Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the most popular Disney park in Walt Disney World ever since Galaxy’s Edge opened (though Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is making EPCOT a serious contender). Hollywood Studios is the park that you want to go in with a plan! With a park so popular with such great attractions, there are mistakes to avoid to make sure that you have a great day!
ATTENTION: This is the biggest mistake you can make at Hollywood Studios! This park has some serious heavy hitters! Rise of the Resistance, Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash, Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run, just to name a few. Yeah, it’s going to be busy.
It’s always a good practice at Disney to rope drop. The crowds are always at their lowest, wait times are low, and there are more Genie+ Lightning Lanes available. The longer you wait, the more opposite all of those things will become.
Set your alarm, eat in your hotel room, and drink coffee on your way. Don’t waste valuable morning park time!
Not Staying at a Disney Resort
Disney World resort guests get to enter the parks 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the crowd, and in Hollywood Studios that’s some serious crows to beat out! You might be able to get on one of the heavy hitters before the park even opens!
If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan this is especially important for the Individual Lightning Lanes, the pay-per-ride passes are open to resort guests at 7:00 AM EST and they are not open until park open to everyone else. Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lanes are completely sold out within minutes! If you are not a resort guest it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to purchase a Lightning Lane for this attraction, and this attraction can rack up insane standby lines. Last month the standby lane waited an unprecedented 5 hours!
Not Purchasing Genie+
Some of the parks like EPCOT or Animal Kingdom you can get away with not buying Genie+ and still riding everything that you like. Hollywood Studios is not that place. BUY GENIE+ FOR THIS PARK. Get full use of the service, too, and purchase at 7:00 AM, not in the afternoon sometime when all of the Lightning Lanes are gone.
Purchase Genie+ on the day that you plan to use it and then you can make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane at 7:00. Try to snag a hard to get Lightning Lane for this first one. Good picks are of course, Slinky Dog Dash and Tower of Terror, but do not, I mean do not, waste your first Lightning Lane on something like Alien Swirling Saucers or a show.
Not Snagging a Dining Reservation
There is so much focus on attractions at Hollywood Studios that you may be caught up in the go, go, go that you are either skipping meals or just snagging a mediocre snack along the way. Hollywood Studios is the home of some of the most themed restaurants in Walt Disney World! You have a great character dining experience at Hollywood and Vine where the costumes change with the seasons, 50s Prime Time Cafe where your waitress may serve you peas in your ice cream sundae, and Sci-Fi Dine in where you can enjoy a burger in a ‘57 Chevy at the drive-in… indoors.
Missing Out on the Shows
Hollywood Studios is meant to be all about the making of movies and shows, so it would be wrong to ignore the shows! Be sure to check out Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage!, and the Frozen Sing-along. The only show that hasn’t returned since the closure has been Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Take a breath and take in a show! Remember, you can eat in the outdoor theaters, so grab a snack and a beer before Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. The Frozen Sing-Along is indoors, so no food, but it is indoors so… AIR CONDITIONING!
Missing the Details
Just like the rest of the parks, it is filled with special details that only Imagineers can come up with! You will see a Hollywood Walk of Fame filled with Disney Legends, and details in the windows like Magic Kingdom. Our favorite are the nods to Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
There are easter eggs and details all throughout the park, but none more so than in Toy Story land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Booking an Early Reservation for Savi’s
A trip to Savi’s Workshop to build a lightsaber is a must-do for any Star Wars fan. But what about after you build this large souvenir? Disney rules require you to keep it stowed away in a bag or case after it is built. That is a large item to carry around all day. An item that cannot go on rides, mind you.
Try to score a later reservation so that way you have minimal time carrying it around.
Skipping the Land-Themed Snacks
It’s no secret that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge rock the other areas out of the park in Hollywood Studios as far as theming. That theming even drips down to the food! Don’t waste your stomach space on a gross plain hot dog, fully immerse yourself in the stories with all of your senses including taste!
Galaxy’s Edge has Docking Bay 7, Olga’s Cantina, The Milk Stand, Kat Saka’s Kettle, and Ronto Roasters. Toy Story Land has Woody’s Lunch Box.
Taking Disney Transportation to Rope Drop
Remember, you will be competing with a lot of people to rope drop Hollywood Studios, so that means long lines for everything. Long lines for the skyliner. Long lines for the ferries. And most definitely long lines for the buses. Want a quicker option? Try a ride share like Lyft or Uber, or since you are a resort guest, try the Disney rideshare through Lyft, Minnie Vans.
Waiting Until the Last Minute to Make Park Reservations
How many times do we need to say it?! Hollywood Studios is THE BUSIEST park in Walt Disney World! Oftentimes when you see a park sold out, it’s typically Hollywood Studios. Don’t wait when you have your dates!
Not Checking Height Requirements
Walt Disney World is one of the most family-friendly theme parks in the world, but with thrill rides come height requirements. In fact, Hollywood Studios has the most rides with height requirements. Be sure to check the ride height requirements ahead of time as well as know your kids’ height before your trip.
This is your PSA that those height requirements are there for your safety, so please don’t try to “cheat” your kid’s height just so they can ride.
Thinking This Park is Bad For Littles
With all of this talk of thrill rides and height requirements, you may be tempted to stay far away if you have smaller children. That is totally not the case! First of all, Hollywood Studios is the only place where you will find Disney Junior characters at all, and there is even a Disney Junior character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine with Fancy Nancy, Vampirina, and Doc McStuffins. Want to see more Disney Junior pals? Head on over to the Disney Junior dance party. This is a fun guided dance party with seriously, the world’s most energetic Cast members DJing a party with Mickey Mouse and Disney Junior friends.
So much of Walt Disney World for toddlers and small children is seen from a stroller so the wiggles get pent up until they explode! Disney Junior dance party is perfect for them to get out of the stroller in a controlled and air-conditioned place to get their wiggles out.
What about Pixar lovers? Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is a great show to give small racing fans a break from the heat and show them something that they love! People tend to focus on the thrill rides, but there really is a lot for people of all ages and sizes.
Other great family attractions in Hollywood Studios is the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Toy Story Mania, Muppets Show 3D, all of the shows, and of course meet and greets! Hollywood Studios is the only place to meet our favorite monsters, Mike and Sully!
See more tips about taking toddlers to Disney World here.
Skipping the Nighttime Spectacular, Fantasmic (Coming Soon)
Full disclosure, Fantasmic is not open yet. Disney has used this downtime to fully refurbish the theater and lake, so it has remained closed for the last 2 years. Though they have not given an official opening date, Disney has said that it will open this fall.
Fantasmic is not the show to miss! First and foremost… There are seats! Like actual seats! The nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom is squished standing room only, but not Fantasmic! The show takes place on a large rock stage and with floats on the water and people watch from a concrete stadium. Bring in snacks and drinks and get comfy to watch Mickey fight his way out his nightmare. Fireworks, characters, music, and Mickey! It doesn’t get more perfect than that!
Let us know what you think is a Hollywood Studios mistake in the comment section below.
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.
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