Our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios touring plan offers efficient strategy & itinerary for minimizing time spent in line, avoiding Walt Disney World’s crowds, and maximizing rides. This covers attractions, restaurants, shows, details, and now includes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. (Updated September 27, 2019.)
Now that 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 aware that only one attraction in Star Wars Land is currently open; Galaxy’s Edge crowds and lines are likely to get worse in December 2019 when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens. Additionally, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will debut in Spring 2020…
Despite those two E-Ticket attractions having delayed openings, the growing pains and construction that Disney’s Hollywood Studios endured for the last several years is now largely finished. A lot has been added, and even without those two rides, you’ll still have a good time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, particularly at night.
Before we get started here, a couple of things are worth noting. First, this itinerary is only “valid” for trips through December 4, 2019–after which, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens (and all bets are off). We’ll update again once we’ve experienced that new attraction, assuming its opening isn’t delayed, and update this itinerary again then.
Second, Walt Disney World currently has Extra, Extra Magic Hours through November 2, 2019. This means that Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens to resort guests at 6 am during this time. Don’t expect to show up at 9 am for normal park opening and use this strategy after on-site hotel guests have been inside for 3 hours.
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…
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.
FastPass+ – 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.
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.
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.
Star Wars Awakens – Come mid-afternoon, wander over to Star Tours: the Adventures Continue and catch the last showing of Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple. 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.
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.
Blast Off to Batuu – We recommend visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in the evening rather than first thing in the morning 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 should further improve once Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway both open!
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!