Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tiers And Strategy 2019

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In this post we discuss how to use FastPass+ successfully at Hollywood Studios in 2019, including the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers and the best rides to Fastpass at Hollywood Studios. We also cover Toy Story Land FastPass+ strategy and discuss the implications of the August 29 Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening.

We also suggest reading our Walt Disney World FastPass+ strategy for a complete understanding of the FastPass+ system. To hear more about specific rides, check out our Hollywood Studios rides guide. We’ve also applied this strategy to put together a one-day Hollywood Studios itinerary.

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We also recommend checking our most recent trip report to see if we’ve provided any updates and just to see how this strategy is holding up.

Important Message For Visits August 29 Through November 2

This post is impacted by changes, some temporary and some permanent, at Walt Disney World beginning August 29. People visiting between August 29 and November 2 are highly encouraged to click here to read our dedicated post especially for those dates.

THE BASICS OF Hollywood Studios FASTPASS+

Again, you'll want to check out the full Walt Disney World Fastpass+ strategy post to make sure you really understand FastPass+, but we want to give those of you who are just looking for the basics a quick intro. Click here to jump past the intro if you’ve read it before.

FastPass+ Allows You To “Skip The Lines” At Walt Disney World

With FastPass+, a person can book an hour window to come back to certain rides and skip the lines. Since waits for some rides can get to three or more hours (even six hours on New Year's Eve), FastPass+ is an important part of planning your day at Hollywood Studios.

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We’ve started putting “skip the lines” in quotes because you’ll usually still have some wait with FastPass+, it’s just much shorter than the regular wait. A long wait with FastPass+ might be a 20 minute wait for a ride that has standby waits of 100+ minutes.

You Can Book FastPass+ 30 or 60 Days In Advance

Guests at Disney hotels can book FastPass+ for their entire stay 60 days in advance of the first day of their stay. If you're not staying at a Disney hotel, you can book FastPass+ 30 days in advance. You can make bookings on the My Disney Experience app or online via the Disney website.

Advance Bookings Are Limited (And Go Fast)

When booking FastPass+ in advance, you can book three rides each day. Those three rides must be at the same park. At Hollywood Studios, you can book one Tier 1 attraction in advance and two Tier 2 attractions in advance (or three Tier 2 and no Tier 1). Some tier 1 rides fill up 30 to 60 days in advance, though you'll see sporadic availability pop up even on the same day.

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Tap / Grab / Modify Gets You The Most Out of FastPass+

Once you've used your three advance FastPass+ bookings, you can get new FastPass+ reservations throughout the day. You simply:

  1. “Tap” your Mickey at the start of the line to use your last FastPass+

  2. Open the My Disney Experience app on your cell phone and “Grab” a FastPass+ for the next ride you want to ride

  3. “Modify” that FastPass+ to the best time you can find

Tap / Grab / Modify will keep you out of lines all day long.

FastPass+ During Special Events

FastPass+ is only available during regular park hours at Hollywood Studios. It is not available for special events held before or after regular park hours, like Hollywood Studios After Hours.

Hollywood Studios Changes In 2019 and 2020

Before we get to the details of Hollywood Studios FastPass, we want to talk about 2019 and 2020 in Hollywood Studios. Feel free to skip down if you’re not interested in this, but there’s a lot going on at the park.

2019 at Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land) opened on August 29, 2019. The land opened with one new attraction, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, with the second attraction, Rise of the Resistance, scheduled to open December 5.

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Is Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run on FastPass+?

No, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is not a part of FastPass+ at Walt Disney World. The only way to ride it is to wait in the standby ride or the single rider line. Currently, Disney has only told us that the two new Star Wars attractions will not be part of FastPass+ in the short term.

2020 at Hollywood Studios

Looking ahead to 2020, the first big change we expect is the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The ride was recently delayed into early 2020 from a previous 2019 target.

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At some point in 2020—possibly the same time as the opening of the new ride, we expect serious changes to FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios. The changes coming August 29 will clearly be temporary (if nothing else, all the new rides will eventually join FastPass+).

Hollywood Studios Fastpass Tiers

As of August 29, there are new FastPass+ Tiers are Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios Fastpass Tier 1 Attractions

The five Hollywood Studios FastPass Tier 1 attractions are:

  • Slinky Dog Dash

  • Toy Story Mania

  • Alien Swirling Saucers

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

  • Tower of Terror

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will not be a part of FastPass+ when it opens.

Best Hollywood Studios Rides To Fastpass (Tier 1)

Our pick for Tier 1 choice for best Hollywood Studios ride to FastPass is Slinky Dog Dash, the most popular of the Toy Story rides. Honestly, you can probably do fine with any Tier 1 FastPass+ other than Alien Swirling Saucers, and even that isn’t such a bad situation.

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This is a good time to remind you to check the height requirements at Disney World when booking FastPass+, as Toy Story Mania is the only Tier 1 ride without a height requirement. While you’re at it, read about visiting Hollywood Studios with a toddler.

If we were guessing at FastPass priority beginning August 29, we’d guess:

  1. Slinky Dog Dash

  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

  3. Toy Story Mania

  4. Tower of Terror

  5. Alien Swirling Saucers

So far, since August 29, Slinky Dog Dash is still the go-to ride in Tier 1. Note that Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is not part of the FastPass+ system yet.

Ideally, you schedule this Tier 1 FastPass+ for about 11AM. It will be easier to modify Tier 2 attractions to earlier times, allowing you to tap / grab / modify to get a fourth FastPass+ for a Tier 1 ride. (Alternatively, you can read about skipping FastPass+ reservations to allow you earlier access to Tier 1 searches.)

Does all this FastPass+ stuff have your mind running wild? Well, there is one tool we recommend for people who want help planning their days. Touring Plans offers a suite of tools, including a crowd calendar, wait time predictions, and customized day-by-day itineraries, all for the annual price of $14.95!
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While Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is arguably the best roller coaster in the park, it isn’t quite as big a priority as Slinky Dog Dash. During this past year they often battled for the longest waits, but now that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a Tier 1 ride, it looks like Slinky Dog Dash will have longer waits, particularly early in the morning.

Hollywood Studios FastPass Tier 2 Attractions

There are eight Hollywood Studios FastPass Tier 2 attractions (one ride, seven shows) as of August 29. When making your advance reservations, you can reserve two of these (or three if you don't reserve a Tier 1 attraction). The eight attractions are:

  1. Star Tours

  2. Voyage of the Little Mermaid

  3. Disney Junior Dance Party!

  4. Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

  5. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

  6. Muppet Vision 3D

  7. Beauty and the Beast

  8. Fantasmic!

Best Hollywood Studios Rides To FastPass (Tier 2)

For Tier 2, you’ll want Star Tours, for one. After that you can prioritize the show that interests you most, but Muppet Vision 3D, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast are the picks most likely to actually save you time as these most often actually fill up.

The former two are shorter, more frequent shows, FastPass+ can still save you a few minutes in line.

Fantasmic! is a popular choice, but it locks you into that as your last slot the rest of the day. That means you can’t get a fourth, fifth, etc. FastPass+. With all the rides in Tier 1, you’ll really want to be able to use your initial three FastPass+ and then move on to booking more Tier 1 rides.

Another way to get preferred seating on Fantasmic! and save a FastPass+ slot is to book a Fantasmic! dining package, which can be a great use of Disney dining plan table service credits.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Planning

Now that we’ve covered the Hollywood Studios FastPass+ tiers, we need to talk about how to plan a few other aspects of FastPass+.

First, we talk about whether you even want to use FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios. Then we talk about how to handle FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios beyond your initial set of reservations.

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Should You Use FastPass+ At Hollywood Studios?

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—aka Star Wars Land—will be opening at Hollywood Studios on August 29, 2019 with one operational ride. Beginning September 1 through November 2, Hollywood Studios will have Extra Extra Magic Hours for three hours daily, which will drastically impact your park strategy (click that link for more).

If you’re not staying at a Disney hotel, or if you don’t have park hopper tickets, then yes—use FastPass+ and plan for a full day at Hollywood Studios. You don’t really have any other option in that case.

But if you’re staying at a Disney hotel and have park hopper tickets—it might not make sense to book FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios at all through November 2 as long as you can wake up for 6AM Extra Magic Hours.

The caveat here is that if you’re not park hopping because you want to watch all of Hollywood Studios shows, or because you’re staying for a nighttime show, then obviously go ahead and book FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios. It just isn’t necessary if you can visit Extra Extra Magic Hours once or, if necessary, twice.

Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios

Allow yourself at least three hours for “rope drop.” This is the time right when the park opens and you are trying to get on one ride after the other, staying ahead of the crowds.

Your first FastPass+ should not be earlier than three hours after the park opens. During this time, you’ll probably start with Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run before knocking off any other low waits during rope drop. We have a post that covers rope drop strategy at Hollywood Studios.

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Tap, Grab, and Modify Fastpass+ While In Hollywood Studios

Tap, Grab, and Modify is much more important at Hollywood Studios beginning August 29. With five rides now in Tier 1, and with Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run probably being the go-to to start the morning, the only way to avoid having to wait in four significant standby lines is to grab same-day FastPass+ for them.

One question we’re getting a lot with these new tiers—and that we’ve answered in a separate post—is whether you can skip (or not book) a FastPass+ reservation in order to search for a second Tier 1 without using two Tier 2 FastPasses.

Generally, we’ve been seeing good same-day space for every Tier 1 ride other than Slinky Dog Dash.

It’s especially important that you try and use your FastPass+ reservations as soon as possible. For example, let’s say you book 11AM Toy Story Mania, 12:15PM Star Tours, and 3PM Muppet Vision 3D. Your strategy would be the following:

  • Use Toy Story Mania at 11AM

  • Modify Muppet Vision 3D to ASAP, hopefully to 11:05AM

  • Alternatively, Modify Star Tours to ASAP

  • Use Second FastPass+ (whichever you modified to be earlier)

  • Modify third FastPass+ to ASAP

  • Use Third FastPass+

  • Grab a Tier 1 ride with your fourth FastPass+

If you were able to get that 11:05AM Muppet Vision, you could start searching for your fourth FastPass+ as early as 12:15PM after you tap into Star Tours. Without the modifications, you would have needed to wait until your 3PM Muppet Vision FastPass+.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Kiosks

While we always recommend using Disney's official, free My Disney Experience app to snag Fastpass+ reservations, the physical kiosks are located at:

  • At Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. (across from the Starbucks)

  • Next to Tower of Terror

  • Just outside the entrance to Toy Story Land

  • In Grand Park (by Muppet Vision 3D)

We suggest checking the Walt Disney World website to confirm kiosk locations in case they change before we update this post.

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How To Spend One Full Day At Hollywood Studios

We have a full post dedicated to our one-day Hollywood Studios itinerary.

[Note — The remainder of this section has NOT been updated to reflect the August 29 changes. Refer to the above-linked itinerary for more.]

Even with the addition of Toy Story Land, we don't think Hollywood Studios is more than a one-day park. If you arrive at rope drop, you can easily finish the rides in half of a day, leaving your entire afternoon for the shows or another park.

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In short, you’ll want to try to do the following:

  1. Get a FastPass+ reservation for Slinky Dog Dash at least one, preferably two hours after park open

  2. Rope drop Toy Story Mania!

  3. Head to Alien Swirling Saucers or Rock 'n' Roller Coaster if you don't have a FastPass+ for it

  4. Head to Alien Swirling Saucers or Tower of Terror

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You can swap Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania! in this example, if necessary. Once you use your Tier 1 reservation, you'll want to pull out your My Disney Experience app and see about moving your Tier 2 reservations up. With some tinkering, you may be able to get on your first three rides in near succession.

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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.