When Disney insiders take the center stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they know how to minimize wait times and maximize the magic in the park. If you want to be a touring star, here are our top ten Disney pro tips:
1. Take the Walkway from Crescent Lake
The Friendship launches crossing Crescent Lake will take guests to Hollywood Studios from the International Gateway entrance to Epcot, the Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach Club, and Swan & Dolphin resorts. But insiders know that you can also follow a waterside path behind the Boardwalk to get to the Hollywood Studios turnstiles. It’s a peaceful 15-20 minute walk, and it’s a good option if there’s a long line for the boat.
2. Get Fastpass+ for Toy Story Mania
Fastpass+ options at Hollywood Studios are split into two tiers – you can make three Fastpass+ reservations in advance, but you can only choose one from the first tier, which includes some of the more popular rides like Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. Disney pros know to choose one and make sure to arrive at rope drop and ride the other first thing. Toy Story Mania has notoriously long lines and is a smart choice for a Fastpass+ reservation; Rock n’ Roller does have a single rider line option which can give guests a shorter wait.
3. Jedi Training Academy Sign-Up
The Jedi Training Academy takes place each day outside Star Tours; young padawans can learn the ways of the force and battle a sith lord. Jedi insiders know that to participate, you and your child need to sign up in advance at the ABC Sound Studio. If possible, go at park opening as the sign-up sheet fills up fast.
4. Walk through One Man’s Dream
Disney insiders love Walt! The One Man’s Dream exhibit on Mickey Avenue lets you learn more about Walt Disney’s life. The indoor gallery is full of photos, memorabilia, audio, and video clips to tell Walt’s story. The Disney Parks models are always fun to look at, and there’s also a fifteen minute film if you want the air conditioning break to last a bit longer!
5. Grab an Early Lunch at Starring Rolls
For some of the tastiest sandwiches and desserts on property and some of the most epic cupcakes, Starring Rolls is a must-try counter service at Hollywood Studios. The seating is outdoors and can get crowded, so go for an early lunch. Also keep in mind that Starring Rolls closes earlier in the afternoon than most restaurants, usually at 4pm.
6. Pull the Rope outside Indiana Jones
“Warning! Do Not Pull Rope!” is what the sign near a boarded-up well right outside the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular says. But insiders will notice that the word “not” has been definitely crossed out, and you actually should pull the rope to hear what the excavators below have to say about it!
7. Take a Photo with the Singing in the Rain Umbrella
It’s easy to miss this old Hollywood photo op – Gene Kelly’s streetlight and umbrella are on a corner on the Streets of America, close to Lights, Motors, Action. You can reenact a Singin’ in the Rain moment…it might even start to sprinkle.
8. Unannounced “Character Palooza” Meet and Greet
This Disney insider tip isn’t even listed on the times guide: unexpected character meet and greets sometimes happen at Hollywood Studios in the late afternoon, from 4-7pm. You’ll see the characters from the Fantasmic finale mingle with guests. It’s not listed officially on the schedule, and the “Character Palooza” location does change unexpectedly. Most recently it’s been happening outside the gates of Tower of Terror.
9. Catch Special Events Fireworks
The headlining nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Fantasmic!, and it’s a guest favorite. But for certain special events, Hollywood Studios hosts an even bigger fireworks show on Hollywood Blvd. Frozen Summer Fun has featured fireworks, as has Star Wars Weekends. They’re not-to-be-missed!
10. Get Excited for New Lands
New additions to Hollywood Studios were recently announced at the D23 Expo, including a Star Wars Land and a Toy Story Land. So far we only have the concept art, but soon there’ll be new attractions and theming to explore. With all the changes, the park even has a name change in its future, but no doubt Disney insiders will quickly learn any new ropes!
What is your favorite Disney Insider thing to do at Hollywood Studios?