Which Rides Are Worth the Wait at Hollywood Studios?
Disney loves the way that 2022 has started. Park attendance has soared to near-2019 levels.
Alas, increased attraction wait times represent the frustrating byproduct of this news. And the problem is the worst at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This park operates 12 to 12 ½ hours a day currently. That’s not enough time to do anything unless you purchase Disney Genie+ and/or Lightning Lane.
Let’s say that you don’t, though. Which current Hollywood Studios attractions are worth the wait? Well…
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — 2 to 2 ½ hours
I’m ordering this list based on wait times, starting with the ones that require the most line time.
So, we immediately begin with the most challenging topic. You’ll want to ride Rise of the Resistance, as it represents the pinnacle of Imagineering.
Still, 120+ minutes is a looooong time at a park that’s only open for 12 hours.
Also, that’s only the average time. The wait could be even worse when you arrive, especially if you’re there in the afternoon.
For this reason, I’d suggest that you arrive for Early Morning Theme Park Entry and head straight to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Yes, everyone else will do this as well. You may still need to wait an hour or more, but that’s still shaving half the time off your wait.
Paying for Lightning Lane makes sense here as well, but I know some people’s budgets won’t allow for that.
Slinky Dog Dash — 65 minutes
If you add up all these wait times, you’ll realize that you technically could do everything in one day.
However, presuming the averages are accurate, you wouldn’t have time to eat, and the calculations wouldn’t factor in walking to/from attractions or bathroom breaks.
As such, we will need to cut some stuff from the itinerary. Personally, I feel a visit to Hollywood Studios is incomplete without a trip on Slinky Dog Dash.
This brilliant roller coaster demonstrates physics while providing a memorable thrill.
The catch is that the ride takes less than two minutes. I don’t love the idea of waiting an hour for something that’s over that fast.
Unless you’re passionate about Slinky Dog Dash or have never ridden it, this one’s not currently worth the wait.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – 55 minutes
Conversely, Runaway Railway delivers a satisfying eight-minute ride. Plus, it’s in the middle of the park, making it easy to fit it into avisit.
Oh, and this ride delivers on its promise of allowing people to live out their fantasy of spending time in a Mickey Mouse cartoon.
Hollywood Studios is overflowing with E-ticket attractions. I’d put Runaway Railway on a par with the best of them.
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run – 50 minutes
Here’s a new attraction that’s eerily similar to another attraction on this list.
Smugglers Run takes the same premise from Star Tours and elevates it into a six-person interactive game.
You and your friends can shoot, pilot, or fix your ship as you try to steal Coaxium for The Resistance.
You definitely want to do this one. Also, if you’re running short on time, you can use Single Rider instead. It’s an identical experience, only you won’t know the other people in the cockpit.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror — 50 minutes
Yikes, this one’s tough. I’m an evangelist for Tower of Terror and have been for more than 20 years.
That’s the thing, though. It’s one of the oldest rides at Hollywood Studios. You’ve likely ridden it dozens if not hundreds of times.
So, I’d recommend that you find the time to hop in that cursed elevator shaft again. If you’re running out of time, you can safely skip it, though.
The Tower of Terror will be there when you return. It’s seemingly eternal.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 45 minutes
This coaster lasts even less time than Slinky Dog Dash. Thankfully, it also offers Single Rider.
Like Smugglers Run, the attraction experience is the same, but you won’t know the person in the seat beside you.
As long as that doesn’t bother you, squeeze the ride into your schedule.
Toy Story Mania! – 45 minutes
The choices get easier from here. I’d also hesitate for a ride with a wait of 40 minutes or more.
I’m also ultra-competitive about Toy Story Mania! If I didn’t ride this one, how would my wife know that I’m better at arcade-style videogames than her?
She already gets uppity about her 20-year undefeated streak at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. I need Toy Story Mania! to keep her ego in check.
Seriously, this one’s timeless and fun for the whole family. It’s one of the park’s must-do attractions.
Alien Swirling Saucers – 35 minutes
For me, the answer here is yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
For most people, it’s “no, that ride both sucks and blows.”
I’ll never understand the hate for Alien Swirling Saucers, as I think it’s pure joy.
However, if you’re short on time, you can safely skip it. This answer changes during the holidays, though. The yuletide music and lighting elevate the ride.
Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams – 30 minutes
This answer depends entirely on your park visit preferences. Do you treasure character interactions and photographs of you with them?
Do you flip through My Disney Experience and sigh wistfully at the pictures? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, you should totally do this.
If not, skip it and never think about it again.
Star Tours – 25 minutes
Hollywood Studios has hosted some version of Star Tours since 1989. You know the deal by now.
Most Disney fans have ridden this one more than anything else at the park.
If you’re tired of it, you can safely skip it. If you’re not, the RNG aspect of the ride assures that you’ll experience a version you’ve never had before.
Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight – 20 minutes
The same answer applies here as with Red Carpet Dreams. I will say that I like the Olaf encounter a bit more since he’s newer and more creative.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy – 15 minutes
I highly recommend this attraction once…and only once. The seating is terribly uncomfortable and shreds my back.
I love the Radiator Springs characters and relish the whizbang action of the show, though.
If Disney ever added actual chairs here, I’d probably watch this show more. It’s really good…and shiny!
Muppet*Vision 3D – 15 minutes
Here’s something else that you’ve likely done a lot. If you haven’t, you’ll want to watch the presentation once, especially if you love the Muppets.
Despite the average wait time, it’s often nearly walk-on. Also, it provides a nice respite from walking and steamy Florida days.
So, I’d say yes to this one.
The one thing I’ll add is that the days obviously play out MUCH differently if you spring for Disney Genie+.
You’re quite likely to experience at least 10 of these attractions. The same isn’t true without this option.