Filed under: Walt Disney World (FL)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios begins exclusive use of FastPass+ on Tuesday, January 21. We’ve updated all of our Disney’s Hollywood Studios touring plans to use only FastPass+. Each plan now lists the suggested Fastpass+ start times for the attractions that will save you the most time in line, like this:
Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Toy Story Mania = 10 AM
Star Tours = 11 AM
Tower of Terror = 7 PM
The updated plans are very efficient – the average wait in line should be under 9 minutes per step during summer for our standard 1-day Unofficial Guide Touring Plan – with more than 2 hours of free time available in the afternoon.
Because the plans are so efficient, many of you will be able to see more rides each day. Look for new attractions such as The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow in most plans, and the return of The Magic of Disney Animation, which was usually the first thing to go when time was tight.
When we updated the plans, we kept track of how many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. As we did for the Magic Kingdom’s FastPass+ priorities, here’s the Studios’ chart:
So while FastPass+ is offered at more than a dozen Hollywood Studios attractions, there are really only four that you need to worry about most of the year. Here’s why.
It’s no surprise that our plans emphasize FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania. Families with children too small to ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror will make a beeline to Toy Story Mania first thing in the morning, and lines grow quickly. Waits at Toy Story can reach 90 minutes or more on a busy day. In fact, the lines at Toy Story Mania grow so fast that in about 1/3rd of our touring plans, we recommend getting a Toy Story Mania FastPass+ reservation for 9 AM to 10 AM, even when Toy Story is the first step in the plan. The two benefits to doing this are that you’ll shave off at least 10 minutes of waiting, and you don’t have to line up as early at the park entrance to join the mad run to Toy Story Mania.
Star Tours shows up on the chart because, like Peter Pan’s Flight, it’s not going to be anyone’s first choice to visit. For teens and adults especially, the initial morning priorities will be Toy Story, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, possibly with Great Movie Ride while they’re in the area. That makes Star Tours a great choice for a mid- or late-morning FastPass+ reservation.
I really like how the touring plan software places Tower of Terror in the evening in many of our touring plans – generally from 7 PM to 8 PM. This allows you to focus on other attractions in the morning, which reduces your waits in line, and it makes for a short walk to Fantasmic! after you ride Tower of Terror at night.
Finally, the touring plan software thinks Great Movie Ride is a good FastPass+ choice for afternoon touring plans at the Studios, especially if you can get FastPass+ reservations for Toy Story, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, or Tower of Terror.
Why FastPass+ Isn’t Recommended at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
You’ll notice Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster isn’t in the chart. Why? Remember that the Studios puts its FastPass+ attractions into two groups (or “FastPass+ tiers”):
Group A (Choose 1 for FastPass+)
Group B (Choose 2 for FastPass+)
The American Idol Experience
The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special (Seasonal)
Disney Junior – Live on Stage
The Great Movie Ride
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
You’re allowed to choose 1 FastPass+ attraction from Group A, and 2 attractions from Group B. And Toy Story Mania almost always has the longer waits, so it should be your FastPass+ choice in Group A most of the time.
If you can get FastPass+ reservations for Toy Story, Star Tours and Tower of Terror, our free Disney World touring plan software will usually make Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster your first stop, where you’ll find the lowest waits of the day.
Attractions That Never Need FastPass+ In Our Hollywood Studios Touring Plans
Including Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, most of the Studios’ attractions never require FastPass+ in our touring plans. Why? Most of them are shows, and the touring plan software does a good job of getting you to the show at least 15 minutes in advance (usually earlier for Fantasmic!). When your touring plan gets you to a show 15 minutes in advance, you’ll almost always be able to get in to see that performance. And the worst case in most scenarios is that you’ll only have to wait until the next show. Also, because you can get a FastPass+ reservation for either Fantasmic! or Toy Story Mania, you’ll almost always end up waiting less in line if you use the FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania.
The Best Times for FastPass+ Reservations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Now that you know which attractions most need FastPass+, the next question is when you should make your FastPass+ reservations. Here’s a chart showing the times our Hollywood Studios touring plans use FastPass+ to avoid long lines (yellow=morning times, orange=afternoon):
Our touring plan software recommends Toy Story Mania before 11 AM on average. Doing that removes one bottleneck from your early morning schedule, and allows you to ride more headliner attractions while lines are still short. After you’re done with the headliners, Star Tours makes an excellent late morning FastPass+ choice for teens and adults. If you’ve got small children who meet Star Tours’ 40″ height requirement and you’re taking a mid-day break (as our touring plans suggest), then a late afternoon FastPass+ reservation at Star Tours will also help keep your waits low.
What To Do If You Have Other FastPass+ Attractions or Times
If you can get a FastPass+ reservation for the attractions shown, anywhere near the times listed, the touring plans will work exactly as shown, and your waits in line will be minimized. If you need to choose other FastPass+ attractions or times, our free computer-optimized touring plan software will incorporated those.
Here’s the process I usually follow to create an optimal Hollywood Studios touring plan with low waits in line:
- Select all of the attractions I want to visit during the day, and enter in all of the meals and breaks I want to take. I don’t enter any FastPass+ times at this step, because I first want to see what the Optimizer identifies as the attractions with potentially long waits.
- Click the “Optimize” button and wait for the touring plan to be optimized.
- Find the first attraction with a wait over 30 minutes, and see if a FastPass+ reservation is available for that attraction around that time. If I find one, I enter in the FastPass+ time that’s available, and re-optimize the plan.
- I repeat Step 3 for the two FastPass+ eligible attractions with the highest wait times throughout the day. I re-optimize the plan after each attraction, because saving a bunch of time on one attraction may allow the Optimizer to uncover other ways to save you time throughout the day.
Another great resource for optimizing touring plans is our Lines Chat forum, where lots of folks are happy to offer suggestions.