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10 Rookie Mistakes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Rookies have no fear! We here at DisneyLists have your back! While planning a vacation to Walt Disney World may seem like a daunting task, trust that your planning and preparation will make for one spectacular trip. Whether you’ve never been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or you haven’t been since all the newer attractions and experiences, this is the article for you! Here are ten rookie mistakes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and how to avoid them.


1 – Not Downloading the My Disney Experience App

Ok, rookies, first things first! As you begin to plan your visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll NEED to download the My Disney Experience App. It’s a FREE Disney app that will be your guide in all Disney parks, including Hollywood Studios. This app is crucial to making dining reservations, FastPass selections, mobile ordering food, joining a boarding group, and checking on attraction wait times. It also serves as your virtual map! Download this now if you haven’t already. Then, let’s keep going!

2 – Missing the 180-Day Window for Dining Reservations

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the dining booking window is sixty days.

Disney allows guests to book dining reservations for table-service restaurants 180-days in advance. You may be thinking, 180 days? That seems like a lifetime before the trip! BUT – it’s not. Many Disney restaurants fill up at the 180-day mark, so it’s definitely a day you want to make a note of. Hollywood Studios has some of the very best themed table-service restaurants, and many of them fill to capacity quickly. Book these restaurants via your My Disney Experience App 180-days in advance right when the 6:00 am booking window opens.

3 – Missing the 30 or 60-Day Window for FastPasses

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, FastPass+ is temporarily suspended.

Much like the dining reservations above, Disney also has a booking window for their FastPass System. FastPasses are free and allow you to skip the Stand-By line for a much shorter wait time on certain attractions. If you are staying at a Disney Resort, you’ll be able to book your FastPass selections 60-days in advance as early as 7:00 am. If staying offsite, you can book 30-days in advance as early as 7:00 am. You’re able to book three FastPasses in advance per day. Take note that Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a Tiered FastPass System. This means you can FastPass one attraction in Tier 1 and two FastPasses in Tier 2.

  • Tier 1 Attractions include: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash, and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
  • Top Tier 2 Attractions include: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
  • Our recommendations: Head straight for Slinky Dog Dash at park opening. Make your Tier 1 attraction FastPass Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. You can go in the Single-Rider line for Smuggler’s Run. We’d then recommend Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania as your Tier 2 options. You can use the Single-Rider line Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Once you’ve used your three FastPasses for the day, you can get on your My Disney Experience App and add another one if available. Once you’ve used that one, you can repeat this process as much as possible until the park closes!

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse search for their perfect picnic spot in Runnamuck Park as part of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Credit: Disney/Kent Phillips.

4 – Sleeping In & Missing A Boarding Group

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the boarding group process has been slightly modified. Click here to learn what you need to know about boarding passes during the phased reopening. 

Hollywood Studios has one oddball attraction you’ll want to be aware of! This is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge. It’s an absolutely incredible attraction…and we mean INCREDIBLE! With that being said, there is no way to wait in line to ride this attraction. It has a virtual queue. This means if you plan to arrive and walk straight to the attraction, you won’t be able to get on. There are two chances to join the virtual queue: at 7:00 am and 1:00 pm. At 7:00 am you can be anywhere, you no longer need to be in the park to secure a boarding group. Use your My Disney Experience App to join a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You’ll be assigned a boarding group number, and your app will tell you when your boarding time is coming. It’s essential you are ready to join a boarding group the moment you can. The groups fill up in seconds. Note that for the 1:00 pm opening time you need to be in the park to join. It may be stressful, but it’s worth the hassle.

5 – Not Exploring the Park Layout in Advance

By now, you likely understand the importance of having the My Disney Experience App! As mentioned above, this app can serve as your virtual map through Hollywood Studios. We do, however, see many rookies wait until they are IN the park to find things. Unfortunately, this is a time-waster. Study the park layout before your trip. Using the app, you’ll be able to learn boulevard and land names to help with finding your way around the park. Study different landmark attractions that will set you on the right path. No need to waste time in the park trying to figure out where you’re going!


6 – Skipping the Shows

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is temporarily suspended.

It’s Hollywood, after all! You won’t want to miss the incredible entertainment and shows available in the park. A couple of our favorites include Fantasmic! (a nighttime spectacular), Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, and For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. You can expect impressive entertainers, costumes, stage work, and more. You won’t want to skip these popular shows.

7 – Avoiding the Classics

While much of the excitement at Disney’s Hollywood Studios revolves around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and other thrilling attractions, you won’t want to pass on some of the Hollywood Studios “classics.” We especially recommend taking a stroll through Walt Disney Presents. Visit the Muppets at Muppet Vision 3D. And take in all the action with Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

8 – Not Stopping for Snacks

Slow your roll! We get that there is a LOT to squeeze in at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. BUT – we also recommend you slow your stroll whenever possible. There are many outstanding snacks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including blue or green milk, ice cream sandwiches, specialty cupcakes, funnel cakes, lunch box tarts, and so much more. Slow down and enjoy a little Hollywood Studios’ goodness!

9 – Missing the Nighttime Excitement

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, nighttime spectaculars are temporarily suspended.

It’s likely been a long day. You arrived well before the park opening. You’ve scurried through crowds. And you’ve braved the Florida heat. Before you call it a night, be sure to hang around and experience all the nighttime excitement Hollywood Studios has to offer! Two nighttime spectaculars include Fantasmic! and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. On top of those experiences, you’ll want to check out Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge at night! While they are stunning during the day, at night, these spaces transform and absolutely glow. Arrive early and stay late! Trust us; it’s worth it.

10 – Skipping out on the Disney Skyliner

The Disney Skyliner is the newest form of Disney transportation and is like an attraction all in itself! Hollywood Studios guests have a chance to experience the Skyliner as it is located just outside of the park. If staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort, Art of Animation, Pop Century, or Caribbean Beach Resort, you can take the Skyliner to and from your resort to Hollywood Studios. You can also park hop to EPCOT from Hollywood Studios on the Skyliner. If you don’t need to get to any of these destinations, you are still welcome to ride on the Skyliner for free to simply check out the aerial views it has to offer. The Skyliner is a great way to begin or end your Hollywood Studios day.

Alright, rookies! You’re ready to be a Disney pro. Have a fantastic time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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About Mike & Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire as many MagicBands as possible while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 13 years and are blessed with two children - our 8-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year-old son. As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.