Today we’ll take a look at planning a late arrival at Hollywood Studios with the addition of FastPass+. You may want to approach the Park with a similar plan on an arrival day or an afternoon Park Hop if you can go without using FP+ in the morning. That’s easiest at Animal Kingdom and fairly easy at Epcot if you have two days there or don’t care about Soarin’ or Test Track. You can pull it off at Magic Kingdom if you’re willing to move to the truly anytime attractions at 11am. There are two major considerations. First and most obviously, what you want to see and do. The more shows and attractions you want to see, the earlier you’ll need to arrive. Second, FastPass+ tiering and the ability to FP+ either Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Toy Story Mania but not both:
Tier 1 (Choose One):
- Toy Story Mania
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Tier 2 (Choose Two):
- Tower of Terror
- Great Movie Ride
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- Star Tours
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Disney Jr. Live on Stage
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
- American Idol Experience
- Muppet Vision 3D
This is based on how much time FastPass+ will save you in line in the late morning and afternoon when waits peak.
It’s 5:41pm on Saturday April 26th at the tail end of Easter spring break crowds and we’ve booked the #2 priority from Tier 1 and the top two priorities from Tier 2.
Great Movie Ride was down and we’ll replace it with the Maleficent promo. Our other two FP+ choices save over two hours in line. You may see Star Tours as a higher FP+ priority elsewhere, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a fairly low priority, despite being a major attraction. The wait is just 10 minutes and will remain that way through close.
Disney is running a 15-minute Maleficent promo in the old Sounds Dangerous building, similar to The Lone Ranger promos they ran last year.
This time it was in 3D, which was a nice bonus. I’m not real sure how this movie is going to play – it’s similar in style to Tim Burton’s extremely successful Alice in Wonderland, but it’s not a Burton film and the fun and whimsy seemed to be replaced with dark imagery and gore.
Great Movie Ride remains closed.
One thing that will throw a wrench in plans is the schedule. This is for May 4 – 10 and several quick services close early, in addition to the Backlot Tour and Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground before dusk.
By 6pm, the final show for Beauty and the Beast, Disney Jr., Indiana Jones, and Lights Motors Action is already in progress or over. If you’d like to see one of these shows, plan to arrive earlier and see them in the afternoon when waits remain long at the priority attractions.
If you’re interested in Wreck-It Ralph, The Incredibles, Minnie, and Mickey in the Animation Building, arriving at 5:30pm is best. Hit Ralph, then Minnie, then The Incredibles, then Mickey. Arrive at the other characters 30 to 45 minutes before they’re scheduled to end their final set.
After theoretically riding Great Movie Ride with FP+, we’re off to Sunset Boulevard for Tower of Terror.
And skipping a 50-minute standby queue.
FastPass+ works the same as legacy FASTPASS with the entrance to the right of standby.
After you walk the queue, waits of about 3 minutes are common for the pre-show.
Then another 10 minutes after the pre-show in the boiler room whether you use FP+ or not. We arrived at 6:24pm and were off at 6:43pm, which is about the minimum amount of time Terror takes.
With about 15 minutes until our Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FP+ time, there’s little to do on Sunset Boulevard other than grab a snack or shop.
At exactly 7pm, the posted wait remains 80 minutes.
Waits were significantly lower earlier in the day, but a cheerleading competition had just let out and the kids swarmed Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
FastPass+ works exactly the same as legacy FASTPASS here too. You’ll run into a wait of around five minutes for the pre-show and then about ten after. You can see the length of the single rider line here, which looks to be at least 40 minutes, though it’s difficult to gauge because it depends entirely on how many parties of 3, 5, 7, etc. arrive.
I like single rider at Test Track due to the way the vehicles are set up (parties of four are split up as two in front and two in back, so you get two single riders in that vehicle, speeding up the line). And Expedition Everest because you can see the length of the line prior to getting in it. Single rider at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a crapshoot and longer standby waits in turn push up single rider lines. I’ve waited longer in single rider than standby would have been.
We got in line at 7pm and were on exactly 10 minutes later at 7:10pm.
And back out front at 7:15pm.
This is a good time to swing by Star Tours if you’re interested in riding. Muppet Vision is another attraction you could easily fit in. Great Movie Ride was operating again with short waits.
It’s 7:25pm and there are about 15 people in line here with just two simulators operating. Our simulator was half full.
Back out front at 7:42pm.
If you’re skipping Fantasmic, the end of the night is the best time to to re-ride one of the priority attractions.
Studios is closing at 8pm, which means you can enter any attraction’s queue up until that time. Wait times are usually exaggerated to dissuade people from getting in line so everyone can close down and go home. You can ask the cast member at the entrance and they will usually cop to the fact that waits are much shorter than posted. This guy told us the “wait is a little shorter.”
Indeed it is.
With the last FP+ people arriving no later than 8pm, there are going to be few to bog us down. In the afternoon, 200 people in front of you in standby can result in a 60+ minute wait. At this time of night, 200 people will take about 15 minutes with just a handful of FP+ returners with priority pushing up our wait.
We got in line at 7:50pm and were on a vehicle at 8:05pm.
And back out front at 8:15pm for a total wait/ride time of 25 minutes.
So in 2 hours 15 minutes we accomplished:
- Great Movie Ride (theoretically since it was down, which is uncommon)
- Tower of Terror
- Rock n Roller Coaster
- Star Tours
- Toy Story Mania
That’s all five major rides at the Park. Had we arrived around 3pm, we could have easily accomplished a few shows or a couple secondary attractions like Backlot Tour, Muppet Vision 3D, and the like. This would have been impossible under the old system, where legacy FASTPASS would have been long gone for Roller Coaster and probably Tower of Terror too by the time we arrived. We had made the FP+ reservations three days prior.
Consider doing something similar if you’re satisfied with one ride on the major attractions. An 8:15am arrival affords the ability to ride each major attraction once in the standby line and then use FP+ later in the day to easily re-ride a second time.