Hollywood Studios is currently the smallest park and has a lot of construction going on right now, which makes it a very easy park to get done in 1 day. This itinerary is for a full day at the park, however you can take a break in the middle or cut the day short if you feel it is too long for your family. Just note that if you do not plan to spend the full day in the park, you will have to cut out some of the attractions on the itinerary. Please note that these itineraries are based on a moderate crowd level and you may not be able to get everything done if you visit on a higher crowd level day.
**Make sure to check out my Hollywood Studios Rides Guide to help you pick out which rides you want to plan for at the park.
Park Map: (click for larger view)
I always recommend starting your day at rope if you want to get the most out of your day. Rope drop refers to the time that they officially open the park. For example, if the park is scheduled to open at 9 am, then it is recommended that you arrive at the Hollywood Studios gates for no later than 8:40 am. This will ensure that you are as close to the front of the line as you can be for your first ride of the day.
Hollywood Studios has a tiered system for fastpasses, which means that out of your 3 selections for the day, only one of them can be from a Tier 1 level attraction. Some of the most popular attractions (ie. Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers) are classified as Tier 1. I would suggest choosing Slinky Dog Dash and then doing the ones you did not choose as your first rides of the day at rope drop. I would recommend selecting all your fastpasses for as early in the day as you can. Other good choices for fastpass are:
- Star Tours
- Tower of Terror
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster
Early Morning Touring:
If you have a child with you that wants to do Jedi Training, then I highly recommend that you head over there first, quickly, to sign up. It fills up fast for the day and if you are not there first thing, you may miss your chance. If that does not interest you, then you will want to head to your non-fastpass rides in Toy Story Land and get those done first thing.
Once you have completed your non-fastpass rides in Toy Story Land, I would recommend moving on to the other rides you have selected for fastpass. They may be:
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster
- Tower of Terror
- Star Tours
Rock n’ Roller Coaster is a thrill ride with a 48 inch height requirement, so it may not be suitable if you have small children with you.
Once all those main attractions are out of the way, the rest of the day will be much more relaxed.
One of my favorite places to grab a snack in Hollywood Studios is the Starbucks on Hollywood Boulevard. If you want to get a yummy treat, they have some nice options there. Not to mention you can get that caffeine fix or a delicious ice tea to cool off a bit!
Late Morning Touring:
This would be a great time to check out the Star Wars Launch Bay if you are a Star Wars fan. There is a lot of cool items to see in there, a movie to watch, along with some amazing character meets. This area is indoors, so it’s a great opportunity to escape from the heat if needed
There are two quick-service restaurants that I usually choose from. They are Backlot Express and ABC Commissary. The restaurant selection in Hollywood Studios is not as great as some of the other parks, but I am always able to find something I like on either of those two menus.
Some of the table service restaurants that I have tried and enjoyed are:
- Sci-Fi Dine-In (very cool experience)
- Hollywood & Vine (Disney Junior character meal)
- Mama Melrose’s Italian Ristorante Italiano
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe (interactive experience with the staff)
All of the above table service restaurants will most likely require a reservation, but I have had luck getting a table with a walk up with both Sci-Fi Dine-In and Mama Melrose’s.
The afternoon is a great time to hit up all the different shows/entertainment that Hollywood Studios has to offer. You’ll have to check your Times Guide to make sure you arrive at each show at least 20 minutes before it begins. Here are the shows you can hit up in the afternoon:
- Beauty & the Beast – Live on Stage
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage
- For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- Muppet Vision 3D
If meeting characters is high up on your list of to-dos, then here are some of the special character meets you can find in Hollywood Studios:
- Olaf from Frozen
- Mickey & Minnie in Red Carpet Dreams
- Buzz Lightyear & Woody
- Disney Junior Pals
Also, check your Times Guide to catch the March of the First Order down Hollywood Boulevard followed by the stage show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
The selections I would suggest are the same as what I mentioned for your lunch break. The only exception is if you wanted to reserve the Fantasmic! Dining Package. If you are certain that you want to see Fantasmic! that evening and you want reserved seating, you could book the dining package. The restaurants you can choose from when you reserve for the Fantasmic! Dining Package is:
- Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
- Hollywood & Vine
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
This could be a good time to check out Walt Disney Presents. It is an indoor museum that chronicles the history of Walt Disney. It also showcases some interesting exhibits, you can watch a short film, and sometimes you may find some special character meetings in there.
End of Day:
As the day ends, you will want to plan for whichever evening entertainment you have chosen. You will have to choose between Fantasmic! and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. It is not possible to see them both given how close they schedule them, so you will need to decide which one is of more interest to you. Each of them are fantastic shows, so you surely will not be disappointed with whichever one you select. For Fantasmic!, it is recommended that you line up about an hour before it is scheduled to start, unless you have the reserved area dining package. For Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, you can stake out your spot about 30-45 minutes prior. About 20 minutes before, they run another projection show on the Chinese Theatre called Disney Movie Magic.
Alternatively, if you watching the evening fireworks is not a priority for you, this could be a good time to get some second rides in at Toy Story Land. If you go about 1 hour before closing, you may have the chance of catching some shorter stand-by lines. Start with Alien Swirling Saucers and as you get closer to closing, you may find the line for Slinky Dog pretty reasonable. Experiencing these rides at night is a totally different experience!
With a full day under your belt, you most probably saw everything Hollywood Studios has to offer. It is an easy park to tour, and I often find it the most relaxing. Once the park closes, you can still take some time to peruse the shops on Hollywood Boulevard as they stay open for awhile past closing time.