My personal favorite Walt Disney World theme park remains Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even during the extended time that this park felt like a half day park, I selected this park even when I only had one day to visit Walt Disney World. The addition of Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land blossomed Hollywood Studios into a stellar world class theme park again. However, the supplement of these lands provided very little relief from the crowd levels there. In addition, the attraction queue waits quickly rise each day.
In a park with arguably the best Orlando area attraction facing little resistance and an attraction hardest to get a Genie+ lightning lane for, this park presents major challenges.
You can select to buy Genie+ and a few paid lightning lanes to make touring this park easier. However, what if you do not want to depend on spending over $40 per person to potentially reduce your attraction wait times?
If you feel time is money regarding theme park time, then using your time wisely requires planning., and if you can experience an attraction with a 15-minute wait at one time versus a 50-minute wait later, then you earned back 35 minutes of valuable park time.
With Genie+ attractions being harder to acquire here, even spending money on Genie+ might not solve this issue. How do you maximize your early morning hours “rope-dropping” Hollywood Studios? This task presents far more challenges than doing this at Animal Kingdom. If you wish to purchase individual paid lightning lane access and Genie+, then feel free to review these links (Genie+ and Paid ILL). If you are successful with those paid options, then adjust suggestions list below accordingly.
RESORT GUESTS WITH EARLY THEME PARK ENTRY:
Your first move on a day at Hollywood Studios depends on how well you rope-dropped. In other words, are you in the first 100-150 people entering the park? If so, you have more choices to start with.
One word of caution, Rise of the Resistance does not always open on time. You might race to that attraction only to find it is not running. How you decide to handle this depend on how important experiencing Rise of the Resistance is for your group. At this point in Hollywood Studios’ current opening procedure, the initial choices if you are in first group of people are:
Walk briskly to Rise of the Resistance (like most people). May the fore be with you!
Start with Slinky Dog dash since that is hardest Genie+ attraction to acquire. We have some reports of this not being open at early park entry time, so this possesses same risk as Rise of Resistance. If successful though, you can go to Smuggler’s Run and/or Toy Story Mania next. If you are in the first group to ride Slinky Dog Dash, you could knock out 2 or 3 attractions before official park opening begins
Use your time the most effectively by going to Tower of Terror first. This strategy builds off the idea that you want to save as much time as possible compared to standard waits later in day. For example, even if you enter queue for Rise of Resistance early, that attraction consumes far more time. One experience at “Rise” will use all your early theme park entry time. Likely non-resort guests will beat you to your next attraction. Starting with Tower of Terror, in contrast, enables you to enjoy at least two attractions easily within early theme park entry time. If you want to prioritize reducing wait in attraction queues, the “math” suggests using this plan.
Now if you are there for early theme park entry but you’re not in first 100 or so people, use option 3. I understand you will be feeling concern about missing out on Rise of the Resistance, but the amount of time you save in lines is greatest with this plan.
Final thought, if you will be upset if your miss out on Rise of the Resistance, just go there first. Yet, please understand that fails to be most efficient method of rope dropping. If your trip will be ruined by not experiencing “Rise”, then you really should buy an individual lightning lane.
As you can see, Hollywood Studios presents major issues. Still, your best chance of success involves getting out of bed early. This increases chances for you to enjoy a relaxing afternoon (or maybe even a nap back at your resort hotel).
GUESTS WITHOUT EARLY THEME PARK ENTRY ACCESS:
Okay, what if you are rope dropping but lacking early theme park entry privileges? First, grace and peace! Second, all who enter should not give up hope. You have several choices which I will list:
You can enter the queue for Rise of the Resistance. Your wait will be long. If you are willing to risk visiting this attraction later in day, you likely will find a shorter standby queue then.
Of course, Rise of the Resistance breaks down often. If this happens on your day there, the lightning lane queue will earn even more priority over standby queue. This factor increases the standby queue dramatically. Even if you dislike the idea of paying for an individual paid access lightning lane, you should see the appeal.
Start with Smuggler’s Run. The wait should be shorter now than it will be for most of day. Of course, this plan reduces in value if you will be utilizing the single rider queues (and you are willing to never be a pilot).
Based on reducing wait times compared to later in day, your best first attraction choices are Tower of Terror or Toy Story Mania. For almost every other attraction, you will be far behind resort guests.
Whether a resort guest or not, rope-dropping at Hollywood Studios possesses great value. No matter how you do it, the wait times will be significant lower within first hour hour of official park opening. How you use that first hour of official park opening makes a huge difference.
As scary as this sounds, Hollywood Studios offers a wonderful day. Yet, a well-planned day makes difference between a great day or just an okay day at the park. Choose wisely!
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.