In this post, we report on a full day we spent at Hollywood Studios on Saturday, October 13, 2018. The main purpose of this post is to give people who are planning visits an example of a one-day itinerary at Hollywood Studios.
We give times for pretty much everything we do, from getting in line to modifying a FastPass+, to give you the most detailed view possible of how you could spend a day at Hollywood Studios. At the very bottom of the post, we give our final itinerary in abbreviated form.
This was a beautiful Saturday, with clear skies and temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees. As such, it was one of the more crowded days Hollywood Studios will see this year (which is still not very crowded). Even so, we were able to get quite a lot done.
Advance FastPass+ Reservations
We made three FastPass+ reservations the night before, only one of which we wound up using. We grabbed Alien Swirling Saucers for 12:30PM, Star Tours for 2:45PM, and Tower of Terror for 7PM (we didn’t plan on keeping the latter two). We highly recommend snagging any one of the three Toy Story Land rides in advance, but you can easily ride them even if you don’t.
Getting Alien Swirling Saucers for a Saturday on a Friday night wasn’t too tough. I grabbed something like a 2PM within a few minutes of searching and then modified it up to a 12:30PM pretty easily. Toy Story Mania was also readily available, but I wasn’t able to get a Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+ in the few minutes I tried.
Arrival & Rope Drop
A good goal for the morning is to get through at least two Toy Story Land rides (rope drop Slinky Dog Dash, standby Toy Story Mania) and catch the 11AM Beauty and the Beast show. We wound up modifying this a bit.
We took an Uber from our apartment over to Hollywood Studios, arriving at the gates at about 8:15AM for the 9AM scheduled open. Using the turnstiles all the way to the right, we were among the first in the park.
Turnstiles opened at about 8:20AM, and we were led down Hollywood Boulevard to continue waiting.
At 8:45AM, we began moving toward Toy Story Land. We moved at a much slower pace than usual in order to capture video (it also allows us to capture a more realistic experience as we’re pretty fast walkers).
At 8:51AM, we arrived outside of Slinky Dog Dash. The line was a little ambiguous, and some people were heading up the left to try and hop in later, but we played it cool and stood to the right with most people. The ride was warming up but didn’t have passengers yet (photo below is from later).
We got on Slinky Dog Dash at 9:21AM. The posted wait around 9AM was 80 minutes, but we were pretty far ahead in the line. This was our first ride on Slinky Dog Dash, and we thought it was okay. We both agreed Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is far better, but to rope drop and be on by 9:21AM was a fine way to experience it.
Update: We did a Hollywood Studios rope drop a few weeks later. This time, we had our parents with us, which slowed us down a bit. It was a busy Saturday, we arrived at 8:38AM and the turnstiles were already open. At 8:55AM, the park opened and the crowd moved toward Toy Story Land. We were in line at 8:58AM (the line was by Woody at the entrance) and were off at 10AM. The posted waits for Toy Story Mania! and Alien Swirling Saucers were 60 and 55 minutes.
We didn’t spend our time in the queue trying to modify out FastPass+ for Alien Swirling Saucers, instead opting to keep our noses out of our phones and our eyes on the details of the queue, which was cute.
From Slinky Dog Dash we headed to Toy Story Mania. It had an hour posted wait. On any ordinary day there’s no way we would have stood in that, but for the purposes of this post we were fine with it.
While in the queue, we started trying to move up our Alien Swirling Saucers FastPass. We modified it to 11:20AM and then (at 10:30AM) to 10:45AM. During the course of this, we actually saw (at 9:57AM) a 10:05AM Toy Story Mania FastPass+. We probably would have been better off hopping out of line and using that, but we didn’t see the need to overcomplicate our itinerary.
Regardless, the Toy Story Mania wait time was spot on and we were off the ride at 10:29AM. We tapped onto Alien Swirling Saucers at 10:40AM, when the posted wait was 45 minutes, and got on the ride at 10:49AM and off at 10:51AM.
With quick walking, we could have made our goal of the 11AM Beauty and the Beast show having completed all three Toy Story Land rides! Instead, we decided to slow it down a bit.
Afternoon Rides and Shows
At this point, we took a break to do some “work” and test out some FastPass+ modifications. When all was said and done with our FastPass+ tinkering, we wound up with a 12PM Tower of Terror and a 1:55PM Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. These were both grabbed same-day. about two hours in advance.
At any park, the afternoon should be spent on: short lines, entertainment, and same-day FastPass+ reservations. At Hollywood Studios, you should be done with at least two Toy Story Land rides by now and hopefully sitting on a FastPass+ for the third. This means you’ll just need to focus on mixing up shows with Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
We brought lunch, so we ate that and caught the 12PM March of the First Order before heading over to Tower of Terror, which at 12:13PM had a 75 minute wait. Our FastPass+ had us off the ride at 12:33PM.
We grabbed seats for the 1PM Beauty and the Beast show. This is one of the two shows (Indiana Jones is the other) with pretty limited showings, so we like to aim for a midday one first so we have backup options if we miss it.
At 1PM, our Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FastPass+ converted to a multiple experiences FastPass+ when the ride went down. (FastPass+ Note: We’d later discover the multiple experiences FastPass+ did not count as our third of the morning. We needed to add and use a fourth before we were finally allowed to book another Tier 1 at Hollywood Studios).
After Beauty and the Beast, we hustled over to Frozen Sing-Along Celebration for the 1:30PM show.
We were out of there at 2PM and at 2:09PM redeemed our multiple experiences FastPass+ for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which had a posted wait of 60 minutes.
At 2:18PM, while still waiting on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, we grabbed a 2:25PM FastPass+ reservation for Star Tours. At 2:32PM we were off Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. We tapped our Star Tours FastPass+ at 2:40 when the posted wait was 30 minutes, and we were off at 3PM.
In the meantime, we’d grabbed a 4:30PM FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania at 2:50PM. We modified it to 3:40PM at 3:11PM. Getting off Star Tours at 3PM left us just enough time to head over to the 3:15PM showing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, which we exited at 3:50PM.
By 4PM we were pretty much done with the park. We’d conquered Toy Story Land by 11AM, and then gotten through Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours, and the three big shows.
Odds, Ends, and Nighttime at Hollywood Studios
By the time 4PM rolls around, you could have mostly finished the park. If you saved one of the big shows for now, you’ll have plenty of time to fit it in. Our big goals were to at least wander around Toy Story Land at night and to take in some of the nighttime entertainment. Besides that, we just had a few easy boxes to check.
Wrapping Up Attractions and Daytime Entertainment
At 3:55PM, we popped in for the 4PM showing of Voyage of the Little Mermaid. This short show has a ton of showings throughout the day, so it’s really one you can squeeze in anywhere you find time.
At 4:15PM we were out of the show and headed to Toy Story Land to use our Toy Story Mania FastPass+. We tapped at 4:25PM, and were done at 4:45PM.
Having been trying to grab a nighttime Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+ all day, we were pleasantly surprised at 4:45PM when we grabbed a 6:35PM FastPass+ for Hollywood Studios’s most popular ride! We immediately knew we’d be aiming to use it at 7:35PM, as we wanted it to be as dark as possible for our nighttime Slinky Dog Dash ride.
The last attraction we had to fit in was one of our favorites: Muppet Vision 3D! We walked in at 4:55PM just after a show started (they’re continually every 10 minutes), so we wound up not exiting until 5:21PM, but we were totally fine with that.
With some time to spend, we visited BaseLine Tap House for the first time. We loved BaseLine. It has a straightforward quick-service style ordering system and a great list of beers.
We reminisced over the good ol’ days when you had to know the one or two carts in the park that had beers, and all they had was Bud Light.BaseLine has a shelf paying homage to Writer’s Stop, a spot we absolutely loved before it closed back in October 2016.
Toy Story Land at Night and Hollywood Studios Nighttime Shows
We wandered the park until 7PM, when we retrieved our mobile order from Woody’s Lunch Box.
Toy Story Land is stunning at night, one of its few redeeming qualities in our mind (sorry!). We explored a bit, and at 7:22PM we tapped onto Slinky Dog Dash (posted wait 75 minutes), and we were off the ride at 7:32PM.
Slinky Dog Dash is an entirely different experience at night. If you are at Hollywood Studios, we would probably rank the must-do experiences at Hollywood Studios as: 1. Tower of Terror, 2. Slinky Dog Dash at night.
If you’re navigating an 8PM Fantasmic! showing, it might be tough to get Slinky Dog Dash in at night. You’ll probably want to aim to be on the ride between 6:30PM and 7:30PM, accepting that you might not get the optimal level of darkness. Our 7:30PM ride was perfect.
On the night we were there, we were heading to the 8:10PM showing of Disney Movie Magic and then the 8:30PM showing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. If you’re doing that, then you should feel comfortable getting on the ride as late at 8PM, as, in the worst case, Disney Movie Magic is completely missable.
We grabbed seats for Disney Movie Magic and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at 7:52PM. We were shocked to see that almost everyone sits for these two shows. The people standing got heckled (although they didn’t relent).
Both of these shows are missable, in our opinion. If you’re looking for a cherry on top of your sundae, they’re fine. Since they take place after 8PM, you won’t be able to get in any new lines anyways.
Really, these shows are targeted at the crowd who cannot or didn’t want to deal with the hassle of Fantasmic! Reluctantly, as people who really don’t love Fantasmic!, we’d suggest aiming for Fantasmic! instead of these nighttime shows. One good way to fit Fantasmic! in is by using your Disney dining plan credits for a Fantasmic! dining package, which comes with preferred seating.
As for us, we left the park right around 8:45-8:50PM and walked over to AbracadaBar on the BoardWalk, arriving at 9:12PM.
Final Thoughts On Visiting Hollywood Studios
Keep in mind that until Star Wars Land opens, Hollywood Studios has only six true rides. Even with the shows, it is not hard to fit the park into an 11-hour day.
That said, we did skip a few noteworthy items. We did no character greetings, nor did we swing by the Star Wars Launch Bay. We also don’t have kids, so Jedi Training didn’t make our schedule. While we did stop by Walt Disney Presents… and quickly walk through the exhibit, the One Man’s Dream film wasn’t playing. We highly recommend you make time for Walt Disney Presents (and the accompanying film, when it’s playing).
But we also had plenty of downtime, namely the two hours between when we exited Muppet Vision 3D and got on Slinky Dog Dash for the second time. Also, we rode two Tier 1 rides twice: Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania.
If we’d hustled to Beauty and the Beast for the 11AM show and skipped those two double-rides, we probably would have had a full three hours of spare time at the park. That’s plenty of time to fit in anything we missed.
Our Final Hollywood Studios Itinerary
Advance FastPass+ Reservation: Alien Swirling Saucers 12:30PM (modified to 10:45AM at 10:30AM)
08:20AM Turnstiles Open
08:45AM Rope Drop escorted to Toy Story Land
08:51AM In line for Slinky Dog Dash (middle of crowd)
09:21AM on Slinky Dog Dash
09:25AM in line for Toy Story Mania
10:23AM on Toy Story Mania
10:40AM tap onto Alien Swirling Saucers
10:49AM on Alien Swirling Saucers
Break for Lunch
11:15AM Grab 12PM Tower of Terror FastPass+
12PM March of the First Order
12:12PM Grab 01:55PM Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster FastPass+
12:13PM tap onto Tower of Terror
12:40PM arrive for 1PM Beauty and the Beast show
01:28PM arrive for 1:30PM Frozen Sing Along Show
02:09PM tap onto Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
02:18PM grab 2:25PM Star Tours FastPass+
02:32PM off Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
02:40PM tap onto Star Tours
02:50PM grab Toy Story Mania FastPass+ for 4:30PM (later modified to 3:40PM)
03:05PM arrive for 3:15PM Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
03:55PM arrive for 4PM Voyage of The Little Mermaid show
04:25PM tap onto Toy Story Mania
04:45PM off Toy Story Mania
04:45PM grab 6:35PM Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+
04:55PM arrive for Muppet Vision 3D
05:25PM drinks at BaseLine Tap, Explore Park
07:00PM dinner at Woody’s Lunch Box
07:22PM tap onto Slinky Dog Dash
07:32PM off Slinky Dog Dash, explore Toy Story Land at night
07:52PM arrive for 8:10PM and 8:30PM nighttime shows
08:50PM exit park
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