Hollywood Studios touring plans for 2016

by Shannon Albert 52 comments Like the Facebook page

(Article last updated: August 5, 2016)

Hollywood Studios is currently going through a transitional time where a few attractions have closed and the new things that will be coming are still years away from opening. This reduction has made good touring plans and FastPass+ even more important than before.

Let's take a look at how to tour Hollywood Studios with FastPass+...

FastPass+ opportunities

FastPass+ attractions are split into tiers at Hollywood Studios.

You can pick one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2. You can't pick 3 things from Tier 2 as an alternative. 1 from Tier 1, 2 from Tier 2.

Tier 1 - choose 1 of these

  • Toy Story Midway Mania*
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster*
  • Fantasmic!
  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • The Great Movie Ride

Tier 2 - choose 2 of these

  • Tower of Terror*
  • Star Tours*
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • For the First Time in Forever: A "Frozen" Sing-Along Celebration*
  • MuppetVision 3D
  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

* means I think this is a good use of a FastPass+ reservation (more info below)

How to make FastPass+ reservations

All guests – whether they’re staying onsite or offsite – can make 3 FastPass+ reservations per day in 1 park ahead of time beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time. All guests can also make use of kiosks in the parks to make or change FastPass+ reservations.

However, there are some differences between onsite and offsite guests:

  • On-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations (3 per day in 1 park) using the My Disney Experience app or website up to 60 days in advance. On-site guests can also make use of the kiosks in the park.
  • Off-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations (3 per day in 1 park) using the My Disney Experience app or website up to 30 days in advance. Off-site guests can also make use of the kiosks in the park.

FastPass+ priorities

You can make 1-3 FastPass+ reservations ahead of time.

Top priority for Hollywood Studios

  • Tier 1:
    • Toy Story Mania
    • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
  • Tier 2:
    • Tower of Terror
    • Star Tours

Second priority for Hollywood Studios

  • Tier 2:
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
    • For the First Time in Forever: A "Frozen" Sing-Along Celebration

Third priority for Hollywood Studios (and not recommend for FP+ at all)

  • Tier 1:
    • Fantasmic! - this gives people the ability to skip the standby line but the prime seats are given to people who book the Fantasmic Dining Package. Since this is in the same tier as 2 very popular rides, it's not recommended.
    • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
    • The Great Movie Ride
  • Tier 2:
    • MuppetVision 3D
    • Disney Junior – Live on Stage
    • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

You can't make your first 3 FastPass+ reservations for the same ride twice.
Your first 3 FastPass+ reservations must be for all different rides.

However, you can get more FastPass+ reservations after you use the first 3.
Once your first 3 FastPass+ reservations are used or expired, you can use the My Disney Experience app or go to a kiosk and get a 4th. Once your 4th FP+ is used or expired, you can get a 5th. These additional FastPass+ reservations can be in the same park or a different park and can be for the same ride over and over, if you want.

Don't use FastPass+ reservations unnecessarily.
If you arrive at an attraction to use a FastPass+ reservation and the standby line is short (5 or 10 minutes), skip the FastPass+ line, get into the standby line and then change that FastPass+ to something else to use later. You can make the change on your phone (if you're staying on-site) or at a FastPass+ kiosk.

Link your tickets

All guests should make FastPass+ reservations online ahead of time. In order to do that, you need to have tickets on your My Disney Experience account. If you are staying on-site and bought a package for your trip (which includes a hotel and tickets), they'll already be in your account.

If you are staying off-site and/or bought tickets separate from your on-site hotel room, you need to link them by going to MyDisneyExperience.com, logging in and then clicking "Link Existing Reservations and Tickets."

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You can also use the My Disney Experience app on your phone to link your tickets to your account.

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After making FastPass+ reservations, you will be able to scan your MagicBands or RFID-enabled park ticket when you arrive to an attraction at your FastPass+ time.

What times should you make reservations?
Because of the tiers that are in place, you should plan to show up at rope drop (arrive 30-45 minutes before park opening) and ride the things that you won't have FP+ reservations for. In the touring plans below, I've given suggestions on when to make FP+ reservations.

After you've made your initial selection of 3 FastPass+ reservations, you can go into each individual reservation and modify the time if you want.

Hollywood Studios touring plans

I like to organize my touring plans by hour because minute-by-minute touring plans can make you feel like you’re running from place to place without any flexibility, but grouping them by hour can give you some sense of timing as you plan.

Here are some possibilities:

General Hollywood Studios touring plan (w/FP+ reservations for Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and Star Tours)

  • Arrive 30-45 minutes before park opening
  • First hour: Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror - if you have a FP+ and there's a line, use it here. If the line is short, get in the standby line and change this reservation to re-ride later in the day or switch to a different attraction. (suggested FP+ time: 9:15-10:15)
  • Second hour: Voyage of the Little Mermaid, The Great Movie Ride
  • Third hour: Use FP+ for Toy Story Mania (suggested FP+ time: 10:30-11:30), Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Rest of the day:
    Lunch
    Use FP+ for Star Tours (suggested FP+ time: early afternoon)
    Star Wars Launch Bay
    Frozen Sing-Along
    MuppetVision 3D
    Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage
    Fantasmic (at night)

Hollywood Studios with little ones (w/FP+ for Toy Story Mania, Star Tours and Frozen Sing-Along)

  • Arrive 30-45 minutes before scheduled park opening
  • First hour: Ride Toy Story Mania without FP+, Disney Junior - Live on Stage
  • Second hour: Voyage of the Little Mermaid, use FP+ to ride Toy Story Mania again (suggested FP+ time: 10:30-11:30)
  • Third hour: MuppetVision, use FP+ for Star Tours (suggested FP+ time: 11:45-12:45)
  • Rest of the day:
    Lunch
    Use FP+ at Frozen Sing-Along
    Star Wars Launch Bay
    Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage
    Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

What about Rider Switch (sometimes called Child Swap)? That still works the same that it always has. Please read my Rider Switch article so you can see how to ride big rides even if you have little ones who can't or won't.

Combining Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom in 1 day (w/FP+ for Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and Star Tours)
Since Hollywood Studios doesn't have a huge number of attractions, and many people consider Animal Kingdom a half-day park, you might want to do both in 1 day.

You'll need Park Hopper tickets to make this work, but here's 1 way you could do it.

  • Arrive at Animal Kingdom about 30-40 minutes before opening time
  • First hour: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur (if this feels like too much backtracking, you'll probably want to skip either Expedition Everest or Safaris to reduce the walking)
  • Second hour: Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest in single rider line, Kali River Rapids
  • Third hour: Pick 1 or 2 shows or animal-themed attractions
  • Rest of the day:
    Lunch (FYI - Animal Kingdom has better Quick Service options than Hollywood Studios)
    Hop to Hollywood Studios
    Use FP+ for Toy Story Mania
    Use FP+ for Tower of Terror
    Use FP+ for Star Tours
    Ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in single rider line
    See shows, including Fantasmic

WDW Prep Members

Level 2 WDW Prep Members have touring plan tools to put together their own plans. The attractions indicate height requirements, if it's a good use of FastPass+, illustrations of ride vehicles so you can see how many people will fit (especially handy if the kids outnumber the adults), and when to visit each attraction.

And as you build your touring plans, they are grouped by hour (for the first 3 hours) and then your whole plan is plotted on a map at the bottom of the page so you can see how it all lays out.

⇢ Get access to Level 2 tools ⇠

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Even with FastPass+ and the ride tiers, I still think the hardest part of planning a day at Hollywood Studios is figuring out how to fit in all of the shows.

What questions do you have? Please share them in the comments.