Hollywood Studios Touring Plan
Hollywood Studios is rapidly growing and is quickly becoming the 2nd best park in Disney World. The addition of Star Wars land is only going to make this park more of a madhouse and increase wait times to higher levels than ever before. But the good news is that there are a lot of attractions now. A theme park that used to only hold our interest for 4-5 hours has now turned into an all-day park. Today, we want to help you manage the chaos of Hollywood Studios with our Hollywood Studios touring plan. If you follow this plan, you’ll maximize your fun, and minimize the wait times.
Hollywood Studios Fastpasses
As always, a good touring plan starts with your fastpasses. Hollywood Studios has a tiering system for their fastpasses. This means that you will only get one “Tier 1” fastpass. Your second two will come from Tier 2. The good news is that popular rides like Aerosmith and Tower of Terror are Tier 2.
The first thing you want to do is to get a fastpass for Slinky Dog Dash. To be honest, it’s not realistic for me to put a time in here for Slinky Dog Dash. Unless you are literally one of the first to get fastpasses 60 days before booking, you aren’t going to have much of a choice on your fastpass times. It’s a very popular ride and a very popular fastpass.
For our second two fastpasses, we’re going to go with Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. So your fastpass selections should look something like this:
Example Fastpass Choices
Hollywood Studios Touring Plan
As always, you need to get there early. I’d recommend planning to arrive 45 minutes before the park opens. The goal for your first ride should be Slinky Dog Dash. If you’re there 45 minutes early, don’t fret about the people running ahead of you to the ride once the rope drops. Just walk briskly and you’ll have the lowest wait times of the day, likely under 20 minutes (unless you’re a really slow walker!)
Slinky Dog Dash – 9:10 – It’s a pretty long walk to the back of the park, but you should get there about 9:10 and wait about 20 minutes. The important thing to remember here is that we don’t want you to use your fastpass! Save it.
Toy Story Mania – 9:35 – Toy Story Mania has been expanded and doesn’t have the same outrageous wait times that it used to have. So if you’re going there around 9:30, you’ll only wait about 20 minutes. By 10AM, you should have completed these first two fantastic attractions.
Slinky Dog Dash — FASTPASS – 10:00 – While you’re in Toy Story Land, go back and use your first fastpass! 10:10 and you’ve ridden Slinky Dog twice!
Alien’s Swirling Saucers – 10:15 — After riding Slinky Dog Dash for the 2nd time, finish up Toy Story Land by riding this new ride, if it doesn’t make you sick. Wait times at 10:15 should still be rather low.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster — FASTPASS — 10:45 — Caution, this ride has a 48-inch height restriction. It’s super fast and extremely fun, but if you have small children, you may want to grab them some food before they wait for the rest of the group to ride Aerosmith. Don’t forget to use your Rider Switch pass if needed!
Tower of Terror — FASTPASS — 11:15 — We are using that 3rd fastpass at 11:15! Not only have you knocked out many of the main attractions, but as soon as you scan your FP while in line for this ride, you can open the Disney app and begin booking your 4th fastpass. In this scenario, we’re going to have you book a 4th fastpass for Star Tours at 2-3.
Lunchtime! — 11:35 — 2.5 hours in and you’ve already done all the best rides in the park. Depending on what fastpasses are available, you can now begin to plan the rest of your day while you eat.
Hollywood Studios has some solid counter service restaurants. Woody’s Lunchbox is a new counter service restaurant that I highly recommend. There are a couple other large counter service areas that offer the traditional burger/fries experience, as well as an excellent pizza joint over by the entrance to Star Wars Land. But if you plan ahead with Dining Reservations, you can use this time to plan a nice sit-down meal.
Lunch Recommendations - I’ve chosen these 3 table-service restaurants to highlight.
Mama’s Melrose — Mama’s is an excellent Italian restaurant that is close to Star Wars Land and Muppet 3D. Italian food is a great way to re-energize the family!
50’s Primetime Cafe — If you like home cooked meals, this is just the place for you. Pork chops, fried chicken, apple pie…If you’ve been dining on theme park cheeseburgers and fries, this is a great alternative that can happily fill your belly.
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant — This is one of the most unique experiences in this park. You sit in little cars and order your food while you watch classic movies on the big screen. This restaurant has a lot of burgers, but they also have steaks and fancier options if you’re in the mood.
Eating at a table-service restaurant can easily take up to 2 hours. But during the heat of the day, that’s often just what your family needs. You’re done eating and you’re reading to get back to the parks. What’s next?
Really it depends on your group. Hollywood Studios offers a number of shows that can offer hours of fun and keep you out of the heat. Of course, watching shows isn’t for everyone. If your group hates shows, you can always brave the long lines and try to ride a few more things!
We’re going to split the remaining section of the touring plan into two sections: One for people who want to see as many shows as possible, and one for those who don’t.
I Don’t Want to Spend An Afternoon Watching Shows
If shows aren’t your thing, can you ride the big rides again? Well, that depends on what the wait times look like. Typically you will find that wait times in the afternoon hours are extremely high during busy seasons, so this may not be a viable option. You can check and see if any fastpasses are available for the top rides, but this is unlikely to be the case. We’ve already booked a 4th fastpass, however, so we’ll start there.
Star Tours — FASTPASS — 2:00pm — This is a motion-simulator with many different Star Wars experiences. You can ride it multiple times and experience new things each time. Once you’ve scanned your fastpass, try to book a 5th fastpass for as early in the day as you possibly can. If you succeed, great! Keep it going!
But if there aren’t any good fastpasses left, you have three options:
Stand in long lines
Go back to your resort and enjoy the afternoon swimming and relaxing
Book a fastpass in another theme park and switch there (Magic Kingdom will be your best bet at this time of the day)
Basically, the rest of the day is yours to do as you see fit. By following this plan, you’ve knocked everything out, you’ve stayed out of lines, AND you’ve had a great lunch. Let your family make the call!
Planning an Afternoon Around the Shows
If you’re going to spend the afternoon watching shows, spend some time at lunch to plan out your route. Although you can use fastpasses for shows, you usually don’t need to stress about it. You should be able to get into any show by arriving 20 minutes ahead of time. Below is a sample of what your afternoon may look like. As a reminder, you’ll need to check the showtimes when you are there to make an exact plan.
1:15 – Muppets 3D -
1:45 – Little Mermaid Show
2:30 – FASTPASS — Star Tours — Use that 4th fastpass for Star Tours. Try to get a fastpass for Beauty and the Beast at 4PM.
4:00 – Beauty and the Beast show. If you weren’t able to secure a fastpass, arrive no later than 3:35.
5:00 – Indiana Jones Stunt Show
Shows are time-consuming and will kill a lot of time. In between these last 3 shows, you should be able to do a lot of exploring. There is a Star Wars event area, there are a lot of shops, and there are great desserts in Hollywood Studios. But from 2-5, we only have 3 things scheduled. Shows take a lot of preparation, and they take a lot of time. While you will have fun, if your kids seem really bored during the first or 2nd show, be prepared to adjust your plans and head to the resort if you need to. My kids would rather swim than see the Indiana Stunt show, but that’s your call.
The idea behind this touring plan is to help you to optimize your time at Disney World. By following the above plan, you have seen and done almost everything at this park, and you have an entire evening to do whatever you’d like. I hope this article will help you and that you have a fantastic time in Hollywood Studios!
Next, let’s take a look at a touring plan for the Magic Kingdom!