Hollywood Studios: 1/2-Day Touring Strategy

By: Amy Kawa

A little disclaimer here – Hollywood Studios has been my favorite park for as long as I can remember.  As much as I would love to say that it is a full-day, rope drop to Kiss Goodnight park, it’s just not – at least not the way it is in its present state.  With Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land) and Toy Story Land set to open in the next couple of years, this park will once again become a main attraction, but for now, it is a half-day park.

Despite this fact, Hollywood Studios offers some of the best nighttime entertainment in any Disney Park, so I recommend starting your day in another park and hopping over to Hollywood Studios after lunchtime (around 2:00 p.m. or so), or if you don’t have a Park Hopper included in your ticket package, just sleep in and hang by the pool for a bit.

Hollywood Studios ½-Day Plan

Fastpass+ Choices

*Try to schedule your fastpasses as early as you can when you plan on getting into any park.  This way, you can try and use your original three fastpasses and then try to score a fourth for Fantasmic! before the night is up.  Check out how to become a Fastpass+ master in one of our earlier posts.

Hollywood Studios has a tiered Fastpass+ system.  On tier one, fastpass Toy Story Mania!, which will have the longest wait times of the day in the park.

On tier two, use your fastpasses on Star Tours (which can average a 20-30-minute wait during the late afternoon) and Tower of Terror (wait times can get up to 40-50 minutes during peak times).

Later afternoon (2:00 p.m. ish)

  • Enter the park and head to the right

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

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  • Ride your first fastpass – Toy Story Mania!
  • Pop in and check out Walt Disney Presents: One Man’s Dream (allow as much time as you’d like in this walk through exhibit)

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

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  • Head down Sunset Boulevard and ride your second fastpass – Tower of Terror
  • Come back up Sunset Boulevard and head back toward Animation Courtyard
  • Go inside Star Wars Launch Bay
    • Watch the 12-minute film
    • Meet Chewbacca and BB-8 (and Kylo Ren if time allows, but be warned, it can be a little bit of an awkward meet and greet)
  • If you still have time before your Star Tours fastpass, catch a showing of “Voyage of the Little Mermaid”
  • Cross in front of The Great Movie Ride and pay your respects (RIP!)

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

  • Ride your third fastpass – Star Tours
    • While in line for Star Tours, immediately see if you can book a Fantasmic! fastpass

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

  • Take a stroll down Grand Avenue and look at the store fronts
  • Head to Muppet Vision 3D
  • Walk past Star Tours and again and check out one of the last showings of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration OR Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

7:00 p.m.

  • Dinner time! If you are looking for a fast, quick service meal, head to the ABC Commissary and get the chicken club with green beans. If you’re looking for more of a sit-down meal, try the ‘50s Prime Time Café or Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater for some awesome atmosphere mixed with some delicious comfort foods.
  • If you have time before the nighttime entertainment, check the wait times for another Star Tours ride (the ride is randomized, so it’ll be different than the time you rode before!)

8:00 p.m. (for a 9:00 p.m. Fantasmic! showing)

  • On your way to the fireworks or Fantasmic! stop in the Tune-In Lounge, the bar 18766791_10207782384471596_4933562703457823329_oconnected to the 50s Prime Time Café, and order a Peanut Butter & Jelly Milkshake to-go. It is delicious and can be ordered straight from the bar!
  • You have to choose between the Star Wars Fireworks OR Fantasmic! For some unknown reason, Disney schedules these offerings at the same times each night, so guests have to pick one thing to see. Maybe, it’s a crowd control thing or for some other perfectly good reason, I just wish they would tell the general public why.
    • If you have to choose one, I will always choose Fantasmic!, but it is certainly less complicated to get a spot to watch some fireworks.
    • Start heading down Sunset Boulevard to Fantasmic 45 minutes prior to show time. If you were able to score a fastpass earlier in the night, you can probably wait until about 30 minutes before show time.  Fastpasses will guarantee you a seat, but it doesn’t indicate where, so it’s still a free-for-all once you get to the amphitheater.
    • Watch Fantasmic!

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  • After the show, stop in the shops along Sunset Boulevard/Hollywood Boulevard, as the shops stay open for at least 1 hour after park closing.

Make sure you say goodnight to Pluto, and thank Hollywood Studios for a wonderful day at the movies (well… still kind of)!

*Please note that Rock n’ Roller Coaster is not on this list.  It falls on the same tier as Toy Story Mania! for Fastpass+ and would require a bit of a wait.  So if you would like to add this roller coaster to the itinerary and/or Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, plan to head to the park around noon to fit them in.

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