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Hollywood Studios touring plans (including Rise of the Resistance)

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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 FastPasses is key to avoiding long lines during your Walt Disney World trip.

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

Let’s take a look…

FastPass+ basics

New to making FastPass+ reservations? Check out how to use FastPass+ at Disney World to get you started.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ options & priorities 

FastPass+ attractions are split into tiers at Hollywood Studios but you still are only allowed to hold a total of 3 FastPasses at a time.

Tier 1 attractions are the most popular. You can only book 1 from that tier at a time.

Tier 2 attractions are the less popular attractions. You can book 1, 2, or 3 from this category.

Here are the FastPass+ options at Hollywood Studios.

Tier Top priority Second priority (possible bonus FP+ options)
Tier 1
(you can choose 1 item from this level)
Slinky Dog Dash Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Tier 2
(you can choose 2 from this level)
Tower of Terror
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Toy Story Mania
Alien Swirling Saucers
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
MuppetVision 3D
Disney Junior Dance Party!
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Fantasmic!
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Star Tours
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

For more information on FastPass+ options and strategies at Hollywood Studios, check out our Guide for FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios .

FastPass+ suggestions to save to your phone

Want to have the FastPass+ suggestions on your camera roll? Press the image below from your phone to save to your camera roll.

FastPass tier

Arrive before park opening

If you plan to try to ride Rise of the Resistance, you’ll need to arrive 90-120 minutes before park opening. 

Hollywood Studios usually allows people in before the official opening time.

Until the official park opening, guests are either stopped at the end of Hollywood Boulevard (for guests wanting to ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway) OR at the entrance to Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge (if crowds are too large to hold on Hollywood Boulevard).

Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror

Between the time you enter and Rope Drop, you can get PhotoPass pics taken, oftentimes you will be able to sign up for Jedi Training Academy, shop in some stores on Hollywood Boulevard, and grab some Starbucks at Trolley Car Cafe.

What about the Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance?

The virtual queue system was put in place before the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Initially it was only used to control the flow of people into the entire land itself, but now it is used exclusively for Rise of the Resistance (and not for access to the land).

As of right now, the ONLY way to ride Rise of the Resistance is by getting a spot in the virtual queue.

There is no standby line and no FastPass+ available. Virtual queue is your only option.

Another important note:

Originally boarding groups were available as soon as you entered the park – even if you were allowed in hours before the official opening time. That is no longer the case. Now boarding groups are ONLY available at official park opening. You’ll still need to be in the park (and if you want to tour with minimal waits you’ll still need to arrive early) but you won’t be able to snag a boarding group until the park officially opens.

Here’s how it works:

 1. Arrive to the park at least 90 minutes before park opening (for the best chances to tour during the morning with minimal waits) or 45 minutes (if you aren’t interested in riding Slinky Dog Dash, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, or Smugglers Run at Rope Drop). THERE ARE A LIMITED NUMBER OF SPOTS ALLOWED EACH DAY AND ONCE THEY ARE GONE, THEY ARE GONE.

Backup Boarding Groups

Disney has begun offering “backup boarding groups”.

These groups become available after all regular Boarding Groups (typically up to group 120) have been filled.

However, guests with one of these new provisional boarding groups will only be allowed onto the attraction if the capacity allows (once all regular boarding groups have completed their ride).

Boarding Groups

2. You’ll likely be let onto Hollywood Boulevard early, however, boarding groups will not not be available until after the park officially opens. Once that happens (and once every person in your party has scanned into the park), open up the app and follow the instructions to be assigned a boarding group which then puts you into the virtual queue.

3. The app should provide you with a push notification to let you know when it is your turn to ride. At that point, you’ll have 2 hours to make your way to Rise of the Resistance. You can always check to see exactly what groups are boarding in the app as well as on display boards found throughout the park.

Note: If your boarding group is called within the first 2 hours of the park being open, to minimize your waits we recommend you try to fit in as many of the other attractions we list in the early hours of the touring plan below before heading to Rise of the Resistance.  

4. When it is time to ride, head to Galaxy’s Edge and go directly to Rise of the Resistance. Your tickets or MagicBands will be scanned before you enter the line. 

Here’s a few important notes about this system:

  • Everybody in your party must be inside the park in order to join a boarding group. You can’t have 1 person just show up and get a boarding group for the entire family; everybody must be there.
  • Boarding groups only become available AFTER the park is opened (this is a change from how it originally worked!)
  • The total number of boarding groups available are limited and once they are gone, they are gone.
  • Once you have your boarding group you can leave the park if you want. This is especially useful if you have a higher boarding group number and allows you to park hop, go back to your resort for a nap, etc. 
  • Disability Access Service (DAS) is available for Rise of the Resistance BUT you must have secured an initial boarding group in order to use it. See a Cast Member at the attraction for help.
  • If you have a boarding group, Rider Switch is available, too. Cast Members at the attraction will be able to help you with that.
  • Even though initially some people were able to ride twice in one day, Disney has now limited guests to 1 boarding group/day.
  • Having a spot in a boarding group does not guarantee you’ll be able to ride. 
  • We don’t think this system will be around forever, but as of right now we don’t yet know an exact date for when Disney will stop using the virtual queue.
Virtual Queue flyer

What times should you make reservations?

Because of the tiers that are in place, you should plan to show up at rope drop/park opening (arrive at least 90 minutes before park opening) and ride the things that you won’t have FP+ reservations for.

In the Hollywood Studios touring plans below, we’ve given suggestions on when to make FP+ reservations.

Single rider option

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run also have a single rider option. Here’s how single rider lines work.

Hollywood Studios touring plans (including Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway)

We have 2 different touring plans to choose from:

  • A general touring plan that includes all of the best attractions Hollywood Studios has to offer, and
  • A touring plan for little ones under 40″ tall that is perfect for families planning to skip the bigger attractions like Tower of Terror.

Note: We like to organize our 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.

Getting to the park

The plans below recommend arriving to the park 90-120 minutes early.

Because of the early opening times, you will need to plan ahead on how to get there.

The most reliable options for early arrival will be driving your own car, using Lyft, or walking  (if staying at the Swan, Dolphin, Beach Club, Yacht Club, or Boardwalk Inn & Villas).

Car

If you have a car, this will be a great option but only if you plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before park opening. If you opt to drive and arrive closer to park opening, keep in mind you may encounter lines of cars waiting to enter the parking lot.

Bus

Buses typically start running about 90 minutes before the park opens but the frequency of buses at that time of the day can be limited so make sure you’re to the bus stop in time to catch the first bus of the day otherwise you may find yourself waiting a long time for the 2nd one.

Minnie Vans

Minnie Vans have recently adjusted their operating schedule to better accommodate the early hours at Hollywood Studios, however, the total number of Minnie Vans available are limited so to maximize your chances of snagging one, you’ll want to aim to request one as soon as they start running for the day. 

Lyft/Uber

Lyft (and Uber) can be a great option, but keep in mind that the total number of available cars will decrease the closer to park opening you get.

Have little ones? UberX with Car Seat is an option as well.

Skyliner

The Skyliner is a fantastic option for later in the day, however, it typically does not start running in time for Rope Drop. Plus, some days the openings for it have been delayed as they test the system. For those reasons we do not recommend the Skyliner as an option for early morning arrivals. 

Hollywood Studios touring plans

Hollywood Studios General Touring Plan

Make FastPass+ reservations for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (48″ height req.), Tower of Terror (40″ height req.), and then choose either Slinky Dog Dash (38″ height req.) OR Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Arrive at least 90 minutes before park opening for the shortest standby waits. 

Since your Virtual Boarding Group number is assigned and cannot be changed, you’ll have to weave your ride on Rise of the Resistance into the plan below. Ideally, to tour with the shortest lines on the non-Galaxy’s Edge attractions, if your boarding group is called early in the morning try to finish as many of the attractions listed in hours 1 & 2 before heading to board Rise of the Resistance.

First hour:

  • 1. At park opening, use the My Disney Experience App to secure a Virtual Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance
  • 2. Slinky Dog Dash (38″ height req.) OR Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (whichever one you did not get a FP+ for) 
  • 3. Toy Story Mania
  • 4. Alien Swirling Saucers (32″ height req.)

Second hour:

  • 5. Use FP+ for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (48″ height req., suggested return time: morning; schedule your FP+ back-to-back with Tower of Terror)
  • 6. Use FP+ for Tower of Terror (40″ height req., suggested return time: morning; schedule back-to-back with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster)

Third hour:

  • 7. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
  • 8. Find a spot to eat (if you don’t have reservations)

Rest of the day:

  • 9. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage (Check My Disney Experience app for showtimes; food can be brought into the theater if you want to eat while you watch)
  • 10. Star Wars Launch Bay
  • 11. Use FP+ for either Slinky Dog Dash (38″ height req.) OR Mickey and Minnie’s (suggested return time: early afternoon)
  • 12. Star Tours (40″ height req.)
  • 13. Muppet Vision 3D
  • 14. Explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (visit Oga’s Cantina, Droid Depot, and/or Savi’s Workshop – reservations recommended for all)
  • 15. When called, use boarding group for Rise of the Resistance (40″ height requirement) 
  • 16. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (38″ height req., Single Rider Line usually available)
  • 17. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (check My Disney Experience app for showtimes)
  • 18. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (check My Disney Experience app for showtimes)
  • 19. Fantasmic! OR Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (at night)

Click image to view the full-sized PDF.

Hollywood Studios touring plans

Hollywood Studios Touring Plan for Little Ones Under 40″

Make FastPass+ reservations for Toy Story Mania, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and then choose either Slinky Dog Dash (38″ height req.) OR Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Arrive at least 90 minutes before park opening for the shortest standby waits. 

First hour:

  • 1. Slinky Dog Dash (38″ height req.) OR Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (whichever one you did not get a FP+ for) 
  • 2. Toy Story Mania
  • 3. Alien Swirling Saucers (32″ height req.)

Second hour:

  • 4. Voyage of the Little Mermaid (check My Disney Experience app for showtimes)
  • 5. Disney Jr. Dance Party! (check My Disney Experience app for showtimes)

Third hour:

  • 6. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
  • 7. Find a spot to eat (if you don’t have reservations)

Rest of the day:

  • 8. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage (Check My Disney Experience app for showtimes; food can be brought into the theater if you want to eat while you watch)
  • 9. Star Wars Launch Bay
  • 10. Use FP+ for either Slinky Dog Dash (38″ height req.) OR Mickey and Minnie’s (suggested return time: early afternoon)
  • 11. Use FP+ Toy Story Mania (suggested return time: early afternoon)
  • 12. Explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (if you want to visit Droid Depot, a reservations is required if you wish to build a droid)
  • 13. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (38″ height req., Single Rider Line usually available)
  • 14. Muppet Vision 3D
  • 17. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (check My Disney Experience app for showtimes)
  • 18. Use FP+ at For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • 19. Fantasmic! OR Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (at night)

Click image to view the full-sized PDF.


What about Rider Switch (sometimes called Child Swap)?

The Rider Switch system allows parents to take turns riding things that little ones can’t/won’t ride.

Slinky Dog Dash

Please read our Rider Switch article so you can see how to use it and maximize your FastPass+ reservations.

Is it possible to see both Fantasmic! and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (or the seasonal Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!) on the same night?

Unless Fantasmic! is scheduled for twice on the day you are visiting, it is almost always impossible to see both shows in their entirety on the same night. 

So which one should you pick?

If you’re a Star Wars fan and have already seen Fantasmic!, definitely check out Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.

If you are visiting during the holidays and want to add a dose of the season to your trip, check out Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

If you’re a first-timer, Fantasmic! is a classic that you will probably want to plan on seeing.

Fantasmic

If you want to see both, you’ll usually need to plan to be there on 2 different nights or else plan to miss parts of one (or possibly both) shows.

Want to show up late or park hop?

Want to sleep in or spend the first part of the day at another park?

If you want to arrive late at Hollywood Studios, be sure to snag a FastPass+ for busy things like Smugglers Run, Slinky Dog Dash, or Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

But keep in mind that unless you show up before all the boarding groups have been distributed for the day (which often happens minutes after park opening) you won’t be able to ride Rise of the Resistance.

What about Extra, Extra Magic Hours? 

Note: Extra, Extra Magic Hours are no longer in effect. 

From September 1, 2019 – November 2, 2019 Disney offered what they called “Extra, Extra Magic Hours”. 

During that time, onsite guests were able to access the park beginning at 6:00 a.m.. 

Yes, you read that right: 6:00 a.m.

Two other parks (Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom) also offered daily Extra Magic Hours that began at 7 a.m.

This special perk was available to a select group of offsite hotels, too: The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, Shades of Green, the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando, but other off-site guests weren’t allowed in to the park until 9:00 a.m..

Even though this was incredibly early, this was a very nice perk that made it a lot easier to tackle Hollywood Studios with minimal waits.

As of right now, there is no indication that Disney plans to bring these extra early mornings back.

Looking for touring plans & FastPass+ suggestions for the other Disney World theme parks?

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 - https://wdwprepschool.com/disney-world-parks/touring/

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.

IAN MCGREGOR

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?

Sue

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.