Hollywood Studios has been undergoing a period of massive change. The biggest changes have been the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. The new attractions have led to big crowds and long waits within the park. Now more than ever it is essential you have a strategy to maximize your time at Hollywood Studios. Here are our Top Hollywood Studios Tips & Tricks for 2020. Our Hollywood Studios Hacks will keep you ahead of the rest of the crowd.
You can no longer do Hollywood Studios in 1 day
At the start of last year, we felt most guests could complete the majority of Hollywood Studios in 1 day. This is no longer the case as a minimum you will need at least two days. An increase in the number of attractions, bigger crowds, and longer waits means that one day is no longer sufficient.
Keep checking Hollywood Studios park hours
Hollywood Studios is currently very popular and park hours are regularly getting changed. Make sure you keep an eye on My Disney Experience to see if Hollywood Studio’s opening hours have altered, especially to an earlier opening time.
Have a Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy
FastPass+ is Disney’s attraction reservation system and allows you to book attractions in advance of your visit. Guests who do not make advanced bookings will be met with long lines and will experience fewer attractions.
You can make 3 Fastpass reservations before you arrive at Hollywood Studios. Once these reservations are used, you can book an extra pass. You can continue booking one additional selection after each attraction until the end of the day or until no more FastPass slots are available.
In addition, to changing attractions, there have been regular changes to FastPass at Hollywood Studios over the last few years. The 2nd change of 2020 was announced on February 6th with the addition of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to FastPass.
Hollywood Studios has always had Fastpass Tiers, which have restricted your advanced booking of the most popular attractions. You can book just one Tier 1 attraction before you visit. You can book two attractions in Tier 2 or three if you fail to secure a Tier 1 attraction.
From March 4th Tier 1 attractions will be:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
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.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will continue to not offer FastPass+ but we expect this to change later in the year.
We suspect Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is probably your best choice for your Tier 1 selection. However, this advice might change as we approach the summer. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is currently our second choice.
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.
For more tips & tricks visit our Guide to Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Use our top-secret FastPass+ hack!
Keep an eye on the weather and whether any attractions have temporary closures. We think our top-secret FastPass could be a brilliant time-saver at Hollywood Studios this year.
Check out out Top FastPass+ Hack to learn how you can use it.
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.
Before you visit, keep an eye on Walt Disney World fan forums. These forums will provide the latest advice on when to arrive at the park.
Use Single Rider
Happy to ride on your own? Can’t get a FastPass? Then the Single Rider Line could save you considerable time. As long as you are happy riding on your own when a gap becomes available, a cast member will fill it with a single rider.
Hollywood Studios is the only park at Walt Disney World, which has two attractions with Single Rider lines. Rock N Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run both have this facility. Use it!
Are the kids big enough to ride?
Many of the Walt Disney World attractions do carry height restrictions and are strictly enforced. 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″.
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.
Don’t miss Fantasmic
Epcot Forever might be the newest night-time spectacular at Walt Disney World, but Fantasmic is better. Plus the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks are well worth seeing too.
Consider skipping Fantasmic!
Yes, I know. Contradict what I said in the tip above!
However, 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.
One day Hollywood Studios strategy
If you are only visiting Hollywood Studios 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.
Besides, your FastPass selections, you should use the single rider line for Rock N’ Roller Coaster & Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Have access to the park Wi-Fi.
Online access is essential in Walt Disney World. The My Disney Experience App is your essential guide to wait times, maps, showtimes & a lot more. Plus you can reserve Fastpass+ & make dining reservations on the App. Don’t even consider entering a Walt Disney World Park in 2020 without access to Wi-Fi.
Don’t miss the shows
Hollywood Studios is not all about big new attractions.
Some of the very best shows at Walt Disney World are at Hollywood Studios. Kids love the shows at Hollywood Studios, and you should catch a few of them. Beauty and the Beast, Frozen Sing-Along Celebration & Voyage of the Little Mermaid are great options.
Plan meal and drink breaks
Make sure you have plenty of breaks and drinks when in the park. Although Hollywood Studios is smaller than other parks, you will still do a lot of walking.
Restaurants do book up, and it essential you have booked your reservations in advance. Don’t expect to get a favorite dining location on the day. If standby reservations are available, expect a lengthy wait.
If visiting a counter service location use mobile ordering. It is a brilliant time-saver.
Meet a Character
Hollywood Studios has several characters you can’t meet elsewhere. Current selections include:-
- Darth Vader
- The Disney Junior Stars
Hollywood Studios is also home to the legendary Character Palooza. The Character Palooza is an unpublished character meet and greet, that occurs on any day there are performances of Fantasmic. Between 5 and 10, often rare, characters will appear. You will not see Character Palooza advertised anywhere, and cast members will even deny it exists. Good luck finding it!
Read more in our guide Meeting Characters at Walt Disney World.
Be prepared for every type of weather
Sunscreen, hat & waterproof all might be needed on any day at Hollywood Studios. Have a plan for what to do if the weather turns.
Read our guide to Orlando Weather for more tips & tricks.
Make sure you bring park essentials
Before your visit, create a list of what you need to bring, e.g. a camera, phone, autograph book, poncho. Make sure you don’t forget the sunscreen & a good hat. Plus, you will need access to plenty of water. However, do not take too much as you will be carrying it all day.
We have further tips on what should be in your park bag in our helpful guide. We find many blogs suggest you carry far too much to the parks.
Do you have any other Hollywood Studios Tips? Leave a comment below.
More Disney World
Our Guide to Walt Disney World is a great place to start planning any Disney World Vacation. Our guide is full of Tips & Tricks to have a great vacation.