Hollywood Studios

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The Secret to a Laid-back Park Day

To keep from feeling overwhelmed, pick your top 3 attractions your family wants to ride.
Now pick 2 experiences. These are usually free and thoughtful things like, “meet Olaf."
Finally, 1 dining reservation. Whether it’s breakfast lunch or dinner, having one reservation to anchor your day can take the stress out about deciding where to eat.

first, make sure you

  • Download the My Disney Experience app and have all your tickets and party linked.
  • Have a credit card tied to your account so it's easy to purchase Genie+ and mobile order food.

and remember...

  • If you have a single-day ticket, you can still leave the park to take a break and come back later.
  • Kids under 3 are free! No ticket required.

01. Planning Your Day

What's the best day to visit?

Historically, Hollywood Studio's highest wait times are on Mondays, and the lowest crowds are on Sundays.

Let's set up your morning. First, there are three things to nail down:

If you're using Early Entry or not
Guests of Disney Resorts and some neighboring hotels are allowed into the park 30 minutes before official park opening, or "Early Entry". See if you're eligible here.

How you're getting to there
To figure this out, download the chart below. This will give show you if you'll be taking the bus, boat, Skyliner, walking, or driving from your resort.

02. Morning Timeline


If you're buying Genie+ or an Individual Lightning Lane

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the only ride not included in Genie+, but can be bought on its own as an "Individual Lightning Lane" (ILL). Our family uses both of these because A) we don't want to rush to the parks and B) to avoid waiting in line. 

The two rides that will get the longest waits are Slinky Dog Dash and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

If these are on your list of must-dos, head to whichever is a priority first. BUT ONLY if you're using Early Entry and get there before Early Entry even starts. 

Rise of the Resistance is notorious for being down, especially in the morning (In 2022, it closed 580 times!) Because of this, I buy an Individual Lightning Lane for it so if/when it does shut down, I can come back later to use the LL.

Attractions open during Early Entry:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers (32")
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (38")
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (48")
  • Slinky Dog Dash (38")
  • Star Tours (40")
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (40")
  • Tower of Terror (40")
  • Toy Story Mania!
"Where should I head first if I'm NOT using Early Entry?"

If you can swing it, pleeease buy Genie+. Having a Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash alone will make it worth the money!

When the park officially opens, head to something with a lower wait time -- like Toy Story Mania -- before scanning into your first Lightning Lane of the day.


"What ride should we

60-90 minutes before Park Opening

  • Book your first Genie+ selection

  • If you're an on-property guest, purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

30 minutes before Park Opening

  • Early Entry for Disney Resort guests starts.

Hollywood Studios Opens!

7:00am EST

  • Disney transportation to Hollywood Studios starts running.
  • If you're staying off property, purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance if you can.
highly recommend!

"Rope Drop" is lingo for when the park opens for the day. (A lot) of people will line up at the rope until they're allowed in.

This is only really possible if you can use Early Entry. Otherwise, on-property guests are 30 minutes ahead of you and wait times are starting to climb.

I don't recommend rope-dropping unless you know you can get there early -- at least 45 minutes before Early Entry even starts (!)

For a more laid-back morning, we invest in Genie+/ILL for the big-wait rides (like Slinky Dog Dash) and use Early Entry to ride something less popular or get breakfast.

My feelings on "rope-dropping"

Cool. Will you be using Early Entry?



Will you be using Early Entry?




Here's your itinerary!



Here's your itinerary!


 Download and print your itinerary to use as a baseline to craft your own laid-back day, or follow step-by-step!

03. Itineraries



04. Tips for Toddlers




Skip ahead to:




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Mickey + Minnie's Runaway Railway

The whole family can ride this one, even the little babies! Nothing scary, just good old Mickey fun. This is my daughters' (ages 7 and 3) favorite ride in Hollywood Studios.

Toy Story Mania!

This is an "any height" game-style ride. You'll get the shortest wait times in the morning, around 3:30pm, or 7pm. My highest score? 193,900.

Alien's Swirling Saucers (32")

A low-wait time ride for littles in Toy Story Land. It has a bit of a height requirement and hands down my daughter's favorite once she was tall enough.

Slinky Dog Dash (38")

Most toddlers won't be tall enough to ride Slinky, but it's riiiight on the border with a 38" height requirement. This is one of the first coasters they may be able to ride!


If you only do one thing with your toddler in Hollywood Studios, let it be the Disney Jr Play n' Dance

You get to see (not meet) Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon and Mickey. It's a great spot for air-conditioning and let the kids jump around and go crazy.

a toddler dream


Space Base (indoor)

This playground reminds me of the ones we loved as kids at McDonalds #noshame. 

To get there, go through the exit for Mission Space -- you don't have to ride it to get inside, and you can bring your stroller with you. 

A perfect spot to get some A/C!


Bruce's Shark World (indoor)

Here's another indoor playground that you'll see when you're exiting the Seas with Nemo + Friends ride.

It's a little guy, but there's enough to keep the kids busy and stretch their legs for a bit.


To find your favorite character, open your My Disney Experience app > hit map > filter Hollywood Studios > characters

Tap "show list" and to see where they are on the map and what times they'll be there.

Tap "show list" to see aaaall the characters you can meet, you can even find them on the map!

Tap "show list" and to see where they are on the map and what times they'll be there.


Ariel (from the new live-action movie)
Walt Disney Presents
BB-8, Chewbacca, and Darth Vadar
Star Wars' Launch Bay
Buzz, Woody + Jessie
Toy Story Land
Chip and Dale
Near Indiana Jones' Stunt show
Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, and Vampirina
Outside of Disney Jr Play n' Dance
Edna Mode, Frozone, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, and Sulley
Pixar Plaza
Goofy and
(Powerline!) Max
Outside of Galaxy's Edge
Mickey and Minnie Mouse
Red Carpet Dreams
Celebrity Spotlight
Animation Courtyard

characters to meet


Most shows and character meets end around 4:30pm. If there's a must see character for your family, look up the showtimes and prioritize it earlier.


  • For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-a-long

    This is our favorite show in Hollywood Studios, it's surprisingly funny for the adults and the kids go crazy to see Elsa and the "snow" at the end.

  • Lightning McQueen Racing Academy

    This is a perfect show to take the kids to while the adults are doing Rider Switch on Tower of Terror.

  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

    Make a mental note that even though this show is shaded, it's still outdoors and not air-conditioned. It ends on the earlier side, so if you have a Belle fan, prioritize it earlier.

"The best part about the Frozen show is that you get to see snow!"
-- Story, 7



Alien Swirling Saucers
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours
Tower of Terror

What's Rider Switch and how does it work?

This is when 1 adult rides while the other stays back with the kid(s) not riding because they're either too little/scared!

Then they *switch* The adult that stayed behind can use the Lightning Lane instead of waiting in regular standby.

1. Find a Cast Member (they'll usually be holding a device) at the attraction with your entire family.

2. The adult whose staying behind will have their ticket/MagicBand scanned along with whoever wants to ride with them. You can bring up to 1 person back with you, which means someone can ride twice!



3. After riding, the adult that just rode stays back with the "not riding" child.

4. Now the adult that waited doesn't have to wait in the regular standby line: they will scan into the Lightning Lane. 

Here's the best part: the adult using the Lightning Lane can bring someone with them! So someone could ride a second time!



My number 1 tip for visiting with an infant is to use the Baby Care Center at the entrance of Hollywood Studios. It’s a clean, air-conditioned spot with cushioned changing tables, and lots of room to breathe instead of the crowded restrooms. 


The Baby Care Center will have last minute items available for purchase: formula, diapers, wipes, baby food, medicine, etc. There’s a place to fill up your water bottle, or microwave a snack for your toddler. It’s really the best!

05. The Best Food Spots

Mac n' Cheese + Spicy Chicken

Docking Bay 7 in Galaxy's Edge is our go-to spot for a quick mobile order.

There's plenty of seating in the air-conditioning, and great food. 

We order the Hot Chicken Yip Yip for us and the regular Yip Yip + mac n' cheese for the kids.


The Only Character Dining

The only spot to find a character meal in the park is Hollywood & Vine

Breakfast has Disney Jr characters. Lunch and dinner have seasonal themes with Minnie (Halloween Dine Aug 11 - Nov 4th and Holiday Dine starting Nov 5th.)



For Classic Cocktails

Tucked away next to Prime Time Cafe you'll see a sign for Tune-In Lounge, a hidden lounge with a full bar. 

We love Oga's Cantina for the BIG Star Wars fan's, but Tune-in is great to just grab a drink to go.



Open your My Disney Experience app, click the "+" and choose “Order Food.” Pick the restaurant, and your arrival time, and then add to your order.

During your arrival window, select the “I’m Here, Prepare My Order” button (I like to do this while I'm walking over). The screen will turn purple and tell you exactly where to pick up.


Notes on two popular dining spots...

1. Roundup Rodeo BBQ

We tried this new spot in Toy Story Land on our last trip and I have...thoughts. Is it cute? Yes. Was my pregnant self happy with fried pickles and air-conditioning in the middle of the day? Double yes.

If you don't have a Toy-Story-loving toddler, I think you can skip this. There is better food to be found (like Docking Bay 7) for less. But if you're good with paying for the ambiance + experience, I say go for it!

2. Oga's Cantina

A lot of my friends make this hard-to-get reservation at in Galaxy's Edge without looking at the menu first.

Know that this is more of a lounge. For the Star Wars fan, it's a cool experience. Just know that this isn't going to be a reservation where you get a full meal.

Pro Tip: If you have littles, order the Blue Batha with an extra cookie for them and the Outer Rim for you :)




Bavarian Pretzel

For a solid snack break, sit down at Baseline Taphouse and order a Bavarian pretzel (and a beer to go with it, of course.)

I can't say no to popcorn in general and the Outpost popcorn from Kat Saka's Kettle is no exception. I skip the Black Caff though, not my fav!


For something more sweet, the carrot cake whoopie pie from Trolley Car Cafe (aka the Starbucks) has the best old school vibe.

Carrot Cake Whoopie

Since the park has less rides, there are less places for people to head to and make the wait times climb, especially during busy holidays.

You could skip using Genie+ with a solid plan, but it would mean getting to the park verrryyy early.

For more info on Genie+ (it's impossible to fit it all in a park guide!) head to the Genie+ Toolkit here.

Hollywood Studios is easy to put under the "worth it!" category for Genie+. 

06. Tips for Genie+

LIGHTNING LANES IN Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (40")*

Alien Swirling Saucers (32")
Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
Disney Jr. Play and Dance!
Frozen Sing-Along 
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular 
Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
Mickey + Minnie's Runaway Railway
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (38")
Muppet*Vision 3D
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (48")
Slinky Dog Dash (38")
Star Tours (40")
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (40")
Toy Story Mania!


To get the most out of Genie+, book your priorities based on which ones sell out first. These are the top rides that have the average highest wait time, and tend to sell out the soonest:

STAR WARS: Rise of the Resistance*
Rock 'n' roller coaster

*Not included with Genie+ but an Individual Lightning Lane can be purchased separately

average wait time in minutes

07. Special Extras

Fantasmic! Dining Package

Fantasmic is the nightly show in Hollywood Studios (when the weather is cooperative.)

When you book a Fantasmic Dining Package, you’ll dine first, then be given a special voucher that will admit you to a reserved seating section in the amphitheater.

This is great if A) you were planning on making a dining reservation anyway or B) don't want to get to the show early for a decent seat.


Build Your Own Lightsaber

If you're looking to wow a Star Wars fan, make a reservation at Savi's Workshop up to 60 days before to build your own -- expensive -- lightsaber. But you pay for the experience!

For something a little less intense, you can build a less expensive lightsaber at another build-your-own station at Tatooine Traders near Star Tours.

New: Jollywood Nights

Jollywood Nights is a brand new, first-ever holiday party on certain nights from November 11th to December 20th at 8:30pm to 12:30am.

Ticket holders can get into Hollywood Studios as early as 7:00pm, and you don't need an additional park ticket or reservation if you've paid for a party ticket.

Nights with parties in 2023:
November 11, 18, 20, 27, 29th, December 4, 6, 16, 18 and 20th.


"Splurge on the Fantasmic
Dining Package!
Preferred seating/no line is totally worth it."

"If you're scared of Tower of Terror like me, the gift shop is great to wait in with A/C."

"Mobile order from Woody's Lunchbox and bring it to Docking Bay 7 to eat in the A/C. Woody's is TOO HOT!"

@bailynr says:

"Fairfax Fare is a great spot if you're stuck in the rain (semi covered seating & decent finger food.)"

"If your kids love Max, you can find him -- in his Powerline outfit! -- outside of Galaxy's Edge with Goofy."

"Baseline Taphouse
beer flight. $12."

"Look for all the fun
details, like Andy's
footprints on the

"Save money and build a plastic light saber at Tatooine Traders next to Star Tours (instead of Savi's Workshop)."


08. Tips from the Crew


I've taken everything I've learned and built an innovative guide and community called Laid-back Magic. If you haven't already joined, upgrade now to unlock everything for $30 off, which includes all the park guides, too!

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