People in Hollywood Studios and the Tower of Terror from afar

Hollywood Studios Itinerary (A Perfect 1 Day Touring Plan)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has gone through some major changes in the last 10 years. If you haven’t visited in a while, parts of the theme park will be unrecognizable. However, all of these upgrades have added fantastic attractions, immersive lands, and unique dining options to add to your Hollywood Studio itinerary.

I used to think of Hollywood Studios as a half-day park, but it has earned the right to have a full-day touring plan!

My only issue with Hollywood Studios is that there are too many great attractions, including Rise of the Resistance and Rock N Roller Coaster. It seems like everything worth riding has a long wait time. 

Luckily, the park also has less popular attractions with short wait times and a few shows to fill in your day. By planning your Disney’s Hollywood Studios itinerary in advance, you can maximize your visit and enjoy your favorite attractions. 

👉 More than one day at the Disney World parks? I have a Disney World itinerary that covers all the theme parks and entertainment offerings!

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1-Day Hollywood Studios Itinerary

Sunset Boulevard

I recommend arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before the park opens. Guests staying at select Disney resort hotels can utilize early entry to beat the crowds. Otherwise, you’ll want to arrive early and be at the entrance before the rope drop. 

A majority of people will run (literally run) back to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when the park opens. Unless you are a diehard Star Wars fan who can’t wait to see the land and ride the attractions, I recommend taking a right and heading down Sunset Boulevard.

The twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the clear blue sky over it
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

You won’t be guessing which attraction to head to once you make the turn. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will be waiting for you at the end of the walkway. After passing through the abandoned hotel, you’ll enter the old elevators. The rest of the ride is a heart-dropping surprise. 

When you get off Tower of Terror, head next door to one of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ top attractions, Rock N Roller Coaster. This indoor rollercoaster combines a thrilling ride with a personal Aerosmith concert. 

View of the Cruz Ramirez from the Cars in Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy
Kids can meet their favorite race cars at Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

If you have young kids, especially Cars fans, you won’t want to miss Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. This experience is located behind the Rock N Roller Coaster. Lightning shows off his racing simulator with some of his friends. 

Echo Lake

Before heading to the back of the park, make your way across to the Echo Lake area. Get good seats for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular or For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration or both. The two shows are very different but both very fun for all ages. 

View from the inside of Star Tours in Hollywood Studios
C-3PO and R2-D2 getting everyone into trouble on Star Tours

Walking past Indiana Jones, you’ll find Star Tours. This was once the premier Star Wars attraction before Galaxy’s Edge was built. Nowadays, it has posted wait times much shorter than the attractions in Star Wars land. I love this attraction because every ride takes you to different planets across the galaxy. 

Lunch

You have a few different lunch options when visiting Hollywood Studios. I love to stop at ABC Commissary for a quick-service lunch. They have a nice variety of dishes and a central location.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup on a tray from Woody's Lunch Box
Grilled cheese with tomato soup and tater tots from Woody’s Lunch Box

Another quick-service option with a little more flare is Woody’s Lunch Box. This outdoor dining location offers classic childhood favorites: grilled cheese sandwiches, lunch box tarts (basically homemade Pop-Tarts), and tater tots. 

If you’d prefer to eat at one of the table service restaurants for lunch, I recommend The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge. Located outside the main restaurant, you can enjoy some of the same dishes and drink options. 

After lunch, you’ll spend the afternoon in Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Use the My Disney Experience app to check wait times and decide which land to head into first. 

Toy Story Land

View of Woody from the sign of Toy Story Land Sign

When you enter Toy Story Land, you’ll feel like you’ve been shrunk down and placed in Andy’s backyard. Classic childhood toys and your favorite characters can be seen all around. Regardless of age, all guests will be impressed with the atmosphere of the land. 

There are three major attractions in Toy Story Land: Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, and Alien Swirling Saucers. Alien Swirling Saucers is cute for young kids or those who don’t want to ride Slinky Dog Dash, but overall it is lackluster and can be skipped. 

People enjoying a ride in the Slinky Dog Dash
Slinky Dog Dash

Expect to see a long wait time for Slinky Dog Dash, but it is worth it. The fun theming may make it look like a “kiddie ride”. You’ll be surprised at how fun and thrilling it really is. The entire line is outdoors, so have water and sun protection with you while you wait. 

Before you head into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, make sure you ride Toy Story Mania! This is one of my favorite attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. The characters from Toy Story take you through a moving arcade-style shooting game. You get some Disney movie magic and competition all rolled into one attraction. 

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

View of Star Wars character on the Star Wars Galaxy's of the Edge

For most people, the main draw at Hollywood Studios is currently Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This is a truly immersive land where the cast members are residents of the planet of Batuu. The attractions are phenomenal, but make sure you also take the time to explore the shops and restaurants. You can even build your personal lightsaber or droid. 

Your Disney’s Hollywood Studios itinerary must include Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance. On Smuggler’s Run, each person in your party will have a job to play as you complete your mission. I think that being the pilot is the hardest role and being a gunner is the most fun. 

Rise of the Resistance is by far the most interactive and immersive attraction at Hollywood Studios and all Disney parks. Try to get a Lightning Lane reservation for Rise of the Resistance. Even if you aren’t able to get a time slot, this attraction is well worth the wait. Join your favorite characters, like Rey and BB-8 as you join the resistance to fight the First Order. I cannot put into words how mesmerizing and exciting this ride is. 

People buying a drink in a Milk Stand in Galaxy's Edge
The Milk Stand in Galaxy’s Edge

Before you finish your time on Batuu, stop by the Milk Stand to grab a glass of Luke Skywalker’s favorite blue or green milk. I recommend the blue milk personally. Adults can also enjoy an alcoholic kick to their drink. Another stop for beverages is Oga’s Cantina.

Dinner

If you’re interested in a happy hour stop before you find dinner, stop by the BaseLine Tap House. They have several beers on tap, a full bar, and appetizers to bunch on. 

There are plenty of quick-service dinner locations if you’re looking for a quick meal, including Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 in Galaxy’s Edge. I prefer to do a quick-service lunch and enjoy a table-service dinner.

My favorite restaurant at Hollywood Studios is the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. It features old-school classics the way “Ma” used to make them. For a more upscale experience, dine at the Hollywood Brown Derby.

After Dark

After dinner is a great time to fit in any attractions you missed throughout the day. Since the nighttime show, Fantasmic, is not operating, crowds start to thin out around dinner time. Fantasmic is scheduled to return sometime in 2022, so expect crowd levels to change once it returns.

Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge both look very cool after dark. Wandering through the intricately decorated walkways is even more fun at night. Many Disney fans love to ride Tower of Terror in the dark because you can see the entire park lit up. 

View of the entrance to Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway

Before you head out, hop on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This newer attraction is located in the Chinese theater at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in the center of the park. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a smooth trackless ride similar to Rise of the Resistance. 

Things You Can’t-Miss at Hollywood Studios

For most guests visiting Disney, Hollywood Studios has plenty of attractions for everyone. Here are some specific Hollywood Studios touring plan ideas based on your interests. 

Hollywood Studios For Star Wars Fans

You could spend a half-day (or maybe a full day) focusing on Star Wars activities within the park. Of course, Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run will be at the top of your Disney Hollywood Studios itinerary. Don’t forget about Star Tours also. 

Within Galaxy’s Edge, take time to walk around and explore the planet of Batuu. There are specialty shops and snack stands throughout the land. The soft drinks even come in special bottles. Grab lunch and dinner at the restaurants in the land, including Ronto Roasters, Docking Bay 7, and Oga’s Cantina. Cool off with a glass of blue or green milk. 

Build your own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop. At Droid Depot, you can customize and activate your personal droid. Make sure you pick up some gear to let everyone know if you support the Resistance or the First Order. 

Finally, keep an eye out for your favorite characters! Kylo Ren can be found near the back of the land. Rey, Chewbacca, and other resistance fighters can be seen hanging out across from the Droid Depot. 

Hollywood Studios For Young Children

Many of the thrill rides in Walt Disney World have minimum height requirements, so even brave kids may not be able to ride. Luckily, Hollywood Studios has plenty of shows and attractions suitable for younger guests. 

The best attractions and shows at Hollywood Studios for young children are:

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance
  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage

If your little one enjoys watching Disney Junior, you must check out the Disney Junior Play & Dance. This party allows little ones to get out their energy and dance with their favorite Disney Junior characters. Just outside Play & Dance in the Animation Courtyard, you and your kids can also meet some of the Disney Junior pals, like Doc McStuffins. 

📚 Related Reading: I put together a list of the best activities for kids in Orlando

Best Hotels for Visiting Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Riviera Resort

One of Disney World’s newer resorts, Riviera Resort is located close to Hollywood Studios. You can ride the Skyliner, Disney’s gondola transportation, to Caribbean Beach and then on to Hollywood Studios. This hotel features elegant European theming. Enjoy delicious meals at the rooftop restaurant, Topolino’s Terrace. 

👉 Pro Tip: The Skyliner gondola can also take you from the Riviera Resort to the back entrance of Epcot and Disney’s Boardwalk. 

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

The Galactic Starcruiser is more than just a hotel. It is a 2-day immersive, all-inclusive experience. Some have described it as a cosplay cruise at Walt Disney World. This experience is for the most dedicated Star Wars fans and includes a special excursion into Galaxy’s Edge and Hollywood Studios. 

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

I love the Art of Animation Resort for kids and families. There are plenty of family suites that are large enough to fit parents and children comfortably. Plus, it is considered a value hotel, so prices are better than most of the other Disney resorts. The hotel features buildings themed for Cars, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo. There are three pools for the entire family to enjoy. 

📚 Related Reading: If you’d rather stay off Disney property, I have a few recommended Orlando areas and hotels

Hollywood Studios Itinerary Planning Tips 

Tip #1 – Use Genie+

I find that Hollywood Studios has some of the longest wait times of any Disney park. Most of the attractions are “big hitters” with some less popular attractions sprinkled in. Using Disney Genie+ to book Lightning Lane passes will help you skip some of the long lines. Currently, you’ll need to purchase an individual Lightning Lane reservation for Rise of the Resistance. 

Tip #2 – Start Early

Again, Hollywood Studios regularly posts long wait times for many of the best attractions, especially Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. By getting to the park at opening or, better yet, before rope drop, you will have all the time you need to ride as many attractions as possible. If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, take advantage of the early entry perks. You can sometimes fit in 1 to 2 attractions before the park actually opens. 

👉 Pro Tip: Plan your visit to Walt Disney World during the low season. This is the best time to visit to minimize the lines and maximize your experience. 

Tip #3 – Don’t Skip the Shows 

Hollywood Studios has several family-friendly shows, including Muppet Vision 3D and Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. Not only are the shows fun to watch, but they are also an opportunity to sit down and enjoy some shade or air conditioning. 

Tip #4 – Get to Know the App

The My Disney Experience app allows you to plan your entire vacation, including finding park tickets, making your park reservation, seeing wait times, making dining reservations, making quick-service mobile orders, and joining a virtual queue. All of your plans can be seen in one convenient spot. 

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Now that you have a touring plan ready to go, you can enjoy your Hollywood Studios day from park opening to park closing. In the comments, let us know which attraction was your favorite!

📚 Related Reading: For more Disney theme park planning advice, check out our other itineraries:

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