In the ParksWalt Disney World (FL)

Touring Plan Test: Hollywood Studios (3-13-2021)

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On Saturday, March 13, we did another side-by-side test of full-day Hollywood Studios touring plans. We had a few roadblocks during this test. We were hoping to have 4 of our staff in the park. Unfortunately, only two of us could get Park Pass reservations – park passes are just harder to get during spring break.  So Chrissy and I were the test subjects.

The other setback was that we were hoping to include Rise of the Resistance in the test, but we failed to get a boarding group at both 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Without Rise of the Resistance, here are the twelve attractions we included in our plans:

Attractions in DHS Touring Plan Test
1 Alien Swirling Saucers
2 Frozen Sing-Along
3 Lightning McQueen
4 Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
5 Millennium Falcon
6 Muppet*Vision 3D
7 Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
8 Slinky Dog Dash
9 Star Tours
10 Tower of Terror
11 Toy Story Mania!
12 Walt Disney Presents

The predicted Crowd Level on March 13, was a 5, and the actual crowd level was a 2 at Hollywood Studios.

Initial Hollywood Studios touring plan

Both Chrissy and I arrived at Hollywood Studios before the park opened. I walked from the Swan hotel, and Chrissy drove. I was at the temperature screening at 8:10. Chrissy was 15 minutes behind me, because the Studios’ toll booths didn’t open until 8:15 a.m., which is when the park opened.  So I was inside the park and walking to my first attraction before Chrissy was through the toll booth. If you want to see a live stream of the test, check out our Twitch channel.

We have been seeing a lot of operational problems at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, so I decided to ride Tower first, and then start a touring plan with the eleven remaining attractions. The optimizer thought this wasn’t a good idea – it wanted me to start at Slinky Dog Dash. Both Chrissy and I re-optimized our plans multiple times during the day. In both cases, our plans were completed in less time than the initial prediction.

Steve’s final Hollywood Studios touring plan


Chrissy followed this touring plan, starting 15 minutes later:

Chrissy’s final Hollywood Studios touring plan


Even with different starting points and times, steps 2, 3, and 4 were the same. We ended up at the same showing of MuppetVision 3D, I just ended up arriving earlier and waited longer for the same show. After Muppets, we split up and went to different shows.

Steve started at 8:15 a.m. and waited an average of 21.7 minutes in line for his attractions. Chrissy started her touring plan at 8:30 a.m. and waited an average of 20.8 minutes.

I expected that my 15-minute head-start over Chrissy was going to be a huge benefit. But my overthinking things and going against the optimized plan cost me. Chrissy got a bit lucky getting a Star Tours simulator quicker than me, as well as not having to wait for Muppets, which gave her a slightly lower average wait time.

Late Afternoon Touring Plan

After finishing the initial touring plan test, I was curious to see what could I get done in the last three hours the park was open. I took a short break and created a new plan that started at 5:00 p.m.:

A consistent pattern that we have seen at Hollywood Studios is that wait times peak early, and people leave the park early. And with the park closing early, it is not a popular park to hop to. These two patterns make touring Hollywood Studios late an attractive option.

Comparing the average wait times of just the 6 attractions I did starting at 5:00 p.m., the average is much lower later in the day.

An optimal plan would have you arrive at Hollywood Studios at 8:15, and tour until late morning, take a long break and finish your touring at the end of the day. If you don’t want to break up your day, arrive later in the day and avoid the morning madness.

Hollywood Studios Touring Strategies

Everyone should try and get a Rise of the Resistance Board Group at 7:00 a.m..

  • Arrive early, and take a break. Return to the park in the afternoon.
  • If you do not get a 7:00 a.m. Boarding Group, arrive before 1:00 p.m., and try again at 1:00 p.m. Start touring late in the day.
  • Avoid showing up between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

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Steve Bloom

By helping continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

9 thoughts on “Touring Plan Test: Hollywood Studios (3-13-2021)

  • With current park hopping rules, can you only hop once? Meaning that you cannot hop to Hollywood at 2 and then hop to somewhere else that closes later?

    • You can park hop as frequently as you like. Just cannot start hopping until 2 pm.

  • How would you suggest going about a “go later” touring plan if a one IS successful securing a RotR boarding pass? For the sake of argument, let’s assume it was obtained at 7am. I have no experience with the boarding pass system, but I would assume you’d need to get to the attraction pretty quickly after your boarding group is called (which I suppose means you can’t hang out at the pool and assume a return time)


  • I signed up for Twitch specifically to follow your in-park videos! I have two words for anyone who wants the best experience for watching this videos: OCULUS QUEST. Watching the Twitch stream on a simulated 120″ screen in my Oculus is the next best thing to actually being there!

    I have tried to watch other streamers on my Oculus, too, but the information they provide pales in comparison to what the Touring Plans crew gives. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your Magic Kingdom test on Saturday!

  • Love this comparison! So glad that you went through with it even though it was just two people. Still a lot to be learned!
    Given that HS is one of the most unpredictable parks right now, it would be fascinating to see a similar trial at magic kingdom or epcot.

    • Becky- We will be doing a simular test at the Magic Kingdom on 3/27. Go to Twitch, if you want to watch during the testing.

  • Thanks for doing this! My takeaway: if you don’t care about Tower of Terror at all, you can pretty much do what you want, as long as you do Slinky first. Would you agree?

    • My biggest takeaway with the limited attractions, don’t kill yourself getting to Hollywood Studios. For people who are not early risers, arrive after 12; there is enough time to get everything in.


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