Hollywood Studios has undergone massive changes in recent years. There have been several new attractions opening including the Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during December 2019. In addition, to changing attractions there have been regular changes to FastPass at Hollywood Studios. The 2nd change of 2020 was announced on February 6th with the addition of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to FastPass. However, we expect there might be further changes with the addition of Rise of the Resistance to FastPass+ as we approach the second half of 2020. Our updated Hollywood Studios Fastpass Tips & Tricks will help you plan a great Disney World Vacation.
The Basics of FastPass+
If you are visiting Walt Disney World, you must understand the FastPass basics. FastPass+ is Disney’s attraction reservation system & allows you to book attractions in advance. Guests who do not make advanced bookings will be met with long lines and waits.
To use FastPass+ before you visit you must have either:
- Valid Ticket or Annual Pass
- Walt Disney World Resort Hotel reservation plus theme park tickets
Guests who are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort(including Swan, Dolphin plus select Disney Springs Resorts) can book 60 days in advance plus the number of days of their stay.
Ticket holders not staying in the above resorts have a much shorter 30-day reservation window.
You can book your FastPass Reservations on the Disney Website or by downloading the My Disney Experience App. You must plan to book FastPass reservations as soon as they become available.
You can make 3 Fastpass reservations before you arrive in the park. Once these reservations are used, you can book an extra pass. You can make extra FastPass reservations as soon as you join your 3rd attraction line. You can continue booking one additional selection after each attraction until the end of the day or until no more FastPass slots are available.
We have created a Guide to FastPass+ which explains the basics in more depth.
Hollywood Studios FastPass Basics
Fastpass Tiers at Hollywood Studios are changing on February 19th and will be changing again for visits starting from March 4th. Make sure you understand the system for when you visit because you will be able to book your reservations in advance.
FastPass Tiers at Hollywood Studios until February 19th
Hollywood Studios has always had Fastpass Tiers which have restricted your advanced booking of the most popular attractions. The following are Tier 1 attractions for visits prior to February 19th:
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Toy Story Mania!
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Everything else is in Tier 2. Unfortunately, you are able to book one Tier 1 attraction in advance. Apart from Star Tours, all the most popular attractions are in Tier 1.
There will be no FastPass selections available for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge if you visit before February 19th.
FastPass Tiers at Hollywood Studios from February 19th
You will still be able to book one Tier 1 attraction before you visit. The new attractions in Tier 1 at Hollywood Studios are:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
All other attractions are in Tier 2 including Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Fantasmic! and more.
FastPass Tiers at Hollywood Studios from March 4th
There will be a further addition to Tier 1. The attractions in Tier 1 will be:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Tier 2 attractions will remain the same.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will continue to not offer FastPass+ but we expect this to change later in the year.
Are the kids big enough to ride?
Don’t create a park plan that includes all family members riding; to realize too late, not all of you can. Many of the Walt Disney World attractions do carry restrictions and are enforced strictly. At the Hollywood Studios these are:
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Height Requirement 40 inches.
- Star Tours Height Requirement 40 inches.
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster Height Requirement 48″ inches.
- Slinky Dog Dash 38 inches.
- Alien Swirling Saucers 32 inches.
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at least 38″.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at least 40″.
Also, both Star Tours and Tower of Terror and not recommended for infants under 3 years but in our opinion only the bravest under 5s should ride.
When children are not big enough to ride it does not mean adults and older children can’t. Rider Switch, allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child. You can learn more in our Guide to Rider Switch.
What should be your Hollywood Studios Fastpass Strategy?
Before February 19th
We believe Slinky Dog Dash or Tower of Terror should be your number 1 choice. We recommend using the Single Rider Line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Between February 19th and March 4th
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is the obvious choice for your Tier 1 attraction. A single rider line is also available if you don’t mind splitting up, but this ride is great fun for the whole family. If you do decide to split up then grab your FastPass for Slink Dog.
For Tier 2, you should probably consider booking Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror. Rock N’ Roller Coaster attracts long waits, but we recommend using the Single Rider Line.
FastPass+ picks from March 4th
Our advice stays the same for your Tier 2 selections. However, Tier 1 is a little more tricky. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a new attraction and we really are not sure yet what its ride capacity or popularity will be.
However, there are suggestions that the ride capacity of the attraction will be pretty big. In contrast, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run can accommodate up 1800 guests and hour, but Slinky Dog Dash accommodates a fairly pathetic 1000 guest an hour. In comparison, Pirates of the Caribbean can accommodate almost 3000 guests an hour.
For the first few months, we think you should grab a Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway as your first choice. However, we think this might change later in the year. We also expect that the initial excitement of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run may also settle. We wouldn’t be surprised, come summer, Slinky Dog Dash would be your number 1 choice, but for now, we recommend it as your third selection.
What about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?
FastPass+ is not available for Rise of the Resistance, and there is no indication when it will be introduced. Currently, you have to join a virtual queue to experience Rise of the Resistance. Your best chance of getting a place in the virtual queue is to arrive at the park early, before the scheduled opening. Currently, you can book a boarding group as soon as the park opens, but they usually run out within 1 minute.
Make sure you check My Disney Experience for the latest Hollywood Studios Park Hours. These have been getting changed regularly and additional Extra Magic Hours have been getting added too. Currently, the Rise of the Resistance is not available in EMH.
I’m only visiting for 1 day what should I do?
If you are only visiting for one day your strategy should depend on your priorities. If you want to experience Rise of the Resistance you must get to the park early.
Unfortunately, we think it is likely you will not manage to do all the attractions at Hollywood Studios and you will have to decide what are your must-do experiences.
In addition, to your FastPass selections, you should use the single rider line for Rock N’ Roller Coaster & Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Any additional tactics?
During Fantasmic crowds might be lighter at the biggest attractions. Rather than wait during peak hours consider skipping Fantasmic so you can hit a shorter line.
The last hour of the park opening can also attract shorter lines. Advertised waits during this period are usually longer than actual wait.
Do you have any further tips to create an even better Hollywood Studios Fastpass Strategy? Do you think we have made any mistakes? Leave a comment below so we can add to a future edition of this post.
Learn more about Walt Disney World in our Essential Guide. Our Guide to Walt Disney World is a great place to start planning any Disney World Vacation.
Are you visiting in 2020? We have created a Guide to Everything New at Walt Disney World in 2020.