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Tips for short(er) waits on Toy Story Midway Mania

 If there's one goal that nearly everyone who comes to Hollywood Studios has, it's trying to ride Toy Story Midway Mania and these day's that is no easy task. The popularity of Toy Story Midway Mania has made it extremely difficult to ride even just once, let alone multiple times in the day. Long standby waits and FASTPASS exhausted often by lunch means it's not simple to work in Toy Story Midway Mania into your touring plan, but believe it or not, it is do-able and there are ways to gauge how long the wait really is.

The best strategy is still to ride Toy Story Midway Mania when the Studios first opens. This means being at the Studios before it opens and then as soon as the rope drops on Hollywood Boulevard, you and your group make your way quickly to Pixar Place to ride. There will be a large mass of other guests going with you, but even so, your wait should be minimal. You should ride as soon as you get there and then on your way out, consider grabbing a FASTPASS for later on in the day. Keep in mind that even after just one ride, which will make it around 9:30am, your FASTPASS return time will likely be around noon time...if you're lucky!

The next best strategy is to use FASTPASS. If you arrive at Toy Story Midway Mania anytime before noon, odds are there will still be FASTPASS's left, albeit I've often seen where I'll pass by the FASTPASS machines at around 11am and see the FASTPASS return time is somewhere in the vicinity of 6pm. While you are still getting a FASTPASS, you're stuck waiting a considerable amount of time to actually ride it. This issue is why it's all the more important to arrive at the Studios for park opening so that you can ride. If you grab a FASTPASS before 10am, odds are you should be able to grab a FASTPASS for sometime in the next few hours. Be wary that in the first 30-60 minutes of the park being open, there is a rather long line for FASTPASS. Be patient and get your FASTPASS's and hope for the best.

The next strategy assumes you want to ride and it's not park opening and there aren't any FASTPASS's left or the return time is too far in the future. This is a rather common occurence and there are ways to know how long the wait really is. Let's face it, the estimated wait clock above the entrance is not perfect. In fact, it's far from it. The wait time on display is what someone who has recently ridden had to wait. If 3000 people got on line after that person, it isn't reflected in the wait. Especially at Toy Story Midway Mania, the wait time clock is rather unreliable. There are a couple of ways to quickly determine how bad the wait really is without the aid of the clock. First, look at the line. If the end of the standby line is outside the building, you're looking at at least a 60 minute wait. However, if the end of the standby line is inside, even just inside, the wait is often close to about 40 minutes. If you can't see the end of the standby line from walking by, the wait is going to be less than 40 minutes and relatively speaking, it's the shortest it ever gets.

My estimates that I just gave can be skewed by something that is hard to know without seeing. Sometimes, Cast Members will not fully utilize the entire queue area, which means the line is artificially longer than it really is. I've often seen a number of switchbacks in the queue closed off, which makes the line look really long but in reality isn't as long as it looks. If the line does look really long, a good strategy to check would be to let your group sit down somewhere and relax (or maybe even send the kids across the street to meet Buzz and Woody) and quickly get on line and when you get inside, you should be able to see how much of the queue is being utilized. If you see some empty switchbacks, then it's a good bet that the wait isn't as long it may seem.

Of course, there is a major exception to all of this really and that's the crazy busy time of the year. The weeks of Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years leaves Walt Disney World in general a mad house and as a result, it makes it even more difficult than usual to ride Toy Story Midway Mania. If for some unfortunate reason you find yourself at the Studios during these busy times of the year, then the park opening strategy is the only strategy that will work for you and otherwise you're "on your own", so to speak.

If all else fails, try to ride during the Block Party Bash parade (3pm) which takes many families away to see the parade, or during and right after a rain storm, which can often drive many guests back to their resorts. There's no question that riding Toy Story Midway Mania isn't easy but the right knowledge, you can find ways to ride even a few times in one day without marathon waits.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 by