The Best Way to Maximize Your Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Best Way to Maximize Your Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park is jammed packed with the most amount of thrill rides and attractions.  Oddly, it’s also the smallest of the 4 Disney World Theme Parks.  So how can you tackle the excitement and score your best day ever at Hollywood Studios?  Read on to find out how that’s possible!

The entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

First, what’s on the agenda?

In the last 5 years, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) has become the park at Disney World with of the highest coveted attractions.  The park now has 2 heavily immersive sections with the addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

Let’s not forget this theme park was already home to exciting attractions like Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster!  Lastly, one favorite attraction at the front of the park had an overhaul and became the first EVER Mickey and friends themed ride.  

You Can Feel the Force at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney opened Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios in 2019.  With that, came the crowds of Star Wars enthusiasts, me included!  The land added not 1 but 2 attractions to its already heavy hitting thrill rides with Smuggler’s Run and Rise of the Resistance.

Black Spire outpost at Galaxy’s Edge
photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

However, it isn’t just the ride systems in this area that a drawing people into the theme park at higher numbers.  The whole land itself is an experience!  Other experiences include:

Rise of The Resistance
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn
  • Oga’s Cantina– a space bar with unique cocktails and a droid DJ.  (Requires advanced dining reservations and has a 45-minute limit for guests)
  • Droid Depot– Build your own Droid (requires ADR)
  • Savi’s Workshop– Here you can build your own lightsaber (requires ADR)
Oga’s Cantina at Galaxy’s Edge
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

I haven’t mentioned food service locations: Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo plus Black Spires Outpost where guests can enjoy shopping and eating with interplanetary flair!

YouTube: @dizndonohues

This article is focused on how to make the most of your time at Hollywood Studios, so if you would like to learn all about this land in a galaxy far, far away, you can check out 3 Ways Disney’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Immerses Fans Inside the Movie as well as Is Disney’s Rise of The Resistance Worth the Hype?

You’ve got a few friends at Hollywood Studios

In addition to Galaxy’s Edge, Disney opened Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios in 2018 as a sort of revamp to what was just one attraction, Toy Story Mania, in a small section known as Midway Mania. 

Toy Story Land
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

In Toy Story Land you are meant to feel like a toy in Andy’s Backyard.  It is imaginative, colorful, fun, nostalgic, and heavily detailed.  It also brought 3 new attractions:

  • Slinky Dog Dash– A family friendly rollercoaster that gets very long lines quickly. 
  • Toy Story Mania– Compete against family and friends in this shooter style ride
  • Alien Swirling Saucers– a Spinning “teacup” like attraction with a twist

 Toy Story Land also has a quick service location, Woody’s Lunch Box and soon a BBQ table service restaurant.

It is the House of The Mouse Afterall!

Prior to the pandemic, Hollywood Studios opened Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at the site of the former Old Movie Ride inside the Chinese Theatre in 2020.  What’s amazing about that?  It is the first attraction in all the parks to feature Mickey, Minnie and all his pals.  Kind of crazy, huh?

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

What’s even more impressive is the ride system is brand new and takes guests through the cartoon world on a trackless system as if you yourself were part of the animation.  While I loved the Great Movie Ride and am saddened it has gone away, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is quickly becoming a fan favorite. 

Let’s not forget the originals

So, add the above to what was already a park with attractions like Tower of Terror, and Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and you’ve got a bonanza of people trying to do it all!  What does that mean?  That means CROWDS, long lines, and limited lightning lane availability.

Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

How do you get it all done at Hollywood Studios?

First, it’s almost essential to make that Disney Genie + purchase as early as possible, as in 7am on the day of your park visit.  In addition to that, I highly recommend you purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance at that time as well.

I know, I know, more expense is the last thing you want to face on a Disney World vacation, but to maximize your time and limit your frustration, here’s what I suggest.

Pro-Tip at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • First- purchase Disney Genie+ for the day you visit Hollywood Studios as early as midnight the night before (variable pricing between $15-$22/day/per person)
  • Make your first lightning lane reservation through Genie+ at 7am (recommend Slinky Dog Dash if it’s a must do for you)
  • Purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of The Resistance if you want to experience that attraction.
  • Get to the park for Rope Drop.  If you are staying at a Disney resort, you have early park entry of half an hour before official park opening.  Example:  Park opens at 8:30am, you can enter at 8am, be there at 7:30am
  • Use early park entry to knock out some must do attractions without the lightning lane.  You may get 1 or 2 done before the crowds.
  • You can make lightning lane reservations either when you “check in for your current one or 120 minutes after you made your current one- whichever comes first.  Make new ones ASAP.  (The only exception is the 120-minute rule starts at park opening, not at 7am from your first reservation).
  • Use a combination of lightning lane reservations and stand-by lines to enjoy your day

Always, Always refresh your app while you are in the park to check for better lightning lane availability for those big-ticket attractions- they do change and become available even if they were “not available” before!

No Lightning Lane Required

It’s best to use the entertainment and attractions at Hollywood Studios that don’t need a lightning lane to fill the gap between your reservations.  Some of the best include:

Muppet Vision 3D is a fun 3D show inside Hollywood Studios
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn
  • Beauty and The Beast Stage Show
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • For The First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-along
  • Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

Food and Drink options at Hollywood Studios

Maybe grab a bite to eat, a drink or wander around the merchant shop areas.  Some of your options include:

  • Brown Derby Lounge: enjoy of flight of martinis and small bites
  • Mobile order a Wookie Cookie from Backlot Express (soooo, good and shareable)
  • Baseline Tap House: Get a charcuterie board, a giant pretzel, or a flight of craft beers
  • Join the walk-up waitlist for 50’s Primetime Café at get a home cooked meal while having fun with your servers.
  • ABC Commissary: You can have a decent quick service meal in the AC with a lot of seating

Last but not least, you can meet and greet some special characters for a meal at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant. It is recommended that you secure an advanced dining reservation for this dining experience 60 days before you arrive for your vacation.

Final Thoughts on a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Although Hollywood Studios is the smallest of the Disney Theme Parks, it is FULL of the most wanted attractions for thrill seekers.  It’s also where you will be met with high crowd volumes and long lines for those rides!  It is possible accomplish your must do list if you have the tools and know the tricks to that.

It all can seem overwhelming, but once you arm yourself with the know-how, you can relax and enjoy your time on vacation.  As a Travel Planner, my goal is to help you along the way.  If you have questions, have suggestions or need further information, comment below. 

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