Best Hollywood Studios Itinerary Post Toy Story Land
Earlier this year, I wrote the perfect itinerary for spending a park day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At the time, I mentioned that the advice came with an expiration date. Toy Story Land hadn’t opened yet, and its presence changes the discussion. Now that this themed land has operated for a few months, an updated guide is needed. Here’s the new and improved perfect itinerary at Hollywood Studios.
During the original discussion, I stressed the importance of rope drop. By arriving at Hollywood Studios roughly 10-15 minutes prior to the park’s official opening, you can pass through security early. The moment that you get to enter the park, you can hurry over to your favorite attraction. I previously suggested that you head straight toward a popular Pixar attraction. The idea is still the same, although the location has changed slightly.
When you enter Hollywood Studios in the morning, you should follow the main path, a road called Hollywood Boulevard. Eventually, you’ll reach the Center Stage where the park hosts performances. Veer to the right of it and follow the new road to the left. You’ll pass Walt Disney Presents on the way toward Toy Story Land. Frankly, you’ll have no problem finding the place. Just follow the crowd.
Toy Story Land Fun!
Beyond Walt Disney Presents, a path on the right will lead you to Toy Story Land. Here, your goal is simple. You should have a FastPass to one of the three attractions in the area. Get in line for one of the other two. With a bit of timing and good fortune, you could ride both of them within the first hour or so. Presumably, you’ll want to do all three. Here’s a reasonable time estimate for this goal.
Expect the rope drop walk to take roughly 10-15 minutes. Then, waiting in line at Slinky Dog Dash should take another 30 minutes. Afterward, you can use your FastPass at Alien Swirling Saucers, getting in and out in 20 minutes or so. Then, you’ll have to wait in line again at Toy Story Mania! I would expect that to take approximately 45 minutes plus 5 minutes of ride-time.
Factoring in shopping and appreciating the sights at Toy Story Land, the time is probably in the range of 11:15 at this point. You’ll face a decision here. You can grab a bite to eat or leave this themed land. I will recommend that you use Mobile Ordering at Woody’s Lunch Box. While the seating in the area is minimal and the lack of shade isn’t ideal, the comfort food is delicious. You could always go for a grilled cheese sandwich and tater tots, right?
The Other Side of the Park
You may have noticed that the itinerary has only called for one FastPass thus far. That’s by design. Under the new Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass rules, all Toy Story Land attractions are in the top tier. Everything else is in the next tier. Since you don’t want to crisscross the park to use FastPasses, the best strategy now is to do everything at Toy Story Land while you’re there. Afterward, you can head to the other terrific attractions at Hollywood Studios, and you’ll get to skip (most of) the line twice.
Since you ate lunch early, you’ll have a bit of an advantage on other guests. While they’re contemplating their meal, you can cross the park to Sunset Boulevard, where you’ll take a spin on two of the most thrilling rides at the park. Plus, you had a light lunch and thereby don’t have to rule out thrill rides.
You should get a FastPass for either Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith for this plan to work best. I’d recommend the former for a simple reason. You can choose Single Rider at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, saving your party a lot of time.
The Tower of Tower/Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster duo is an oft-tested tradition at Hollywood Studios. With Fastpass in hand, you should be on the ride by 12:45, allowing for lunch and a casual stroll across the park. Toy Story Land is as far away from the two rides as possible, although the modest size of this gate ensures that you’ll have a comfortable walk on all but the busiest park days.
Once you’ve exited Tower of Terror and shopped for a few Twilight Zone goodies, you’ll head straight to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which is only a couple of minutes away. With Single Rider, you should board quickly at this time of day, which I’m estimating as 1 p.m. You should be done with the entire area by 1:30.
At this point, you’ve checked off five major rides at Hollywood Studios. You have your choice of doing more or taking in a show. I’d advise the latter. You’re right beside one of the shows, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. Who doesn’t love the classic tale of Belle and her prince?
Relax for 30 minutes and enjoy the presentation. This attraction should be your final FastPass, as it does tend to have a wait. Schedule it for the window between 1:30 and 2:30. You should have no problem fitting it into your schedule.
To reach the show, follow Sunset Boulevard the other way to return to the Center Stage area. Turn right when you see it up ahead. You’re now on the path to the Animation Courtyard. Your destination is Star Wars Launch Bay, which you’ll face when you enter the themed area. Here, you’ll get to shop for your favorite Force-based gear while interacting with characters like BB-8, Kylo Ren, and Chewbacca.
Once you’re done being a Jedi (or Sith…I don’t know you), you have your pick of two other shows. Parents with young children should attend Disney Junior Dance Party!, which will open on December 22nd. Everyone else will prefer Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a delightful stage presentation that recreates the best elements of the film, The Little Mermaid.
You’ll need to do a bit of walking now. Your next destination is across from Animation Courtyard past Commissary Lane. It’s kind of a haul, though. You’re heading over to the other current Star Wars options at Hollywood Studios. You should grab a snack along the way, and PLEASE remember to hydrate.
At Echo Lake, you’ll find Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, a mini-film presentation, and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Once you’re done with either of these activities, presuming they appeal to you, it’s time for the ride. Star Tours shouldn’t have a long wait by this point. Guests who use My Disney Experience might even pick up a FastPass for it during the day.
Once you’re finished with Star Tours, follow Echo Path until you pass Celebrity Spotlight and Oasis Canteen. And if you want to stop at Celebrity Spotlight, feel free! You’ve already done almost all the major attractions at Hollywood Studios. You’re in control of the rest of the day.
Whether you stop at Celebrity Stoplight or not, the directions above will lead you to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, the most interesting of all shows at Hollywood Studios. It’s the performance that most closely lines up with the park’s theme, Hollywood magic. During the stunt spectacular, you’ll learn a bit about the toughness of stunt people while being entertained.
Finishing Up Strong
Dinner time has arrived, and I’m sure that you’re hungry since it’s been almost seven hectic hours since lunch. There’s a reason why I suggested a snack earlier.
Your dinner plans will depend on whether you booked advanced dining reservations or not. My favorite restaurant at the park is Sci-Fi Dine-In, but it sells out months in advance. 50’s Prime Time Café is only slightly less fantastic, while Hollywood & Vine’s Fantasmic! packages also guarantee it’s crowded if not sold out. Hollywood Brown Derby is terrific, but the price of a Signature Dining meal isn’t for everyone. And I just can’t recommend Mama Melrose’s.
So, while I’m a Table Service dinner fan as a rule, I’d suggest a Quick Service meal. Specifically, I’d suggest ABC Commissary, which I’ve previously listed as the best option at Hollywood Studios. Everyone should find something to enjoy here. Plus, with Mobile Ordering, you won’t have to wait in line, saving you valuable park time.
You should now have an hour or so before the nighttime shows begin. This time is when you should circle back to your favorite attractions from the day. Repeat the one or two that you liked the best, presuming that you have the free-time.
Finally, you’ll have your choice of fireworks presentations, too. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is hosted at the main stage, the one you’ve passed multiple times throughout the day. Meanwhile, the most storied show at Hollywood Studios, Fantasmic!, is my preferred way to end an evening at this park. The decision is entirely yours. Whatever you pick, it’s the perfect way to end the perfect day with your Hollywood Studios itinerary.