Hollywood Studios – Touring Plans, Rope Drop, Wait Times, and FastPass+ Priority

The information below is available in an easily printable PDF here. Consider downloading it to your smart device for easy referencing.

Larger: Here.

General Touring Philosophy: Most guests arriving prior to park opening will want to ride Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing. Disney added a third track to Toy Story in May 2016, which has decreased standby waits and increased FastPass+ availability. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster typically sees longer waits and less FastPass+ availability, making it the new highest priority ride. Tower of Terror usually sees the third longest waits with Star Tours as the only other attractions that often has posted waits longer than 20 minutes. A typical problem is trying to see all of the scheduled shows, which take 40 to 60 minutes to experience, in a single day. With one day, you may need to prioritize several of the lengthy attractions that appeal to your group while skipping others – there just isn’t enough time.

Characters: The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania are the highest priority and see 30 to 50 minute afternoon waits. Try to visit immediately after riding Toy Story Mania in the morning or as late in the evening as possible. Chewbacca and BB-8 in Star Wars Launch Bay typically see 30-minute peak waits while Kylo Ren usually maxes out at 20. Visit during the heat of the day as both are inside with air-conditioned queues. Mickey and Minnie meet across from Sci-Fi Dine-In to 25ish minutes waits.  Other priorities include the Disney Jr. characters like Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard outside Disney Jr. and Olaf sees 10 to 20 minute waits across from Backlot Express and Star Tours.

Jedi Training Academy: Kids between the ages of 4 and 12 have the opportunity to participate in this show held next to Star Tours. To sign them up, it’s essential that you arrive at least 45 minutes before park open and bring the participating child to the Adventurers Outpost store to the right of 50’s Prime Time Café as quickly as possible or you risk a 30+ minute wait in line or finding all shows are full. Those with kids that don’t necessarily have to participate on a certain day may check availability around 10:30am when waits are shorter but slots are not guaranteed. There are usually 12 to 15 shows scheduled throughout the day. Ask for a show in the late morning or afternoon so it doesn’t interfere with morning touring. Kids participating in the show are required to return to the sign-up location 30 minutes before the show to practice. Those with pre-opening reservations at the  Hollywood & Vine character breakfast may be able to sign their kids up before breakfast without a wait, which is an added perk.

Rope Drop: The Studios typically lets guests into the Park 15-30 minutes prior to open and guests signing up kids for Jedi Training will be able to immediately do so after entering the park. Everyone else will be held on Hollywood Boulevard just past Trolley Car Café Starbucks until official park open. For Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror, keep to the far right. For Toy Story Mania, stay center and prepare to head straight and then to the right around Grauman’s Chinese Theater. There is much less of a hurry to any other attraction.

FastPass+ at the Studios

Like Epcot, FastPass+ enabled attractions are broken up into two tiers and guests may initially select only one Tier One attraction, which makes it a struggle for those arriving late to ride both Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Most guests want to select either Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and ride the other in standby first thing. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster offers a single rider line, though waits are usually in the 15 to 20 minute range due to the way the vehicles are loaded and it’s impossible to gauge how many people are in line until the final loading area.

FastPass+ Priority:

Tier One (Choose One):

  1. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  2. Toy Story Mania
  3. Fantasmic
  4. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

Tier 2 (Choose Two):

  1. Tower of Terror
  2. Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  3. Star Tours
  4. Frozen Sing-Along
  5. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  6. Disney Jr. Live on Stage
  7. Muppet Vision 3D

Tower of Terror FastPass+ is a no-brainer if you’re interested in riding with average peak waits of 60+ minutes. A second Tier 2 selection may be less obvious. FastPass+ is largely useless at the shows, requiring users to arrive very early to enjoy any benefit and with the possibility that the reserved seats will actually be worse than standby. Voyage of the Little Mermaid wins out due to its small theater and the likelihood that guests arriving in the afternoon will have to wait through at least one complete show before entering the theater, resulting in actual waits of 15 to 30 minutes. FastPass+ allows users to walk right in to the specified show even as it nears being full with less lead time. Star Tours enjoys a healthy capacity with plentiful FastPass+ availability and is usually available as a 4th FP+, but it would save you 20+ minutes in the heart of the afternoon. The Frozen Sing-Along is prioritized over the other shows because it’s least likely to be available as a 4th FP+ and shows are most likely to be full, making FastPass+ more useful.

4th FastPass+ Availability: Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Frozen Sing-Along will either have limited or no availability come 12pm. Fantasmic may or may not be available, but selecting it early in the day means you won’t be able to use FastPass+ anywhere else until after the show in the late evening. Using a 4th FP+ at Star Tours makes the most sense, but standby waits are reliably short after 6:30pm most days anyway. If you’re planning on seeing Fantasmic, keep checking for FastPass+ throughout the evening even if it isn’t initially available. Others cancelling should open up availability.

FastPass+ Kiosks:

  • Main tip board near the end of Hollywood Boulevard
  • To the right of the Muppet Vision 3D entrance
  • Tower of Terror’s old FASTPASS machines to the left of the attraction entrance
  • Toy Story Mania’s old FASTPASS machines to the right of the attraction entrance

MORNING TOURING PLAN – Toy Story Mania First

Use FastPass+ at:

  • Tower of Terror: 9:15am – 10:15am
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 10:15am – 11:15am
  • Star Tours 12:15pm – 1:15pm

The Plan:

  1. Ride Toy Story Mania: 9am – 9:20am
  2. See the 9:30am Voyage of the Little Mermaid: 9:22am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Tower of Terror with FastPass+: 9:55am – 10:20am
  4. Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with FastPass+: 10:22am – 10:45am
  5. See 11am Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage: 10:50am – 11:30am
  6. Have lunch: Sunset Ranch Market/Backlot Express/PizzeRizzo are convenient: 11:35am – 12:20pm
  7. Ride Star Tours with FastPass+: 12:30pm – 12:50pm
  8. Schedule a 4th FastPass+ via the phone app or Muppet Vision kiosk

Afternoon and Evening: It’s time for the Studios’ other scheduled stage shows blended in with whatever additional FastPass+ experiences that you are able or willing to secure. Seeing Muppet Vision 3D followed by the 2pm Indiana Jones show might make sense as would meeting Olaf or another character, heading to Launch Bay or a Star Wars show, or back to your resort for a break

MORNING TOURING PLAN – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster First

Use FastPass+ at:

  • Tower of Terror (9:30am – 10:30am)
  • Toy Story Mania (10:30am 11:30am)
  • Star Tours (11:30am – 12:30pm)

The Plan:

  1. Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 9am – 9:20am
  2. Ride Tower of Terror: 9:22am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Tower of Terror with FastPass+: 9:47am – 10:05am
  4. See Voyage of the Little Mermaid or visit Star Wars Launch Bay: 10:15am – 10:40am
  5. Ride Toy Story Mania with FastPass+: 10:45am – 11:05am
  6. See Star Wars Movie Clip Show or Meet Olaf: 11:15am – 11:35am
  7. Ride Star Tours with FastPass+: 11:40am – 12pm
  8. Check FP+ availability and book a 4th
  9. Have lunch. Backlot Express and PizzeRizzo are closest: 12pm – 12:50pm
  10. See Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (1:15pm show): 12:55pm – 1:45pm
  11. See Muppet Vision 3D if desired: 1:50pm – 2:15pm
  12. Use fourth FastPass+ selection and book subsequent experiences as time allows.

CHARACTER–CENTRIC TOURING PLAN

Use FP+ at Toy Story Mania (9:15am – 10:15am), Frozen Sing-Along (11:05am-11:20am), Star Tours (1pm-2pm)

  1. If desired, sign the kids ages 4 – 12 up for Jedi Training Academy. If you’re not signing up kids, you may be able to ride Toy Story Mania standby with a short wait before meeting the characters. Long waits may develop if you sign kids up for Jedi Training.
  2. Visit Toy Story Characters: 9am – 9:15am
  3. Ride Toy Story Mania with FastPass+: 9:17am – 9:35am
  4. Visit the Disney Jr. characters in Animation Courtyard: 9:40am – 10:15am
  5. See the 10:30 Disney Jr. Live on Stage show: 10:20am – 10:55am
  6. See the 11:30am Frozen Sing-Along with FastPass+: 11:10am – 12pm
  7. Have lunch. Backlot Express and Min & Bill’s are close: 12:10pm – 1pm
  8. Ride Star Tours with FastPass+: 1:10pm – 1:30pm
  9. Check phone app or kiosk for a 4th FastPass+. Voyage of the Little Mermaid is smart.
  10. Meet Olaf across from Backlot Express: 1:35pm – 2pm
  11. Meet the Commissary Lane characters outside Sci-Fi Dine-In: 2:10pm – 3pm
  12. Meet the character in the back of One Man’s Dream if available: 3:10pm – 3:40pm
  13. Meet Mickey and Minnie and/or visit Star Wars Launch Bay or take a break.

Afternoon and Evening: This covers most characters and kid-friendly rides and shows. If you are returning for a nighttime show, consider putting Step 12 and 13 off for the evening when waits will be shorter. Both are air-conditioned, but waits are longer in the afternoon. Otherwise, blend in additional FastPass+ opportunities with scheduled shows and characters.

LATE-ARRIVAL TOURING: Use FastPass+ at Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and for two of the attractions from Tier 2 that you would like to experience. Most people will want to select Tower of Terror and Little Mermaid or Star Tours. Visit the anytime attractions in the afternoon when crowds are heaviest, prioritizing the shows that run on a set schedule. Visit characters in the last 60 to 90 minutes they’re scheduled to appear. End the evening with Fantasmic/Star Wars Fireworks or visit Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (in that order) in the final 90 minutes when waits are shorter. Disney will allow you to enter the queue of any operating ride up until one minute before the posted closing time.

STAR WARS SHOWS: Hollywood Studios is home to two stage shows: Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away and March of the First Order. A Galaxy Far, Far Away is typically scheduled at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, and 5:30pm with the potential for one more show. It happens on the stage in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. To see it, arrive about 15 minutes before show time and find a spot further back on the far left or right hand sides of the stage. Because of the low height of the stage, it’s difficult to see over people’s heads from the center. For front row spots, arrive at least 30 minutes early. March of the First Order is a parade of Stormtroopers that begins on Hollywood Boulevard near the entrance and continues to the same stage. There is a brief show and then the Stormtroopers return the way they came. Arrive on Hollywood Boulevard about five minutes before a March starts then follow the Stormtroopers to the stage.

FANTASMIC: Hollywood Studios’ longtime nighttime spectacular is scheduled at least once almost every night. During extremely busy times, a second show is scheduled 90 minutes after the start of the first. Shows can start as early as 6:30pm or as late as 10pm. If two shows are scheduled, the second will virtually always be less crowded, especially if it begins at 9pm or later, due to the number of families that opt for the earlier show. If you’re headed to the first or only Fantasmic, plan to arrive 60 to 75 minutes early to secure good seats together. For the second show, an arrival 20 minutes early should suffice. Seating is bleacher-style, uncomfortable, and without backs. The best seats are at least half way up as close to the middle as possible. Any closer and you risk getting wet and won’t be able to see what’s happening on the water. The Fantasmic Dining Package, a fixed price meal at Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood & Vine, or Mama Melrose, guarantees a seat for the show along with the meal or full buffet. Its reserved seats are front and center. Arrive at least 20 minutes early with the Dining Package. FastPass+ has a reserved section next to the Dining Package section. Because it’s in Tier 1, most guests will want to use their pre-scheduled selection on Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and either see the second Fantasmic or check to see if the show is available as an additional FastPass+ choice later in the day. While Fantasmic may not initially be available, there are thousands of spots available and people consistently cancel. Keep refreshing the app and Fantasmic should show up sooner or later.

DISNEY MOVIE MAGIC: This 10-minute projection show on the Grauman’s Chinese Theater façade features movie clips and animation from Disney’s vast catalog. The show is typically scheduled 20 or 30 minutes before the Star Wars fireworks. Those seeing the fireworks should arrive ten minutes before the start of Movie Magic to take in the show and then wait for the fireworks.

STAR WARS FIREWORKS: What is now predominantly a projection show on the façade of the Chinese Theater with accompanying fireworks is usually scheduled once per night shortly after sundown. Guests wishing to see the fireworks, which are almost exclusively shot off on the right side of the building, will need to arrive at least 35 minutes prior to the start of the show and position themselves in the Center Stage area about half way between the theater and the two tall projection towers near the end of Hollywood Boulevard. There’s typically room to fill in this area without much trouble. This is the ideal location for both the fireworks and preceding projection show.

FANTASMIC AND STAR WARS FIREWORKS ON THE SAME NIGHT: With the way the two nighttime shows are usually scheduled, it will be difficult or impossible to see both if only one Fantasmic is scheduled. Disney typically schedules the Star Wars Fireworks 15 or 30 minutes after the first Fantasmic. If it’s 15 minutes, that makes it impossible to see both. If it’s 30 minutes, you’ll have to quickly exit Fantasmic and try to find spots as close to the recommended viewing area as possible. With two Fantasmic shows, see the Star Wars Fireworks first followed by the second Fantasmic.

Wait Times By Crowd Level


Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *