Disney World Hollywood Studios Tips
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We always carry a cinch-sack to the parks. To help us get through the security bag check a little faster, my husband put all our items in two large zipper-top bags before we put them in the sack. Several security guards commented that it was a great idea. It made their job easier by being able to just look at the bags instead of digging through the cinch-sack. - Chris
A tip "for when you are almost on the ride and it gets stopped for bad weather": This happened on our last visit. We were just about to board Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the ride was stopped due to storms. Although the wait was around an hour, my wife and daughter got chatting to others in the queue, and soon one of the girls opened up a game app on her phone. It kept quite a few people busy and the wait just flew by. It's worth loading a couple of games onto your mobile device for delays like this, especially if you have young children, to keep them occupied. - Tony M.
To survive large crowds, I suggest that you go out early, at the time the parks open. Bring just a snack for breakfast if you can't manage to get up early enough to eat breakfast at your resort. You then will have 3-4 hours of park time before lunch. Since lunch is when the crowd volume really picks up, this is when you should go back to your resort to refresh and relax by the pool, or you could go shopping. Then go back to a park after you eat dinner. Leave the park before any fireworks shows to avoid long waits at the bus stops. Of course, if you want to experience more, then you will have to get out in the crowds. I've been so many years (at all times of year) and I've learned my lesson. The one thing that will drain your energy and make you more ill and fussy, is fighting a crowd daily. That's no vacation. Find time to rest and relax. - Melody Moore
When seeing the new Star Wars fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios, be sure to get a spot directly facing the Chinese Theater. Because the main part of the theater is set back from the rest, those viewing the show from the sides (like my family and me) will miss about two-thirds of what is projected onto it. Also, scenes are projected onto the buildings adjacent to the theater, but where we were (to the right) trees blocked much of that view. I'll try to reserve my judgment for when I can see the show from the center, but my first impression (the night it opened) was underwhelming. - Bill P.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We agree with Bill, and will add another tip -- be sure to stand in front of the two projection towers if at all possible, otherwise the fireworks will also be partially or completely obscured for you.
We were in Disney World last month and noticed that there are new ways that the MagicBands interact with various attractions. At Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, there is an electronic poster in the queue that displays the name and home city of guests. At Mission: Space, there are video screens in the post-attraction room that will display the names of the guests who finished the ride, along with their hometown and their mission projection. At Space Mountain there are video screens along the moving walkway that display the names of the guests who finished the ride. At the end of "it's a small world," look for the video screen to display the names of the guests on the boat. There may be more attractions that may also implement this technology, so keep your eyes open in the queues and in the post-attraction areas. - Brian Kehoe
If you love to raise your hands during high-intensity rides (or any that take a photo during the ride) please consider sitting at the back of the ride vehicle. If you sit at the front or even in the middle you block out the faces of the people behind you, ruining their pictures. Keep in mind this may be the once-in-a-lifetime trip for those people and they may only have time to ride that once. - Nicole
Disney's Hollywood Studios - I am a larger/plus-sized woman, and when I go on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, I always ask to be put in an odd-numbered car, so they put me in lines 1, 3, 5, 7, etc... These are the 'front' seats of the vehicle, and they have much more room when entering and exiting the vehicle. I've also found when exiting that I can propel myself more easily by holding on to the front portion of the ride vehicle. I don't feel squished like when I am in the 'back seat' of the ride vehicle. - Dawn
Disney's Hollywood Studios - When in doubt about the best place to stand for parades or shows, ask a cast member. We used this tip during our visit to Hollywood Studios for the Anna and Elsa Royal Welcome. The cast member told us they would be closing off the area around Echo Lake across from the American Idol Experience and to stand across from the video screen there. From this point we had a great view of the stage and the video screen to see all that was going on. As an added bonus the float with Kristoff stopped where we were standing! After the welcome ceremony was over the parade proceeded to pass right in front of us as well! By asking a cast member we were able to see the Anna and Elsa Royal Welcome without a long wait or using one of our Fastpasses. - Gail Sheehan
If you need to drive to the park to drop someone off, Disney provides very convenient guest drop-off areas at each of the four parks. It's as easy as telling the toll booth cast member at the main parking entrance that you're dropping someone off. They'll give you instructions on how to get to that park's area. At the Magic Kingdom, you need to be in the lanes on the right and they'll direct you down the road going to the Transportation and Ticket Center. At the other three parks, they'll send you into the regular parking area where you'll tell the second cast member you're dropping someone off, and they'll direct you to the spot at the front of the lot near the entrance. - Laurie Jennings
Remember, if you forget where you parked your car, tell a parking attendant about what time you parked. They can then usually tell you about where you parked within a row or so. - Fred
A helpful hint that hopefully also saves some tears and frustration: the new Frozen sing-along show uses a ticket system similar to Jack Sparrow. Tickets are given out starting at park opening back on San Francisco Street right by the Premiere Theater. The tickets guarantee you your seat in the show but ONLY if you return during the return time window. The window ends 10 minutes prior to show time (so, for example the window for the 2:30 show ends at 2:20). After that window has passed you are no longer guaranteed your seat. You will be directed to standby, which doesn't guarantee entry or sitting together if you do get in. This is especially a problem for the last show of the day, so don't let yourself get caught without a ticket or with a late return time! - A Hollywood Studios Cast Member
Disney's Hollywood Studios - When visiting the Disney Junior show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, do NOT sit in the front because you will not be able to see the characters very well. It's better if you sit near the back, in the middle section. Also, know that seating is mostly on the floor, so it's hard for some adults to sit comfortably or to get up. There are just a few benches along the back walls. - Darlene Clagett
Valorie McCray shares these tips for quickly clearing security at the park entrances:
1. To save time for you and other guests always have the bags that you are carrying into the parks ready for the security people to inspect.
2. Before you reach the security people have your bags unzipped, unbuckled and unsnapped. This means every bag that has any type of closure and all closures on the bag. Open the bag up for them so they can see inside.
3. Bags that will be checked are purses, camera bags, cell phone bags with any type of closures, diaper bags and soft coolers -- any type bag. If your bag is a string backpack this will also be checked. Open it up so they can see inside.
4. You MUST remove fanny packs from around your waist or camera bags from around your neck.
5. Remove all items from the stroller basket located under the seat of your stroller.
If everyone would prepare before the security check while waiting in line, the line would move much faster. We as a family will give a bag for each child to carry through the line. For example my 8-year-old grandson will carry the small camera bag and he is responsible for the safety of the bag until we enter the park.
I think most people going into the parks don't realize just how much they walk. I recommend stretching out all your muscles at the end of the day, holding the stretches for 20 seconds. Going hard a full day in Disney could leave you sore, especially if you're not used to walking 5+ miles a day. - Shannon Ashleigh
Just learned that if you go to a park prior to checking in to your Disney resort they will reimburse you for parking! Did this myself this past weekend when we stayed at Art of Animation and worked perfectly! Couldn't quite get up early enough to do check-in before park opening and I didn't want to waste any of my theme park time! - Mary
EDITOR'S NOTE: this is also true if you are going to purchase an annual pass that includes parking. Just bring your parking receipt to the Guest Relations window and they will credit what you paid for parking that day towards your annual pass.