Planning a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? This one-day itinerary has what to do, what to eat, and where to stay, so you can enjoy the best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, my sister-in-law, her sister, and I visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Read on to find out exactly what we did, plus our lessons learned. I hope this itinerary will help you to plan your own trip and experience the best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Where to stay for Disney’s Hollywood Studios
During our trip to Walt Disney World, we stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian.
I loved staying at this luxurious hotel. It was like stepping back in time to the early 1900s.
It was so relaxing returning here after a day at the parks. We could even see Magic Kingdom fireworks from our room balcony, overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Understanding the ride reservation process
To help you in your planning process, here are our “lessons learned” about the Disney ride reservation process:
You need to download the Disney Experience app.
The app allows you to book passes to get on rides faster (called “Lightning Lanes”) and make mobile food orders.
In the app, the “Tip Board” in “My Disney Genie Day” gives you all the info you need.
This is where you get Lightning Passes and make mobile food orders.
Genie+ Lighting Lanes:
There are a number of rides grouped within the Genie+ Lightning Lanes. If you purchase Genie+ through the app, then you can reserve a Lightning Lane in advance for a ride. Disney changes the cost of Genie+ based on demand. It cost $20-$22 per person per day for us. You decide each day if you want to buy Genie+.
Individual Lightning Lanes:
Disney also has some rides that are even more popular than others. These rides are not part of Genie+. If you want to use Lighting Lanes for these rides, you have to pay a separate amount per person per ride. I saw prices of around $11-$15 per person for these rides.
There are some super, super popular rides that have Virtual Queues. Disney resort guests can enter the queue at 7AM to try to reserve that particular ride for the day. Disney changes which rides are in the Virtual Queues, but the Disney Experience app will tell you which rides currently have a Virtual Queue (such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Tron).
Hopefully, this information about the ride reservation process will help you as you plan your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Planning our rides – best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Because the ride reservation process can be pretty complex, our “lesson learned” was that it’s helpful to know which rides you want to take in advance and how the ride reservation process works for those rides.
The night before we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we decided we wanted to go on the following rides:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania!
Normally, I would have also gone to the Tower of Terror, but we had gone on this ride in the past and we decided to skip it for this visit.
As we planned out our day, we decided we would get Genie+ in the morning. We would use Genie+ to first reserve Lightning Lane passes for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and then Mickey & Minne’s Runaway Railway (since these are the two rides we wanted to go on most).
Depending on the timing of our Lightning Lane passes for these two rides, we would either wait in the regular line or get later Lightning Lane passes for Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania!
Disney Princess Half Marathon
The day we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, my sister-in-law ran in the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
The race ends outside of EPCOT, so we met her there after the race.
Disney does a great job planning events like this race. There were a number of photo ops with the Disney princesses after the race.
After the race, we headed back to the Grand Floridian to get ready for a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
First Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation
As we headed back to the hotel after the race, we purchased Genie+ and made our first Lightning Lane reservation for the day.
We made the reservation for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Our reservation was for 2:35PM. The time was a little later than we would have liked, but since we were getting to the park later because of the race, it worked out just fine.
Getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Grand Floridian offered a free bus shuttle from the hotel to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
However, it was about a 30-minute wait when we got to the bus waiting area.
Because we already were starting a little later because of the Disney Princess Half Marathon, we decided we would split a Lyft rather than wait for the bus.
Lyft has “Minnie Vans” that have a red base with white dots, but unfortunately, none of those were available when we ordered a Lyft.
It took us about 15 minutes to get to Hollywood Studios. We arrived at 10AM.
Woody’s Lunch Box
The first requirement of the day: food!
We had read that Woody’s Lunch Box had good food, so we headed to the Toy Story Land of Hollywood Studios.
Woody’s Lunch Box has something called “Totchos”. These are big bowls of potato barrels (tater tots), chili, queso, and corn chips. These are amazing! (And would be easy to recreate at home.)
Because we got to Woody’s Lunch Box before 10:30AM, we also had the option to order the breakfast version. This version has eggs and gravy instead of chili and queso.
These “Totchos” are just one of the amazing things to eat at Disney World. Check out my other favorite things to eat on this list.
Second Genie+ Lightning Lane Reservation
You’re allowed to make another Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation two hours after your last reservation or if you go on the ride with the Lightning Lane reservation.
It had been two hours since we had made the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance reservation, so we could now make another Lightning Lane reservation.
We made the reservation for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Our reservations were for 12PM, about an hour after we made them.
Toy Story Mania!
At around 11AM, we headed to Toy Story Mania!
Since we had just used a Lightning Lane reservation to book Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, we waited in the regular standby line for Toy Story Mania!
We were on the ride by 11:30AM. A 30-minute wait isn’t too bad, by Walt Disney World standards!
This ride was so fun! Every rider has a cannon in front of them. During the ride, you point the cannon at images on the screen and pull a string, firing the cannon at the image, trying to knock it down.
It’s like a video game version of a carnival game.
When the final scores were tallied, I came in last place in my group. But I’ll keep trying!
Toy Story Mania! is definitely one of the best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
After Toy Story Mania!, we made our way to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Our Lightning Lane reservations were for 12PM and we were on the ride at 12:10PM.
This was a fantastic ride.
Like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, this ride combines both 3D images and a “real” ride, where you’re whisked around different rooms in a little car.
I loved this ride. I highly recommend adding this to your “must-see” list at Hollywood Studios.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
After Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, we decided to walk around Star Wars: Galaxy Edge for a little bit.
Our destination was Kat Saka’s Kettle. There, we got the Outpost Popcorn Mix and Cold Brew Black Caf.
The Outpost Popcorn Mix has both sweet and savory flavors. It’s…interesting. The sweet popcorn tasted like Fruity Pebbles. The savory popcorn had a chili-lime taste. I probably won’t get it again, but it’s definitely worth trying!
We got the non-alcoholic version of the Cold Brew Black Caf. You could tell it was missing something. Likely the chocolate liqueur that they have in the Spiked Cold Brew Black Caf!
But I’m glad we gave both these items a try.
Slinky Dog Dash
After walking around Star Wars: Galaxy edge, we headed to Slinky Dog Dash.
We weren’t eligible to reserve another Lightning Lane pass at that time but thought waiting in the stand-by line wouldn’t be too bad.
But it was bad. The ride kept breaking down. Every few times a coaster went by, it would be completely empty.
We waited in line for 1.5 hours and it was clear we would probably have to wait another 1.5 hours (minimum) to actually get on the ride.
So we gave up and left the line.
Lesson Learned: In the future, I’ll use a Lightning Lane pass for Slinky Dog Dash. The other rides (Toy Story Mania! and Mickey & Minne’s Runaway Railway) seemed to process the lines faster. So those rides would be better for waiting in the regular line.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
And finally, the ride my group had been waiting for all day!
We headed to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for our 2:35PM Lightning Lane reservation and were almost immediately into the introduction portion of the ride.
This ride was so cool.
Disney combined all the best parts of every ride in the park to create this ride.
It had story-telling, great visuals, amazing ride mechanics, and fun surprises.
I would go on this ride over and over again.
Definitely one of the best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
End of day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
After we finished the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, we decided to call it a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We had done so many fun things during the day. Even though Slinky Dog Dash had been a bust, the other rides and food stops had more than made up for it.
I really enjoyed my time at Disney’s Hollywood Studies.
I hope our itinerary and “lessons learned” helps you to plan a day where you experience the best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Have a fantastic trip!