Disney’s Hollywood Studios Afternoon Touring

 

We continue our day from Part 1 where we rope dropped Toy Story Mania before moving over to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to ride in standby.

So far, this is how things have shaped up:

  1. Toy Story Mania: 8:53am – 9:11am
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 9:22am – 9:35am
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 9:35am – 10:01am
  4. Tower of Terror: 10:03am – 11am

If I was smarter about things, I would have visited Tower of Terror after the first ride on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster when my wait would have been significantly less. But all things considered, the morning is going okay.

We return to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at 11:03am with FastPass+ in hand to find a wait of only 45 minutes.

I was back out front at 11:19am for a total experience time of 16 minutes, which is below average.

And a very short 30-minute posted wait.

Sunset Boulevard at 11:21am.

Most of my morning was consumed by my consideration of what I should have for lunch given the fact that I’ve “literally” had every single quick service entree at Hollywood Studios.

I ended up with a rather embarrassing pair of snacks. This “Side Onion Straws” is not on the regular menu at Rosie’s All-American Cafe, but you will find it on mobile order via the My Disney Experience app. You might remember the website’s advice that it’s worth checking mobile order even if you don’t plan on actually placing it as you may find unadvertised items or see an option that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

The Onion Straws are ordinarily served on top of the burger, adding a bit of crunch along with the sweet flavor of the onion inside.

I’m not sure how well they worked by themselves – the batter is incredibly thick and there’s just a little bit of onion in each bite. But it’s a good choice if you’re concerned about getting your daily allotment of fried and it’s a ton of calories for $3.29. I’d like to see Flame Tree Barbecue’s Onion Rings offered instead. Maybe someday.

The $4.29 Strawberry Shortcake was considerably better with fresh berries and thick cream on top of the cake. It actually tasted pretty light and fresh and I would order it again, though it’s far from an overwhelming portion for the money.

After sitting there for a while and considering the life choices I had made that brought me to this moment, I started towards Tower of Terror to use my second FastPass+.

The wait was posted at 50 minutes at 11:58am.

The standby line looked to be considerably shorter than it was earlier in the morning.

That’s it in its nonexistence on the left as I march through FP+.

The actual wait is probably closer to 20 minutes than 50, which goes back to my point from Part 1 about how short posted waits are not always your friend. The opposite can be true for long posted waits when they deter people from getting in line. You might see Tower of Terror posted at 70 minutes causing few people to decide to get in line. After 15 or 20 minutes pass, the posted wait will likely go down to 45 minutes and the actual wait will come in closer to 30.

Continuing on:















My total experience time with FP+ was 19 minutes, which was less than a third of how long it took to ride in standby when I got in line just after 10am.

Sunset Boulevard “feels” crowded even though it actually isn’t. Streetmosphere has taken up residence in the middle of the street – something that wouldn’t have been possible a week ago with all of the people.

Here’s how things look just a little further down.

In a couple of weeks, the website will be embarking on a challenge that many have called impossible. Even foolish. “Inviting death” some people have said.

That’s right. Spending an entire day at Hollywood Studios without repeating anything.

This may be it for me.

Here’s Hollywood Boulevard at 12:25pm.

I thought I’d try to sneak into the 12:30pm Frozen Sing-Along.

That was not a problem as the theater is only about two-thirds full with just two minutes to showtime.

I’ve long advocated for the Sing-Along, though some of the jokes are probably a little less relevant now that Frozen Fever has largely died down.

You might remember that the show was altered to include a “live” Olaf to help promote the Frozen short that premiered before Coco.

Seeing Olaf was fun, but the jokes didn’t work as well and the extra scenes reduced the amount of improvisation time available to the Historians of Arendelle, who are the real stars of the show.

For better or worse, you’ll no longer see a live version of Olaf on stage and the show has been reverted back to mirror the original.

But the Sing-Along is worth seeing, particularly considering it’s located in the Studios’ most comfortable, air-conditioned theater. I think you’ll be surprised by how much you enjoy it, particularly if Eric is one of your hosts.

And you can still meet Olaf down closer to Star Tours, here meeting with a posted wait of just 5 minutes.

Looking towards Star Tours at 1:08pm to use my third FP+.

The posted wait was just 15 minutes at 1:09pm.

It went up to 20 minutes as I waited to scan my MagicBand.

Despite the short posted wait, the line actually stretched outside, which isn’t a good sign:




I was back out front at 1:30pm for a total experience time of 20 minutes, which is right around average.

As soon as you scan your MagicBand or ticket to use your third FP+, you can immediately check availability for a 4th FP+. And then once you scan for your fourth, you can book a 5th and so on.

As is typical these days, afternoon FP+ availability isn’t great. Disney had not yet released Toy Story FP+ for the afternoon, which didn’t help either.

There’s always Muppet Vision.

I booked Voyage of the Little Mermaid for 1:50pm.

If you’ve booked FP+ for a show recently, you might have noticed that the app makes the duration of the experience much more obvious. Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a 17-minute show and the app lists the exact length of the experience: 2:10pm to 2:27pm.

As always, refreshing FP+ availability is your friend. I could have booked a 1:55pm Tower of Terror after refreshing just two times.

I spent the next half hour or so doing very important blogger things like checking quick service menus for minor price changes and taking pictures of flowers.

So we pick things back up outside Voyage of the Little Mermaid at 1:55pm.

On busier days, FP+ at Voyage of the Little Mermaid can easily save you 15 to 30 minutes in line as shows typically fill to capacity. In standby, that means you might have to wait for the current show to end and then another show to pass before it’s your turn to enter the theater.

On a day like today, it’s not saving me any time with my 1:55pm arrival.

The waiting area has a couple of interesting artifacts to inspect.

Before they WHAT?










Voyage of the Little Mermaid remains a low-key experience that takes 20-30 minutes to experience if you plan things right. FP+ is easy to acquire later in the afternoon or early evening to help guarantee a seat and a wait of five or ten minutes.

After scanning my MagicBand for the show, I pulled up FP+ availability again to find plenty of Toy Story Mania experiences released. At 1:58pm, I can book Toy Story for immediate use.

I dropped by Star Wars Launch Bay to see how things were looking there.

As usual, Chewbacca is sporting the longest wait.

BB-8 is posting 25 minutes, but it’s likely much closer to 15.

Note that if the Star Wars stage show, A Galaxy Far, Far Away, isn’t performed due to weather or whatnot, then the characters typically meet in here instead.

You’ll typically find Rey with Chewbacca, for example.

The Launch Bay is one of the better places to wait out the rain with the characters, art, and merchandise.

If they’d only sell us a glass of this wine then we’d really be in business.

The Disney Jr. stroller jungle – only about half as large as usual.

Toy Story Mania was surprisingly chill when I returned to use the FastPass+ I had booked while waiting for Voyage of the Little Mermaid. That’s a 65-minute wait at 2:40pm.

The FastPass+ merge point with standby is still outdoors. We’re all headed into the same short hallway as we saw first thing in the morning.

It was another ten minutes until I was on-board for a total experience time of 20 minutes.

And while the posted wait has dropped, both the standby and FP+ queues have gotten much longer.

But these days, the standby wait is largely irrelevant. I pulled up FastPass+ availability again after using my first Toy Story FP+ and could have booked the ride again for immediate use.

Catching the stage show portion of the 3pm March of the First Order.

Light crowds persist on Sunset Boulevard.

Star Tours still at 20 minutes at 3:17pm.

And in the other direction at 3:40pm.

Why spend $99/person to experience magic on the Ferrytale Fireworks cruise when there’s so much to be had at Hollywood Studios?

That “come on, man” look is the same one that I have every time I find out I’ll be rope dropping Hollywood Studios.

Looking back at a great day at 3:45pm.

The jury is still out on what Hollywood Studios will look like when/if Toy Story Mania stops offering FastPass+ altogether.

But we can probably look at any additional opportunities to experience the ride as icing on the cake.

Arriving early and heading to Toy Story first thing will continue to work and given the relatively low crowds that we should see for the majority of the next six weeks, riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in standby immediately after should be fine too. I’d probably plan on using FastPass+ for Tower of Terror rather than trying to ride that in standby too, but if you don’t mind the potential of a 20 to 40 minute wait then you could do that too. You can at least take the opportunity to enjoy the queue, which is probably underrated.

Overall, this is what I ended up doing:

  1. Toy Story Mania: 8:53am – 9:11am
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 9:22am – 9:35am
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 9:35am – 10:01am
  4. Tower of Terror: 10:03am – 11am
  5. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with FastPass+: 11:03am – 11:19am
  6. Snack at Rosie’s All-American Cafe: 11:24am – 11:57am
  7. Tower of Terror with FastPass+: 11:59am – 12:18pm
  8. Frozen Sing-Along; 12:26pm – 1pm
  9. Star Tours: 1:10pm – 1:30pm
  10. Voyage of the Little Mermaid: 1:55pm – 2:27pm
  11. Star Wars Launch Bay: 2:30pm – 2:37pm
  12. Toy Story Mania with FastPass+: 2:40pm – 3pm

We’ll reexamine the situation if any changes to the touring strategy need to be made, but we should be good to go until Toy Story Land opens on June 30th. Then it’s anybody’s guess how things will shape up.

Comments

  1. Galnar says

    So if the posted standby wait times are garbage, are we supposed to just gauge the depth of the visible portion of the line to decide if we want to wait or not?

    • Ryan says

      This is an interesting point. As Josh said, Disney is well known to manipulate crowds by inflating or decreasing their wait time estimates. Examining the line is one way to go but many rides change their queue route with capacity, either by opening up or blocking off parts of the queue. Should we use TouringPlan’s wait time estimates instead? Should we give up guessing and accept the mystery? Also, Josh, how do you normally fare on Midway Mania?

  2. Diana says

    Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not familiar with Disney’s habits on releasing the fp+ for Toy Story Mania as you mentioned. Is this is something they do with all the rides, but it’s mote noticeable on popular attractions? Is there a time-frame they do this every day? Thanks, loved the article!

    • Charlene Solonynka says

      Toy Story Mania is an exception right now. because of the way they are changing the queue. They normally don’t release a block of Fast Passes during the day, only people cancelling or changing their plans. For Toy Story, you can’t book them ahead of time now with the construction, but they are releasing blocks day-of.

  3. Kevin says

    Eric the historian is awesome. As is Jack Diamond and the rest of the DHs streemosphere. If you do the shows and enjoy the streetmosphere, spending a whole day at DHS really isn’t that hard.

  4. momof2boys says

    “Prince” Eric really made the Frozen Sing-Along when we were there last week! We enjoyed the show and the snarky comments.

  5. Lil says

    What are your thoughts on crowd levels the week before Toy Story land opens? Will they be normal, or lower since people will wait to visit until the new land opens?

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