Disney's Hollywood StudiosPlanningThe ParksTips

How to Tour Disney’s Hollywood Studios: What You Need to Know

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an extremely popular Disney Park. Following Magic Kingdom, most Guests visiting Walt Disney World have Disney’s Hollywood Studios on their must-do list. With the addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, fans of all generations want to experience the magic that is Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Because of its popularity, touring Disney’s Hollywood Studios has become tricky. Wait times build quickly. This means that it is crucial to have a plan for your day. I feel this is the hardest Disney Park to tour over our last few visits to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The combination of shows and many outstanding rides makes navigating hard without standing in long lines. If you are struggling with your game plan for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I hope to help you with these tips and tricks I learned over our visits.

Disney Genie
Credit: Disney

Purchase Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane

I will jump right into the topic that makes most Guests uncomfortable or even frustrated, Genie+. I know these features are additional money; however, I highly recommend budgeting for Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes on your day at Hollywood Studios.

With so many E-Ticket attractions, no matter what your touring plan is, you won’t be able to avoid long lines using standby. Rides such as Slinky Dog Dash, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and even Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror end up with hour-long daily waits.

No one wants to spend most of their day waiting in lines, and if you do, you probably won’t be able to experience as much of the Park. Set yourself up for a successful day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by planning on purchasing both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Related: How to Skip the Lines in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Slinky Dog Dash Toy Story Land
Slinky Dog Dash Toy Story Land

What and When to Book

Regarding your 7:00 a.m. booking time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we recommend choosing Slinky Dog Dash as your first Genie+ selection. This is a fun coaster for the whole family; return times go quickly. At 7:00 am, you will be given the next available return time. That is going to be what you plan your morning around.

After making your Genie+ selection, purchase your Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. With ILL, you can choose your return time. We like to select one before lunch. This helps ensure we accomplish it before our break and gives us time to visit later in the day if it breaks down.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel, Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: V Mills

Early Entry is a Must

When staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, take advantage of early entry at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This allows you to enter the Park thirty minutes before posted opening. This is a great way to experience at least one, if not more, of the E-ticket rides before the regular Guests enter the Park.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Credit: Disney

Rope Drop Options

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are a lot of different directions you can go when it comes to your first ride. Much of this will depend on when you get there, your group’s age, and if you could get a return time for Slinky Dog Dash and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

If you could do both of these steps earlier, we recommend heading to Mickey and Minnie’s Runway Railway or down Sunset Boulevard for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Before jumping in any line, double-check with a Cast Member when the ride is scheduled to open for the day. We have noticed that rides sometimes open during early entry or have issues starting the day.

Toy Story Mania Ride, Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Morning Plan

After the initial rope drop plan, you can start navigating the Park based on your goals. Typically we like to hit up Toy Story Land, visiting Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers. Both of these rides don’t see long waits until later in the day, making it easy to walk on during the morning hours.

Another must-do for us is the Frozen sing-along show. We love For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along. The historians are the best; having time to sit and relax on a busy morning is also a must-do. This show starts early, making it easy to catch before lunch.

Credit: V Mills

Genie+ Plan

As the morning continues, remember you can make Genie+ selections even if you haven’t used your original 7:00 am booking. Two hours after the Park opens, you can start earning additional quotes. At the top of the Tip Board on the My Disney Experience app, you will see when you can make your following selection.

We like to start stacking them for the evening hours. Because Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets extremely busy in the afternoon, we want to take a break and head out. Since we do this, we use Genie+ to stack rides throughout the evening. When we return, we can quickly experience many E-Ticket attractions we might not have hit during the morning.

Disney Skyliner
Credit: Disney

Lunch and Break

As I mentioned, we typically head out after using our ILL for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and riding Slinky Dog Dash with Genie+. We aren’t a massive fan of the lunch options at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Because of this, we like to take the skyliner to Disney’s Riviera or head back to our Resort for a swim and food.

credit: Disney

Evening Fantasmic

Once we have rested and refueled, we will head back into the Park. Typically I try to plan it so we can catch the last showing of either Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage or Indiana Jones: Epic Stunt Spectacular.

After seeing the show, we used our Genie+ return time to experience some rides we might not have done earlier in the day.

Finally, we will wrap up our day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the fantastic and not to be missed show of Fantasmic. This nighttime show is a must-do for our family as we love the water features, songs, and live-action that create this outstanding show.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has much to do, but creating a touring plan can make it hard. I hope by sharing my general plan you can create one that will work for your family the next time you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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