How to Make the Most Out of Your Hollywood Studios Day at Walt Disney World

Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railroad (Photo: Disney)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the park that seems to be constantly changing right now in Walt Disney World.  New lands, rides and attractions keep opening bringing more magical experiences to guests.  We are here to help make sure you get the most out of your day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


AT-AT Walkers, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Photo: Disney)

1. Boarding Group

The first step to having a fantastic day at Hollywood Studios revolves around getting a boarding pass for the hottest attraction in Walt Disney World, Rise of the Resistance.  In order to get a boarding pass, guests need to be checked into Hollywood Studios (through the touch points) prior to park opening.  Once the park is opened, guests will use the My Disney Experience app on their phones to join a boarding group.  Guests will select friends and families (who also need to be in the park) and then they will be given a boarding pass number.  Once guests receive a boarding pass, they then will wait until their number is called throughout the day.  Make sure you either have your push notifications on from the MDE app or that you are checking back in the app to keep track of which boarding groups are being called.  You typically have between an hour or two to head back and ride.  Again, make sure you read the notification when your boarding group is called.

Photo: Disney

2. Fastpass

The next step to making the most out of your day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios actually starts 30 to 60 days before your trip.  This is when you are making fastpass+ reservations.  Disney has adjusted the fastpass tiers at Hollywood Studios to make it so much better for guests to experience multiple attractions during the day.  

  • For your Tier One attraction, you can choose from Slinky Dog Dash, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway or Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run.  Personally, we would recommend getting either Slinky Dog Dash, if everyone in your party can ride, or Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway if you have little ones.  
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster
  • For Tier Two in Hollywood Studios, we would recommend looking at getting Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster or Toy Story Mania.  This again will depend on your traveling group.  If you have thrill seekers, you will want to make sure you have fastpasses for Tower and Rock n Roller Coaster, but if you have little ones, Toy Story Mania is a great option for the whole family.
  • Getting your fastpasses set up early and knowing how to get a boarding pass before arriving will really help you get the most out of your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

Next, we are going to breakdown the day to help you make the most out of your morning, afternoon and evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Slinky Dog Dash

3. Morning

The mornings used to be a slower time in the parks, but this isn’t the case lately in Hollywood Studios. Because guests have to be in the park to get a boarding pass, crowd levels are higher right from the start of the day.  To make the most of this, we suggest heading towards your top ride choice as soon as you are in the park. 

  • Guests are typically held near Toy Story Land or prior to heading into Galaxy’s Edge before park opening; however, being in the general area will help get you ahead of some of the crowd. Hit up Slinky Dog Dash or Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway as soon as the park opens.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • After hitting up the headliner attraction of your choice, the morning would be a good time to jump on rides such as Alien Swirling Saucers, Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run in the single rider line if you want, or Star Tours.  These should have lower wait times right in the mornings as the majority of the crowd heads to the headliner attractions.
  • Typically, we would recommend getting your fastpasses for late morning or early afternoon around 10,11,12.  This would allow you to then use the rolling fastpasses in the busy afternoon and evening part of your trip.  If you follow this suggestion, you would be wrapping up your fastpases as you head into the lunch hour.

4. Afternoon

A great way to make the most out of your day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is using the rolling fastpass+ system. 

Alien Swirling Saucers (Photo: Disney)
  • After you use your original three fastpass selections, you can get on the app and select one more.  This can continue throughout the day until the park stops distributing them in the evening.  In Hollywood Studios, this is a great place to snag a Star Tours, Alien Swirling Saucer, Toy Story Mania or even a show using a fastpass.
  • To make the most out of your day, you will want to make sure you get a few good meals in.  For sit down meals with some entertainment, we would recommend looking into 50s Prime Time or Sci Fi Diner.  These both offer basic American food with a little show on the side. If the group doesn’t want to make reservations, consider one of the many lounges throughout Hollywood Studios. Brown Derby Lounge or Baseline Tap House are both good options.  For a quick service meal, think about Woody’s Lunch Box or even ABC Commissary and Backlot Express.
Woody’s Lunch Box (Photo: Disney)
  • No matter where you eat, a huge tip when it comes to quick service locations is mobile order.  This is a feature in your My Disney Experience app that allows guests to order from their phone and pick up food at a specific window.  Using this feature will surely help you make the most of your day in the park as it can save lots of time not having to wait in line.
  • The afternoons in Hollywood Studios are great for seeing the shows.  Get out of the crowds and heat by visiting a few of the great shows in Hollywood Studios. For the First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing Along brings the story of Elsa and Anna to life through the hilarious historians of Arendelle. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular will bring guests into the movie as they watch stunts being filmed live on stage.  Relive a favorite Disney movie with Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Beauty and Beast Live on Stage.  These are all great shows that allow you to rest while staying in the park which we feel is important to a successful day.
Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage

5. Evening:

As the sun goes down, we suggest heading to visit Galaxy’s Edge again. 

  • Batuu truly transforms in the evenings. Walk around and see the sights, hear the sounds and use the Play Disney app to interact with the land itself.  If it is something that works for your party, consider making an evening reservation at Oga’s Cantina.  Enjoy a drink in this entertaining establishment.  
Galaxy’s Edge (Photo: Disney)
  • To wrap up a great day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we recommend heading to see Fantastmic.  This nighttime spectacular brings the fight of good and evil to the stage with fireworks, water projections, lasers, characters and more.  This show is something you won’t want to miss out on.

To make the most out of your day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you will want to be there early to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance, make fastpasses as soon as you can for top ride options, and use the rolling fastpasses throughout the day to keep getting access to shorter wait times.  Disney’s Hollywood Studios has become an extremely popular park with the opening on new lands and rides.  Make sure you can get the most out of your visit with these suggestions.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.