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Hollywood Studios Tips: Get Ready for Crowds

Last Updated on June 26, 2022

Hollywood Studios is the most popular of the Disney World parks. Formerly a park that could not fill a day, it now houses several of Disney’s headline attractions. It’s major downside is that it lacks filler attractions that eat crowds. Expect long lines. What Hollywood Studios tips do you need to plan your day?

What Hollywood Studios Tips Do You Need to Plan Your Day?

1. Where’s Hollywood Studios?

2. Check a Hollywood Studios Crowd Calendar

3. Arrive Early

4. On Property Guests Get Extra Time

5. How Long Do You Need?

6. You Need a Theme Park Reservation

7. There Are Ways to Save

8. Download the App

9. There is Free Wi-Fi

10. Check the Weather for Hollywood Studios

11. What Do You Need to Bring?

12. Hollywood Studios Parking and Transportation

13. There is a Baby Care Center

14. Make a Touring Plan

15. Are Genie+ and Lightning Lane Worth it?

16. What Are the Hollywood Studios Best Rides?

17. Utilize Rider Switch

18. Check the Hollywood Studios Times for Shows

19. There Are Hollywood Studios Fireworks

20. Choose the Right Hollywood Studios Dining Options

21. You Can Meet Unique Characters

22. COVID-19 Precautions

hollywood studios roller coaster

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Orlando Hollywood Studios Tips

1. Hollywood Studios Address

Hollywood Studios is located at 351 South Studio Drive in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

2. Check a Crowd Calendar

It is important to check crowd calendars for all of the Disney parks, but it is extra important at Hollywood Studios. The masses flock to this park like teenage boys to a shoe store when a new pair of Yeezys is released.

Generally speaking, when kids are out of school, the park will be crowded. If you can choose the time of year you visit, check a crowd calendar to avoid others.

3. Arrive Early

Arriving early is one of the best tips for Hollywood Studios Disney World. The park is best enjoyed when you aren’t in danger of being arrested for choking a stranger.

What time should I arrive at Hollywood Studios? At least 30 minutes early, and preferably more.

Check the Hollywood Studios hours and arrive as early as possible for rope drop (the opening of the park). You will find shorter lines and less parents yelling at their children (that starts around 11:00 a.m.).

Pro Disney’s Hollywood Studios tip: If you are staying on property, arrive at your stop about an hour before the park opens.

Bonus pro tip: Guests of on property Disney World resorts get into the park 30 minutes before everyone else.

toy story land

4. On Property Disney World Hotel Guests Get Extra Time

If you want to beat the morning crowd at Hollywood Studios, staying at a Disney World resort is a must.

Hollywood Studios Early Entry

Can I get into Hollywood Studios early? Yes, if you feed the mouse.

Guests of on property Disney World hotels and the Swan and Dolphin get into the park 30 minutes before the general public each day. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is a huge disadvantage to the off property crowd. Every ride line builds before they are allowed to enter, so there are no short morning lines for them.

Extended Evening Hours

Guests of the Swan and Dolphin and Disney World’s Deluxe properties also get extra time after the park closes on certain nights. As of the time of this writing, extra time at Hollywood Studios is not offered.  That could always change, so check the schedule at the time of your visit.

Pro tip: If you are staying in one of the Deluxe hotels, visit each theme park on the day it gets extended evening hours. If you are not in a Deluxe property, avoid the park with extended evening hours like the plague.

hollywood studios lightning mcqueen's racing academy

5. How Long Do You Need?

Can you do everything at Hollywood Studios in a day? With a good touring plan, you can probably hit all the rides, but it will be tight.

Hollywood Studios Florida has some popular attractions that shouldn’t be missed. Said popularity is evidenced by the wait times that can be two plus hours per ride. One day should be enough time to ride everything in theory, but if you are visiting during a busy time, you may need a second day.

You may want to ride things more than once, in which case you should definitely plan for two days at this park.

6. You Need a Reservation

One of the most important Hollywood Studios park tips is to make a reservation. The days of strolling into a Disney park casually are no more. Theme park reservations are mandatory. If you don’t make one, you can’t come in.

hollywood studios entrance

7. Ways to Save

Hollywood Studios is expensive, but there there are ways to save.

Discounted Disney Gift Cards

You can purchase Hollywood Studios tickets and food with Disney gift cards. Purchase said gift cards at a discount at several places.

Discounted Disney Tickets

If you aren’t using gift cards, purchase tickets through a discount broker like Undercover Tourist.

Consider an Annual Pass

If you are planning to visit Disney World multiple times, do the math. Does an annual pass make sense?

Pro tip: You can upgrade previously purchased Disney World tickets to an annual pass.

Visit at an Off Time

Hollywood Studios ticket prices vary by the day. You will get a better deal at off peak times.

Use Miles and Points

The Disney Visa from Chase earns Disney dollars. It isn’t the best credit card for everyday purchases, but it comes with a decent signup bonus. You can purchase tickets, dine, and buy merchandise with the Disney dollars earned. You also get discounts at the Hollywood Brown Derby if you pay with this card.

Note: Chase has a 5/24 rule that it may or may not be enforcing at this time. If you have taken out or been listed as an authorized user on five or more credit cards from any company (not just Chase) in the last 24 months, you may be declined.

Free Ice Water

The counter service restaurants pass out free cups of water. Don’t waste your money buying water bottles.

You Can Bring Food

Outside food is allowed. Don’t go crazy. You won’t want to carry it.

Pro tip: The cups are small. Bring a refillable water bottle and ask for multiple cups.

hollywood studios toy story mania

8. Download the App

The My Disney Experience app is mandatory. It gives you a Hollywood Studios Disney World map, ride wait times, and allows you to mobile order quick service meals.

Recently, Disney unrolled the worthless, free Genie service on the app. It recommends an itinerary for Hollywood Studios and suggests things to do throughout the day. Don’t bother with this one.

Touringplans.com has been doing this for free for years.  Touringplans.com does not care whether Disney’s crowds are directed in specific ways. Disney, on the other hand, has an interest in sending people where it wants them to go, even if it doesn’t maximize their experience. Odds are decent that you will get better results without the Genie.

Pro tip: The app drains cell phone batteries faster than middle-aged women slam White Claw on Friday night. Don’t forget a portable cell phone charger.

9. There is Free Wi-Fi

It is slow and unreliable, but there is free Wi-Fi at Hollywood Studios.

10. Check the Hollywood Studios Weather

Orlando weather ranges from comfortable to core of the sun. Violent afternoon storms that do nothing to make you feel cooler are common during the summer. Check the weather before you go so you know what to expect.

11. Day Bag Packing

You don’t want to fight crowds while carrying a cooler. Trust me on this one. If you don’t have a stroller, go easy here. With that said, don’t forget:

A. A poncho

B. A hat or sunglasses

C. Nausea medication

D. Headache medication

E. A refillable water bottle

F. Sunscreen

G. A portable phone charger

hollywood studios galaxy edge

12. Transportation and Parking for Hollywood Studios

Guests at Disney’s on property resorts can take resort transportation to the park for free. Depending upon your resort, you may access the park by bus, boat, or Skyliner.

Buses start running about 45 minutes before Hollywood Studios opening time. You want to be at the front of the line when the bus arrives, so get to the stop at least an hour before park opening. It is less of an issue for the boats and Skyliner, but you still want to line up an hour ahead of time if being one of the first into the park is important to you.

If you drive to the park, the parking fee is $25 per day for standard parking and between $45 and $50 per day for preferred parking depending upon the day.

Pro tip: There is a special Disney bus for people who are park hopping.

Bonus pro tip: If you park hop, you don’t have to pay for parking twice in the same day.

Extra bonus pro tip: Guests of on property resorts (who likely paid for parking at their hotels) do not have to pay to park at the theme parks.

hollywood studios tower of terror

13. There is a Baby Care Center

There is a baby care center near the entrance across from the Oscar’s Super Service store. It includes rocking chairs for nursing, changing tableshigh chairs, a microwave, a sink, and a store that sells baby items.

14. Make a Touring Plan

This park is the most obscenely crowded popular at Disney World right now. It does not have as many rides as Magic Kingdom. If you’re wondering how to get the most out of Hollywood Studios, you need a touring plan. That sea of humanity isn’t going away.

The best plan for you depends upon your priorities. No matter what, arrive prior to park opening and eat at off times. When deciding what to do first at Hollywood Studios, consider going to Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, or Sunset Boulevard to ride the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Save shows and shopping for the afternoon.

Pro tip: Check out the Hollywood Studios map before you go to familiarize yourself with where things are located.

Bonus pro tipTouringplans.com creates free personalized touring plans. Input what you want to do to generate a plan. Your plan can be modified throughout the day based upon current Hollywood Studios wait times.

Extra bonus pro tip: The park employees will not kick you out of a line if you are in it before the park closes. If you get in line one minute before Hollywood Studios closing time, you will be allowed to ride.

NoteDisney’s Genie app claims to provide you with a free touring plan. While this is technically true, data points suggest the app sends people to rides with longer wait times that do not make sense. Disney wants to control traffic, not maximize your experience. Try touringplans.com instead.

Hollywood Studios Disney Tips for Adults

A Hollywood Studios itinerary for adults should include arriving early, riding big rides in the morning and before park close, and spending time in Galaxy’s Edge.

Pro tip: If you don’t care if you sit with your party, single rider lines will have substantially shorter Hollywood Studios queue times.

disney's toy story land

15. Are Genie+ and Lightning Lane Worth it?

COVID-19 gave Disney the perfect excuse to drop some free extras. RIP Disney Hollywood Studios FastPass+. No more free front of the line passes for you.

Disney has instituted a system that gives you multiple opportunities to pay extra per day with both Genie+ and Hollywood Studios Individual Lightning Lane passes. Paying for something that used to be free sounds unappealing. I get it. However, you can make the system work for you. Since everyone doesn’t make these purchases, you have less competition.

Hollywood Studios Genie+

Genie+ allows you to reserve spots to skip the line on certain Hollywood Studios attractions throughout the day. Everyone who purchases it, whether in an on property hotel or off, can start making reservations at 7:00 a.m. on the day of their visit.

You cannot reserve a specific time. You get what Disney says you get. If your first selection is later in the day (as it likely will be with Slinky Dog Dash), you may end up holding more than one pass at once after you book your second one.

Guests can make a new reservation every two hours OR when their prior selection has been used or expired. In other words, you can book one less than every two hours if you have no selection pending.

As of the time of this writing, it costs $15.98 per person per day. You can add it to your vacation package at any time.

Note: The free system used to let you book the same attraction multiple times in the same day. That is no longer allowed. If you want to ride a second time, you need to hang out in the standby line with everyone else.

Note: Official rules state you can be five minutes early or fifteen minutes late for your reservation. If you arrive outside of your return window, they do not have to honor your pass.

Hollywood Studios Tips for Genie+

Pro Disney Hollywood Studios tip: You can pick and choose when you use Genie+. You do not have to purchase it for every day of your trip.

Bonus pro tip: Sometimes, you have to prove you have a reservation multiple times in the same line. Don’t book another ride until you are sure you have gone through all the scanners.

Extra bonus pro tip: If you don’t care if you sit with your party, consider skipping Genie+ and using the the single rider lines for free.

Extra bonus pro tip: If Slinky Dog Dash is important to you, it should be your first pick.

Lightning Lane

Lightning Lane only applies to two rides, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Rise of the Resistance.

If you choose to buy Lightning Lane for one or both of these attractions, you pay a flat fee to skip the line once for that ride only. The rate varies depending on demand, but you can generally expect to pay somewhere between $7 and $15 per person as of the time of this writing.

Pro tip: Guests of on property resorts can start booking Lightning Lane reservations at 7:00 a.m. Off property guests must wait until the park opens.

Bonus pro tip: If you don’t care if you sit with your party, the single rider lines have short wait times.

Extra bonus pro tip: Hollywood Studios Rise of the Resistance passes go fast. Don’t sit on these.

Are These Extras Worth it?

Are Lightning Lane and Genie+ worth it at this park?

Lightning Lane

Lightning Lane may make sense for Rise of the Resistance. If you will only be there once, don’t want to run at rope drop, and don’t want to stand in line, it may be worth it to you.

Lightning Lane for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is probably not necessary. You can usually walk onto this ride with a very short line first thing in the morning. However, if you would rather throw some money at this and rope drop something else, go for it.

Genie+

Unlike at Animal Kingdom, Genie+ is worth it at this park. Almost every ride comes with a long line. You don’t want to burn your entire day standing around. There are enough attractions to justify the cost of the Hollywood Studios express pass.

indiana jones stunt spectacular

16. What Are the Must Do Hollywood Studios Disney World Rides?

Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World has a bunch of headliners, and almost no fillers. Determine your priorities and be prepared to wait in line.

Animation Courtyard Attractions

Animation Courtyard is located about halfway to the back of the park to the right. Save this section for the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay is a walkthrough attraction that houses paraphernalia from the movies. This area also has a theater that features a snoozefest documentary about the story’s development.

Height requirement: None

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Hollywood Studios Walt Disney Presents

Walt Disney Presents is a gallery about Walt Disney followed by a movie about Walt Disney. If your kids don’t care about Walt Disney, you can skip it. In a pinch, it is a great place to get out of the sun in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios ride height requirement: None

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: No

walt disney presents

Hollywood Studios Echo Lake Attractions

Echo Lake is located near the front of the park to the left. You can safely save this section for the afternoon.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Vomit City Star Tours is a motion simulator that has seen better days. There will be a line in the afternoon, but not an unreasonable one.

Height requirement: 40″

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Hollywood Studios Vacation Fun

Vacation Fun is a Mickey Mouse cartoon in an air conditioned theater. You will never encounter a line beyond waiting for the next show to start. There is nothing special about it, but the show is cute, and it is a great place to sit down in the afternoon.

Height requirement: None

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: No

vacation fun with mickey & minnie

Grand Avenue Attraction

Grand Avenue is located about halfway to the back of the park. Veer left to reach it from the Hollywood Studios entrance. Do not go here first. Save this for the afternoon.

Muppet Vision 3D

Muppet Vision 3D is a cute, old, movie that plays all day. It is definitely worth a stop, particularly for people who got a Rock Tumbler for Christmas in 1990. You do not need to go here first. This is one of the few attractions that absorbs a lot of people at once. Save it for when the other lines are long.

Height requirement: None

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

hollywood studios muppet 3d vision

Hollywood Boulevard Attraction

Hollywood Boulevard is the first section you encounter at the entrance to Hollywood Studios. Think Magic Kingdom’s Main Street. In addition to being a popular place to take photos, it houses one popular attraction.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Formerly the Hollywood Studios Great Movie Ride, Mickey & Minnie’s is a must do. It is a fun, relatively mild ride, during which you are in a Mickey Mouse cartoon. You enter said cartoon, literally, as you walk through a broken wall after the ride’s preshow.

The line for this ride builds throughout the day. The queue is in the blazing sun with very little shade. This is a great ride to hit at rope drop if you are interested. You can also skip the line with Lightning Lane, but going here first thing in the morning is a free way to avoid a wait.

Hollywood Studios Mickey ride height requirement: None

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: Yes

hollywood studios orlando ride mickey & Minnie's runaway railway

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Attractions

What should you not miss at Hollywood Studios? If you like Star Wars, Galaxy’s Edge is a must do.

Galaxy’s Edge is a mecca for nerds Star Wars fans. It is heavily themed, isolated from the rest of the park, has employees that speak Nerd another language, and offers plenty of expensive shopping opportunities. It has two popular Hollywood Studios Florida rides, plus a lot at which to look beyond them.

This section is located all the way in the back of the park. It gets crowded throughout the day. If it is important to you, consider heading here first.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Smugglers Run is a motion simulator that allows its occupants to navigate the Millennium Falcon. It can be crashed, and it will if your six year old has anything to say about it.

Height requirement: 38″

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

This Hollywood Studios Star Wars ride is unquestionably the most popular at Disney World as of the time of this writing. This attraction is very well done with multiple ride mechanisms. Most would consider it a must do attraction.

Disney used to have a free virtual queue that anyone could join in the morning, but, you know, money. That went the way of FastPass+ when the new paid system was put into place.

Everyone wants to ride, which means the line is long all day. If you can run really, really fast, head here first. If not, don’t bother. Pay for Lightning Lane or accept the fact that you will be waiting awhile.

Pro tip: If you want to purchase Lightning Lane for this ride, don’t wait. It sells out very quickly.

Height requirement: 40″

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: Yes

hollywood studios orlando star wars

Sunset Boulevard Attractions

Sunset Boulevard is located in the front right of the park. The rides aren’t new, but they are still super fun. If you don’t care as much about the shiny stuff, this is a great place to go first thing in the morning before the lines build. Most people will head elsewhere.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

This is an indoor, air conditioned show starring Lightning McQueen from Cars. It is a great place to sit down in the afternoon. Do not go here first. There won’t be a wait. Ever.

Height requirement: No

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Hollywood Studios Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Your older kids will love this ride despite the fact that they have no idea who the weird old guys in the preshow are. This indoor, upside down roller coaster takes places largely in the dark at high speeds. It is older, but still smooth and a lot of fun.

The line gets long, but you can walk on with almost no wait first thing in the morning.

Height requirement: 48″

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of the most iconic Hollywood Studios rides. You go up an elevator, then bounce up and down. You will find a similar, even better ride at California Adventure. This line gets long, but not first thing in the morning.

Hollywood Studios Twilight Zone height requirement: 40″

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

hollywood studios aerosmith roller coaster

Hollywood Studios Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land is adorably themed with giant blocks as far as the eye can see. It is a Hollywood Studios must do with little kids.

This Hollywood Studios land is located in the back of the park to the right. It is stupid crowded popular, so if this is important to you, head here first, and quickly.

Alien Swirling Saucers

Alien Swirling Saucers is a Hollywood Studios kids’ ride. It looks a whole lot like Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in California Adventure, meaning they are basically the same ride with different cars. Think upgraded Scrambler.

You will likely have to wait, but not for an extended period of time.

Height requirement: 32″

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Slinky Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash is a Hollywood Studios roller coaster that is fast enough to please adults, but not crazy enough to deter small children. The sun beats down on this queue. Two hour waits are not unusual. Plan accordingly.

Pro tip: This ride accepts Genie+. Make this your first pick if it is important to you. You may not be able to get a time until later in the day, but you won’t get it at all if you wait.

Height requirement: 38″

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Toy Story Mania!

Toy Story Mania! is a ride/game where you shoot at objects on screens. It isn’t as popular as Slinky Dog Dash, but it should be. The largely indoor, air conditioned line builds, but it is manageable. This ride should not be missed.

Pro tip: If you get to Toy Story Land first thing in the morning and the Slinky Dog Dash line is already over an hour, jump in this line instead. It will be short.

Hollywood Studios height requirement: None

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

alien swirling saucers

17. Utilize Rider Switch

Kids are always ruining adult fun. It’s just a fact. Fortunately, Disney World has a Rider Switch program that allows multiple adults to ride things that their short companion cannot. One of the best Hollywood Studios Orlando tips and tricks for adults is to utilize it.

You wait in line one time with your entire party. One adult stays with the child while the other rides, than the adults switch without having to wait in line a second time.

Pro tip: If you have an older child, he or she can ride with both adults.

18. There Are Live Hollywood Studios Shows

Hollywood Studios Beauty and the Beast

This live stage production of Beauty and the Beast seems outdated compared to the show offered on Disney Cruise Line. The teacups are the same size as the humans. If you have a cruise coming up, you can definitely skip. If you want to see it, check the show times.

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Location: Sunset Boulevard

Disney Junior Play & Dance

Disney Junior Dance Party is Hollywood Studios entertainment for young kids. There are characters and jazz hands. Everyone sits on the floor. This really isn’t for people with all of their adult teeth.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to check the show times.

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Hollywood Studios Lightning Lane attraction: No

Location: Animation Courtyard

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

The Hollywood Studios Frozen Sing-Along is in a large theater. It has a show on a screen with some live actors on a stage. You generally won’t have to wait. Use your Genie+ if is makes you happy, but it’s not necessary.

Pro tip: This doesn’t play all day. Be sure to check the show times.

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Location: Echo Lake

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

There is an Indiana Jones show with a big rolling boulder. That is the extent of the positive things I have to say on this topic. Don’t forget to check show times if it interests you.

Genie+ accepted: Yes

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Location: Echo Lake

Hollywood Studios Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy is a Star Wars show starring random kids in the park. If you want your kid to participate, get there ASAP.

Note: This Hollywood Studios experience is temporarily suspended as of the time of this writing.

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Location: Echo Lake

Hollywood Studios Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Hollywood Studios Little Mermaid is a live show starring Ariel. The stage actors are generally talented and not painful to watch. Check the show times.

Genie+ accepted: No

Lightning Lane attraction: No

Location: Animation Courtyard

voyage of the little mermaid

19. There Are Nighttime Shows

Fantasmic

Fantasmic is a long running show starring Mickey Mouse from Fantasia. It features several popular movie characters. You can see the same show at Disneyland.

Pro tip: This Hollywood Studios night show is popular. Check the show times and arrive early.

Bonus pro tip: If you want to avoid the crowd, there is a dessert party that gets you into a reserved seating area. As of the time of this writing, it costs $39 per adult and $19 per child, a steal compared to the Magic Kingdom offering.

Extra bonus pro tip: There are dining packages available that get you into a reserved seating area. Multiple Hollywood Studios Orlando restaurants offer them, and you can bank on it being expensive. Check availability at the time of your visit.

Fireworks

Hollywood Studios features a nighttime show that changes from time to time. All shows have fireworks and are dripping with intellectual property. Check the show times at the time of your visit and plan to stake out a spot early.

Pro tip: There is a Star Wars dessert party option that offers VIP seating to the fireworks. As of the time of this writing, it costs $89 per adult and $53 per child ages three to nine. That price is obscene, but it does include alcohol. I have no idea how they justify the kid price or the fact that a ten year old child pays adult prices but can’t drink. Skipping this one with kids makes sense.

hollywood studios star wars land

20. Hollywood Studios Best Restaurants

Unlike EPCOT, Hollywood Studios has lackluster options when it comes to dining. Some are better than others. Disney posts the restaurant menus on its website to help with your decision.

Mobile order is your friend. Use it for Hollywood Studios quick service restaurants, and don’t wait until you’re ready to eat to do it. It is not uncommon to be offered a pickup time that is hours from the time you order.

Pro tip: If you’re wondering how to do Hollywood Studios in a way that maximizes your day, eat at an off time. This will allow you to avoid crowds and take advantage of shorter ride lines. Alternatively, make reservations for the latest possible time. This will keep you in the park after it closes so you don’t waste time eating while you could be riding.

Hollywood Studios Tips for Dining Reservations

Pro tip: Everyone can make dining reservations for Hollywood Studios 60 days before the date of their visits starting around 5:45 a.m. EST. If you stay in a Disney hotel, you can make reservations for up to ten days at once starting 60 days from the day you check into the resort, giving onsite guests an advantage for tough to get hot spots. The popular ones go fast. Set an alarm.

Bonus pro tip: Don’t make your dining reservations in chronological order. Make the most difficult to get first, then circle back, even if it means reserving the restaurants you will visit at the end of your trip first.

Extra bonus pro tip: Save the most difficult to get Hollywood Studios reservations for the end of your trip. On property guests who check in before you have already made reservations for some of the days of your trip when your booking window opens. If you stay on property, you will be more likely to get something a few days after your check in date.

Extra bonus pro tip: People cancel reservations all the time, especially last minute. If you don’t get what you want right away, keep checking.

Note: Disney World’s dining plan is currently suspended.

Hollywood Studios Restaurants to Consider

Hollywood Studios’ options are not as good as some of the other parks, but it does have allergy menus and gluten free items at most locations.

50s Primetime Cafe

50s Primetime Cafe’s theme is old school diner with some sass. Frankly, the show falls flat, as does this Hollywood Studios food, and I seriously enjoy sarcasm. With that said, it is popular, so make reservations early if you’re interested.

Pro tip: The crab cake is the best option on the menu for Hollywood Studios gluten free dining.

Location: Echo Lake

The Hollywood Brown Derby

The Hollywood Studios Brown Derby, most widely regarded for its Cobb Salad, is popular. The food is expensive, but better than most other options.

Pro tip: Reservations for this Hollywood Studios table service restaurant go fast. Book early.

Bonus pro tip: This restaurant offers a Hollywood Studios Fantasmic dining package that gets you into reserved seating for the show.

Extra bonus pro tip: Disney Visa cardholders get a discount when they pay with their cards.

Location: Hollywood Boulevard

Oga’s Cantina

Oga’s Cantina is a bar with a couple of Hollywood Studios snacks. People go here for the themed cocktails and Star Wars atmosphere. Reservations are coveted.

Location: Galaxy’s Edge

Hollywood Studios Sci-Fi Diner

Sci-Fi Diner is themed like a drive-in Hollywood Studios movie theater. You eat your meals in cars while clips of old movies play around you. The food is slightly above average, but the atmosphere is unique.

Heads up: I thought the kids would like this, because, screens. My nine year old was creeped out by the movies enough to declare he did not want to return. They may be scary to small children.

Pro tip: This restaurant has gluten free buns.

Location: Commissary Lane

Hollywood Studios Woody’s Lunch Box

Woody’s Lunch Box is a Toy Story themed quick service. It lacks indoor seating. Be sure to mobile order early before the crowds form and the sun is at its hottest.

Pro tip: This restaurant has gluten free bread.

Location: Toy Story Land

hollywood studios where to eat sci fi diner

21. There Are Hollywood Studios Characters

You can meet characters throughout the day in various locations. Check the schedule at the time of your visit.

Note: If you’re looking for Hollywood Studios character dining, you have one option, Hollywood & Vine. The restaurant has a couple of different meals, but the food is notoriously awful. Save your money and character dine at a different park.

22. COVID-19 Precautions

As of the time of this writing, Disney World requires masks at all indoor locations. It also makes you fill in all available space in Hollywood Studios lines and shows. If you are uncomfortable in crowds, postpone your trip.

star wars land disney world

Final Thoughts – Disney World Hollywood Studios Tips and Tricks

The park has some great attractions, but it lacks shade and smaller rides that help manage crowds. It. Gets. Hot. Mentally prepare yourself for some discomfort. Use the Hollywood Studios tips that work for you to maximize your day and maintain your sanity.

Is Hollywood Studios worth it? Absolutely. Visit. You will not regret it.

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Save on Disney Trips: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hollywood Studios Tips

45 thoughts on “Hollywood Studios Tips: Get Ready for Crowds

  1. These are great tips for visiting Hollywood Studios! I especially like the water tip and the up to date Covid information. It is really helpful for anyone who is looking to visit soon.

  2. Did not even realize this was a section of the park! But wow, totally worth visiting – love the photos and seeing all the movie themed stuff. Disney has sure come a long way from the days of “Princess-everything!”

  3. Wow, thank you for putting so many amazing tips in one post!! My fiancé and I are planning a trip to disney for this coming fall and this is incredibly helpful. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I’ve never been to Disney Hollywood Studio’s. But it’s on my list. The Hollywood Boulevard Attraction looks lovely!

  5. Wow! There’s a lot to do. I’ve nearly forgotten what a vacation is all about. This is a thoroughly detailed article that makes me want to go check it all out in person. I wonder if I can bring my dog, Henry too? 😉🐶

  6. What great pro tips. We have talked about a Disney trip but it gets dismissed due to crowds etc. Having these tips might put it back on the list!

  7. Great article. We have stayed at Pop Century a couple times. Great low cost option. It is on the Disney Skyliner so getting to Hollywood Studios is very easy. Our last trip was before the new early access rules so not sure how that is impacting the park.

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