16 May 2011


Traffic patterns and beloved attractions have a way of shifting over time. The latest and greatest experiences are powerful shapers of park going experiences, as guests waiting at rope drop are immediately drawn towards the newest marquee attractions. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been the midst of one of these park altering shifts for several years now.

In 1994 and 1999 the new additions to the Studios’ family, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘N’ RollerCoaster Starring Aerosmith respectively, turned Sunset Boulevard into a morning parade route populated by stampeding guests. This was the status quo, with crowds rotating between Fastpass machines and Stand By queues, until May of 2008 when Toy Story Midway Mania! opened on the other side of the park.Since that time, the throngs of people flooding down Sunset has been subdued by the massive walking footrace to Pixar Place. Still, Sunset Boulevard’s adrenaline boosting attractions retained their must-do-at-rope-drop status with dedicated thrill junkies, as well as second and third place standing among the majority of the Studios’ guests. This weekend, with the soft opening of the second incarnation of Star Tours, that minority Sunset drew in is going to face an even harder choice.

Star Tours, over the past several years, had not retained the same standing room only crowds that it once enjoyed. But the starspeeders have been reloaded with 3D effects and the possibility of fifty-four experiences, as opposed to the single version of the original, which means the crowds will be returning in droves. The drawbacks to Stars Tours are the same as they have always been, those sensitive to motion-simulators and the 40” height requirement. Star Tours’ newest flights will relieve some of the unbelievably long lines and quick Fastpasses outages of Toy Story Midway Mania!, but not all families will be booking passage above a Starspeeder 1000.So, what does that mean for traffic flow within the park and what will I be doing the next time I walk through the gates of Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

Movement through the park has been improved. Instead of a clog at the intersection of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, the first draws have been moved towards sections nearer the back of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but still a fair distance away from one another. This separation between the, arguably, first four major attractions of the park means less congestion along the major walkways.

As for me? For my days, I will start out by heading over towards Toy Story Midway Mania!, grabbing a Fastpass, and then moseying over to Star Tours. Why? Well, I still need to work on my high score for Toy Story, but it isn’t a must do first thing in the morning. As for the reasoning behind Star Tours’ secondary placement, it isn’t for a lack of interest. In fact, it was placed second solely because I would like to spend some time with the droids and advertisements found within the queue.

No matter what road your trip through Hollywood takes, I imagine a trip through Andy’s Room, to a galaxy far, far away, along an L.A. freeway and a drop into another dimension are all in your forecast, no matter where you choose to head first.

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