I Rode Everything at Hollywood Studios. Here’s How.
I’ll start this article with a confession. I could have just as easily named it something else.
I could have said, “I wasn’t able to ride everything at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here’s why.” That’s an honest description, too.
During my two most recent park visits, I had everything go right once and everything go wrong the other time.
So, I can tell you how I rode everything at Hollywood Studios…and how I failed completely.
Luck vs. Skill
Your morning at Hollywood Studios starts before you reach the park. You’re angling for a spot in the only virtual queue that matters.
Let’s be realistic about Boarding Groups at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, though.
Whether you get one or not will set your mood before you reach the park. As I type this, the current Boarding Group policy requires a 7 a.m. booking.
You wake up, grab your phone, and hope for the best. Some tricks like emptying your cache and loading My Disney Experience at 6:55 a.m. do help.
Still, you’re hoping for the best with no guarantees about the outcome. I’m two for my last two at Rise of the Resistance.
Yes, even in the morning when everything went wrong, we still got to ride it.
I’ll assume that you’re equally fortunate, which means that you’ll follow our strategy. You’ll arrive at the park at Rope Drop.
You really don’t have a choice here. With Boarding Groups, you’re never quite sure when My Disney Experience will call your number.
Rise of the Resistance has averaged about 180 daily groups since it expanded seating to every row. Overall, the average is closer to 130, though.
So, I cannot give you a general expectation about how long you must wait. You must play this one by feel.
Based on what I’ve seen, 12-18 groups go per hour. You must head straight to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge if your number is under 20.
We had a low number of 18 and a higher one in the 40s. That creates chaos with planning the morning.
Our Rope Drop Approach(es)
We went left at Rope Drop and walked past Star Tours when we had a lower Boarding Group.
Since the line was a walk-on, we went ahead and rode it once. Then, we entered Galaxy’s Edge, noticing that Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run had a short line.
Thankful for our good fortune, we crashed our ship into several walls on the way to three Coaxium cores.
That’s still the only time I’ve scored 10,000+, but our run felt terrible.
Once we exited Smugglers Run, we caught a break with the timing. Our Boarding Group number arrived while we were on the deck of the Millennium Falcon.
We had no choice and proceeded directly to Rise of the Resistance. By the time we left this ride, we were two full hours into our park day.
However, Hollywood Studios only operates nine rides. So, we were one-third of the way to riding everything!
With no Star Wars attractions remaining, we could have switched sides of the park.
Instead, we settled on an early lunch at Backlot Express, which I’ll review soon. We had already finished lunch by 11:45 a.m.
Afterward, we decided we had enough energy to wait in line for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which had a longer wait at the time.
We spent about 70 minutes in line, which is probably 25 minutes more than you should expect.
Still, the quality of the attraction justifies any amount of time. It’s an Imagineering triumph that I will happily ride again and again.
Afternoon at the Park
Once we finished Runaway Railway, we had our pick of Toy Story Land or Hollywood Studios’ beloved one-two punch. We chose the latter.
So, we walked down Sunset Boulevard to Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which had a 45-minute wait at the time. It has since fallen to 25 minutes.
Once we rode it, we headed to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Well, most of us did. My wife chose to take another trip to the Tower of Terror.
The roller coaster wait was modest that day, which freed us up to visit Toy Story Land a few minutes later.
First, we enjoyed Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, though.
At Toy Story Land, we usually take the inverse approach to most.
We walk to Alien Swirling Saucers first, whereas most people make a beeline to Slinky Dog Dash.
A bit of rain ensured that Alien Swirling Saucers bordered on walk-on. Similarly, people without umbrellas ditched Slinky Dog Dash, cutting the line in half.
We did that next and excitedly realized that we were only Toy Story Mania! away from riding everything at Hollywood Studios.
An hour later, we had achieved our goal, and it wasn’t even 5 p.m. yet! To our surprise, crowds had already started to thin at the park.
We embraced the opportunity to ride Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! a couple more times each and even snuck another ride on Smugglers Run!
That day was legitimately the most I’ve accomplished at Hollywood Studios since Rise of the Resistance opened.
The Sliding Doors Day
Have you ever watched Sliding Doors? Gwyneth Paltrow’s character experiences two VERY different days in the movie due to a few slight variations.
Our two Hollywood Studios visits revisited that concept, as our “bad” day worked so much worse.
Everything started well. Since we had a later Boarding Group, we headed straight to Runaway Railway and had already ridden it with 30 minutes of Rope Drop.
Afterward, we headed to Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which proceeded to tear up while we stood in line. Our visit went downhill from there.
My Disney Experience showed a wait time of 10 minutes for Alien Swirling Saucers. So, we quickly headed in that direction.
Right as we arrived, the system updated to a 35-minute wait, and the rest of Hollywood Studios went off the rail from there.
By the time we finished Alien Swirling Saucers, our Boarding Group window had already arrived. As a reminder, we were in the 40s.
In three hours, all we accomplished was three rides. And it got worse from there.
When we finished Rise of the Resistance, the shortest wait at the park was 40 minutes. It was for…Muppet*Vision 3D.
I have no idea what went wrong that day, but we grew extremely frustrated. In fact, after a while, we decided to take advantage of Park Hopping and left early.
All told, we only rode three out of nine rides at Hollywood Studios, although we did do Alien Swirling Saucers twice.
The point I’m making here is that it’s absolutely possible to ride everything at Hollywood Studios in a day…and then some.
However, luck plays a factor as well, at least until Disney does something about FastPasses, virtual queues, or whatever the new thing is.