With lots of new additions recently opened at Hollywood Studios (like Toy Story Land) and many others on the horizon like Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and individual attractions like Mickey’s Runaway Railway, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is quickly becoming the place to be at Walt Disney World. Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks and secrets for visiting this park.
12. Jedi Training
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is all about the Star Wars fans, and if you have a young padawan who wants to learn the ways of the force the Jedi Training Academy is a must do. But, it can be tricky to get a spot. So here are my best tips. Arrive at the park well ahead of the opening time. When you line up on Hollywood Boulevard after entering the turnstiles you want to be on the left hand side. About half way up the boulevard is s side street and there are usually a few cast members there holding signs that say Jedi Training. You’ll want to wait as close to them as possible so that you can walk with them to the sign up. Don’t forget you need your young padawan to go with you in order to sign up. If you arrive after the park is completely open go straight to the sign up location between Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and 50’s Prime Time Café to see if you can still get a spot for the day. One trick is that if you have a pre-park opening breakfast at Hollywood & Vine you can sometimes leave the restaurant (with you child) and go over to get registered. Just know that it is competitive to get a spot each day even though they have multiple “shows,” so it is imperative to be there as early as possible—preferably before the park opens. And remember you have to bring your child with you to sign up.
11. MuppetVision 3D Pranks
I love the details that Imagineers put into attractions, and the waiting areas or queues. MuppetVision 3D is full of sight gags, puns, and jokes. A net full of jello anyone? But my favorite secret here is just as you pass the turnstile entrance. To your right is the reception office where the sign says they are out but the key is under the rug. Have your child pick up the rug (or do it yourself)—you’ll amaze everyone around you.
10. Carrot Cake Cookie
My favorite sweet treat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth look no further than the Trolley Car Café on Hollywood Boulevard (aka Starbucks). They sell this moist cookie sandwich that holds delicious cream cheese frosting between its layers. While it is not as good as previous version (RIP Writer’s Stop), it is still very, very good.
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Here is a secret: The Tune-In Lounge adjacent to 50’s Prime Time Café is amazing. You can sit at the bar and order up Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken (no reservation needed). But my favorite thing about the lounge is the drinks. Yes, they have some fun cocktails, but I’m talking milkshakes. If you are mid-evening in the park and get a craving for a milkshake (like we did last week) you can stop in at the Tune-In Lounge and order some to go. And here’s a tip: get the PB&J shake, it is delicious!!
8. Rock N Roller Coaster Single Rider Line
Want to ride Rock N Roller Coaster but don’t have a FastPass? Check out the Single Rider Line. You will not get to ride with your party, so this is not a good option if you have a young child or anyone who is timid about riding the attraction (or being seated with a stranger). Single rider lines are used to fill in empty seats left by larger parties. But usually the single rider line will move faster than the stand-by so it is a nice way to fit in a quick ride—or multiple rides.
7. Toy Story Mania Tips
You can Google Toy Story Mania and find several tips and tricks to maximize your score and find Easter Eggs (hidden prizes) during your ride. But, my top tip here is to work together as a team. Try to clear off all of the Balloons on the Volcano in the balloon pop scene with Rex & Trixie to see what happens. In the alien scene with the ring toss try to work together to get a ring around all of the aliens before any pop back up. Teamwork is more fun & it will help you get a higher score.
6. “13 Minutes”
Secret tip here: If the wait time at Tower of Terror says 13 minutes, that means it is a walk on! Head on over & ride.
5. Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has some great table service dining, but sometimes you forget to make a reservation. I love the outside lounge at the Hollywood Brown Derby. The seating allows for some excellent people watching and the menu of small bite is just perfect for a theme park meal. My top choices are the Cobb Salad and the Charcuterie Plate—and don’t forget the dessert sampler. The signature Grapefruit Cake is the best!
4. Fantasmic! Dining Package
This is a not so secret tip. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can book a Fantasmic! Dining package to get reserved seating at one of the evening’s showings of Fantasmic! This nighttime spectacular is much loved by many guests, and it fills up every show, so the reserved seating is a nice perk. If you are on the dining plan you can book the package as part of your credits, if you are not it is a fixed price meal depending on the restaurant you select. This is a nice way to combine a great meal and the show at Hollywood Studios.
3. The Characters
While many of us think of the Magic Kingdom for character meet & greets, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a great place to meet your favorites. Mickey as Sorcerer Mickey, Starlet Minnie Mouse, and other members of Mickey’s gang dressed in their Vintage Hollywood finest. This is the only place you can have your photo take with Olaf from Frozen, or Star Wars characters like Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. If you are a Disney Visa Cardholder you get special access to a Star Wars Meet & Greet as one of the perks of membership. Cardholders can meet Kylo Ren in a special area of the Star Wars Launch Bay during select hours by showing their cards. If you aren’t scared to death of him like me. For families with younger children Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the place to meet their Disney Junior favorites.
One of my very favorite parts of Hollywood Studio are the “Streetmosphere” characters roaming the park (mainly on Hollywood & Sunset Boulevards). Sometimes they set up a show to involve guests—like a radio trivia show, and other times they are just walking around interacting with guests. One day I watched a guy trying to hail a ride on a taxi (stroller) as families flooded into the park early in the morning. They add so much to the fun and atmosphere of the park. Here is a tip, if you see them setting up for a “show” take a minute to stop and watch—if they involve you in it there may be a prize (like a FastPass) involved.
1. Slinky Dog Dash during Fireworks
While arriving really early in the morning and being one of the first people into the park is probably your best bet to ride Slinky Dog Dash without a long wait right now, don’t forget to visit Toy Story Land at night. It is spectacular. And, we found that getting in line for the attraction around 9:30pm (with a 10:00 fireworks show) meant shorter waits than during most other parts of the day. And riding at night is a totally different experience. Once we were riding during the fireworks which was extra thrilling. So my tip is to get in the Slinky Dog Dash Standby line while most other people are finding their fireworks spot—you’ll have a shorter wait (hopefully) and get a different perspective on the ride.
What are your favorite tips, tricks, and secrets for Hollywood Studios?