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Hollywood Studios touring plans (including Rise of the Resistance)

Hollywood Studios touring plans (including Rise of the Resistance)

Worried about long waits for Hollywood Studios attractions?

Having well-organized touring plans that make good use of Genie+ is key to avoiding long lines during your Walt Disney World trip.

Below, find Hollywood Studios touring plans (including Genie+ suggestions!) to make sure you’re maximizing your time.

Let’s take a look…

Hollywood Studios Rides and Attractions

Hollywood Studios is one of our favorite parks. Not only is it packed with classic thrill rides like Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, it is also where you find all things Star Wars and Toy Story.

There is a lot of stuff to do here for both kids and adults, but the number of shows with pre-set schedules can make it a bit more difficult to see and do it all.

In this guide and on our touring plans below, we’ll cover all of the available major attractions at Hollywood Studios. There are more than 15 rides and live shows to keep you entertained on your next visit, and of those, 14 have Lightning Lanes.

Next, we are going to give you a brief description about Genie+, including why we recommend it for Hollywood Studios. This is important to understand before you start creating your touring plans.

Then, we’ll dive into the meat and potatoes of this post – the touring plans. You can use them as is or, just use them as a basis to customize a trip that is perfect for you and your traveling companions.

Note: This list only includes characters who offer Genie+. Please refer to our Complete Guide to Characters at Hollywood Studios for the full list of available character meet-and-greet opportunities.

Genie+ basics

If you are already familiar with Genie+ feel free to skip down to the next section. Otherwise, keep reading and we’ll go over a brief overview. If all of this is new to you, though, we recommend you check out some of our other Genie+ resources to help get you all caught up on how this service works.

Disney Genie+ is the new FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World. Like the old FastPass+ system, Genie+ lets you cut the waits at the most popular attractions by allowing you to enter through a special line called a Lightning Lane (bypassing the longer Standby Line).

But, unlike the old FastPass+ system that was free, Genie+ costs extra; it uses a date-based pricing system, with busier times of the year being more expensive.

Currently, Genie+ starts at $15 per ticket, per day (plus tax) but the price has gone all the way up to $39 per ticket. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to know ahead of time how much Genie+ will cost on the day of your visit. Instead, you will see the price when you go to purchase it inside the My Disney Experience app.

Why we recommend you use Genie+ at Hollywood Studios

We definitely recommend Genie+ for Hollywood Studios. The headliners here all garner long lines, and those paired with shows make it very difficult to see and do it all unless you can skip a few of the waits.

Yes, you can tour Hollywood Studios without Genie+. However, if you only have 1 day in the park or if you want to increase the number of rides and attractions you can see or do, we highly recommend you add Genie+ on to your Hollywood Studios day.

Consider also purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane selection

Hollywood Studios currently has 1 Individual Lightning Lane attraction:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: $15-$25

If it is in the budget, purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance will make touring this park a lot easier as it will free you up to rope drop one of the other extremely popular rides.

Best Times to Ride Graphic (save this to your phone)

We have a handy graphic that can help you see the recommended times to visit the attractions at Hollywood Studios.

We suggest you save this image to your phone, so you can reference it on your trip:

hollywood studios best times to ride

How touring works with Genie+:

If you are purchasing Genie+, you’ll often hear people talking about “stacking” and “churning”.

The reality is that on most days – no matter how busy it is – you’ll find yourself doing both.

You’ll see what that looks like in the touring plans we have provided below, but keep reading to learn what stacking and churning actually mean.


Stacking simply means prioritizing the grouping of Genie+ reservations together for later in the day when the standby lines are the longest.

Some people like to stack for late morning or early afternoon, but you can also stack reservations for the evening. Stacking works well if you are planning to spend all day in 1 park, but it is also a popular technique to use if you are planning a late start or if you are hopping to a different park.

Stacking Genie+ reservations works best during less busy times of the year, when Genie+ reservations at most attractions last the longest.

This includes anytime Genie+ can be purchased for less than about $25 per person, per day.

Here’s how stacking Genie+ reservations works:

  • At 7 a.m., book an attraction that runs out of Genie+ reservations the fastest, regardless of what that return time is. You can see what we recommend in the graphic above.
  • Use Early Entry to ride at least 1 of the available popular attractions (onsite guests only)
  • Plan to ride several things in the first couple of hours without Genie+, unless, of course, your first Genie+ return time is during those first 2 hours. If it is, ride it as soon as possible, and then select your next G+ for an attraction that has the return time already pushed into the time of day you are trying to stack for. (Early afternoon until evening works best.) The goal is to stack your Genie+ reservations back-to-back. They can overlap, just make sure you allow enough time to get from one attraction to the next.
  • As the standby lines build, ride some of the “anytime” attractions listed in the graphic above or meet characters and continue selecting Genie+ reservations with return times as close to your already stacked Genie+ reservations as possible.
  • When the time comes, start using your stacked Genie+ reservations, keeping in mind that it may be possible to fill any gaps by churning attractions with Genie+ reservations remaining.


Churning simply means focusing on snagging Genie+ reservations as close together as possible. You should still prioritize the most popular attractions, but your primary focus is selecting rides with return times as close as possible to the current time, vs. stacking them up for later in the day.

Churning Genie+ reservations works best during the busiest times of the year, when Genie+ reservations run out at all attractions faster and when the lines for even the least popular rides are long.

This includes all major holidays and anytime Genie+ prices creep up over $25-$30 per person, per day.

Here’s how churning works:

  • At 7 a.m., book an attraction with a return time as close to park opening as possible
  • Use Early Entry to ride at least 1 of the recommended attractions (onsite guests only)
  • Continue selecting Genie+ reservations with return times as close to the current time as possible, filling in gaps by riding “anytime” attractions or meeting characters
  • Eventually, you may find that all return times are pushed several hours out. Make sure to prioritize your must-dos and begin stacking return times for later in the day.
  • Keep an eye on the wait times for popular attractions you were unable to get a Genie+ reservation for, and jump in those lines once they drop to an acceptable level.

IMPORTANT: We’ve included example return times for G+ reservations in the touring plans below, but, keep in mind that you can NOT select your return times for Genie+. Depending on the time you make your selections and the overall crowd levels, your return times may be earlier or later.

For that reason, you’ll need to stay flexible when you get to the parks and be ready to pivot or adjust your touring plan on the fly.

Early Entry at Hollywood Studios (Arrive before park opening)

To make the best use of your time, arrive about 45 minutes before park opening.

Hollywood Studios usually allows people in 30-45 minutes before the official opening time. There will be different staging areas depending on which attraction you plan to ride first. Here how it typically works, although these staging areas can vary, so if you are confused, look for signs or ask a Cast Member

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror: Down Sunset Boulevard
  • Toy Story Land (including Slinky Dog Dash): Just past One Man’s Dream
  • Rise of the Resistance & Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run: At the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge OR along Echo Lake
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway: At the attraction

You’ll typically find the coffee shops (including Trolley Car Cafe, which is a Starbucks) open during this time.

Get more information about how Rope Drop works

How to get to Hollywood Studios for Early Entry

Here’s our advice on what time you should be heading to the parks based upon how you plan to get there. If your goal is to be at the very, very front, we recommend you err on the side of following the earlier times listed:


When traveling by car, plan to arrive at the parking lot entrance about 70 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry. If the parking lot booths are not open at that time, you should be able to just wait for them to officially open up. But, don’t show up too early because they may not let you wait for the booths to open and instead will force you to turn around and come back closer to opening.


For the Disney Skyliner, aim for 75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry begins if you don’t have to transfer, and 90 minutes if you do. Both the Hollywood Studios and Epcot lines start up about 1 hour before Early Entry begins.


While we used to recommend arriving at the bus stop 60 to 75 minutes before Early Entry begins, after testing the timing out many times, we now recommend 90 minutes. That 90-minute window is especially important if you:

  • want to be on the first bus (which we recommend), or
  • if you are staying at a large resort like Art of Animation, Pop Century, or the All-Stars, or
  • if you are staying at a resort with multiple internal stops, like Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs.

Expect the first bus of the day to arrive between 1 hour to 75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry starts. The goal is to be on the first bus of the day, and the lines for the buses will get very long, very fast. Arriving 90 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry will get you to the front of the pack, and likely on that first bus.


If traveling by boat, 60-75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry is probably good.


Walking? You’ll have it the easiest!

Guests that walk are typically allowed to line up at the tapstiles around 60 minutes before the park opens for Early Theme Park Entry. If you want to be at the front of the pack of the walkers, plan to arrive ahead of that. (If you arrive before they begin allowing people to line up at the tapstiles, you’ll be held back by security.)

Important things to know about touring Hollywood Studios

  • Rise of the Resistance is one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World. Make sure you review our guide on riding Rise without standing in long lines.
  • Slinky Dog Genie+ spots almost always go faster than any other attraction on property, and that means that frequently the available return times will be late in the day. If you are planning to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane selection for Rise of the Resistance, it may make more sense to rope drop Slinky Dog and choose Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway as your first Genie+ selection.
hollywood studios genie plus booking priorities graphic
  • Galaxy’s Edge is spectacular and worthy of spending some time exploring, so be sure to allow some flexibility in your day for that.

Hollywood Studios touring plans

1-Day Hollywood Studios Touring Plan with Genie+

7:00 a.m. Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane recommendations:

  • 1st Genie+ Reservation: Tower of Terror
  • Individual Lightning Lane Pass: Rise of the Resistance (aim for afternoon)

As soon as your next booking window is open, book the following Genie+ reservations in this order:

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Early Theme Park Entry

  1. Slinky Dog Dash

1st Hour

  1. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  2. Toy Story Mania

2nd Hour

  1. Alien Swirling Saucers
  2. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration

3rd Hour

  1. Tower of Terror with Genie+
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with Genie+ or using the Single Rider Line

4th Hour

  1. Lunch

Rest of the Day

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run with Genie+
  • Star Tours with Genie+
  • Rise of the Resistance with Individual Lightning Lane
  • Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Disney Jr. Play and Dance
  • Lightning McQueen Racing Academy

1-Day Hollywood Studios Touring Plan without Genie+

Early Theme Park Entry

  1. Slinky Dog Dash

1st Hour

  1. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  2. Tower of Terror

2nd Hour

  1. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (using the Single Rider line)
  2. Toy Story Mania

3rd Hour

  1. Alien Swirling Saucers
  2. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (using the Single Rider line)

4th Hour

  1. Star Tours
  2. Lunch

Rest of the Day

  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Lightning McQueen Racing Academy
  • Meet Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Disney Jr. Play and Dance
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight

Our Experience Touring Hollywood Studios

We like to test out touring whenever possible, both with and without using Genie+.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of how a recent day at Hollywood Studios looked. One of us toured with Genie+, and the other without:

Hollywood Studios with Genie+
Hollywood Studios without Genie Plus note

We have an entire write-up on how our days went, where we go in-depth about exactly how we put our entire touring plan for that day together.

Read about them here:

Links to our other touring plans

Planning to visit the other 3 parks? Check out our touring advice for those below:

VIDEO: Is Genie+ WORTH IT at Hollywood Studios? We tested it out!

Nicole Dally

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

Is there a page with updated touring suggestions based on covid restrictions? IE no fastpasses....

Shannon Albert

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Yep! Here you go -

Heather Noyes

Sunday 18th of April 2021

What we are seeing is that you have two choices for a rope drop here. Either Slinky Dog or Mickey and Minnie's. We have seen Mickey and Minnie's to be a longer wait later in the day though. Maybe that was just our experience. Who knows.


Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Ref the changes to Hollywood studios tiers what do you think about only booking 2 fast passes, when they make the tier changes, with a view to getting another tier 1 quicker and would it work?


Tuesday 11th of June 2019

One small suggestion: If you are touring Hollywood Studios during the rainy season (beginning in June) you may want to go on Slinky Dog Dash first thing in the morning and get a FastPass for Toy Story Mania. We recently visited and had a 5:30 pm Fast Pass for Slinky Dog when thunderstorms started to pass through and the ride closed and never reopened. Unfortunately we never got to ride it. In general, during rainy season in any of the Disney Parks, go on any outdoor rides ASAP and save the inside attractions for later.