In this Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Strategy Guide, we’ll be taking a look at all of the FastPass+ options, weighing the benefits for selecting each attraction, and then giving you our own strategy for which FastPass+ selections to make.
If you are brand new to FastPass+ Reservations, please check out our FastPass+ 101 Guide – Everything you need to know about FastPass+.
As of August 29, 2019, FastPass+ selections at Hollywood Studios will change dramatically. The major omission from attractions available for FastPass+ reservations includes Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. There’s an expectation that these two attractions will not be available for FastPass+ selection until sometime in the future, when the crowds are no longer overwhelming.
Hollywood Studios is a Tiered attraction park, which means there are two tiers of attractions for making FastPass+ Reservations. Guests can select one FastPass+ from the Tier 1 attractions and two FastPass+ from the Tier 2 attractions.
Before we get started, we should add our 10¢ about the upcoming changes to the FastPass+ selections at Hollywood Studios. Disney anticipates that the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge inside the park will bring an overwhelming crowd in the initial months. Just a look at the popularity of Pandora in Animal Kingdom will give you a glimpse into the expected surge in guests inside the park.
Obviously, in Hollywood Studios, guests are going to be drawn to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens. To help spread guests across the parks, Disney is hoping to have guests visit other attractions. Guests tend to go to other attractions if there are reasonable stand-by wait times, but if many guests have FastPass+ reservations, the stand-by wait times will naturally increase.
The logic is complicated, but we’ll try our best to lay it out. By putting most of the popular attractions into Tier 1, guests can only select one attraction from that group and will have to wait in the stand-by line for the others. If less guests have FastPass+ reservations for Tier 1 attractions, the stand-by lines should move faster through the queue, thereby keeping the wait times down. Low wait times = More guests getting in line for that attraction, which helps distribute guests to other attractions outside of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Make sense? Okay, onward to the new attraction tiers:
Tier 1 Attractions
Slinky Dog Dash
38” Height Requirement
Climb aboard Slinky Dog on this gentle, family-friendly coaster as you surge past giant toys, all with a great view of Toy Story Land and a glimpse at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Alien Swirling Saucers
32” Height Requirement
A family-friendly spinning attraction (but nothing too forceful or nauseating) with the Toy Story Aliens
Toy Story Mania
A 4D carnival-style shootin’ game with themed rounds that feature different Toy Story Characters. This ride uses a spring-action shooter to launch digital projectiles (including baseballs, darts and rings) to hit moving targets and score big points.
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
48” Height Requirement
Probably the most intense coaster on Disney property. This coaster is complete with a powered launch, 3 inversions and an incredible Aerosmith soundtrack specifically timed for this attraction.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
40” Height Requirement
Based on the classic Twilight Zone, you step aboard a service elevator in the legendary Hollywood Tower Hotel. Once inside, you’re in for a ride full of surprises…as well as plenty of ups and downs. If sudden, fast drops are scary for you, don’t ride this ride.
Our Tier 1 FastPass+ Strategy
With the major attractions at Hollywood Studios now prominently placed in Tier 1, it’s hard to decide which one(1) attraction you’d like to bypass the stand-by line and which of the others you are willing to wait for.
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ for Thrill Seekers
Of the two bigger thrill attractions, we think the edge goes to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. It usually has the longer line of the two, and if you find the wait time for Tower of Terror hovering under 30-40 minutes, that’s a fairly reasonable wait. If your group doesn’t mind splitting up, however, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster does have a single-rider line that can reduce the regular stand-by wait time.
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ for Families
Obviously, for anyone with kids under 38”, Toy Story Mania is the way to go. Alien Swirling Saucers is an alright consolation prize (if your kids are taller than 32”), but it doesn’t have the same excitement as Toy Story Mania. If you do have slightly taller kids, Slinky Dog Dash is one of the most popular FastPass+ selections and it’s not hard to see why. Slinky has had the longest wait time in the park as of late, so trying to bypass that stand-by line can be crucial.
Tier 2 Attractions
Beauty and the Beast – Live On Stage
A Broadway-style musical re-telling of the classic Disney tale. This abridged, 25-minute performance features some of the most iconic songs from the movie. A FastPass+ reservation gives you priority seating at a specific performance.
Disney Junior Dance Party
DJ DeeJay spins tunes from the shows you love. Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Timon and special guest Mickey join guests for this high energy party. A FastPass+ reservation gives you priority access to a specific party time.
One of the two Nighttime Spectaculars at Hollywood Studios. Jump inside Mickey’s dreams as he imagines himself as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Featuring over 50 live performers, including some of your favourite characters, this 30-minute performance is a great way to cap off your night in the park. A FastPass+ reservation gives you priority seating, but you should still arrive early in your return time window to ensure the best view.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
The Royal Historians of Arendelle take guests through the retelling of their kingdom lore. Full of all the fan-favourite songs, characters and some magical moments, this is an excellent way to relax, during this 30-minute performance. A FastPass+ reservation gives you priority seating at a specific performance.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Not only does this show feature some of the iconic scenes from Indiana Jones, but it also includes a behind the scenes look at how many of the stunts are performed. A FastPass+ reservation gives you priority seating at a specific performance.
A whimsical tour of the Muppet labs, followed by comedic performances and an endearing storyline which are all classic Muppet tropes. This was Jim Henson’s last performance as Kermit the Frog as he directed this wonderful movie.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
40” Height Requirement
A 3D simulator space flight with a different adventure every time. Whether it’s the oceans of Naboo, the Death Star or any of the other number of locales, you’re sure to come across an iconic Star Wars character or two along the way. This ride is not recommended for those who are easily prone to motion sickness.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
An abridged retelling of the Little Mermaid Story, featuring live performers, puppets and some beautiful special effects. Musical numbers include “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World” in this 17-minute fantasy performance. A FastPass+ reservation gives you priority seating at a specific performance.
Our Tier 2 FastPass+ Strategy
Most of the options here are shows, so if you are prone to motion sickness (ruling Star Tours out of the running), your options really depend on where your interests lie. To be honest, most shows don’t really require a FastPass+, so you’re really deciding which show you want to sit the closest for. The one attraction that you shouldn’t ever use a FastPass+ reservation for is Muppet*Vision 3D. That show runs roughly every 15 minutes and has a large capacity, so do yourself a favour and just wait stand-by.
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ for Thrill Seekers
There’s not much for you on this list, so definitely pick up Star Tours to get your adrenaline going. After that, you could pick up a FastPass+ for Indiana Jones and try to get selected to join the performers onstage.
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ for Families with Young Children
It’s nicer to use FastPass+ reservations for the shows in this case, because it can help you plan out your itinerary for the day. For the First Time in Forever is a commonly popular FastPass+ selection and either Disney Junior or Voyage of the Little Mermaid are good second options.
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ for Everyone
There are quite a number of FastPass+ reservations available for Fantasmic! If you’re okay with potentially showing up early and staying in the stand-by line, we typically recommend looking for a Fantasmic! FastPass+ reservation after you have used your first 3 FastPass+ selections. This would be your fourth (or fifth or sixth if you’re lucky) FastPass+ selection.
The Bottom Line!
Here’s what we would choose for these three categories:
Thrill Seekers: Pick Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours and Indiana Jones (aim for an additional FP+ for Fantasmic!)
Families with young children: Pick Slinky Dog or Toy Story Mania (depending on height), For the First Time in Forever and Disney Junior, Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Fantasmic!
Everyone Else: Pick Slinky Dog or Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours and For the First Time in Forever
If you’d like to check out any of our other FastPass+ Strategy Guides, you can find them here:
Or check out everything you need to know about FastPass+ with our FastPass+ 101 Guide.
Ready to book your Hollywood Studios FastPass+ reservations? You can make your selections here.
What are your FastPass+ Strategies at Hollywood Studios? How will the new Tiers affect your choices? Let us know in the comments below!