If you wish to do a day or night at Hollywood Studios, this half-day itinerary presents a plan of assault for touring the park effectively. DHS has a number of the hottest rides at Walt Disney World, so it’s possible you’ll must strategize otherwise to be able to get all the pieces completed.
To that time, we do not suggest solely a half-day at DHS when you’re a first-timer. Though there are a variety of time-consuming stage exhibits with out a lot repeatability, we often do a whole day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the same time as WDW diehards. DHS is most undoubtedly a full-day park, simply to be clear.
Nevertheless, we seldom do a full whole day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as a substitute opting to splice it up (so to talk) with a morning on the park and a separate night or two. We’ll clarify the why of that beneath–as there’s a technique to the insanity–however when you don’t have Park Hopper tickets, this put up most likely isn’t for you. As an alternative, seek the advice of our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary for zig-when-they-zag technique for a whole single day at DHS.
For some time, we’ve been emphasizing that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is probably the most irritating park at Walt Disney World. This was true even pre-closure (in reality, that hyperlink above is from early 2020), and it’s been exacerbated in the previous few years as a result of ongoing absence of some leisure.
In case you don’t need to learn that older article, the short rationalization for the frustrations is that the trip roster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is each top-heavy and relatively-limited. Because of this DHS has principally standard rides, with out a lot of a supporting lineup of smaller-scale points of interest to assist take in the crowds.
For probably the most half, that is truly a very good downside to have. The typical visitor undoubtedly prefers to do standard rides (therefore their recognition) than the smaller-scale and fewer standard stuff (therefore their lack of recognition). However it additionally signifies that the typical posted wait time at DHS is considerably increased than different parks at Walt Disney World.
This additionally presents a possibility. Due to that aforementioned top-heavy and restricted trip roster, wait occasions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios peak earlier within the day than different parks. By the center of the day, many points of interest have lengthy strains and posted wait occasions of over an hour, which ends up in visitor burnout. In consequence, folks do a couple of long-wait rides earlier than hitting a wall and leaving.
By the night hours, many points of interest have brief strains and low waits–even lower than what the posted occasions would possibly recommend. This may increasingly not make full sense, but it surely’s the phenomenon we’ve noticed over the past 3+ years at Walt Disney World. We anticipated the dynamic to vary as soon as Fantasmic returned, but it surely largely has not. Frankly, it is a bit inexplicable even to us–however it’s how issues usually play out at DHS, and will be exploited as a strategy to reduce your time ready in strains!
Along with arriving late, the opposite best choice for beating the crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is arriving very early. Nicely, as long as you’re staying on-site and are thus eligible for Early Entry. This presents pre-park opening entry to all necessary, high-wait points of interest at DHS and often finally ends up being far more than a 30 minute head-start.
That’s very true when you prioritize Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, with the added upside of doing this primary being that you simply’re much less more likely to encounter a breakdown when you’re in line for it. Take a look at our step-by-step technique for Early Entry at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That’ll mean you can knock out a number of headliners, leaving you with much less to do at night time (or a shot at second rides on Rise of the Resistance and Slinky Canine Sprint!)
When you’re staying at a Crescent Lake or Skyliner resort, doing the morning at DHS earlier than heading to your resort for a noon break or a couple of hours on the pool is nice choice. It’s straightforward and environment friendly to take the gondolas or boats again to these resorts–or just stroll when you’re staying at BoardWalk, Seaside Membership, Yacht Membership, or Swan & Dolphin.
To actually leverage savvy technique for a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, comply with the above Early Entry plan and this afternoon itinerary and likewise stack Lightning Lane reservations by way of the Genie+ service. Return occasions for DHS points of interest are sometimes within the second half of the day, so you can also make trip reservations all through the day and redeem them within the second half of the day. (See our Disney’s Hollywood Studios Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Trip Ranks for the most effective order of choices.)
Sufficient with the long-winded preface, let’s fast-forward to our afternoon within the park…
Early Dinner – As an non-obligatory first step, arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by about 3:30 pm when you plan on having a late lunch or early dinner within the park. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is house to 2 of the very Finest Themed Eating places at Walt Disney World in Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Different highly regarded choices embody Hollywood Brown Derby, Minnie’s Seasonal Dine, and Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ.
When you’re unable to attain Advance Eating Reservations for any of these desk service eating places, BaseLine Faucet Home is a strong walk-up choice and Docking Bay 7 Meals & Cargo in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (in addition to the close by Ronto Wraps) are nice counter service decisions. Or, you may Snack Round Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Star Excursions: the Adventures Proceed – Because of the best know-how in area tourism, the nice people who function excursions of the Star Warfare are extremely environment friendly. Even on busy days, Star Excursions often has a brief line by afternoon, and may take round half-hour from the second you enter the queue till you disembark.
It’s now overshadowed by Galaxy’s Edge, however we predict Star Excursions: the Adventures Proceed is phenomenal and recent (it’ll once more get new scenes in 2024). Though Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is the higher total expertise with enjoyable interactivity, I feel the locations in Star Excursions are significantly better than the visuals in Smugglers Run. So don’t skip Star Excursions simply because it’s older!
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Common wait occasions for Tower of Terror have plummeted in 2023 as a result of conclusion of the stealth refurbishment that successfully had the attraction operating at half-capacity. Accordingly, you would possibly see some outdated sources highlighting its lengthy strains (sorry–we’re engaged on getting all the pieces up to date!), however that’s not the case and shouldn’t be going ahead.
At the moment, the wait time for Tower of Terror often peaks within the morning earlier than plateauing noon. After a slight spike put up lunch, it often begins reducing precipitously between 4 and 5 pm, relying upon crowd ranges. Throughout a latest go to, the posted wait time at 5:30 pm was 40 minutes and we waited about 20.
Notice: Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster is at present closed for a prolonged refurbishment by way of Summer season 2023. As soon as it reopens, it’ll nearly actually take advantage of sense to do this curler coaster after Tower of Terror. For max time-savings, use the Single Rider line.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – The latest attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is among the many park’s few all-ages rides. Due to this, it’s often busiest earlier within the day…however there does appear to be a post-dinner surge as some households hit it on the way in which out of the park.
Accordingly, it is smart to knock out Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway whereas crossing the park from Sundown Boulevard to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. Our expertise with wait occasions for MMRR is hit and miss; it could possibly be something from a close to walk-on to half-hour or extra. (We’ve been unfortunate with downtime on Runaway Railway just lately. YMMV.)
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – From Sundown Boulevard, bounce to the precise reverse facet of the park to do Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. In the course of the busiest hours of the day, this has one of many highest posted wait occasions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Nevertheless, that’s often not the case by late afternoon. Smugglers Run is extremely environment friendly, and is commonly a walk-on after 5 pm on reasonably busy days (peak season is a distinct story) whatever the posted wait time. We’ve regularly encountered ~30 minute posted wait occasions at round 6:30 pm which are truly waits of nevertheless lengthy it takes to stroll by way of the mostly-empty queue.
Toy Story Mania – This is without doubt one of the greatest wild playing cards within the itinerary, which is attributable largely to the Genie+ service. Toy Story Mania dedicates lots of trip capability to the Lightning Lane, so if there’s nonetheless excessive demand for that, the standby line can transfer slowly right here–even when there aren’t a ton of individuals in it.
Nonetheless, we’ve discovered that after 7 pm is just about the “candy spot” for Toy Story Mania, with precise wait occasions which are underneath 20 minutes being frequent. (We waited 19 minutes on a latest night when the posted wait time was 45 minutes, for instance.)
Slinky Canine Sprint – Far and away the 2 hottest rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are Slinky Canine Sprint and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. That is included within the Genie+ service, and infrequently has return occasions which are hours later within the day. (It’s not unusual to ebook proper at 7 am and get a return time after 7 pm!) Due to that, there’s a gentle stream of company within the Lightning Lane all through the day, however that does drop off after 5 pm as a result of extra folks “bail” on DHS (and thus, their Lightning Lane trip reservations).
In any case, we strongly suggest that you simply bounce into line for Slinky Canine Sprint about 60-90 minutes earlier than official park closing. By doing this, you’re more likely to wait 45 minutes or much less, whatever the posted time. (We just lately waited 36 minutes when the posted time was 90 minutes.)
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – We view this as one of many trendy masterpieces of Imagineering, and the most effective new attraction at Walt Disney World in a long time. Suffice to say, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is totally to not be missed–even when you’re not a fan of the newer movies.
It’s additionally probably the most unreliable points of interest at Walt Disney World, liable to breakdowns and delays. In consequence, the posted wait time will be manner off…in each instructions. We’ve had precise waits which are lower than half the posted time (very often, in reality) but in addition precise waits which are almost double the posted wait time. It’s one of many greatest offenders by way of the disparity between posted and precise wait occasions at Walt Disney World.
When you get fortunate and it’s not having any points on the day of your go to, that 75 minute posted wait time after 8 pm is likely to be an precise wait time of 20 minutes. In contrast, if it’s been up-and-down all day and there’s a backlog of Lightning Lane company, it is likely to be an precise wait of 70-80 minutes. Worse but, it may break down when you’re in line and find yourself being a triple-digit wait.
The purpose right here is that saving Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance till the tip of the night in your solely day at DHS is a excessive threat, excessive reward transfer…and one we don’t suggest as your unique strategy. This can be a good time to do a second trip on Rise of the Resistance. (Lately, we waited 29 minutes when the posted wait time was 70 minutes within the final hour of the day. A very good “inform” as as to if the wait time will probably be shorter than anticipated is nobody outside queue or cavern space pictured above.)
Fantasmic – It’s not unusual for Fantasmic to have two showtimes on busier days, with one occurring at park closing or half-hour after. This enables Disney to successfully lengthen the closing time by an hour or extra (given the period of Fantasmic and longer time it takes to clear the park after it ends) however with out operating rides throughout that point.
We’ve managed to see the second exhibiting of Fantasmic from spectacular seats with out arriving greater than 5 minutes upfront of showtime. Notice that this was the case even on evenings when the primary efficiency was fairly busy and seats stuffed up half-hour earlier than showtime (bulletins performed that solely restricted views have been out there).
Conversely, the late performances of Fantasmic on these very same evenings had a number of whole sections that went unfilled. I used to be in a position to snag the third row of a fantastic part at (actually) 2 minutes earlier than showtime, and that was on a busy day. (Talking of nice spots, seek the advice of our Viewing Information for Fantasmic at Walt Disney World for all of our tricks to get the most effective seats with out paying further for the eating package deal.)
On slower days, there’s often just one Fantasmic–and it often fills up quicker than the second exhibiting on much more crowded days. As such, you don’t need to arrive on the absolute final minute; you gained’t get good seats (and could also be shut out solely). That additionally makes this whole itinerary a bit trickier, however on days with decrease crowd ranges, your wait occasions needs to be even shorter–so all of it ought to roughly be equal ultimately.
Hopefully this Disney’s Hollywood Studios afternoon and night itinerary is smart and helps you expertise the highlights with a late arrival. It needs to be a great way to do DHS with out getting burnt out from lengthy strains in sizzling climate. On the absolute minimal, it’ll allow you to “end up” the favored rides at DHS after doing a separate morning on the park.
As you would possibly discover, this plan includes a little bit of backtracking for the sake of minimizing waits. Nevertheless, you could possibly straightforward optimize to cut back strolling by doing Tower of Terror first, Toy Story Land second, and Star Wars points of interest third. When you do change up the order, we’d nonetheless encourage you to do Star Excursions earlier than 7 pm, as doing it any later than that may price you time.
Actually, the specifics right here matter lower than the thought of this Disney’s Hollywood Studios plan. The salient level is that crowds filter at DHS within the late afternoon to an nearly inexplicable diploma, leading to wait occasions that–as a complete–are considerably decrease than between 10 am and 4 pm. You possibly can change across the order of points of interest and nonetheless save tons of time; simply attempt to save each Slinky Canine Sprint and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance on your last 2-3 rides to leverage this strategy to its fullest.
If you wish to know which strategy is finest for all 4 parks, see our new Finest Time-Saving Methods at Walt Disney World, which particulars the most effective and worst methods to avoid wasting time in strains. Many followers and first-timers alike assume that Genie+ and Lightning Lanes are the optimum strategy to do the parks, however that’s solely unquestionably true at Magic Kingdom. The opposite 3 produce other approaches that (arguably) work higher.
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Have you ever visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios just lately within the afternoon or night? What was your expertise? When did you arrive? How lengthy did you keep? Ideas on strains and crowds? Success or failure doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Canine Sprint, or anything with shorter strains? What a couple of last-minute arrival to the second exhibiting of Fantasmic? Do you intend on arriving for Early Entry, rope drop, or will you make the most of a late arrival technique? Do you agree or disagree with our itinerary? Any questions? Listening to your suggestions–even whenever you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!