Your FastPass+ Priorities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about updates to our advance and day-of FastPass+ reservation priorities at the Magic Kingdom. Today’s post covers Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

As before, each of our Studios touring plans suggests the FastPass+ recommendations you should make in advance of your visit, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Toy Story Mania = 9 AM
Star Tours = 10 AM
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror = 11 AM

We’ve also added new recommendations for day-of FastPass+ reservations you can get at the Studios’ in-park kiosks, after you’ve used your original set. These are based on our statistician Steve Bloom’s excellent analysis of when day-of FastPasses run out for each attraction. Here’s what the new recommendations look like:

You should be able to get day-of FastPass+ reservations starting around lunchtime. Here’s what we suggest:

Great Movie Ride = 2:30 PM
Fantasmic! = (Check daily performance schedule for show times)

When I updated the plans, I kept count of many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. If you’re building your own touring plan, or you prefer an unstructured tour, this list shows the hot spots in the Studios:

DHS-FastpassPlus

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 – in fact, every touring plan recommends it. 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.

Finally, the touring plans frequently recommend obtaining a day-of FastPass reservation for Fantasmic! to cut down on the amount of time you have to show up in advance.   Even on days of moderate and heavy crowds, you should be able to obtain a FastPass+ for Fantasmic until 4 to 7 PM. If you’re concerned about getting a day-of FastPass+ for Fantasmic!, consider the Fantasmic! Dining Package, which we think is a good option for families who are already planning to have a sit-down dinner and catch a performance of Fantasmic!.

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.

Tower of Terror shows up because it’s in a different tier than Toy Story Mania, allowing you to use FastPass+ for both headliners. Our software most frequently recommends obtaining a FastPass for Tower of Terror in the late morning, so that you’re able to see Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage! while you’re on Sunset Boulevard. That avoids having to backtrack all the way to this side of the park to see the show later in the day too.

Why FastPass+ Isn’t Recommended at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

You’ll notice Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster only mentioned once in the chart. Why? Remember that the Studios puts its FastPass+ attractions into two groups (see above).  You’re allowed to choose 1 FastPass+ attraction from Group A, and 2 attractions from Group B. 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. 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.

The Best Times for FastPass+ Reservations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Here’s a chart showing the times our Hollywood Studios touring plans use FastPass+ to avoid long lines (yellow=morning times, orange=afternoon, green=day-of FastPass):

DHS-FastpassPlus2

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Click the “Optimize” button and wait for the touring plan to be optimized.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

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