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Tips for visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a busy day

by Attractions Magazine Staff

Visiting Walt Disney World during busy times like summer and holidays can be stressful, and visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a busy day can be even more daunting, considering the unknown of whether or not you’ll secure a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. To make sure you have a star-studded day at Hollywood Studios, here are my top tips for visiting on a busy day.

disney's hollywood studios
Photos by Dani Dennison Meyering

By Dani Dennison Meyering

Mobile order early

star wars galaxy's edge

Whether I’m on vacation at one of the nearby hotels or just visiting from my home, I don’t head out the door until I have placed my mobile order. Placing your mobile order ahead of time gives you lots of advantages.

First, you’ll have a wider variety of time slots to choose from. Second, you’ll save time and frustration by ordering before you’re tired and hungry. If you want until meal time to place your mobile order, you’ll most likely end up having to wait 45 minutes for the next available time slot. This is especially true at popular quick-service spots like Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Skip Starbucks and head for Joffrey’s

disney's hollywood studios

For some folks, this next tip is impossible. If you’re loyal to Starbucks, then scroll ahead to the next tip. Otherwise, if you’re just looking to get your caffeine fix in the morning and maybe grab a quick bite for breakfast, consider passing right by the long line at The Trolley Car Cafe and head for Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea instead. This little coffee stand is near the entrance to Toy Story Land, behind Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The menu is not as robust as what is offered at Starbucks, but you’ll generally find a much shorter line and you’ll be closer to Slinky Dog Dash and other attractions, with coffee in hand.

Choose a side in the morning

galaxy's edge

First thing in the morning, crowds will head to five different areas: straight ahead for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, further back for Toy Story Land, to the left for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, or to the right for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Where you should head depends on your priorities.

For Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, wait times are usually at their lowest first thing in the morning and during the last hour of park operations; the same goes for Slinky Dog Dash. Generally, wait times for Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster drop off significantly at dinner time and later, so rope-dropping either of these two is not necessary, unless there’s no way you’ll be in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the evening.

Avoid Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during mid-day

disney's hollywood studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge does get pretty busy in the morning, but it is a nice time to explore Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. When you visit this part of the park may depend on if you secure a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Either way, avoid this part of the park during mid-day. Crowds pick up significantly near 1 p.m., as guests gather with the hope that being in Galaxy’s Edge will give them an advantage at securing a Boarding Group at the 1 p.m. release time.

Evenings in Galaxy’s Edge are much different than during the day. Not only are there less crowds, but the atmosphere changes significantly. The lighting and sound effects change in the evening, setting a tranquil mood. Just keep in mind that character interactions and some dining and shopping locations wrap up for the day earlier than the rest of the park.

Utilize Single Rider Lines

Single Rider Lines can be a helpful tool for saving time, if you’re willing to ride separately from your party. Walt Disney World doesn’t have many attractions that offer Single Rider Lines, but thankfully Hollywood Studios has two — Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith usually offer Single Rider Lines.

For a while, these lines were suspended from use as part of the many COVID-19 precautions at Walt Disney World, but have recently returned. If you do have other people traveling with you, it is important to note that you will be separated if you choose this option.

Save the shows for the afternoon

frozen sing along

Disney’s Hollywood Studios used to focus solely on show business, including films and television, and the stage. While that theme has been diluted over the years, there are still a number of live shows at the park. Wait until after lunch to go watch a show or two. Prime time for low wait times at most rides is first thing in the morning and at the very end of the day, so you’ll want to save your morning for rides, and pace yourself with spending most of the afternoon at a few shows, resting your legs, and getting some shade or air conditioning. Don’t worry about getting to the shows super early; there’s really not a bad seat in any of the theaters.

Have a star-studded evening

Recently, Disney’s Hollywood Studios brought back “Wonderful World of Animation” as nighttime spectacular entertainment, but the park is still without its main fireworks show and “Fantasmic!” This means that you may see guests head out of the park fairly early. Usually around dinner time, you can see wait times begin to decline drastically. Plus, a lot of the park is stunning at night. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has special lighting and sound effects in the evening, and Smuggler’s Run often has a much lower wait time in the evening. Toy Story Land is bright and brilliant with special lighting, making Slinky Dog Dash especially fun at night. And, the neon lights of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard make for a glamorous way to end your star-studded evening.

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