closing at 10:30 pm that night.
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Hollywood Studios Park Hours:
Before we get into what we think of the changes, here are the new Hollywood Studios Park Hours for February, March and April 2020:
- February 24-29: 8 am – 8 pm
- March 1: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- March 2: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
- March 3: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
- March 4-7: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
- March 8: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- March 9-14: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
- March 15: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- March 16-21: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
- March 2: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- March 23-28: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm
- March 29: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- March 30-31: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
- April 1-4: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
- April 5: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- April 6-11: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
- April 12: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- April 13-18: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
- April 19: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- April 20-25: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
- April 26: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm (Extra Magic Hours: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm)
- April 27-30: 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
At the beginning of February, Disney only had a few 7 am mornings. However, from February 4, 2020, until the end of the month, every day right now has been moved to an 8:00 am opening time. There are no days with 7:00 am or 9:00 am openings anymore.
We expect this trend to continue as the days and weeks move on. From the 4th on, the times are listed as 8:00 am, and if everything goes to plan, there won’t be any more 7:00 am openings for a while and it will stay at 7:00 am.
The March opening hours for Hollywood Studios were originally all listed at 9:00, but then Disney moved the ones from March 1 – 28 to 8:00 am. We expected those to be bumped up to 8:00 am, which is what happened.
You’ll also notice all the Evening Extra Magic Hours that have been put into the schedule. These have replaced the Morning ones since Rise of the Resistance has opened.
- NOTE: It’s important to understand Disney has said Rise of the Resistance will not be part of Extra Magic Hours in Hollywood Studios. The rest of the attractions in the park will be open, but apparently not Rise of the Resistance. We think however that if a buffer is needed and boarding groups have not all yet boarded by the time EMH starts, they will probably finish loading during EMH.
Why are these changes happening? Rise of the Resistance has been so incredibly popular, and since the opening on December 5, the park has already been opening much earlier than the originally advertised operating hours for the park. That seems to be changing now with slightly later times on the schedule.
Further complicating matters is the fact that you need to get a boarding group from the virtual queue to ride Rise of the Resistance, and the majority of the time they have been filling up for the day shortly after Hollywood Studios opens.
Because of that, there have been many angry guests who were showing up early, yet realizing they couldn’t even ride Rise of the Resistance the entire day.
We’re happy Disney has extended the Evening Extra Magic Hours for Hollywood Studios until 11:00 pm. That will give guests a little more time to experience all the new rides and other additions to Hollywood Studios over the past year.
Even though Rise of the Resistance as of now isn’t participating in the Evening Extra Magic Hours, it will give guests more time to go on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Make sure to read our Hollywood Studios Touring Plans Guide which will help you plan each step of your day visiting the park with specific itineraries. In conjunction with that, our Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Guide will help you know which rides are best to choose and all the Tier changes.
Our Predictions for Future Hollywood Studios Park Hours
We can’t be absolutely sure about anything as we don’t have any insider info, but we’re pretty confident that at least that the 8:00 am openings will continue through the end of March, and probably beyond if everything goes to plan for Disney.
Of course, we could be wrong. After all, we thought they would keep doing 7:00 am openings in February. Is it possible that Disney could eventually go back to 7:00 am openings during the busiest periods?
Disney was running 7:00 am openings in Hollywood Studios all January, which is supposed to be a slow month, and it was shocking to see them change to an 8:00 am opening and leave it that way during a holiday like Presidents’ Day Week.
As for March and beyond, we’ve seen big changes to the original 9:00 am openings, with almost the whole month now at 8:00 am, and it looks like Disney is going to be sticking to that time slot for now.
As for the Evening Extra Magic Hours, I also don’t expect them to start making Rise of the Resistance available during that time anytime soon. The problem is that Rise of the Resistance is still very unreliable and with all the downtime that it has on a regular basis, they need that time for maintenance on the attraction.
If Disney can make Rise of the Resistance a more stable ride then the capacity increases per hour and the amount of guests they can get through daily will dramatically increase. Then 8:00 am or 9:00 am openings could be a good choice.
How is it Working So Far?
I think Disney is making a mistake by only opening the park at 8:00 am, and they should go back to the 7:00 am openings. Since they’ve made the change to 8:00 am, boarding passes have never been harder to get and attractions have never been more taxed.
I’ve never seen so many long lines for all the attractions in Hollywood Studios so early in the day, and it’s made the morning rope drop strategy a lot less efficient than it used to be. Disney needs to give guests more time in the park, especially since interest in Hollywood Studios has never been higher.
It was easier to get a boarding pass at 7:00 am, and it gave guests an extra hour to enjoy the park and get the attractions done. Popularity for Rise of the Resistance isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, and so at least some more early mornings are going to be necessary imo.
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We should be going back to 7:00 am openings and increasing the time the park stays open at night. Having Hollywood Studios only stay open until 8:30 pm during Spring Break is absolutely crazy.
I also think that Disney was sick of hearing complaints from guests with families that 7:00 am openings were too early. In our opinion, the later Disney makes the opening time, the more likely people are to come, especially families with kids. It was hard to get little kids there before 7:00, but 8:00 makes it much more doable.
However, that means even more crowds in Hollywood Studios, and it’s made it much more difficult to get on Rise of the Resistance.
What do those changes mean for you? With all the changes to the park opening procedures, everything is still up in the air at the moment. At a minimum, if Hollywood Studios is scheduled to open at 8:00 am, we still highly recommend you get to the park by 7:00 am – 7:15 am to make the most out of your day.
Right now there aren’t any SUPER early mornings on the schedule (6:00 am or even 7:00 am), but on the days that Hollywood Studios crowds were at the highest and opening at 6 am, we were recommending you getting there 1 hour earlier by 5 am.
If demand for Rise of the Resistance continues into the Spring, you could see some early mornings during Spring Break (7:00 am). If not, then they might show up again in July.
I know getting up early on vacation sucks, but if you get to Hollywood Studios by 7:00 – 7:30 am, you are much more likely to get on Rise of the Resistance, and in the meantime, ride the rest of the Hollywood Studios attractions by the early afternoon. This will ultimately save you a ton of time and you’ll have fewer crowds to deal with.
No word yet on how long these changes will stay in effect. Disney has committed to this system for the time being, and it’s possible they will extend these hours for Hollywood Studios for more dates into February and March at least.
We’ll keep you posted…
Also, check out our Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions where we rank each one from best to worst and give touring tips about each one.
I want to know what you think about the operating hours change at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…
- Are you going to go early?
- What time should they open the park?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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