Star Wars, Toy Story, and Disney’s best thrill rides make Hollywood Studios a great destination. But what if you have only one day at this park? We’ll help you plan an out-of-this-world day at Hollywood Studios!
One Day at Hollywood Studios
- Hollywood Studios is the smallest park with the newest/most popular things.
- Yes, to Genie+ here!
Individual Attractions: Rise of Resistance, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours
- Toy Story Mania
- Alien Swirl Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast Live
- Disney Junior Play and Dance
- Frozen Sing-along
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Muppet Vision 3-D
- Rockin Roller Coaster
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Advice for Individual Attraction Prep
- Lightning Lane Selection
- When to get to the park, how to use that first hour of so…
- Advice for Batuu and Star Wars Stuff
- Advice for Toy Story Land
- Other areas of HS (Sunset Blvd, Animator’s Courtyard)
- Dining at HS (our picks/suggestions)
Question: What’s your top must-do experience at Hollywood Studios?
Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!
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Episode 98 Transcripts
Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so there are likely some highly amusing translations!
Shayne: Hello, and welcome to All Things Travel. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is definitely popular right now. Star Wars, Toy Story, and the best thrill rides on the property make Hollywood Studios a great destination, but what if you only have one day at this park? We’ll help you map out an out-of-this-world day at Hollywood Studios. You’re listening to All Things Travel, episode 98, original air day to March 2nd, 2022.
Ryan: So, Shayne, what are the pros and cons of Hollywood studios when you’re thinking about it as a one-day park?
Shayne: Pros, I think a pro is that being the smallest of the parks, it might be the most conducive to having one day
Ryan: Yeah. I can see that. I can see the.
Shayne: Con, you only have one day at Disney. That’s a con.
Ryan: Yeah, you really have to. As we’ll talk about today, you really have to strategize and think and prioritize in this park, I think, more than any other. And so, to me, definitely a con. I think a pro, depending on your area of interest when it comes to Hollywood studios, you can really geek out and immerse yourself.
you want to have a toy story day, if you want to have a star wars day, if you want to have a golden age of Hollywood day, you can really do it here and feel really satisfied with the level of engagement that.
Shayne: Yeah, those park areas are Immersion opportunities.
Ryan: So we’re going to follow along with what we did a few weeks ago with Epcot. We’re going to look at Hollywood Studios as if we have one day to explore everything. And we have one day to really maximize our time and have a, as you said, at the intro and out of this world day at Hollywood Studios, but first Shayne, I want to know where in the world is.
All Things Travel.
Shayne: San Diego, California.
Ryan: All right. Welcome, San Diego.
Shayne: You know, What’s funny is the one time I was in San Diego. Do you know what we were talking about doing while we were in San Diego?
Ryan: What’s that?
Shayne: driving up to Anaheim and going to Disneyland?
Ryan: My guess is there’s more to do in San Diego than drive to Disney.
Shayne: Yeah. So we decided to go to Anaheim later and just enjoy a day in San Diego that.
Ryan: I have never been to San Diego and it’s certainly as a place that is of interest to travel to. It just hasn’t made it yet. So I’m going to have to get up.
Shayne: We should go visit our new friend.
Ryan: That sounds great. Well, Hey, San Diego, thank you so much for listening. Hey, I have a favor to ask, reach out to Shayne or I on Facebook or via email. We have a little gift for you too. Thank you for being featured on the show today. So Hollywood Studios Shayne is the smallest park with the newest, most popular things. And that may cause some issues as we talk.
Shayne: Yes. If you’re wanting to hit all of the new, most popular things, then that will take and maybe a little bit of.
Ryan: Yeah, I more than any other park for me, especially if you’re focusing on one day at Howard studios, genie plus is a must here. I think even if you only use it for a few of the most popular rides, I really think that genie. Was made for a part like Hollywood studios. And just to remind everybody, At Hollywood Studios, the individual attraction selections that you can make.
So the rides that you pay our cart for separately than genie, plus our rise of the resistance and making Minnie’s runaway railway. The lightning lanes that are offered through genie plus is essentially everything else, including the shows. So if you want to have. Uh Lightning Lane to Indiana Jones or to Disney junior or to frozen sing-along you can do that through genie plus as well, but every other ride is also on there too.
So if you’re not using Lightening Lanes, you’re behind everybody else. I mean, that’s just, that’s just the tail of this park. Isn’t it, Shayne,
Shayne: yes, definitely. You definitely want to take advantage of that because the smallest park with the most popular things currently, that’s where the most people are going to want to go and everybody can’t be on Rise of the Resistance all day. So they’re going to filter out to all those other attractions and you want to get that jump and be at the front of those lines where the lightening.
Ryan: So speaking of that jump, Shayne, let’s talk about our day first and foremost. So what’s your advice for either of those individual attraction, selections at 7:00 AM or that first Lightening Lane selection? Is it worth paying extra for Rise of the Resistance? Is that worth paying extra for making a Minnie’s Runaway Railway?
What would you.
Shayne: Rise of the Resistance. Absolutely. Especially if you’re a huge Star Wars. If you’re not huge star wars geek, then still yes. Rise of the Resistance. Mickey, and Minnie’s runaway railway, I think just depends on how big of a fan of the fab five you are and how much you want to experience that attraction.
I love it, but I don’t think that I would S don’t think that I would use it as individual attraction.
Ryan: Yeah. So to give you a for instance, a few weeks ago, when the Reids and I were using Genie plus A Hollywood Studios, we did not purchase a Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and the wine that was our third attraction of the day. The line was posted at 45 and we were in, in a half an hour. So to me, if I would have paid that six bucks a ticket, I would have felt like, oh gee, maybe I wasted some money.
So if you are a rise of the resistance person, if star wars is your thing, absolutely try to get that individual attraction selection, first thing. And if you do not. Go to rise to the resistance. First thing in the morning, even if you have to wait a little bit, it’s worth it to get that ride done, crossed off the list and having experienced it.
So going to want to be there as soon as you can be there. So for resort guests, you can get an a half hour early. That means you were at the park. Gosh, I want to say even an hour before park opening so that you’re there through the line, headed to that.
Shayne: Yeah, I agree. Completely. Our first. time riding Rise of the Resistance, we wanted to make sure we got there early. We were staying in the property, but so instead of taking the Magical Express, we drove over to the park to make sure that we could get there.
And I think we arrived an hour before the park opened, just to make sure that we were close enough to
Shayne: And at the time it was a boarding pass, but I think the strategy is still the same. You’d still want to get there early and get a good spot in line.
Ryan: I think it is because I think what happens at Hollywood Studios, first thing in the morning is people take one of three approaches. They go into rise of the resistance. They go back to toy story land and they get on slinky dog dash, or they go to Mickey and Minnie’s runaway railway because it’s the newest thing.
And so I think that out really helps you get in the correct of the park. If nothing else, I’m going to our suggestion from our Epcot show with your first lightening lane, then at seven eight. Choose one of your top three rides with the idea that you’re going to rope drop one of those other rides.
So if you get the lightening lane for slinky dog dash, then you go to. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s run. Or if you get the Lightening Lane for Tower of Terror, then you go to rock and roller coaster. So again, you can get one of those top three out of the way at the very beginning, if best case scenario you’ve purchased riser resistant separately, and you have another lightning lane for another ride.
Shayne: And what do we still offer the strategy? Trying to use the lightening lane for something in B2 or something in Toy Story Land, maybe Slinky Dog Dash or the Smuggler’s run. And then at rope drop go the opposite way because most people are going to head towards Batuu
Ryan: Correct? Yes. Yup.
Shayne: good rope drop strategy is to go the other way and ride tower of Tower of Terror and Rock and Roller Coaster.
Ryan: Yeah, I remember this is a little bit of an aside, but I remember when Batuu first open. We had re Rise to the Resistance was not open yet. What was not there. And we had Fast Passes for Smuggler’s Run. We were there, super early in the morning when the park opens still dark.
And. My wife and son went to Slinky Dog Dash, my daughter, and I went to Tower of Terror. We were walking down Sunset Boulevard and we were the only people walking down sunset Boulevard. So I’m not telling you what’s going to be that way again, but certainly the good news is if you’re not a star wars fan, if you’re not a toy story, You’re going to, you’re going to have a lot of fun doing the other stuff, especially that first half hour, if you’re staying on property compared to other guests.
So let’s talk Shayne about to Batuu. So if someone’s going specifically for Star Wars, what advice do you have for them heading into Batuu.
Shayne: This is definitely a place where you want to take your time. There is so much to see all around, looking
up, looking down.
Ryan: there for two attractions, you’re missing a lot.
Shayne: You want to look down, but you don’t want to have your phone in the way. There’s just cool things. Even on the ground, just the tracks, footprints. And then eye level all the ships and the stage setups with items from the movies is just awesome.
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. So really, take the time to, to look at the map, know what’s there. Plan your food ahead of time. If you’re going to be eating in bed to either for breakfast or lunch or a snack later on and, take your time, go through the shops, go through the market, see the characters because there’s going to be lots of character interactions.
Just slow down. Don’t just go to two rides, go and experience bad too. So really, again, if you’re a star wars fan, there is going to be this pressure for, when are we going on the rides? When are we doing this? But the good thing is outside of those times, you’re going to just be like a kid in a candy store.
Shayne: There’s no doubt. It is such a cool place. it seems big when you’re inside of it, the way it’s set up. You can’t see anything outside of Batuu. So you think it’s the you’re thinking you’re on another planet, but there’s still plenty of time to see everything. It’s not so big that you can’t see everything. So don’t get an, a rush, take your time and take it all.
Ryan: So to remind folks, you’ve obviously have the two attractions, you’ve got rise of the resistance. You’ve got millennium, Falcon Smuggler’s run. Both of those have individual standby lines, but those will be some of the longest lines in the. Although when I was there, Smuggler’s Run was not too bad. I would’ve waited in that line.
Had, Mike and Leah wanted to do so. That may be something you’re still able to stand by. There’s multiple shops. You can build a droid, you can build a light saber, but that will take advanced reservations at 60 days. And you will want to do. Get those reservations. Cantina is the Cantina.
It’s good for the entire family. It’s a great experience. You will want to get those reservations at 60 days. So there are, there is some planning there, but really like Shayne said, just take your time and walk through and experience it, the marketplace and everything like that.
And then you’ve got your eating establishments. You’ve got docking bay. You’ve got Rondo roasters. We’ll talk about our dining picks for Hollywood studios later on. But to me, those are both solid choices. If you haven’t had the blue and green milk, you’ll want to do that and have that quote unquote experience, would we say Shayne
but yeah, that,
Shayne: I can do without having it again.
Ryan: But yeah, so definitely take the time to experience that much, like we’ve said, with universal and Harry Potter’s air. You want it? You want to take the time to appreciate this. What about toy story land Shayne. This is the second area people tend to run to. What’s your advice here?
Shayne: Wear a hat and sunscreen
Ryan: It is
Shayne: it’s cool, there is
Ryan: hot. Yes, it is very hot and sunny here.
Shayne: But if you can get on Slinky Dog Dash, it’s funny because the ride is so cute. The dog is so cute looking. It’s like a big toy and you’re thinking kids, it’s a pretty good rollercoaster. It’s pretty fast. So, don’t go into it thinking that audit, it looks too cute. It’s a kid’s roller coaster.
It’s not going to be that fun. And it’s a fun.
Ryan: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I love it. But again, don’t be surprised if that line creeps up, up very quickly. Toy Story Mania, I think is one of my favorite rides on Hollywood studios. And to be honest, especially first thing in the morning, the wait isn’t that long, we walked right in. That was one of our first rides in the morning.
There is a nice quick service here with Woody’s lunchbox. There are some character meet and greets, but really it’s not, as, not as a destination as other places in Disney, I think it’s got some neat theming and a few rides with alien swirling saucers and all that. But I, you’re not going to be spending the time here that you will.
I think in other areas of Hollywood studios, do you agree with.
Shayne: I do agree with.
that. And I think Disney did a good job. Having enough character experiences while you’re. So for example, while you’re waiting in line for, let’s say a Slinky Dog Dash, you might see the army man March out, and there’s, they’ll have a little percussion section with them and that’s fun to watch them and you’ll probably see some of the characters, around the area. Disney made it easy, where you can see those things while you’re in line without having to just hang out there and wait for them to come.
Ryan: Right. Right. So what about some of the other areas in Hollywood Studios? So we have the Chinese theater where Mickey Minnie’s runaway railway is the same advice, Shayne that queue. About three quarters of it is going to be outside. So you are going to be dealing with the weather until you get inside.
So that is one thing to keep in mind. What about animators, courtyard? So there’s a couple shows. There’s the Disney Jr here. And then there’s a Star Wars area called the launch bay. That’s really been left by itself, because of Batuu, the props are still.
And so if you’re a star wars fan, don’t forget about the Star Wars launch bay, because there’s still some really cool things to see. There’s some good shopping over in this area if you want to get away from everybody else. So this is an area that’s tucked away by guesses.
They’re going to be expanding this at some time. I think for me, one of the coolest areas of Hollywood studios is Sunset Boulevard and that front part, because I absolutely love Shayne the theme of old Hollywood.
Shayne: And that’s another areas, like Batuu, like the Wizarding world, where there are so many details on
Shayne: and on the walls as you walk down and you just want to take your time and look at everything.
Ryan: Especially when the actors, the citizens of Hollywood come back, it’s just, I love it. The music that plays there, there’s great shopping up and down there. There’s good. Quick service restaurants. It ends at toy story mania and at the beauty and the beast live show and a rock and roller coaster, you know?
So there’s a draw to get back there. I think a lot of people rush up and down that street to get to one of those things. Again, stop, take your time and check out the details.
We’ve talked a little bit about some of the more popular rides, but we haven’t talked about Rock and Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Play into the mix here, Shayne?
Shayne: Wasn’t that long ago that they were the popular
Shayne: There, there are a lot of fun Tower of Terror isn’t just one of those rise and drop
Ryan: no, no, not at all. No, no. It’s the theming behind it. The story behind it is so cool.
Shayne: Yeah. The Twilight zone. Theming is don’t see that everywhere or
Shayne: is. It’s really, really cool. and
Shayne: Uh, it’s. I would say my probably third, definitely top five ride in of Orlando, the way it shoots out at the very beginning.
And it’s so smooth, I love a nice, smooth.
Ryan: Absolutely. So to me, these are definitely ones you’re going to want to grab a Lightning Lane for, as quickly as you can. If you can use up that first Lightening Lane and the, in the first hour or so that the park is open, these are probably going to be one of them that you’re going to want to grab next.
The times will fluctuate with these, but one of the things that we found when we were there a few weeks ago is inevitably, we would be on the other side of the park and we’d see a lower wait time. So by the time we got over there, the wait time had shot up. these are ones you’re going to want to do it attend to probably with your Lightening Lanes.
Shayne: And that makes sense where when you start seeing the ride times dropping and one on the other side of the park, whichever side you’re. Everybody’s going to see that too and start migrating over. So don’t, whenever you see that, if you’re not in line or waiting for something, go ahead and head over that way.
Don’t wait around to head over because everybody else is going to see those same shorter ride time.
Ryan: Absolutely. So let’s talk a little bit about dining. Hollywood studios does not have the dining options that a park like Epcot has, but they do have some interesting options. What are some of the places that your family has enjoyed?
Shayne: Well, definitely the most popular, I think is the Sci-Fi Dine-in restaurant. Every client wants a reservation for that restaurant. Chances are in this scenario where you’re spending the one day, you may not have the chance to get that reservation. And it pops up if he can get in.
I recommend it inside the restaurant. It’s as though you’re at an outdoor drive in theater and they’ve got the ceiling where it looks like a starry sky and then the drive-in screen in front of you. And most of the tables on the inside are cars too. You’re sitting in a car and watching the short films and cartoons on the drive-in screen. And it’s a lot of fun, but if you don’t get into it, you can’t get a reservation for it. Don’t worry because the food is not my favorite
at Disney world.
Ryan: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think people go for the atmosphere. The food has gotten better. I will say that, the food has gotten better. think for me, if we’re talking quick service, There’s really only one. I’ve been to several of the quick service places, but the one I really enjoy, the brown Derby lounge.
And I like the lounge because it’s outside and you can do a walk-up reservation from the Genie. And they have a lot of the same menu items as inside. It’s relaxing. It’s a great way to, just, to just still be in the Hollywood vibe, but be out of it. You’re away, you’re relaxed.
For me, that’s the table service that I’ve enjoyed the last couple of times is that lounge
Shayne: And I
haven’t been in it, but being outside, you can definitely see it. And it is a really nice, cool lounge area.
Ryan: yeah. Yeah. So quick service, obviously for me, the two places at bat two are really good. You have docking bay seven, which is more of a traditional, Quick service menu, although star wars influenced food, obviously. And then you have Ronto Roasters, which offer a breakfast and lunch kind of sausage wraps.
These are amazing to me, Shayne, have you had one of these before?
Shayne: Yes, they
Shayne: delightful. I love
Ryan: they’re so
good. I love them. I mean this is a snack for me, hands down. Almost every single time I go to Hollywood studios. I absolutely love them, there are some other good, quick service places around backlot express while ha having a pretty basic menu.
I really liked the Cuban sandwich and Rosie’s All-American cafe on sunset Boulevard. There’s some really good things on that menu. If you just are going to hold studios for the day and you want to have some drinks and you want to have some quick bites and some snacks, you’re going to be satisfied at Hollywood studios, even though people don’t of it as an eating park necessarily.
Shayne: What’s your overall favorite place to dine in Hollywood Studios.
Ryan: So if I’m sitting down, I like the Brown Derby Lounge. If I’m Doing quick service, I’m probably going to be at Docking Bay Seven or Ronto Roasters with my family. That will probably be where we go.
Shayne: Oh, you know what I forgot about Ronto Roasters is their coffee is
Ryan: I haven’t
had, no, I haven’t had it.
Is it flavor like gives it a special brew or is this good?
Shayne: I got it because I was desperate. Right. Cause that morning we had stopped at Starbucks the, young girls were in line at Starbucks and Coryne and I ran get our back and before we were able to get back into the park, were already being called for our boarding pass. So we had to get out of line from Starbucks, not get breakfast, not get coffee. And after we rode Rise to the Resistance, then we went to Ronto Roasters and just got the coffee there. And I was so pleased with how
Ryan: Huh. Good to know. Good to know after you get coffee next time. So there we go, Shayne, there are our top tips for Hollywood Studios. Just to wrap this up. What’s your biggest piece of advice when planning a single day at Hollywood Studios?
Shayne: I think it’s what you said earlier. Get that Rise of the Resistance individual attraction. If you. So you can make sure that you ride that and then use Lightning Lanes for the other rides that you’re interested in most and leaving room for that first thing to go rope drop one of your top rides also.
Ryan: I think that’s a great way to approach the strategy with what we’re seeing with genie plus and how it’s playing out. I think that’s really how you have to look at it. I think for me the biggest piece of advice, especially when it gets to a hot afternoon, don’t forget about the show.
Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Frozen Singalong. Those are good shows. I mean, you and Muppets 3d, if you grew up in, in our time, Shayne, even though my kids couldn’t care less about the Muppets, that’s a good show. And so make sure you take some time, get out of the heat, sit down and enjoy those things because all three of those as examples are pure Disney magic
Shayne: yeah. If you have your kids with you, they may not get the jokes from the Muppet Vision 3d ride. But if the kids aren’t with you, then you definitely check out Muppet Vision 3d. It’s cool in there. And it’s hilarious.
Ryan: Shayne and I would love to help you plan your out of this world day at Hollywood Studios. As you know, we are both travel advisors with Creating Magic Vacations. You can reach us at Ryan that’s me R Y A N at CreatingMagicVacations.com or S H A Y N E at CreatingMagicVacations.com.
Shayne: Most families are confused and overwhelmed. When they want to plan a vacation, we work with you to plan a trip perfect. For your interests, which saves you time, money and stress.