Hollywood Studios Itinerary: 1 Day and 2 Day Plans

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Please click my disclosure policy to learn more.

Sharing is caring!

Hollywood Studios is a hot commodity during Disney vacations. Because of this, a solid Hollywood Studios itinerary is essential. Trust me, your day is much easier when you have a plan.

This Hollywood Studios touring plan is designed to help you maximize your park experience and ride as many of the attractions as possible while also avoiding the crowds.

With the permanent retirement of FastPasses, and the lackluster performance of Disney Genie+, you need to think through a solid Hollywood Studios plan for getting on rides without waiting 10 years for each one.

Because of all of this, I’m including not just a 1 day Hollywood Studios itinerary, but a 2 day itinerary as well. At this point, 2 days at Hollywood Studios makes it easier to hit the rides you want (updated July 27, 2022).

Tower of Terror against a blue sky at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios Itinerary Challenges

Previously, the main gist of my Hollywood Studios touring plan was based on the ability to potentially park hop. That way when the crowds catch up with you, you could abandon ship and go somewhere else.

Well, that idea doesn’t necessarily work anymore since Disney modified park hopping. At the same time, crowds are not low. 

On top of all of that, Hollywood Studios is the most sought after park, besides Magic Kingdom, because of the new rides. And let me just tell you, Hollywood Studios DOES NOT absorb the crowds well.

Between these factors and the lack of FastPasses, you really need to head to Hollywood Studios with a plan.

For this Hollywood Studios itinerary, I am deliberately ignoring paying extra to get Disney Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane access.

This is for two reasons. First, I want to try to save everyone money if at all possible. Why pay extra if you don’t have to? The trip is expensive enough as it is.

Second, the performance of Disney Genie+ has been completely abysmal. There are no guarantees you’ll even be able to get access to the rides you want.

So we might as well try to get you through your Hollywood Studios day without it.

How Rise of the Resistance Impacts Your Hollywood Studios Itinerary

At one point in time, the only way to ride Rise of the Resistance was by nabbing a spot in the virtual queue. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, that is no longer an option.

Even if you try to buy Lightning Lane access, it books up in seconds, so you may or may not actually get one.

As an aside, if Rise of the Resistance is a must ride for you, I would at least attempt to buy an individual Lightning Lane. This would allow you to focus your attention on other rides during rope drop. I know, it’s not free, but it’s easy.

If you want to get on Rise of the Resistance with the lowest wait possible, it is essential that you try to ride it at rope drop. Keep in mind, this tip only works for Disney resort guests who have access to Early Theme Park Entry.

If you are at the front of the pack, you’ll have a relatively low wait. However, if you can’t do rope drop, prepare for a long wait in line.

At this point, the line seems to average out at around 120 minutes posted wait time. That’s a long time.

Storm Troopers on Rise of the Resistance

If you haven’t already, read through my post on how to successfully navigate rope drop at Hollywood Studios. That will give you a step by step breakdown of how to manage it.

In addition, I have a whole post dedicated to how to ride Rise of the Resistance with less of a wait. Both those posts together should give you a good strategy for that ride.

Not as Many Attractions = Poor Crowd Management

Hopefully, at some point in 2022 all of the attractions will be opened. The last holdout at this point is Fantasmic!, which is rumored to reopen on October 1, 2022. Though who knows when it will actually reopen.

I wish I could say the crowds feel better now that more is open, but that’s simply not the case. This has always been the problem with Hollywood Studios.

Think about it, Magic Kingdom has something like 27 rides and attractions. This allows the crowds to spread themselves out. Hollywood Studios has decidedly fewer.

And frankly, some of the attractions at Hollywood Studios just won’t appeal to everyone, so they don’t bother trying.

Then factor in that one show closed permanently, and Fantasmic! hasn’t yet returned, and it doesn’t help the issue.

Hollywood Studios also has some pinch points which makes feel the crowds a bit more.

Best Times of Day at Hollywood Studios

What I’m about to say isn’t anything new. This pattern has always been the case at most of the parks. However, the issue seems way more pronounced now than it ever did.

The best times to visit Hollywood Studios are first thing in the morning, and in the evening. The real problem is that this has become really pronounced. The wait times from mid morning through late afternoon are quite long.

If you’re an early morning kind of family, make sure you read over my Hollywood Studios rope drop strategy. The window to take advantage of this is VERY small.

Please don’t show up right when the park opens and think that will work. You’re already too late.

In the evening, 4:00p is the earliest you’ll see enough of an improvement in ride times. Really, it’s the last 2 hours of the day that you’ll hit the butter zone.

So what do you do in that several hour gap? Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?

How many days do you need for Hollywood Studios?

Considering how much dead time there is in the middle of the day, my answer sounds a little counterintuitive. 

I recommend spending 2 days at Hollywood Studios. Breaking things into two days allows you to prioritize different rides on different days during the morning and evening sweet spots.

This is what we did on our recent trip, and we were able to do our top priority rides multiple times, and hit all of the other rides at least once.

However, I recognize that most families won’t be able to spend 2 days at Hollywood Studios, so we’ll look at both a one day and two day Hollywood Studios itinerary later in this post.

Hollywood Studios Rides and Attractions

Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land

So, what are these amazing rides that everyone is scrambling to experience? Let’s take a look:

Toy Story Land

  • Toy Story Mania
  • Slinky Dog Dash (38”)
  • Alien Swirling Saucers (32”)

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

  • Rise of the Resistance (40”)
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run (38”)

Sunset Boulevard

  • Rock n Roller Coaster (48”)
  • Tower of Terror (40”)
  • Lightning McQueen Racing Academy
  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage

Echo Lake

  • Star Tours – The Adventure Continues (40”)
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Singalong Celebration
  • Vacation Fun – A Mickey Mouse Animated Short
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight

Hollywood Boulevard

  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Commissary Lane

  • Meet Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams (character meet n greet)

Animation Courtyard

  • Walt Disney Presents (Gallery and Theater)
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance
  • Meet Disney Junior Pals in Animation Courtyard
  • Meet Sully at Walt Disney Presents
  • Star Wars Launch Bay

Grand Avenue

  • MuppetVision 3D

You might look at this list and think, that seems like a lot, what is Nicole talking about? There’s a lot that make this list seem long that most people will not attempt to go to.

In reality, the list is actually shorter once you take out the video shorts that most people don’t do.

Top Rides at Hollywood Studios

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway ride image

That being said, there are quite a few rides and attractions which are amazing and should top your priority list.

These are the rides you absolutely want to ride:

  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Star Tours

Consequently, most of these rides have the longest lines in the park. Hence the challenge.

Rides with Lowest Wait Times

Not all of the rides have ridiculous wait times, thank goodness. However, some patience is still required.

Partly this is because you should wait to get on these rides until a bit later in the day. When everything else is a ridiculous wait, these lines are typically shorter.

Lightening McQueen Racing Academy
  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Star Tours
  • Frozen Singalong
  • MuppetVision 3D

You’ll notice that two of the rides from the best rides list are on this list, score! Toy Story Mania and Star Tours are both fun attractions. 

Due to a higher capacity, along with people probably selling them short, their lines are often shorter at various points of the day.

The attractions on this list should all be done when the wait is less than 30 minutes. Really, well under 30 minutes. I don’t think we waited more than 15-20 minutes for any of these attractions.

A Note About Wait Times on My Disney Experience…

Most of us live and die by the wait times posted on My Disney Experience during our park days. And it’s a great tool. However, keep in mind that the waits aren’t necessarily accurate.

Disney uses posted wait times as a way to direct people where they want them to go. Don’t want a lot of people on Tower of Terror because they line is getting longer? Inflate the posted wait time even more.

Because of this, take wait times with a grain of salt. Sometimes the wait is quite a bit shorter than posted. But sometimes it’s accurate. So it’s a bit of a crap shoot. But most of the times the wait is not nearly as long as it looks.

I have a Touring Plans membership that helps me with this. They have their own lines app which tells you both the posted wait times and the expected wait times. It’s pretty darn accurate and gives me a better idea of how to plan out my day.

Tips for Creating Your Hollywood Studios Itinerary

There are some basic components to consider for your Hollywood Studios itinerary. These components will help you prioritize your rides and hopefully get on everything you want with less waiting.

  1. Rope Drop – get on as many popular rides as possible right off the bat
  2. Fill in the afternoon with shows, shops, and dining reservations (or leaving the park)
  3. Eat an early (or late) dinner so you don’t waste valuable evening park time
Stormtroopers at Hollywood Studios

1. Hollywood Studios Rope Drop

As I learned the hard way once, don’t plan on showing up at Hollywood Studios in the afternoon and expect to get everything done.

Don’t get me wrong, the later afternoon/evening is a great time to get on rides, just don’t expect to get on everything. That’s why rope drop is so important.

As with all the other parks, rope drop (right when the park opens) is the best time to get on a lot of the E-ticket rides.

However, that does not mean that you should show up right when the park opens. If you want to be at the head of the pack at Hollywood Studios at rope drop, plan to arrive 1-1.5 hours before park opening.

If you do plan on taking advantage of rope drop at Hollywood Studios, or any of the parks, it is essential that you read all about Disney Early Theme Park Entry. It has a huge impact on rope drop.

I’ve detailed an entire sample timeline for you in the Hollywood Studios rope drop post. Go ahead and click that link to get more specifics. It will open in a new window so you can keep reading this one!

Hollywood Studios Rope Drop Priorities

Briefly, there are certain rides you should consider getting on during rope drop. The rides not listed here are easier to get on later in the day so shouldn’t take up this precious time slot.

Rides to Consider During Early Entry Hollywood Studios Rope Drop
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror

Clearly, you can’t be in all places at once. So prioritize your plan before you go. The vast majority of people head to Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. But really, Rise of the Resistance is the biggest draw.

If you want any of these rides, be prepared to get to Hollywood Studios no later than an hour before Early Theme Park Entry starts, NOT an hour before official park opening. You want to be at the front of the pack for these, especially Rise of the Resistance.

The lines for these particular rides fill up quickly. If you aren’t in the front of the pack, you’ll still end up waiting 30 minutes or more (likely more) to get on them.

I’ve watched the estimated wait time jump up to 60 minutes for both within 10-15 minutes of them letting people into the park.

While the line might not actually be quite that long, it’s longer than you want to wait during rope drop.

Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are located next to each other so you could get those done pretty quickly first thing in the morning.

Millennium Falcon seems to have a little bit of forgiveness before it starts to have long lines so consider making this your second or third ride of rope drop.

Alien Swirling Saucer ride car
Slinky Dog Dash at Night
Two Early Entry Rope Drop Examples

I want to give you two different examples of what you can accomplish during those early theme park entry times. First up: Rise of the Resistance rope drop.

My sister and brother-in-law went to Disney during peak Spring Break crowds. These are the largest crowds Disney has seen since pre-COVID.

Here’s what they did.

  1. Arrive at Hollywood Studios over an hour before Early Entry starts (they were 14th in line outside of Hollywood Studios)
  2. Allowed entry into Hollywood Studios by 7:30a, made a mad dash towards Rise of the Resistance
  3. Rise of the Resistance began running before the official start of Early Theme Park Entry
  4. On the ride by 8:00a
  5. Once off Rise, went immediately to Millennium Falcon, low wait time
  6. Hoofed it over to Toy Story Mania and got on that ride just as the park officially opened

That’s an extremely successful rope drop example.

On the flipside, here’s a look at a rope drop strategy I tried out the last time I was at Hollywood Studios.

  1. Arrive at Hollywood Studios just under 30 minutes prior to the start of early entry, walk right on into the park
  2. Head towards Rock n Roller Coaster, get held by cast members on Sunset Boulevard, there are hardly any people here so I’m in the front
  3. At exactly the start of early entry, they slowly walk us over to Rock n Roller Coaster and into the queue
  4. Once off Rock n Roller Coaster, headed straight over to Tower of Terror, which was pretty much empty
  5. Rode Tower of Terror with only two other people in the elevator with me
  6. Headed over to Toy Story Mania and got on the ride just as the park opened

Within the official 30 minute span of early entry I got on 3 rides with little to no effort on my part. I was also able to take much more leisurely approach to my arrival time.

Whichever approach you take, I hope you see just how important rope drop is in getting on the big rides. Within 10-15 minutes of park opening, all of the wait times balloon dramatically.

What to Rope Drop if You Can’t Use Early Theme Park Entry

Even if you can’t access Early Entry, there is still the possibility of success at rope drop. Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the official park opening time.

Once you get into the park, the big rides in Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land are not the best idea. The lines will be too long already from the early entry crowd.

That and everyone under the sun entering with you will head that way.

However, if you notice in my second rope drop example above, Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror remain quite low in their wait time.

This is the best direction to head first if your group plans to get on those rides. You should be able to get on both of these rides with waits of 20 minutes or less.

After that, check out the wait for Star Tours, all the way on the other side of the park. Even though this ride is less popular, it’s a ton of fun and the lines don’t get long as quickly.

With this you can bang out 3 of the best rides in the park within the first hour after the park opens.

2.  Fill in the Late Morning/Afternoon with Shows, Shops, and Food (or Leave)

The afternoon is notoriously the most crowded part of the day in any of the parks. This is made worse in Hollywood Studios by some of the traffic patterns within the park.

Kermit the Frog Statue on Grand Avenue in Hollywood Studios

There are just some areas that get extremely congested, making it challenging to get through.

No matter what point of the day the lines get long, whether late morning or lunch time, this same plan still applies. In general, this is your slow down time.

The beginning portion of the day is a little frantic. Now is the time to slow down and enjoy the details of Hollywood Studios.

One of the things you should do is wander around both Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge to soak up the details. Both are really fun and amazing areas.

Checking out the Shows and Shops

This is also time to consider the more “show” like attractions at Disney World. The lines for the shows are generally shorter due to the fact that capacity is a lot larger.

The afternoon is a great time to go to the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Frozen Singalong, MuppetVision 3D, Lightening McQueen’s Racing Academy, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

A word of caution though, don’t wait for more than 30 minutes for any of these if you can avoid it. They’re not worth that kind of wait.

The other advantage to watching the shows is it involves a built in break. The indoor shows are air conditioned and there are seats to sit in.

Most of the shows last for 20-30 minutes, so it allows for a nice bit of relaxation for a little while. Trust me, your tired legs will thank you.

I will admit, window shopping isn’t for everyone, but I do enjoy checking out the stores in the parks. There were quite a few unique items that caught my eye in the windows, merchandise that I hadn’t seen at the other parks.

Advanced Dining Reservations and Leaving the Park

Alternatively, this is a great time to consider making a Disney Dining Reservation for an early lunch. This allows you to relax in air conditioning as the park rapidly fills up.

I recommend table service restaurants at this time because reservations are easier to get during off times, and when you start your morning so darn early, you’ll be ready for a nice break.

That and it kills at least an hour.

If things have just gotten too congested for you, you can’t get on anything you want, or the family just needs a break, another alternative is to head to Crescent Lake.

It’s easier than ever to get there now with the Skyliner gondolas. If those aren’t your cup of tea, you can also walk or take the Friendship boats there.

Crescent Lake is the resort area that is in between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. There are resorts to explore, Boardwalk fun, and so on.

I adore simply walking around this area on a beautiful Florida day. It’s such a nice, calm area, and a good place to escape from the crowds for a little while. It gives you a bit of breathing space.

Now with the Skyliner, there are even more areas open for exploration if you need a bit of a break from the Hollywood Studios crowds.

Here are some ideas if you leave the park for a break:

  • Take the Skyliner to any of the resorts on it for a meal or exploration
  • Pool break if you are staying at a resort with easy access via Skyliner, boats, or walking (don’t do this if you have to take a bus, it’s too much of a time suck)
  • Play mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens (take a Friendship boat to the Swan & Dolphin, it’s an easy walk from there)
  • Meander your way around Crescent Lake and explore the resorts

Whatever you decide to do, you want to be back at Hollywood Studios by 4:30p at the latest, possibly 4:00p for an extra buffer.

Park Hopping

Now that park hopping is allowed again, that is always an option. However, park hopping isn’t even allowed until 2:00p to begin with, so it doesn’t give you much time if you plan to return for the evening.

Due to this small time frame, the only park I recommend hopping to from Hollywood Studios is Epcot. You can be there within 15 minutes.

Ride queue at Tower and Terror

You can head over to Epcot for some amazing food and exploration. Due to the fact that Epcot is so much larger, it absorbs the crowds better. This gives you a bit of a break from being sandwiched in at Hollywood Studios.

If you don’t plan to go back to Hollywood Studios for the evening, the world is your oyster! Go wherever you want!

3. Don’t Waste Valuable Evening Park Time

If you’ve read many of my posts, you are aware at this point that I love the parks at night. They are just beautiful all lit up at night. The same is true of Hollywood Studios. Both Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge themselves are worth an evening visit.

Aside from this, now you’ve entered prime time for short(ish) ride lines. The waits are now more manageable than they were earlier in the day.

Fortunately, Hollywood Studios has returned to its more normal closing time of 9p. This is good as it gives you more time to enjoy the park in the evenings.

Also, a good rule of thumb is the later a park is open, the lower the crowds will be near closing time.

This gives you a pocket of about a few where wait times will be lower. Don’t expect walk on for the biggest rides, that won’t happen. But the waits should be more reasonable than they were earlier in the day.

However, these rides should be a walk on, or close to it:

  • Toy Story Mania
  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Star Tours
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – This one might be a longer wait than the others, but shouldn’t be too bad

Because of this, don’t have dinner at any point during this time. We flubbed this (twice!) on our recent trip. Make sure you eat between 4p-5p.

Please don’t scheduled a dining reservation for the evening. You’ll spend some of the best hours of the park sitting in a restaurant. The latest you should make a reservation is 5p. Table service dining takes up to an hour and a half.

That would still give you a little under 3 hours to hit some rides.

Also, get in line for a ride a couple minutes before park close. This is a great time to get on a hard to get ride with less of a wait. Disney deliberately inflates posted wait times to discourage people from riding.

It’s a gamble as you don’t know how long the wait will be, but it will be one of the shortest waits of the day.

Hollywood Studios in One Day

Now that we’ve looked at the different parts of putting together your Hollywood Studios itinerary, let’s create a sample touring plan. We’ll start with a 1 day plan since that’s the most common for families.

One thing to note: this plan assumes you want to get on ALL the rides. If you have members of your party who aren’t tall enough for rides you can use the rider swap option on rides with height requirements. This allows all the adults to take turns riding.

Of course, if you don’t want to get on all of the rides, adjust your plan accordingly.

Remember, this is a basic framework, but anything can happen on the big day. Rides break down, crowds are excessive, etc. So be prepared to be flexible.

The following recommendations are based both on watching line trends over the past month or so in addition to being there myself recently.

I’ve actually shifted my old recommendations slightly to reflect the fact that the lines tend to become unbearably long a lot sooner in the day than any of us would like.

Remember, your plan is slightly different depending on whether you are able to use early entry.

Well, heck. Let’s just do two different 1 day Hollywood Studios itineraries: with and without early entry.

1 Day Hollywood Studios Itinerary with Early Entry

As a reminder, Early Entry is a benefit for Disney resort guests, allowing them into the park and on rides 30 minutes before the park opens.

Often, on crowded days, the most popular rides start running even earlier than that. It seems like Rise of the Resistance ALWAYS starts running before early entry starts. As soon as they let you in the park, they start running that ride.

Arrive at park at least 1 hour before Early Entry starts (Ideally More)

This puts you at the front of the pack that heads towards the rides and is an essential component to this plan.

If you plan to rope drop Rise of the Resistance, get to Hollywood Studios as soon as you can.

You’ll wait outside the park first, then be allowed through the tapstiles. At that point, head in the direction of whichever ride you plan to go on first.

Early Theme Park Entry Time Frame (30 Minute Before Park Opening)

If you are at the front of the pack, Rise of the Resistance is the ride you need to go on first. This is quite simply the shortest wait time you’ll see all day.

They should start running people through the ride early, which gives you a leg up on the whole plan.

As soon as you get off Rise of the Resistance, head over to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The wait time should be pretty short as everyone else in the park is on other rides.

I recently did this and managed to get to Millennium Falcon right as early entry officially started. That’s right, I was on and off Rise of the Resistance before early entry opened.

There always seems to be a delay with the big crowds for Millennium Falcon, and you’re about to take advantage of it.

As you get off Millennium Falcon you should have time to get in line for one more ride before the park officially opens. It’s very important that you hustle to the next ride you want to go on so you beat the non-Disney resort guest crowd.

I recommend any of these rides for your third ride of the morning:

  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Star Tours

Personally, I go for Toy Story Mania often because it’s one of my favorite rides in all of Hollywood Studios.

But any of these options should give you a low wait time. If you don’t have a lot of time or are a group that moves slowly, focus on Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, or Star Tours.

But if you have the time, head to Rock n Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror. The off-site guests won’t head here first so you can likely do both rides in a short amount of time.

And just like that, you have 3 top rides under your belt right as the park opens.

Disney Planning Tip: Always check the wait time for Star Tours during the day. It is often reasonable AND there are 3 different versions of the ride depending on which section you are put in. So ride it multiple times!

Park Opening through Lunch

Once you get off your third ride, immediately check the wait times for all the attractions. If there’s a ride that jumps out at you as having a decently low wait, head there immediately.

Sometimes you can get lucky with this and grab one more top ride before the crowds balloon. Other times, not so much.

Once most of the rides have crazy long lines it’s time to switch gears. Head on back to Galaxy’s Edge to take some time to wander and check it out.

Before you go, make sure you know about what there is to do at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. There’s more there than people even realize.

Most of the newcomers are more concerned with getting into lines, so this gives you a brief pocket of time with less crowds milling about.

Check out stores and maybe get yourself a snack or a Ronto Wrap. No seriously, get yourself a Ronto Wrap

All of the stores will be mobbed later, so now’s your chance.

After you have your fill of wandering, start heading towards the shows. Your basic plan is to spread these shows out over the next few hours.

The order that you do the shows in doesn’t really matter. Check the show times and just go to whichever one is closest that has the soonest start time.

You’ll repeat this throughout the morning and early afternoon. After you get one or two shows in, it should be close to lunch time.

I recommend an early lunch dining reservation at either Sci-Fi Drive In or 50’s Prime Time Cafe. After all, you’ve been at the park since an un-Godly hour. It’s time to get some delicious fuel in your body.

Sit down, relax in air conditioning, and have a leisurely meal. Stretch it out to last around an hour and a half. You won’t be sorry.

Afternoon Delights

At this point, crowds have likely reached levels of insanity. Your plan is to finish out all the rest of the shows you haven’t seen yet.

Because the shows are lengthier, this actually eats up a good chunk of time.

Intersperse this with doing some souvenir shopping just to mix things up a bit.

Once you’ve done that, consider leaving the park for a breather. The crowds can be pretty unbearable during this part of the day.

Hop on the Skyliner and go explore! As a bonus, the Skyliner is like a ride in and of itself!

Dinner Time and Return to the Park

Because you had an early lunch, you’ll be ready for an early dinner. This works out because you don’t want to waste any time later eating when you could be on rides.

It’s up to you whether you want another sit down meal or if you prefer a quick service option. Personally, I prefer quick service at this stage because I want to be in more control over how much time it takes. Aim to finish eating by 5:30p-ish at the latest.

The earlier you finish your dinner, the more time you’ll have to get on the remaining rides.

By this time the wait times on the rides begins to slow down. Check the wait times on My Disney Experience and see where everything is at.

The following rides are your focus during this time, likely in this order:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Toy Story Mania/Star Tours (whichever one you didn’t do earlier)
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Slinky Dog Dash

Keep an eye on the time and make sure you prioritize your absolute must ride attractions. If you start to run out of time, cut out the ones you know you can sacrifice.

Try to get on line for Slinky Dog Dash right before the park closes. The posted wait time is typically inflated in an attempt to deter people from getting in line.

But it’s all a lie!

This is one of the best Disney hacks around: get in line for a highly sought after ride right before closing for some of the shortest waits of the day.

It goes without saying, if you haven’t gotten on Rise of the Resistance by this point of the day, it’s now or never. That should be the ride you get in line for right before park closing.

Slowly Exit the Park

Once you get off that last ride, the park is no longer open. While it won’t be entirely empty, this is an amazing time to simply wander and enjoy the beauty of Hollywood Studios at night.

Take your time exiting. Maybe hit up a shop or two to delay the inevitable. Wander through Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

1 Day Hollywood Studios Itinerary WITHOUT Early Entry

Ok, here’s the basic plan for people who don’t have access to to Early Entry. There is much about this plan that mimics the Early Entry touring plan so make sure you read that one first.

I’ll gloss over the sections that are similar. However, the order of some of the rides is different, so pay close attention to that part.

Arrive at Park 30 minutes Prior to Park Opening

That’s right, you get to sleep later! I mean, not a ton later, but definitely later. Since you aren’t trying to get on Rise of the Resistance right away, this gives you some flexibility in timing.

As Soon as the Park Opens

Your very first goal is to head directly to Sunset Boulevard to get in line for Rock n Roller Coaster and then Tower of Terror.

Because everyone else under the sun will head to Slinky Dog, Rise of the Resistance, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, this gives you a clear shot at two major Hollywood Studios rides.

The lines won’t be at walk-on level, but they should each be less than 20 minute waits.

If you have small children or people who aren’t interested in thrill rides, the recommendation is to go to Toy Story Mania and then Alien Swirling Saucers first.

Once you are done with those first two rides, pull out My Disney Experience and check the wait times.

In particular, look at the times for:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Star Tours

If any of these are posted as 30 minutes or less, get on them. If not, it’s time to follow the same plan as the Early Entry itinerary: shows and shopping.

Rest of the Morning through Early Dinner

Seriously, at this point the recommendation is the same. You want to wander in Galaxy’s Edge and start catching the shows.

Also, the plan is still to eat an early sit down lunch, followed by more shows, shopping, and possibly leaving the park on the Skyliner to explore and get away from the crowds.

For all the little details, go to the section with the heading Park Opening and Lunch (or just click that link, it’ll take you there). Then read through the next two sections.

Dinner and Evening Adventures

Again, the basic plan here is the same. A slight modification I would recommend is to make sure you are done with dinner by 5p. You still have one of the biggest rides in all of Disney World to hit.

No matter how you slice it, you’re looking at probably an hour to do Rise of the Resistance.

Because of that, you’ll want more time in the evening.

Here are the rides you have left:

  • Possibly: Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, depending how your morning went
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Slinky Dog Dash

Start off with Star Tours, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania, in that order. Delete any that you already got on earlier.

After that, head to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The lines for this should be calming down now, and you don’t have to stand in the hot sun in the outside part of the queue. Score!

Now, it’s time to head to a Galaxy far, far away. Go to Millennium Falcon. Throughout all of this you need to take stock. There is a good possibility some rides will get cut.

The big decision is whether to prioritize Slinky Dog Dash or Rise of the Resistance. That’s a decision that is so personal to each family.

If the stars align you’ll get to do both. But if not, be prepared ahead of time with your decision.

This is A LOT to accomplish. And depending on the crowds, it might not be possible. Remember, prioritize the rides and call an audible if you need to.

This is the group of people I would recommend purchasing Disney Genie+ and/or Lightning Lane access. If you can skip the line on even a few of these rides during the day, it frees you up for the others.

Hollywood Studios Touring Plan – 2 Day Itinerary

I highly recommend spending 2 days at Hollywood Studios instead of one. I know most families schedule in 4 park days, 1 day at each park.

And if that’s you, definitely follow the 1 day Hollywood Studios touring plan. But if you have the flexibility, 2 days is the way to go.

I mainly recommend this because 2 days lets you move at a less frantic pace. It also provides you with a lot more flexibility in terms of the rides, crowds, and time you spend in lines.

Honestly, I would consider making one, if not both, of those 2 days a half day, ideally the second day. Clearly, this only works for people who have park hopper tickets.

If you don’t have park hoppers, stick to the one day itinerary. But if you do, you can do Hollywood Studios in the morning/early afternoon one the first day before hopping to another park.

Then you can hop to Hollywood Studios from another park after 2p in order to experience evenings there.

This strategy also doubles your chances of getting on all the rides that you want, just in case day 1 doesn’t go according to plan. At least you have a back up plan in place, just in case.

And if you get everything done on the first day, you could always switch out your Park Pass for the second Hollywood Studios day for another park (assuming there are passes available).

Sample Hollywood Studios 2 Day Itinerary

Let’s start looking at the details of how to make this happen. Again, the beauty is you don’t have to worry about getting on everything at once, so you can target things more specifically on day 1. Then whatever you don’t get on is the target for day 2. Or just ride your favorites over and over again.

Day 1

All in all, you want to structure this very similarly to the above 1 day Hollywood Studios itinerary. However, instead of frantically going from ride to ride, adopt a more leisurely pace.

But here are some highlights.

Rope drop: Depending on whether you can use Early Entry or not, follow the rope drop plan from above for the appropriate itinerary.

Honestly, I would still play that part out as closely as written as possible. First thing in the morning is prime time, so you might as well take advantage of it!

Seriously, get on every single ride that you can before the crowds catch up with you.

And remember, there’s always time for a Ronto Wrap! Can you tell I’m obsessed with these things?

Rest of the morning and afternoon: Really, I should just say, do that whole rest of the morning and afternoon exactly as recommended in the 1-day Hollywood Studios itinerary.

There! Saves me some typing and you some reading.

Dinner and Evening: Here is where I’m going to change my recommendation slightly compared to the normal 1 day touring plan.

At this point, you know you’ll be back another day. This means that you don’t have to be quite so frantic in your approach.

Be a bit more relaxed about your dinner time, though still don’t make it too late. Don’t waste those evening hours.

At this point, I recommend trying to go on your highest priority rides. If that’s Rise of the Resistance, wait until the last hour of the day to get in line.

This way if you don’t get on them during day 1, you know you have a second shot on day 2.

Also, it gives you the opportunity to perhaps ride them a second time on day 2, because that’s always a bonus.

Leisurely make your way through the evening and night getting on whatever you can. Any ride that you don’t get on becomes a priority for day 2.

I still recommend getting in line for SOMETHING right before the park closes. This should just be standard practice at every single park.

And again, enjoy the much less crowded walk out of the park after it closes.

Once Fantasmic! returns, ear mark that for one of the nights. It really is an amazing show. The bonus of having 2 days at Hollywood Studios is you can do Fantasmic! one night and prioritize rides the other night.

Day 2:

I used to be torn over whether to make day 2 a half day or full day. Good news, I’m no longer torn. I definitely recommend doing a half day.

Ideally, you have park hopper tickets so you can spend your morning at another park. Animal Kingdom is a great park to hit in the morning before heading over to Hollywood Studios.

Remember: Park hopping isn’t allowed until 2p and after. Not that this matters in our plan, because 2p at Hollywood Studios is not a good time.

Arrival at Hollywood Studios: If you haven’t done all of the shows and shopping that you want to do, make sure you get to Hollywood Studios right at 2p.

If not, it’s ok to wait until around 4p before you decide to roll on up. Feel free to eat an early dinner elsewhere, or eat at Hollywood Studios right at 4p.

I probably should have mentioned this before, but take advantage of mobile ordering in order to get your food faster. Place the order much earlier in the day, that way you just have to say you’re ready and collect your order.

Since you only have a handful of hours, it is essential that you eat early. This night will have a bit of a more frantic feel if you want to get on as much as possible.

If you don’t have as many rides that you want to get on, it’s ok to have a slower pace.

From here, go on ALL the rides that you missed during day 1. Star Tours and Alien Swirling Saucers will likely have the best wait time starting around 5p, following by Toy Story Mania.

Hit those up for bonus rides on them on day 2.

Once you get off of those rides, hopefully the wait times are more reasonable for the other rides. Identify which ride is the one to get on right before park closing. Slinky Dog is always a good choice for this.

Then spend the rest of the evening squeezing in everything that you missed on day 1.

So there you have it! My 2 day Hollywood Studios plan.

Final Thoughts on a Hollywood Studios Itinerary

Well, there you have it, my recommended Hollywood Studios itinerary. I fully recognize it’s an imperfect plan. However, if you follow it relatively closely, you’ll maximize your ability to do most everything, without having to pay extra money.

On the whole, you can have a fantastic time at Hollywood Studios. There are some truly amazing rides. Rise of the Resistance is like no other experience, anywhere.

The park is definitely worth your time, but frankly, it takes a lot more planning than any of the other parks. I’m hopeful this Hollywood Studios itinerary gets you going in the right direction.

Hollywood Studios touring plan pin

Your Thoughts

What do you think of this Hollywood Studios itinerary? Do you plan to do one day or two days at Hollywood Studios? Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to follow The Disney Journey on Pinterest and Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates.

Sharing is caring!

10 thoughts on “Hollywood Studios Itinerary: 1 Day and 2 Day Plans”

  1. Disneytipsandtrips.com

    I’m so happy they added Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story, this park was seriously sparse before! I’m so excited to go back and see all the new upgrades to the park.

  2. Great tips! Will definitely use this for future trips.
    Side note- “Lightning” in Lightning McQueen is spelled wrong up above, don’t mean to be rude just wanted to point it out. 🙂

    1. Ha! Thanks for pointing it out. Glad someone did. I actually have a vague recollection of looking at it and thinking something didn’t look right! Wonder how many people simply think I can’t spell.

  3. bestringtoness.com

    One small suggestion: If you are touring Hollywood Studios during the rainy season (beginning in June) you may want to go on Slinky Dog Dash first thing in the morning and get a FastPass for Toy Story Mania. We recently visited and had a 5:30 pm Fast Pass for Slinky Dog when thunderstorms started to pass through and the ride closed and never reopened. Unfortunately we never got to ride it. In general, during rainy season in any of the Disney Parks, go on any outdoor rides ASAP and save the inside attractions for later.

  4. I enjoy reading your tips and helpful ideas. We are going the 1st week of November… my adult kids (4- ages 21 to 32) their spouses/significant others plus my 82 yr old parents. This will probably be the very last trip with my parents and probably the last trip with out little ones. we are staying at Wydham’s Bonnet Creek. Unfortunately this cuts us out of the extra extra magic hours…. what do you suggest we do to make the most of our trip? It would be a great help to see strategies for those not staying at a Disney resort too. Thank you!!

    1. You are right, I do need to add a section for non-Disney resort guests! I think your best bet at Hollywood Studios in particular would be to make sure you understand how to make FastPass work for you. Until Star Wars Land opens and we can all see what the crowds are doing, some of this is guessing, but I’m assuming that Galaxy’s Edge will be mobbed at 9a. If Galaxy’s Edge is a priority, going near closing time will likely be the safest bet. For the rest of the rides, FastPass, FastPass, FastPass. Get through your first 3 as fast as you can, then try to grab more. You might have to be diligent with refreshing, but it should work. Try getting FastPasses in smaller groups (think 1-4). There will be more availability that way. Hopefully you can get them to overlap and still ride together. Keep an eye on how things are going once it opens. By November we should have a better feel for what will work.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *