With hit attractions like Rise of the Resistance, we’re seeing the popularity of Hollywood Studios skyrocket — and it’s even more evident through the fact that Disney Park Passes tend to fill up for this park first. With wait times rising and crowd levels growing, how do you plan for your Hollywood Studios day?
Don’t worry, because today we’re sharing our team’s top tips for how to navigate this park in 2022!
1. If Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a priority for you, ride it FIRST.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance no longer has a virtual queue. If you want to ride this attraction, you’ll need to either (1) wait in the physical line or (2) purchase an individual Lightning Lane pass on the My Disney Experience app to skip the line. Note that the Lightning Lane pass for this ride is usually one of the most expensive, around $15 per person. Rise of the Resistance is NOT on Genie+ — it is a pay-per-ride attraction. So you’ll have to buy that pass separately even if you purchased Genie+ for your trip.
The Lightning Lane pass allows you to skip the line, but if you don’t want to pay for it, you can always wait in the physical queue! The wait for this ride is usually one of the longest in all of Disney World, so we recommend heading to it first thing in the morning if you want a shorter wait.
Rise of the Resistance is also very prone to technical difficulties, which is another reason we recommend riding it early. It might break down later on in the day, which could dash hopes of riding it altogether.
2. Head to Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run right after Rise of the Resistance if that ride is also important to you
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run may not be quite as popular as Rise of the Resistance, but it still regularly achieves wait times of more than an hour. If flying “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” is your dream, then you may want to head here ASAP! But the wait times won’t get as high as Rise, so we still recommend hitting it 2nd rather than 1st thing.
If the wait time is already too long when you get there, wait until later at night to ride it. You might be able to get on just before park close when lines are generally shorter.
3. If you can skip the Star Wars rides, Sunset Boulevard is yours for the taking
Because almost everyone will head to Galaxy’s Edge to get on Rise of the Resistance, Sunset Boulevard could be a ghost town first thing in the morning. That means you could ride Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with very little wait if you head there first!
So if you’re not a big Star Wars fan or if you decide to buy a Lightning Lane pass instead of waiting in line, head here first thing to knock out 2 big rides before everyone else arrives later in the day.
4. Make good use of the park’s “filler attractions”
There are several heavy hitters in terms of wait times at Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance, Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Minnie & Mickey’s Runaway Railway, and sometimes Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. If you’re waiting on the wait times for these big attractions to decrease, we recommend hitting up some “filler” attractions in-between.
We would consider the filler attractions to be those with much lower wait times, like Alien Swirling Saucers, Muppet*Vision 3D, Toy Story Mania, Walt Disney Presents, and Star Tours. You can also include For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration in this group, as it’s a stage show that runs on a regular schedule. If you check these attractions off your list when the wait times are highest for popular rides, then you’ll have a pretty full day in the park!
You can also go to visit characters in this park! Mickey and Minnie Mouse are greeting guests at Red Carpet Dreams, Olaf is at Celebrity Spotlight, and several Disney Junior characters can be found at Animation Courtyard.
5. Don’t forget that there is delicious food outside of Galaxy’s Edge
We’re leaving our ride tips behind and moving on to something we’re really passionate about — FOOD. Hollywood Studios isn’t exactly known as the park with the best food, leaving many to choose to eat in Galaxy’s Edge to get some more interesting options. But we’re here to remind you that there is good food outside of Galaxy’s Edge — you just have to know where to look!
Some of our team’s favorites for a quick bite are BaseLine Tap House and ABC Commissary. ABC Commissary revamped its menu not too long ago, and we’ve really enjoyed the changes. Besides these, our team members like the unique environments of some of the park’s sit-down restaurants, like 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.
6. Make the most of your time
Another BIG tip that we don’t want our readers to forget is to make the most of your time in the park! You’re likely paying a fair amount of money to go to Disney World, so you’ll want to get the most out of it that you can.
Making sure that you arrive at the park early can make a big difference with wait times, as can staying at the park late. Without fireworks, Hollywood Studios tends to clear out in the last two hours of the day, and the wait times drastically decrease. If you know that you can’t make it all day, try taking a break in the middle of the day instead of leaving early, considering the middle of the day is when the park is most crowded.
This also might be a good park for buying Genie+. Since so many of the rides are big-ticket attractions, there can be several rides with high wait times during the day. If you’re only going to buy Genie+ for one park, we’d recommend either this one (for more thrill rides) or Magic Kingdom (if you’re traveling with little ones). Using Genie+, you’ll probably get on at least a couple more rides than you’d be able to without it.
7. If seeing character cavalcades is important, you’ll need to plan ahead
At Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom, the character cavalcades, promenades, and flotillas can be seen in the vast majority of the park. Sadly, that’s not the case at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here, the motorcades only run down Hollywood Boulevard, past Echo Lake, and head backstage near Star Tours, meaning that you won’t see the characters when you’re in most of the park.
If seeing Mickey and friends, Disney Junior pals, and Pixar characters is important to you, then you may need to set some time aside in the middle of the day to watch for motorcades. There are several places to sit along the motorcade route, so it might be the perfect time to grab a snack and take a midday break. And remember that you can also visit the characters at Animation Courtyard, Celebrity Spotlight, Red Carpet Dreams, and Walt Disney Presents.
We hope that this advice helps you to have a successful trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2022! If you’re planning on visiting Disney World this year, stay tuned to AllEars for the latest park news and planning advice so that you can be prepared for a magical vacation!
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What’s your favorite thing to do at Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments!