Planning the Perfect Hollywood Studios Day Right Now
Did you snag a Park Pass for Disney’s Hollywood Studios? You’re excited, right?
Well, you absolutely should be. Three of the newest rides (actually five) at Walt Disney World reside at this park, at least until Ratatouille finally opens at EPCOT.
So, you’ll find plenty to do, especially if you haven’t visited the park in a couple of years.
I know that Coronavirus-related changes and the lack of Park Hopping cause some confusion, too. I’m here to save you some frustration about that stuff.
Here’s a guide to planning the perfect Hollywood Studios park day during the pandemic.
I cannot stress this enough. At Hollywood Studios, you must arrive well before the park opens.
You want to pass through the security gate and be in the park by the time it enters.
That way, you can pull up My Disney Experience and book a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
A bit of free advice for the claustrophobic is to move deeper into the park if you have time before Hollywood Studios officially opens.
Once that happens, everyone stops where they are and performs a mad scramble to grab a Boarding Group.
Presuming that you get one, the rest of your day will revolve around when your Boarding Group gets called.
I’m buffering 45 minutes into your day for this random moment when you drop everything and ride Rise of the Resistance.
Also, I’m presuming that the park operates for nine hours during your visit. That’s the standard through mid-December.
Now that we’ve got the general stuff out of the way, I’ll be specific. The moment you finish booking your Boarding Group, head straight down the main path!
You’re walking toward Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and you won’t be the only one.
This attraction fills up quickly, but that’s okay! We’re not stopping here!
To Infinity and Beyond!
Instead, we’re going to sidestep a bit to the right side then down and to the left. Yes, we’re starting at Toy Story Land!
Runaway Railway tends to bottleneck at the start of the day. So, we’re going off the beaten path a bit.
When the park opens, you can schedule a Boarding Group and be inside Toy Story Land in 15 minutes.
At this point, you can ride Toy Story Mania! and Alien Swirling Saucers in roughly an hour.
You’ll likely spend about 25 minutes in line for each plus the ride-time and the short walk between the two.
You may wonder why I’m not suggesting that you start at Slinky Dog Dash, the crown jewel of this land. The answer is that everyone else does that.
You can knock out the other two while everyone else stands in the same line.
Once you’re done, the wait-time for Slinky Dog Dash will be about an hour.
You likely would have waited that long at 10, but you’ve already ridden two fun attractions instead!
Presuming that everything goes well, you’ll finish everything at Toy Story Land by 12:15. Now, you have a choice.
You can either grab a bite to eat or head straight to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Since the entrance to Disney’s best themed land adjoins Toy Story Land, I say that you leave this world behind and fly to Batuu!
You’ll find one ride here plus a bunch of entertaining bazaar-style shops. Plus, Star Wars-related entertainment lurks around every corner.
You can spend as much time as you want here – some people stay for several hours – but your Boarding Group will determine your approach.
I’ll presume that it’s later in the day, as you must drop everything the moment Disney calls your Boarding Group.
So, you should get in line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Then, you can play afterward.
You’ll spend about 45 minutes waiting for Smugglers Run, which means that looking at a late lunch afterward.
Star Wars fans can dine at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo or Ronto Roasters. If you don’t care about theming, I’d suggest Backlot Express instead.
I’m not recommending indoor Table Service restaurants during the pandemic to respect the opinions of those who feel strongly about it.
However, I wouldn’t right now anyway, as Hollywood Studios has become tough to fit everything into a seven-hour visit.
Grab some food, eat fast, and be ready to go to the next thing, which is on the other side of the park.
You want the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith as your post-meal attractions.
Don’t worry about digestion, as you’ll have to wait 45 minutes for each one. So, your stomach will be calm…right up until the elevator drops.
Once you’re done with these, I presume it’s time for your Boarding Group to get called.
Ordinarily, I’d recommend a showing of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, which I find delightful. Unfortunately, we’re short on time.
By this point, Disney has likely called your Boarding Group, which means that these three attractions will take about 150 minutes to complete!
The End of the Road
Once you’re done, you’re on a timer. You’ll know how close you are to park closing.
I hope that you have enough of a window to ride Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, which usually has the shortest wait-time at the park.
I’d also recommend some other shows if you have free time.
However, I know from experience that the day gets away from you while you’re at Black Spire Outpost.
The stunning immersion of this place makes you forget that the real-world clock keeps running.
So, I’ll presume that you have only one more hurdle to clear.
Yes, you’re finally ready to enjoy Disney’s latest E-ticket attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway!
The way crowds work right now, your best bet is to stretch park operating hours as much as possible.
As long as you’re in line for Runaway Railway before it closes, Disney will let you ride!
Take full advantage of this tactic by getting in line during the last hour before closing. It can be the last 10 minutes if you like!
That’s cutting it close, though. Even a minor ride malfunction would dash your hopes and dreams.
For this reason, I recommend that you show up 30-45 minutes before park closing and plan to end your day in the best possible way.
Once you’re finished with Runaway Railway, you’re done with your park day!
You’ve checked off all the rides on your list, and you now have plenty of choices for dinner.
You can head to Disney’s BoardWalk, Disney Springs, or travel back to your hotel for a meal.
I’d recommend that you go big on this one since you’ve had such a full day!
You just rode Rise of the Resistance, Smugglers Run, and Runaway Railway on the same day!