This Hollywood Studios Itinerary is designed to help you get the most out of your trip to Walt Disney World.
Formally MGM Studios, Hollywood Studios opened to the public on May 1st, 1989 and occupies 55 hectares of the 10,000 hectare Walt Disney World Resort.
Hollywood Studios has undergone major developments in recent years with the launch of Toy Story Land and most recently Galaxy’s Edge.
This makes the park the second most popular in the entire resort (with the Magic Kingdom first) and therefore planning and securing your fast passes for major rides essential.
With so many fantastic rides to choose from and only three fast passes available in advance it’s important to arrive at the park as early as possible.
Mornings see the lowest crowd levels in any of the Walt Disney World resort parks, Hollywood Studios included and allow you to get on those rides you didn’t secure fast passes for first.
This Hollywood Studios itinerary assumes that you’ve got three major fast passes and follows the exact route we’d have in the park when arriving at rope drop.
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The central street running from the entrance of the park through to the newly opened Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway inside the Chinese Theatre is Hollywood Boulevard.
This central street is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs from the large shop and a grab a morning coffee from Starbucks.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to check out what you want to pack into your day bag so you have everything you need when you need it.
If you don’t have a fast pass for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway then I suggest heading there first. This is the latest addition to the park after having multiple development pushbacks.
The ride is suitable for all heights is one of the most visually advanced in the park taking you through a cartoon universe on a runaway train.
Back near the entrance, set back to one side you’ll find the meet and greet location of popular characters Daisy and Donald Duck. With no fast pass queue for this meet and greet, the standby line is often around 30 minutes.
Next, it’s to the most popular area of Hollywood Studios, Galaxy’s Edge.
This dedicated Star Wars area within the park opened in 2019 and continues to bring fans of the movie franchise from around the world.
The attention to detail within this area of the park means you can easily spend up to an hour simply looking around. The two rides within this area of the park are incredibly popular with the vast majority of fast passes selling out 60 days in advance.
This leaves standby wait times of between two and four hours. Choose to go on both and you’ll struggle to get further than this area during your 1 day at Hollywood Studios and have to come back later in your trip to experience the rest that this incredible park as to offer.
Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance – This entirely trackless ride see you follow one of two routes as you complete to escape from the First Order Star Destroyer and its pilot, Kylo Ren.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – This motion simulated ride provides you with the opportunity to sit in one of six seats within the Millennium Falcon. Each person takes on a role as either a pilot, engineer or sniper to complete an all-important mission.
If you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise then be sure to stick around after the two rides to explore some of the incredibly immersive shops such as Savi’s Workshop where you can build your own lightsaber.
Toy Story Land & Pixar Place
After getting your Star Wars fix, head next door to Toy Story Land where you’ll be provided with the chance to see the human world from a toy’s perspective.
The creativity and practicality of this area such as Andy’s hand-drawn signs on cardboard directing you where to go and lollipop sticks glued together for benches make this my favourite place within Hollywood Studios
Along with a lot to see, there’s also a number of things to do here including expericing three totally different rides;
Alien Swirling Sauces: This ride is themed around the Toy Story vending machine aliens and their obsession with The Claw. The ride is only suitable for children above 32 inches (although there is a child-swap to ensure both adults get to experience the ride).
Slinky Dog Dash: The ride with the longest standby wait time and therefore the ride you should try and get a fast pass for when visiting Toy Story Land is Slinky Dog Dash. This ride is suitable for children 38 inches or taller and takes you inside Slinky on a ride around Andy’s oversized back yard.
Toy Story Mania: The only ride suitable for children of all heights inside Toy Story Land is Toy Story Mania. This is one of the original rides and was incorporated into Toy Story Land during the development process. This 4-D action-packed ride puts you against other riders as you ride around shooting objects.
Alongside the rides you’ll also have the opportunity to meet and greet a number of Toy Story’s most famous faces including; Jessie, Buzz, Woody and The Green Army Men.
If you find yourself looking for a snack during a visit to Toy Story Land then I suggest heading to Woodies Lunch Box and picking up some popcorn or totchos.
If you’ve got young kids, then Animation Courtyard is a must. Otherwise, I’d probably skip it and spend more time on Sunset Boulevard.
Situated around the corner from Toy Story Land, Animation Courtyard is home to the famous faces of Disney Junior.
Upon arriving be sure to check out the showtimes for the Disney Junior Dance Party, this will determine whether to get in line for the 20-minute dance party or go and meet some of the incredible Disney Junior characters such as Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Pluto and Sofia The First in the boulevard.
Other meet-and-greets at Animation Courtyard include Chewbacca and BB-8 – although I suspect these will eventually be moved into a location within Galaxy’s Edge.
Just right of the exit of Animation Courtyard, you’ll find The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. This 15-minute live-action performance takes place multiple times a day (be sure to check the days schedule on the mobile app or on a map upon your arrival at the park) and never has a queue.
While it’s not something I’d do specially during a visit to Hollywood Studios it’s worth sitting down to watch if you’re in the area at that time – if for nothing else but a break from the sweltering Florida heat.
Echo Lake is the perfect place to have dinner in Hollywood Studios with a range of quick-service restaurants and buffets such as Hollywood & Vine.
Over dinner be sure to note down the times for the two shows in this area; The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular & For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
This should help you decide which show to see first and / or the activities you can do in the meantime, therefore, maximising your time in this area of the park.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got kids then be sure to sign them up for the Jedi Trading – Trials of the Temple which is also located in Echo Lake. This allows them to become part of the show battling against Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor.
Finally, take a ride on Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. This was the first modern simulator ride to be installed at any of the Walt Disney World parks and takes you inside a flight simulator which has been modelled after those used by pilots and astronauts, experiencing dips, turns, twists, and climbs
Personally, I have to skip this one. Despite a number of modifications since the ride was first installed I get really bad motion sickness.
Take a right along Hollywood Boulevard at Starbucks and make your way into the final area of our Hollywood Studios itinerary, Sunset Boulevard.
Home to three shows and the two biggest and fastest rides in the park, Sunset Boulevard is not to be missed!
Again, I suggest planning the rides around the showtimes of any of the three shows you may want to see while you’re in this area.
Pro Tip: Showtimes are published online a couple of weeks in advance or available in a map upon your arrival at the park.
Both The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster have minimum height requirements which may not make them suitable for the children in your party.
An while on our most recent visit our nephew seven-year-old Frankie was tall enough to go on both, we only let him ride the Tower of Terror as it’s tamer than the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster (as I’m sure others who have ridden both rides would agree).
Be sure to stick around Sunset Boulevard for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks performance which takes place every evening and includes a range of projections, fireworks and pyrotechnics all set to some of the classic music from the Star Wars films.