As the Walt Disney World parks have reopened with less vacation pre-planning required than ever before, theres one park that I believe you truly still need a game plan when visiting.
You could totally wing it right now at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom and still have an enjoyable day — even without FastPass+. That’s not the case at Hollywood Studios. And until FastPass+ is reinstated, you’ll need to be prepared for a long, hot day down Sunset Blvd.
Luckily for you, I fought the crowds earlier this week and I’m spilling all the details for a successful visit right here.
Official park opening time is listed at 10am. DO NOT SHOW UP AT 9:50 THINKING YOU’RE EARLY. You’re not early. Actually, you’re really late.
When we visited on Tuesday, this is what I observed:
- 8:30am Cars held as we approached Hollywood Studios parking lot entrance
- 8:45am Cars allowed to pull up to the parking pay booths
- 9:00am Line starts moving and cars are allowed to begin parking
After parking, setting up the stroller, going through temp check and security, we were in the park at 9:15am
Big Ticket rides were ALREADY OPEN. At 9:15am, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway had a 45 minute wait.
All this to say, arrive EARLY. You’re better off waiting at the parking booth or the turnstiles than you are arriving at 10am and walking into a park that already has multiple 60 minute+ wait times.
The Skyliner was listed as operating to Hollywood Studios beginning at 9am. I can’t say for sure whether they were running early (and actually had people on them) but I did see the Skyliner operating at 8:30am when we were being held at the parking booths. I have heard from others that have stayed at a Skyliner resort recently that the Skyliner lines to Hollywood Studios are quite long in the morning, so keep that in mind.
Remember that you can walk to Hollywood Studios from the Boardwalk area!
Taking an Uber or Lyft may also be a good idea for your Hollywood Studios park days, especially if bus or Skyliner lines are long.
Have a Game Plan
Hollywood Studios has a lot of NEW including quite a few very popular attractions. Know where you’re headed first.
I personally would choose one of the following as my first attraction:
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Slinky Dog Dash
If you arrive early enough, you may be able to knock them both out before the park even officially opens!
Other less popular rides like Star Tours or Alien Swirling Saucers are good choices for mid-day when MMRR and SDD are at their peak Standby wait time.
Know What’s Open
Here’s what’s currently open at Hollywood Studios.
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Rock n Roller Coaster
- Millenium Falcom: Smuggler’s Run
- Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Star Tours
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
- Disney Junior Play & Dance
- Frozen Sing-Along
Most shows and interactive elements (like Jedi Training) are currently closed.
Note that all character meet and greets are closed but you can catch character cavalcades (mini parades) that happen randomly throughout the day
- Disney Junior Stars Motorcade
- Mickey and Friends Motorcade
- Pixar Pals Motorcade
Prepare for LONG Waits
Bet you never thought you’d wait 45 minutes for Muppets Vision 3D. Well my friend, I’m here to tell you that you may.
HEY I WON’T JUDGE YOU. We all do crazy things to escape the heat and get an AC break.
Wait times at Hollywood Studios right now are long. Especially on weekends and especially at mid-day; be prepared for that. One thing you can do prior to your visit is check the My Disney Experience app on the day of the week you’ll be visiting. See how wait times look in the morning, mid-day, and at park close.
Also something to think about it that a lot of the queues are stretching well beyond ride entrances to account for social distancing. This may mean standing in the sun without any shade for a bit. Prepare for that too — lots of water and sunscreen.
Don’t Forget About the Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group Drops
I’ve got a full post on Rise of the Resistance boarding groups right here. One thing to note is that there are two boarding pass drops now.
[UPDATED NOVEMBER 2020] The first boarding pass drop is at 7am and the second at 2pm. The 7am drop is before the park opens! In order to join that drop you need both valid park admission and a Park Pass Reservation for Hollywood Studios that day.
To join the 7am Rise of the Resistance drop, you’ll want to login to the My Disney Experience app from your hotel room (or wherever you are!) and grab a boarding group right at 7am. You do not need to be inside Hollywood Studios to join. Disney made this change to deter people from arriving at the parks so early just to join the boarding group.
If you’re attempting to join a boarding group at 2pm from inside the park, try to avoid being on an inside ride when the boarding passes drop. This may mess with your internet connection. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read the post I linked above.
Read my tips for snagging a boarding pass right here.
I hope all of this information is helpful! Let me know if theres any additional info I can share in the comments below!
Follow along on all of our Walt Disney World fun on Instagram @brbgoingtodisney! I share tips and tricks LIVE from the parks each week on Stories! See you there!