REVIEW: Early Morning Magic in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Backlot Express Breakfast
There’s no shortage of add-on events at Walt Disney World these days and the hook of most of these offerings is the ability to see Walt Disney World without the ever-growing hordes of guests in your way. A relatively new offering is the Early Morning Magic event for Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here’s how Disney describes the event:
Kick-start your day in Andy’s backyard! Be among the first Guests to ride select attractions, meet Toy Story Characters and enjoy a bountiful breakfast.
Play Big Before the Park Opens
Maximize your time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by taking advantage of this limited-entry, first-access experience.
With the purchase of our special Disney Early Morning Magic experience and regular theme park admission, Guests of all ages can be among the first to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day and ride popular Toy Story Land attractions with little wait time: Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania!. Love photo ops? You’ll also have the chance to meet Buzz, Woody and Jessie while you explore this whimsical world.
Fuel up for your rise-and-shine adventures with a delicious breakfast featuring a continental buffet with yogurt, fruit, pastries and assorted cereal, as well as your choice of a main dish like avocado toast or fried chicken served with a tasty cronut. The breakfast setup will be available at a select quick-service dining location outside of Toy Story Land.
Exclusive Disney Early Morning Magic access to Toy Story Land takes place on select Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 AM to 8:45 AM. Breakfast will be available until 10:00 AM.
Special event admission is available for $79 per adult (ages 10 and older) and $69 per child (ages 3 to 9); tax not included. Please note: regular theme park admission is also required.
For reservations, please make your purchase online or call the Disney Reservation Center at (407) 827-7350 for assistance. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.
When booking the event, you’re met with a choice of event times. You can choose 7:00 am or 7:30 am, but this doesn’t actually matter. Either reservation will gain you entry at 7:00am with everyone else. The separate times are just an attempt by Disney to spread out the traffic at the breakfast service since Toy Story Land doesn’t officially open to attendees until 7:30 am. The hope here is that 7:30 am arrivals will go “play” first and then come eat.
Nothing wakes you up like the bright construction lights of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
A Cast Member with a sign welcomes guests to check-in.
I’d show up by at least 6:45 am if you want to get the most out of your time. They open early sometimes and you can get a good jump on breakfast. That being said, you could always wait and eat after you go to Toy Story Land.
Despite being “jaded” according to folks who know nothing of me, little in this world brings me the joy of a mostly empty Hollywood Boulevard with neon signs aglow. It’s a shame I hate Disney World so much…
We trekked back to Backlot Express just to get pictures of the continental breakfast buffets before the crowds descended upon them. We’ll come back to the food later.
It was definitely before 7:30 am when we walked into Toy Story Land and we found that everything but the meet and greets was already functioning.
We went straight for Slinky Dog Dash and waited less than 2 minutes to ride. Even at the longest length, I don’t think we waited five minutes to ride this over the course of the event. We rode 4 times, but we certainly could have done it more if we wanted.
That posted 5 minute wait was probably an exaggeration. They raised it to ten later, but it was again inaccurate.
I don’t think Alien Swirling Saucers loaded a full set of saucers for a single ride during the event. You could ride to your heart’s content, although I’m not sure how much of this ride I need. We rode twice and felt fulfilled.
We planned on doing the meet and greets next, but the lines were about as bad as I have ever seen them despite the lower crowd levels. We decided to ride Toy Story Mania instead.
There was absolutely no wait to ride, but the long walk to the ride and through the exit is enough to dissuade you from riding this too many times before 9 am.
The line for Woody and Jessie was still bad when we exited Toy Story Mania, so we took a walk to find Buzz Lightyear. Somewhat hidden around the corner, only one family was in front of us in line. This is what I expected from this event.
Finally we just decided to get in line for Woody and Jessie to say we completed everything at the event. We ended up waiting about 20-25 minutes and were still in line long after the event was over and the park had opened to regular guests.
My advice would be to meet Woody and Jessie as soon as they emerge around 7:30 am. This felt like a tremendous waste of time given how short the lines were for EVERYTHING else. However, it did offer this view of the rope drop crowd arriving…
That just looks unpleasant. Imagine having stood outside the park for quite a while, then squeezed into Hollywood Boulevard, and then maybe making one wrong step that puts you behind some of this crowd at a 45-60 minute wait for Slinky Dog Dash. These add-on events always seem worth it just for this. Yes, we should live in a world where Disney adds capacity to parks to handle the crowds they get, but we don’t, so we have to pay them extra to have fun without stress.
OK, let’s eat…
Breakfast is served at Backlot Express on the other side of the park. This is a change that was made on the day when we attended. It used to be at the ABC Commissary.
I have to admit, this was the part that excited me the most. This is one of the most interesting breakfast menus I have seen at a Disney counter service restaurant in some time. So, the way this works is you can go up and order any and as many of these seven (yeah, seven) entrees to bring to your table. Between the two of us, we ordered ever dish for the sake of the review, but honestly, even if I wasn’t a slimy blogger, I’d do the same. You’ve paid this much for the event, why not try everything and eat what you like the most, right?
There are then two stations to get your continental breakfast and drinks. They both utilize the existing interior drink stations and condiment bars. I always prefer the station on the left side of the restaurant (pictured above) as there is more space to move around it.
In addition to having the soda fountains active, there is also coffee, orange juice, apple juice, and milk. The milk is accompanied by some cereal choices: Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops. You know, when you’re a kid, you don’t understand why your parents choose anything over Fruit Loops, but in my old age, I think I’m going with the flakes. It’s gonna happen to you too, kids.
I was sad to find only small drink cups for soda available. This event isn’t particularly cheap, so why can’t you just give me a larger cup so I don’t have to fight my way back to the drink station?
They should light these knowing it will be posted on popular blogs.
Pastries, fresh fruit, granola, dried fruits, pumpkin seeds, almonds, blueberries, granola, and yogurt make up the continental breakfast buffet.
The pastry spread is pretty diverse. Options include (clockwise from bottom left) raspberry leaf, strawberry half moon, cheese danish, chocolate croissant, apple strudel, croissant, and a mini cinnamon danish in the center. They’re all good, but the strawberry half moon was my favorite. Disney croissants never disappoint, either.
Here are all of the breakfast entrees you can order. Breakfast runs until 10 am, so even after Toy Story Land opens to day guests, you have an hour to enjoy this.
This is the kid’s portion of the chicken and croissant donuts. Disney chicken tenders are always enjoyable, and it’s even better with some syrup and a cinnamon listed croissant donut. Sweet potato barrels are a nice break from the regular tots. Here’s the larger adult portion:
Kids can also get a serving of eggs and sweet potato tots if they prefer. Or adults, we aren’t judging.
The shrimp and grits is really watery, and oddly enough we found mushrooms in this. It’s an odd take on the dish and not all that great.
The chilaquiles are pretty good, but I do wish it was made with full-sized tortilla chips rather than strips. Other than that, it’s quite flavorful and a healthy portion size.
The avocado toast is a nice change of pace for those who want to eat healthier. It’s not the biggest portion, but it may be something you want to grab as an extra entree. It won’t change your life, but the guacamole was fresh for being counter service.
The oddest entry by far is this charcuterie tray. First off, a counter service restaurant serving charcuterie is weird, and it’s even weirder to see Disney offer it for breakfast. It’s certainly not bad, but it’s feels out of place. I will say it is sizable and can easily be shared between two people if you want this as an appetizer of sorts. It’s buried in the pic, but there is a MOUND of salmon there.
Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land isn’t a bad time, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (review here). While it is cheaper, you get way less attractions, but more “real” food at Early Morning Magic, and you do also need a park ticket unlike the evening offering. If you really feel the need to get up early to spend 90 minutes in a mostly empty Toy Story Land and then eat a hearty breakfast, then you’ll love this, but you can certainly do Toy Story Land just as easily during Disney After Hours. Also, unlike Avatar Flight of Passage, it is completely possible on a regular basis to ride Slinky Dog Dash in 30 minutes or less with a visit around park close to Hollywood Studios. In the end, I don’t know that it’s a tremendous value to do this particular version of Early Morning Magic when you can see most of the park with the After Hours ticket and get way more time to do so. I don’t think you’ll regret doing this if you NEED to see Toy Story Land without lines, but I’m pretty sure most people would have a better time at Disney After Hours.