Our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios touring plan offers an efficient itinerary & strategy for avoiding Walt Disney World’s crowds, for minimizing time waiting in lines, and maximizing rides. This covers attractions, restaurants, shows, details, and includes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. (Updated December 6, 2019.)
This post continues our series of Walt Disney World Park Itineraries & Touring Plans designed to answer the frequently asked question, “what would you do in an ideal day at the park?” With all of Star Wars Land now open, there’s more to do here, and we once again highly recommend spending a full day at DHS. However, if you only want to do an evening in the park, we also have a Half-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary.
Now that both the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attractions are open, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open to the general public and has been operating for a couple of months, we’ve returned to update this itinerary with the most efficient time to experience that new land. Be advised that things are still running a little differently, and that will likely remain true until Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens on March 4, 2020…
If you’re planning on visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the next few weeks (in other words, sometime before 2020 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in early January), you need to read our Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Tips & Info post. Showing up at the scheduled opening time of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will not get you on this attraction!
It’s unknown how long Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will use the Virtual Queue–it could be a few weeks, it could be several months. We’ll update this itinerary again once that change occurs. Or, if that doesn’t happen, we’ll update in March 2020 after Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens.
In the meantime, this itinerary assumes you’re able to score a spot in the Virtual Queue and also that you have FastPass+ selections for Disney’s Hollywood Studios…
Speaking of which, despite Huge Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Changes, FastPass+ is still somewhat important for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We would recommend using your Tier 1 FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash or Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and picking Star Tours from the Tier 2 options. Read more about this in our Ultimate Guide to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.
Alright, now on with the 1-day touring plan for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here’s what we’d do on an ideal day in DHS after you enter the park and immediately join the Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance…
Toy Story Land Mania – For years, the craziest morning at Walt Disney World was the Toy Story Mania dash. Then came FastPass+, pretty much ending that. Now, there are two morning dashes, with the vast majority of the crowds going left to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and a smaller group going right to Toy Story Land. Zig while everyone else is zagging and go right, too.
Once you’re in Toy Story Land, start with Slinky Dog Dash. (Irrespective of whether you have a FastPass+ for it–this is a fun but mild coaster that’s worth doing twice.) Do it again if the line is short. (It probably won’t be, but it doesn’t hurt to check.) Continue to Toy Story Mania or the nearby Toy Story character meet & greet. Finish with Alien Swirling Saucers. Then bounce from Toy Story Land before the crush of the crowd arrives after it has finished Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
ROCK AND ROLL! – Instead of then going to Star Wars Land, zag again, and head all the way to the end of Sunset Boulevard and beat the wave of crowds there by heading to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. If you’re a thrill ride junkie, you might want to get a FastPass+ for this in advance.
If you arrive early enough here (or it’s a slow day), you might also be able to do Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster a couple of times via standby before crowds show up (depending upon the season). Follow that by doing the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror while you’re in the neighborhood.
Go See A Star War: Episode I – If you arrived to Disney’s Hollywood Studios early enough, you’ll receive a boarding pass return to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance before noon.
As noted in our guide to the Virtual Queue (which is essential reading right now), don’t go back immediately if you receive the notification before finishing up Toy Story Land, plus the Sunset Boulevard headliners above. Use your full two hours, if necessary.
FastPass+ – Similarly, it’s a good time to use your FastPass+ selections at this point. Unlike other parks, doing so early isn’t a bad idea, as this should exhaust your supply of FastPass+, enabling you to pick up additional same-day FastPass+. If you’re lucky, there will be some good stuff left. If not, no biggie.
Snack Time – This is our second plan with an early morning snack stop, and it might seem crazy to burn those critical morning hours getting cupcakes, but really, on a moderately crowded day, you shouldn’t run into any issues with lines at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as most of what you’ll be doing is shows that have high capacity.
With that in mind, head to Trolley Car Cafe (the Starbucks location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) for coffee and to grab one of the two Best Snacks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Shows & Stuff: Part I – Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a bunch of shows that are arguably worth seeing. These include the Frozen Sing-along, Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and MuppetVision 3D. The only one of these that I absolutely implore you to see is MuppetVision.
To miss it would be distinctly unpatriotic. Consider spending some time in the pre-show area and overflow queue at MuppetVision, as there are some hilarious Easter Eggs all around. You can pencil these shows in whenever time allows, and showing up right before they start is fine, as they almost never completely fill up.
Lunch – For all of my complaints about the current state of this park, it does have two of the Best Themed Restaurants at Walt Disney World. Definitely eat at 50’s Prime Time Cafe or Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.
Disregard the negative reviews, as the experience at both restaurants is the star of the show. Personally, I think both serve pretty good food, too.
Shows & Stuff: Part II – Do whichever of the shows that are listed in Part I that you didn’t manage to do before lunch. Descriptions and reviews of these shows can be found in our Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions Guide post.
Citizens of Hollywood – One of the saving graces of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Citizens of Hollywood “streetmosphere” performers. Instead of running off to do more attractions (what attractions?) take the time to actually stop and watch one of their performances.
My favorite is the “Funniest Citizen” competition that usually occurs on Sunset Boulevard in the late afternoon. Since you’ll have plenty of time, it might also be worth checking out the Cavalcade of Stars at 10:30 am.
Go See A Star War: Episode II – Come late afternoon, wander over to Star Tours: the Adventures Continue and catch the last showing of Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple if you’re so inclined. Even if you don’t have kids, this is a fun show. (If you do have Star Wars-obsessed kids, race over here first thing in the morning to sign them up to participate in the show).
Follow that with a spin on Star Tours, and then head over to the other side of the park to experience the rest of “Star Wars Awakens,” including Launch Bay and the “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” stage show. At Launch Bay, you can check out the displays and meet Chewbacca.
Dinner – It’s rare for me to recommend two table service restaurants in a single 1-day plan, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do here, as I recommend eating at whichever of the two restaurants above where you didn’t do lunch.
If money or Disney Dining Plan credits are an issue, split meals and go just for the ambiance. Alternatively, do some more snacking and wait to do a late dinner at Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. That’s currently the best counter service restaurant at Walt Disney World!
Fantasmic – On nights when there’s one showing, that’s the one you’ll do (obviously). On evenings with two showings of Fantasmic, you’re going to want to see the first showing–despite it being the more crowded of the two. This is because it allows you to do other things after Fantasmic.
For more Fantasmic advice, check out our Fantasmic Tips & Tricks post.
Go See A Star War: Episode III – We recommend blasting off to Batuu and spending the bulk of your time in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in the evening rather than in the morning when you do your Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance return for a couple of reasons. First, crowds are actually worst in the morning and get progressively better as the day wears on.
Second, because Star Wars Land is simply better at night. The lighting adds a lot to the moody off-planet atmosphere, and makes the experience even more immersive. While you’re in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, be sure to do Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, visit Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. The area pictured above offers a decent view of the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks, but we’d recommend just skipping that.
If you’re planning on visiting the new land, you’ll also want to read our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide. This covers a range of topics from basics about the land and its location, to strategically choosing a hotel for your stay, recommended strategy for the land, and how to beat the crowds. It’s a good primer for this huge addition.
We recommend staying in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as long as you can, until Disney’s Hollywood Studios is closed (unless you really want to see Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, in which case head to the front of the park for that). Take the time for a slow stroll out of the park upon exiting, taking your time to look at and photograph all the beautiful neon signs. The good news here is that even though it’ll be dark out, the neon is so bright that it’s easy to photograph at night.
All in all, it should conclude a pretty satisfying day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This park is so much better than it was just a few years ago–it’s now unquestionably a full day park and one that is largely free of visible construction. The added good news is that Disney’s Hollywood Studios should further improve once Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens in Spring 2020!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides” are great for determining what to do and when to do it. For overviews of all of these topics and so much more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
What would you include in your ideal day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Would you recommend visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios to a first-timer? If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World, what do you plan on doing? Do you agree or disagree with our strategy or plan of attack? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!