In this post, we supplement our Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom content for all guests visiting Walt Disney World between August 29 and November 2, 2019.
Why did you insist I come here?
On August 29, 2019, multiple changes, some of which are temporary through November 2, are impacting Walt Disney World. Because so much will be in flux during this time, and so much will be temporary, we’ve decided to create a separate post focusing just on these visits.
We are updating all of our relevant content to include details addressing this time period. But this post serves as a quick “cheatsheet” where we’re compiling the major tips you need to remember during this period.
Who is this post for?
This post is written for everyone (excluding maybe locals) who is planning to visit Walt Disney World from August 29 to November 2.
Throughout this post, we’re going to speaking to two groups:
Guests staying at a hotel with access to 60-day FastPass+ window and Extra Magic Hours (that is, Disney hotels and select partner hotels)
Guests staying anywhere else (30-day FastPass+ window, no Extra Magic Hours)
Remember, you have access to Extra Magic Hours if you are staying at a Disney hotel, including DVC properties, or select partner hotels.
Update - Early Galaxy’s Edge Crowds
Through early-October, crowds at Walt Disney World have been markedly low. So low, in fact, that you could probably stop reading here and still have an excellent trip (assuming you still know the basics of FastPass+ and rope drop).
That said, there’s still a difference between walking into a park unprepared and waiting in five hours worth of lines and walking into a park prepared and waiting in 30 minutes worth of lines.
And crowds remain unpredictable. There was a temporary spike due to Rosh Hashanah, for example, that many people didn’t foresee. You want to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
I’m mostly putting this section up here because people have still been reading this post worried about “high crowds.” (That’s understandable, as we’ve put it in bright yellow throughout the site.) We don’t think any of the advice necessarily changes, except that maybe you could sleep in 15 minutes later than a lot of our recommendations.
Quickly, what does this post cover?
This post provides strategies for visiting Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom between August 29 and November 2. Hollywood Studios is the park most impacted and has the most content. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are covered more briefly.
While we really think you should read the entire post, here are the important “jump to” points:
The August 29 to November 2 Disney World Landscape
The opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World is bringing a new level of change to Walt Disney World. Not only did Walt Disney World transform forever on August 29 when Galaxy’s Edge opens at Hollywood Studios, but in trying to make the opening as tolerable an experience as possible, Disney has really thrown a wrench into planning with Extra Extra Magic Hours.
In this post, we try our best to address the challenges guests visiting Walt Disney World between August 29 and November 2 will face.
Here are the most significant changes that will be in effect for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge and the weeks thereafter:
August 29 Onward - New FastPass+ tiers at Hollywood Studios go into effect
September 1 to November 2 - 6AM to 9AM Extra Magic Hours daily at Hollywood Studios for guests of Disney hotels (and select partner hotels)
August 29 to November 2 - 7AM to 8AM Extra Magic Hours daily at Animal Kingdom
August 29 to November 2 - 7AM to 8AM Extra Magic Hours daily at Magic Kingdom
Here’s an incredibly brief synopsis of how these changes will impact your visit during these dates (these are the issues we’ll be addressing more below):
August 29 Onward - Necessary to evaluate how new FastPass+ tiers impact Hollywood Studios planning
September 1 to November 2 - Disney hotel guests will have easier access to Galaxy’s Edge via Extra Magic Hours
August 29 to November 2 - Disney hotel guests will have easier strategizing for Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom due to Extra Magic Hours
August 29 to November 2 - Guests without Extra Magic Hours have challenges strategizing Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom
What if you’re not a morning person?
Our first piece of advice to people who aren’t morning people is to become them. While your hands are always slightly tied by things like the Disney bus schedule, the most important thing you can control in planning your park visit is when you arrive.
You can’t guarantee FastPass+ availability. You can’t guarantee a ride won’t break down midday or right as you’re about to get on it at park close. Arriving as early as possible is your best defense against a bad day.
Second, you’ll need to make sure you understand FastPass+. If you aren’t going to be at the parks as early as possible, you’ll need to do your best to build the optimal FastPass+ lineup.
Third, you can just modify your expectations. Originally I was going to say “lower” expectations, but that isn’t correct. Walt Disney World offers so much beyond the most popular rides.
Book some character meals. Go mini-golfing. Visiting Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. Spend a day just relaxing at your resort. Plan to do things other than the biggest rides and then be pleasantly surprised if you luck into a same-day FastPass+.
August 29 to November 2 Planning
Before we go on, let’s get a few disclaimers out of the way.
First, this post will be in flux between publication and November 2. We’ll do our best to update it as crowd patterns and park procedures change.
Also, this post should in no way be the only thing you read about your August 29 to November 2 visit. Here’s a running list of posts from other sites we recommend:
You know who is going to track every guest’s experience every day during this time? Absolutely no one. Read a variety of sources to get the broadest sense possible for what to expect.
Mind the date of this post. If Disney has announced a major change and it was after that date, then this post has not been updated to reflect it.
Finally, feel free to comment about your experience. We hope this helps everyone plan a successful visit.
Tap / Grab / Modify
We’re very big proponents of the tap / grab / modify approach to FastPass+. You should learn more about our Walt Disney World FastPass+ strategy in full, but it essentially boils down to the idea that once you use your first three FastPass+ reservations for the day you can keep getting new ones and modifying them to be as soon as possible to just keep riding rides without lines.
Previously, we were worried about how useful Tap / Grab / Modify would be during this time. While we did see some challenges in the early days, we felt like Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios both had pretty good day-of availability.
About Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land)
This post does not cover what to do inside Galaxy’s Edge. If you want to read our Galaxy’s Edge content, we have:
Hollywood Studios Extra Extra Magic Hours strategy (includes all of our Galaxy’s Edge touring plan through November 2)
Disney World Galaxy’s Edge Opening Trip Report (parts 3, 6, and 8)
We’ve also covered the Disneyland version of the land:
Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge Opening Trip Report (see particularly days 2 and 5)
Boarding Passes at Galaxy’s Edge
Disney is using a virtual queue to restrict entry into Galaxy’s Edge when crowds are sufficiently high. We cover this system in our Disney World Galaxy’s Edge opening day report.
Hollywood Studios — FastPass+ Beginning August 29
Our FastPass+ content has been updated to account for the changes and is now found at:
Our Hollywood Studios FastPass+ quick tips are:
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run is not part of FastPass+ yet
Slinky Dog Dash remains the best FastPass+ to have
Plan to use your three advance FastPass+ bookings quickly so you can search for same-day Tier 1 rides
September 1 to November 2 At Hollywood Studios — Extra Extra Magic Hours
We now have a new post that covers Hollywood Studios Extra Extra Magic Hours strategy both for guests with EEMH access and guests without it.
For guests with Extra Extra Magic Hours, our quick tips are:
Arrive 30 to 45 minutes before the start of EEMH
Start with Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, then Slinky Dog Dash
If you arrive to very high crowds, start with Slinky Dog Dash and plan to get in line for Smugglers Run at 8:45AM (before the 9AM open)
For guests without Extra Extra Magic Hours, our quick tips are:
Start with Slinky Dog Dash if you don’t have a FastPass+ for it
Or start with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, then Tower of Terror if these waits are 15 minutes or less each
Plan to visit Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run midday when crowds have stabilized and the wait should be roughly 90 minutes
Magic Kingdom August 29 to November 2
This section gives quick tips for the following other posts on this site:
From August 29 to November 2, Magic Kingdom will have an Extra Magic Hour every day from 7AM to 8AM. You can read about our firsthand experience with Extra Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom here.
For guests with Extra Extra Magic Hours, our quick tips are:
Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before EEMH
EEMH priorities are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain
Book one FastPass+ for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight
Maybe Book a FastPass+ for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain
For guests without Extra Extra Magic Hours, our quick tips are:
Ideal FastPass+ lineup is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain
With ideal FastPass+ lineup, simply start with a Frontierland Rope Drop
Without the ideal FastPass+ lineup, there’s no quick tip. You can visit one of those three rides to start your day if you don’t have a FastPass+, but then you’ll want to head to the west side of the park (Frontierland and Adventureland).
Here are the times to plan to visit Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Space Mountain if you didn’t get their FastPass+ reservations:
At open, if the wait is 45 minutes or less
In the last two hours of the day
During the parade
Animal Kingdom August 29 to November 2
This section supplements the following other posts on this site:
These posts have been (mostly) updated, but we want to highlight the key things to know.
Guests With Extra Magic Hour
From August 29 to November 2, Animal Kingdom will have an Extra Magic Hour every day from 7AM to 8AM. You can read about our firsthand experience with this Extra Extra Magic Hour in our trip report post here.
The following are quick tips for guests with access to Extra Magic Hour:
Arrive 30 minutes before the start of Extra Magic Hour
Start with Flight of Passage if you don’t have a FastPass+ for it
Start with Na’vi River Journey if you do have a Flight of Passage FastPass+
Guests Without Extra Magic Hour
Guests without access to the Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom are at a sizable but contained disadvantage from August 29 to November 2 as they won’t be able to rope drop Avatar Flight of Passage. You can read a lengthy discussion of your options for arriving after Animal Kingdom Extra Extra Magic hour in our trip report post here.
Here are some quick tips, though.
Arrive 30 minutes before the park opens for you. If 30 minutes isn’t early enough, then you won’t be starting your morning with Flight of Passage anyways (because of the huge EEMH crowds), which makes arriving early than 30 minutes a waste.
If you don’t have a Flight of Passage FastPass+, consider the following options:
search for Flight of Passage FastPass+ the entire time you’re waiting for the park to open
plan to visit Flight of Passage at the very end of the day (works best if Rivers of Light nighttime show has two showings)
start your morning with Flight of Passage if other plans fail
Without a Flight of Passage FastPass+, you should have a Na’vi River Journey FastPass+.
If you have an Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+, start your day with Na’vi River Journey. Previously we recommended starting outside of Pandora, but Na’vi hasn’t seen much of a boost during Extra Extra Magic Hours. This could change, but if the wait is 30 minutes or less, this is a fine option to start your day.
What questions or comments do you have left about these visits? We’re trying to make this post—complicated and annoying as it is—as helpful as possible!
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.