Your FastPass+ Priorities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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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:

Studios FastPass+ Priorities

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+)

Toy Story Mania!
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Fantasmic!

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):

Studios FastPass+ Times

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:

  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.

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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.

23 thoughts on “Your FastPass+ Priorities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • January 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm
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    I’m sure you’re still working the bugs out with fastpass+ but I thought I should tell you that my touring plan absolutely refused to “let me” use my TSM fp+. The day we went, TSM was down first thing in the morning so our plan was a bit screwed up. But at one point my touring plan told me to go to TSM during my fp+ window (with a 45 minute wait) but still advised me to not use my fp+ reservation and instead to wait in the standby queue. Needless to say I ignored that advise, used my fp+ and walked right on the ride.

    Reply
  • January 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm
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    Hi Len

    Many thanks for all the changes to the plans, however are the FP+ kiosk’s going to be added so that you can build in the time you need to obtain the FP+ for off site guests (like we had for legacy FP)?

    Lawrence

    Reply
    • January 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm
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      Great idea, Lawrence. We’re talking as a team about how to do that. Look for an update soon. In the meantime, I’d suggest adding a 15-minute break in your plan, sometime between 10 and 11 AM, for making FP+ reservations.

      Reply
  • January 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm
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    It would be great if at some point you could see how the wait times with FastPass+ are. I’m curious to know if the wait times are shorter with FP+ as opposed to Legacy FP now that people are locked into their FP+ times. We rode Soarin’ last Saturday and had a FP+ reservation. We only waited about 5-10 minutes in the FP line before boarding. It would be nice if you could add that option (timing FP+ line wait times) to the Lines App in the future. 🙂 I used the timing feature last weekend on the Little Mermaid ride. The posted wait time was 20 minutes and we only waited 3 minutes. I love the Lines App!! 😉

    Reply
    • January 20, 2014 at 4:44 pm
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      Ah, great idea. Let me see what we can do. Thanks Neula!

      Reply
  • January 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm
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    How far in advance should we be going online to do this? We are visiting the last week of May.

    Reply
    • January 21, 2014 at 10:02 am
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      Hey David! 60 days in advance – earlier is better, especially for getting the ride and return time you want.

      Reply
  • January 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm
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    Ok, I am playing around with personalized touring plans for my May/June 2014 trip. We have not yet experienced FPPLUS, but I have been researching it. I have used Lines (in WDW and DL) multiple times, and we are fans of the app. I cannot find the option to check for utilizing baby swap. Has that gone away since my last use in 2013? We have a very petite 2 year old with whom we are planning to use the swap, and could really use help deciding whether to use it immediately or loop back later in the day.

    For example, if swap is still working like it was the last time we were in the parks, then it is helpful to have Lines take the extra time into account. Alternatively, it would be great if Lines told us whether to re-ride immediately or to keep going to minimize item spent waiting and loop back to the attraction later. 🙂

    Reply
    • January 20, 2014 at 11:57 pm
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      That should say “time,” not “item.”

      Reply
      • January 21, 2014 at 10:01 am
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        Child swap should work the same as before. Tick the box labeled “Child Swap” and the plan should adjust. Let me know if not. Thanks for using Lines!

  • January 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm
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    I am having the same problem with Michelle above. I have the issue at Epcot and at Animal Kingdom. The other parks seemed fine. I was trying to utilize FPP at KS and KRP and it keeps telling me the 30-45 minute wait is better and won’t let me use the FPP. The url is http://touringplans.com/plans/723654. Thanks!

    Reply
    • January 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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      Hi Rachel-I see this is resolved. Let me know how the plan works, please. Thanks!

      Reply
  • January 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm
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    We are going to Disney the first week in May. I’m playing with the touring plans so I will be ready to make my FP+ reservations in March. I want to sign my son up for the Jedi Training Academy. My customized touring plan doesn’t have an option for that. We directly go to Toy Story. Is it going to throw us off of the plan if we go to sign up for Jedi then head to Toy Story? Thanks

    Reply
    • January 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm
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      Hi Gina-

      I’d suggest making a 10-minute break at the beginning of the day, and labeling it “Sign up for Jedi Training Academy.” It’s between Star Tours and American Idol, across from Echo Lake. We’ll get this officially added to the steps shortly.

      Len

      Reply
      • January 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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        Thanks so much!

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:33 pm
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    There is something going on with booking FP+ and also syncing show times with TP on 4/1/14. The FP window opened for that date today, and I am unable to see any FP times after around 5:00. I also discovered that if my party is booked for the same FP experience at 5:45, that I can’t change the experience for two members of the four because there are no other attractions available at that time. Huh? The park hours are until 8:00 that night. Finally, there seems to be a discrepancy with the times on TP and the times on My Disney Experience; for example, Beauty and the Beast has a 10:30 and 6:45 show listed on this date on TP but not on MDE; same with Indiana Jones–TP has a 10:00 and 6:30 show but MDE does not (and MDE has a 5:15 show but TP does not). All other days of my week had no trouble with TP and FP booking, just this particular day at the Studios. Please help! My plan URL is http://touringplans.com/plans/653340

    Reply
  • March 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm
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    Thank you- I value these blog posts so much. Just wanted to share that I signed up for Fastpasses today and either they were “sold out” or voyage of the Little Mermaid isnt a Fastpass choice anymore. Not gonna lie- the Experience site was A MESS this morning and I hope what I was finally able to book doesnt get messed up. The site keeps adding and excluding people from my “family list” without my touching anything?!

    Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm
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    Do you know how quickly FP+ usually sells out for Tower of Terror at night on a lower crowd night? Looking to go to HS on Sunday 11/9. I’m wondering if I need to make it one of my initial 3 FP+ selections, or if I can roll the dice and try it for my 4th FP+.

    Reply

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