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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Hollywood Studios - Tips for Planning Your Day

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Every family is different, so instead of giving you a step by step plan (that may or may not work depending on so many factors) we will provide you with some tips and tools to make your own park touring plan. See our general planning post over here, for Hollywood Studios specific tips read on.


Starting Your Day

Hollywood Studios has no shortage of popular attractions and for guests stay on-site a great way to ride one or two of them with shorter wait times is to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry. Early Theme Park Entry is a perk for on-site guests where you get to enter the park 30 minutes before non-resort guests. We recommend getting to the park prior to the start of Early Theme Park Entry so you can take full advantage of that time. As you reach the turnstiles you will be directed to one side for early entry and then allowed to enter the park even before it opens. From there you can choose one of the rides that will be open during this time to queue for.

Early Theme Park Entry Rides:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

  • Slinky Dog Dash

  • Star Tours - The Adventures Continue

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

  • Toy Story Mania!

We prefer to use this time to knock out the Sunset Boulevard thrill rides. We will get in the line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, ride it first thing with only a 10 minute or so wait once the park opens and then hop in line for Tower of Terror. The wait time for Tower of Terror is normally about 20 minutes by this time, but still very doable.

If Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are not priorities for you then we recommend focusing on either Toy Story Land or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Either of these will end up taking a little longer than the Sunset Boulevard set, but you will still be able to ride two popular attractions with reasonable waits. If you head to Toy Story Land get in the queue for Slinky Dog Dash and then hop over to Toy Story Mania! once you get off. In Galaxy’s Edge start with Rise of the Resistance and then jump into line for Smugglers Run. We cannot stress enough that the earlier you get to the park prior to the opening, and we mean the opening with Early Theme Park Entry, the farther up in the pre-queue you will be and the easier it will be to knock out those two attractions with limited wait. If you roll up to the park right at opening there will be tons of people already waiting ahead of you, increasing your wait time significantly.


Navigating the Crowds

Some areas of the park, and rides, are busier at specific times and for specific reasons. Below are some examples of how the ebb and flow influence how crowded an area feels and the corresponding wait time of rides in that area.

Toy Story Land is an incredibly popular area of the park and there is a lot going on in a relatively small area of the park. Between the three rides, two dining locations, and several character meet and greets, Toy Story Land often feels like the busiest area of the park. If you look on a map, many other areas of the park have more going on; but Toy Story Land has no shops or alcoves for people to duck off into. Consequently, all of the foot traffic is on the one main pathway and the feeling of crowdedness reflects this.

As you may imagine, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is filled with people. However, it covers such a large footprint, and there is so much to see and do that it often doesn’t feel that crowded except in a couple different pinch points. The first of these is along the open air market area called The Market Merchants. There are a number of different small shops on either side of the market that people are dashing between, one of the bathrooms in Galaxy’s Edge is at one end of this area, and a lot of people use it as a path between where the Millennium Falcon sits and the main path towards Rise of the Resistance and then on to the rest of the park. Consequently, this small area can get overrun with people. The area between Docking Bay 7 and the Millennium Falcon can also get congested, especially right after lunch time. Lots of people will stop off for lunch at Docking Bay 7 and then go over for photos with the Millennium Falcon before hopping in line for Smuggler’s Run.

If you are in need of a caffeine fix, we recommend the Joffrey’s behind Tower of Terror. Since it is a bit more off the beaten path its line is typically shorter, and goes quicker than the Joffrey’s by Toy Story Land.

Woody’s Lunch Box is one of the best quick service locations in Hollywood Studios, and everyone knows it. Consequently, it is often very crowded and getting a table is very hard. If you have packed your patience and persistence, then it’s a great place to grab lunch. Otherwise, we recommend going somewhere where tables are not snapped up before you even knew they were empty.

Fantasmic! draws a huge amount of people during its evening showing. If you don’t want to watch the show, this is a great time to get in some rides, as the wait times will drop for most of the attractions around the park.

Unless you are there when the park is super crowded, it’s fine to head over to Fantasmic! shortly before it starts. You won’t be in the front row seats, but the show is one where you don’t have to be right near the front, or even right in the center, to get a good view. If you are looking to be near the front, then you should head over 45 minutes to an hour early.

Once Fantasmic! is over, if the park is still open you have two choices when leaving the theater area: either returning the way you came in (lots of people will be doing this so just follow the crowd), or keep going all the way to the very left of the theater and follow a path that will lead you to the front of the park.

If the park is closed after Fantasmic! everyone will be directed down the path that leads to the front of the park.

Tower of Terror & Rock’n’Roller Coaster line will jump at the end of the day before and after Fantasmic!

Making Genie+ Choices

If you are planning to hit all the thrill rides Hollywood Studios has to offer, we recommend getting Genie+ and purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane (ILL) for Rise of the Resistance. There are currently 7 attractions at Hollywood Studios that often have a wait time at or over an hour long. So in terms of value for your money, you will save the most waiting time with Genie+ here at Hollywood Studios.

First and foremost, you should be familiar with how Genie+ works in the MDE app, you can read our post about it here. Below is our recommendation for the order to try to get Genie+ reservations in:

Most Popular Rides (make these selections first):

  • Slinky Dog Dash

  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Moderately Popular Rides (good for after you’ve made the initial reservations):

  • Rock’n’Roller Coaster

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

  • Toy Story Mania!

Low Priority Rides (really don’t need to use Genie+ on unless you have nothing else to book):

  • Star Tours - The Adventures Continue

  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight

  • Meet Mickey & Minnie at Red Carpet Dreams

Shows (generally make little sense to book on Genie+ because you can almost always just walk in at the start of the next show):

  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

  • Disney Junior Play & Dance!

  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

  • Muppet*Vision 3D

Random Tidbits

  • Easy to exhaust yourself running around Hollywood Studios

  • There aren’t very many rides without a height requirement at Hollywood Studios. These rides are:

    • Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

    • Frozen Sing-Along

    • Toy Story Mania!

  • There are lots of shows, more than any other park. Some of them are geared specifically to a family audience and are a lot of fun for all ages. These include

    • Indiana Jones

    • Frozen Sing-Along

    • Vacation Fun (Mickey short)

    • Muppet*Vision 3D

    • Walt Disney Presents (walk through)

    • Star Wars Launch Bay (walk through)

    • Disney Junior Play & Dance

    • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

    • Beauty and the Beast

    • Fantasmic!

  • At the beginning of the day the pathway between Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Toy Story Land is closed for crowd control.

  • Oga’s Cantina is a fan favorite, the atmosphere is super fun and the drinks are interesting. However it was not designed for guests to stroll in and sit back and relax for a while. In fact there are very few tables with seating and it is very likely you will end up standing while you are there. If you are looking for a more relaxing place to grab a drink and do some people watching, we suggest heading over the the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge.

  • You can make a unique souvenir in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Savi’s Workshop, a $200 lightsaber. It’s a really well done experience and the lightsaber you make is high quality, however, it is not a toy and it can be broken if played with to vigorously. This experience, which take a little over a hour, must be booked up ahead of time with reservations opening 60 days in advance. They book up very quickly. If you are unable to get a reservation or do not want to take that much time out of your day, pre-made lightsabers of this quality can be purchased at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.

  • However, if you have a kid dying for a lightsaber the $200 price tag is a bit much…especially if they are looking to play with their lightsabers (the Savi’s Workshop one’s are really more models to be put on display). You can make a lightsaber over by the Star Tours ride in Tatooine Traders for $30.

  • Additionally, there is a lot of more kid-friendly Star Wars merchandise over at Tatooine Traders by Star Tours than you will find in Galaxy’s Edge.

  • There are characters that wander around Galaxy’s Edge, most notably Chewy and Rey along with Storm Troopers and original characters, but they generally do not stop for photos. Unfortunately, this is the only place you will see Rey, but you can head over to the Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard and do meet and greets with BB-8, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader. We have also gotten to meet Kylo-Ren there in the past so check your MDE App the day you are there to see who will be available.


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