6 Hollywood Studios Attractions Really Worth the Wait
Have you ever said something and then feared that it would seem like an outdated thought process almost immediately? Well, I have that feeling right now, as I’m about to provide advice regarding Hollywood Studios attractions that could seem comically archaic in just a matter of months.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is just around the corner. When it arrives, the size of the lines at everything at Hollywood Studios will increase dramatically. Keeping this in mind, I’m going off of current wait-time stats. They’re right for the body of 2019. After that, I’ll update to reflect the massive surge of traffic caused by Star Wars Land. Without further ado, here’s an evaluation of which rides are worth the wait at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Alien Swirling Saucers
Disney’s two newest attractions are both at Hollywood Studios. Specifically, they’re both at Toy Story Land. For that matter, half of the rides that we’ll discuss in this article are located in this themed land. Until Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway debuts in a few months, most of the action at the park is either at the shows or Toy Story Land. This reality skews park traffic and line queues.
When you’re at Toy Story Land, you’re part of the largest crowd at Hollywood Studios. Frankly, it’s not even close, although that will change when Galaxy’s Edge finally opens. Until then, Alien Swirling Saucers has one of the longest waits. Our friends at TouringPlans suggest that you’ll spend 40 minutes or more in line for this ride. As such, Alien Swirling Saucers is a tough call.
I happen to love this ride. Alien Swirling Saucers is pure fun, and some recent theme park attractions haven’t had enough of that (I’m looking at you, Universal Studios motion simulators). A 40-minute wait for a 21st-century update of Mad Tea Party is a lot, though. I cannot in good conscience recommend this one without a FastPass. Should you ever see a listed wait-time of 30 minutes or less, however, jump all over it. You’ll have a terrific time smashing into your companion as the ride tilts suddenly.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
The answers to some questions are yes AND no. Let’s use Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster as an example. Any discussion of the best Disney roller coasters must include it. Any discussion of the best Disney soundtracks must include it. You’ll zoom down the track with Aerosmith’s greatest hits blaring in your ear. It’s exhilarating, and I get nervous anytime that I hear a rumor that Disney might re-theme it. PLEASE DON’T!!!
That’s the upside. The downside is that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s wait-time is frequently 60 minutes or more. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon caused by the scarcity of operational attractions at Hollywood Studios. With so few ride options, the great ones are heavily trafficked. With Aerosmith, that means any wait under an hour is good right now. As much as I love this coaster, I think its wait-time is insane.
Thankfully, you have a couple of ways to avoid the delay. The first is via FastPass. Hollywood Studios employs a tiered FastPass system. Currently, the top tier is reserved exclusively for Toy Story Land attractions. You should be able to book a Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FastPass when your 60-day window opens. If not, there’s always the Single Rider line. In other words, ride this roller coaster but do NOT wait 60 minutes in line to do so.
Slinky Dog Dash
How long are you willing to wait for the hottest new ride at Walt Disney World? That’s the question you must ask yourself in debating Slinky Dog Dash. Of course, it’s also kind of a misleading one. Even though Avatar Flight of Passage is a year older, it still has the status of the freshest attraction on the Disney campus. Slinky Dog Dash is effectively battling Na’Vi River Journey and Frozen Ever After, an even older attraction, for second place.
Something that Slinky Dog Dash does have is a massive line queue. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an adorable line queue, one that makes my heart sing. When you stand in it, you’ll be transported back to your children, a time when assembly instructions made you happy while causing your parents to break out their most severe swears.
Even though the line queue is terrific, you don’t want to spend 90 minutes standing in it. That’s a lousy expenditure of your valuable park time. The problem is that Slinky Dog Dash is regularly a 90+ minute wait. It’s one of the most challenging FastPasses to acquire as well. And it doesn’t have Single Rider line. You can’t shortcut your way through this one. You can apply a couple of tactics, though.
You can head straight to Slinky Dog Dash at rope drop. Alas, Disney does special Early Morning Magic events at Toy Story Land on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. You shouldn’t try rope drop on these days since others have already beaten you to the punch. You could flip the script, though.
Research when Hollywood Studios closes on a given night. Then, walk to Toy Story Land about 10 minutes before closing time. Disney has a useful theme park rule. They don’t deny people who are standing in line when the park closes. Few guests know this, which means that the shortest rides of the day at Slinky Dog Dash are frequently the final ones.
Alternately, just wait the 100 minutes. It’s Slinky Dog Dash. It’s worth the aggravation.
StarTours – The Adventure Continues
Finally, we can discuss an easy one! For almost 30 years, Star Tours has entertained guests at Hollywood Studios. Now that The Great Movie Ride is gone (RIP, you wonderful lost attraction), Star Tours is the senior citizen of park attractions.
Disney refreshed Star Tours with better tech and new cinematic clips in 2010. They’ve updated it with footage from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and other recent Star Wars films, too. This ride is the best combination of old school and modern. Better yet, its randomization guarantees that at least some part of Star Tours will be different each you time you board your cruiser.
With a wait-time generally in the 30-minute range, Star Tours provides terrific bang for the buck. As Hollywood Studios slows down later in the day, you may even have the opportunity to ride it multiple times to experience more of the cut scenes. With Star Tours, the question isn’t whether the attraction’s worth the wait. It’s how many times should you ride it?
Toy Story Mania!
I don’t know about you, but I’m in a relationship where bragging rights matter. My wife loves me dearly. When she kicks the crap out of me at some competition, however, she will brag about it until the second Big Bang occurs. She’s like this because, well, I’m much worse. So, she has to give as good as she gets.
During our trips to Walt Disney World, a couple of rides stand out for us. They’re the three where you get to one-up your partner in some type of competition. At Test Track, building the perfect vehicle is a subject way for us to battle.
On Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, two things are likely to happen. One is that the game starts. The other is that she cleans my clock. My confession is that I neeeeeeeed Toy Story Mania! to save my pride during a Disney vacation. I would wait any amount of time in line to restore my wounded pride after the latest Space Ranger humiliation.
For you, Toy Story Mania! is a thoroughly entertaining, family-friendly ride. It’s the kind of attraction that Walt Disney would love if he were alive today. Thanks to the introduction of a third line queue, it’s no longer as slow to ride, either. At least, that was the case prior to last year. Then, the twin combination of placing its entrance in Toy Story Land and the massive popularity of that themed land caused a traffic spike.
TouringPlans suggests that the wait for Toy Story Mania! is usually at least 40 minutes. I’m one of the most ardent supporters of this attraction, and even I think that’s a lot. The worst part is that a FastPass isn’t a great idea here. Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are better choices since they’re even more crowded.
If you’re like me and love competition, however, Toy Story Mania! remains a must-do attraction during every Hollywood Studios visit. Keep an eye on My Disney Experience to pick a time when the wait-time is less than 40 minutes, though.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Okay, you have to ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. While Star Tours has survived the longest of all Hollywood Studios attractions, Tower of Terror has reigned as the ultimate ride here since its inception in 1994. Yes, the masterpiece of Imagineering will celebrate 25 years of dominance in July. You’ll want to ride it, and the wait-times are historically reasonable.
The average wait-time at Tower of Terror rarely goes past an hour. It’s an easy FastPass to get, too. You may even stumble into one while you’re at Hollywood Studios. Due to the massive throughput of Tower of Terror, it can satisfy a lot of guests, which means it has a lot of FastPass availability, too. Out of everything at Hollywood Studios, Tower of Terror remains the seminal attraction. You simply must ride it at least once during a visit here.