When making your plans at Hollywood Studios, you probably want to figure out how to get the most out of your day there, and the best way to optimize your time. This will lead to the inevitable question if you’re familiar at all with Walt Disney World is “what is the best fastpasses for Hollywood Studios”. If FastPass reservations are a foreign concept to you, we’ve got you covered. Doing a podcast about Disney World means we end up going to all the parks… a lot! So, we can help not only explain the FastPass system but also help you figure out the best Hollywood Studios Fast Passes based on what you and your group like to do. Keep reading below and we will break it all down.
What is a FastPass?
FastPass (or FastPass+ as it is formally called) is Walt Disney World’s “front of the line” pass. Certain rides at Disney give you the option to utilize a FastPass, which means you will get to skip the regular, standby line. At Hollywood Studios, you are allowed to choose a FastPass for three attractions, from two tiers – one from the Tier 1 attractions, and two from the Tier 2 attractions (or all three from Tier 2). After you use those three, you can choose an additional FastPass, then another one after that, etc., from any of the tiers.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can pick your Hollywood Studios FastPass selections 60 days prior to your trip – for your whole trip. If you are staying off property, you can make choices at 30 days, but only one day at a time, for that day which is 30 days out. So that extra time is a big perk of staying onsite – you might have an easier time getting a FastPass one of the harder-to-get attractions at 60 days out rather than 30 days.
Walt Disney World’s FastPass system has changed in the last few years, with the addition of the My Disney Experience system. In the past, you would walk up to a kiosk outside the ride, insert your park ticket, and it would spit out a paper FastPass, providing you a return time. Beginning in 2014, guests use either the My Disney Experience App or their My Disney Experience account online. So, at your 60 or 30-day window, you need to be ready at 7am eastern time to grab a FastPass for your attractions of choice. You may still be able to get them closer to your arrival date since people are always making changes to their park day schedules, and slots might open up. You now have a FastPass to use on a certain ride at a certain time. You are given a one-hour time-frame to redeem your FastPass for that ride.
What Hollywood Studios FastPasses are available and how does the tier system work?
Available FastPass Options at Hollywood Studios are:
Hollywood Studios Tier 1 Attractions
• Slinky Dog Dash
• Alien Swirling Saucers
• Toy Story Mania
Hollywood Tower of Terror
• Rock ‘n Roller Coaster
Hollywood Studios Tier 2 Attractions
• Beauty and the Beast: Live On Stage
• Voyage of the Little Mermaid
• For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
• Disney Jr. Dance Party
• Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
• Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
• Muppet Vision 3D
*You’ll notice that neither Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run, Rise of The Resistance in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, nor any of the meet and greets have FastPass available. We don’t see Fast Passes being available in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge anytime soon either.
So, what are the tiers? Unlike Magic Kingdom, which doesn’t have a tier system, the other three parks (Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios) have tiers for FastPass distribution. As these parks do not have the abundance of rides that Magic Kingdom has, and the big “E-ticket” rides would always get chosen first, this allows all guests an opportunity to experience at least one major attraction. Tier 1 usually includes the most popular rides, the ones that will have the longest wait times – think your Headliner Attractions. You are only allowed to pick one ride out of Tier 1 as part of your initial first three FastPass choices. Tier 2 includes all the other rides we just listed, and you can pick two from that list. After you use your initial three, then you can pick from either Tier 1 or Tier 2, choosing one FastPass at a time.
Right now, the most sought-after FastPass at Hollywood Studios is Slinky Dog Dash. If you aren’t able to snag that one, then it really all depends on your preferences – the thrill seekers tend to choose Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, while the families generally choose Toy Story Mania or Alien Swirling Saucer. We’ll try to break down the different scenarios/categories of FastPass combinations, depending on what level of thrill seeker your family members might be.
What Are The Best FastPasses For Hollywood Studios?
Thrill Seekers/Roller Coaster Junkies
With the limited “thrill ride” choices at Hollywood Studios, you will be choosing from Slinky Dog Dash, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror.
- Tier 1: Slinky Dog Dash – This will be the hardest one to get, so at your 60 or 30-day window, you’ll want to make that your first priority.
- If You Can’t Get Slinky Dog Then Go With Rock ‘n Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror
- Tier 2: Star Tours
How to work all three thrill rides into your day
So, say you manage to snag a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land and it’s for 10 am. What we suggest is to rope drop Hollywood Studios and head straight to Tower of Terror (TOT) and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster (RNRC). Since most likely everyone else will be heading towards Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge to ride Rise of The Resistance and Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run or Toy Story Land, these two attractions see little to no wait for first thing in the morning.
For RNRC, use the single rider line. By the time you are done with those rides (and you might be able to do them more than once), you can head to your 10 am Slinky Dog FastPass and you’ve hit your top three attractions by 10:30 am. After that you can choose to join the masses in Galaxy’s Edge, or, do what we like to do, wait and visit Galaxy’s Edge at night and use the single rider line for Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run!
Families with Small Children
The attractions you’ll want to FastPass if you have small children would be:
- Tier 1: Toy Story Mania (Alien Swirling Saucers if Toy Story Mania is not available)
- Tier 2: Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Tier 2: Disney Junior Dance Party
Now, I’m going to put a caveat right here – there just aren’t a whole lot of rides for small children at Hollywood Studios, but there are several shows. Normally, we would not recommend getting a FastPass for a show. However, the Disney Junior Dance party can get quite busy, and the Frozen Sing-Along is pretty popular. You don’t necessarily need FastPasses for those two, but it’s not a bad choice when you have young children.
Older Adults or Those that Enjoy Tamer Attractions
This one was hard. If you’re not a thrill seeker, or you just don’t want to go on any rides, then there really isn’t much left except for shows, which we previously said we don’t like recommending FastPasses reservations for. But, if we had to choose, our picks would be
- Tier 2: Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Tier 2: Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
- Tier 2: Fantasmic!
- Maybe Star Tours
There’s also Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Muppet Vision 3D – also both shows. Star Tours and Toy Story Mania are options but it just depends on what your level of thrill you are looking for.
Thrill Seeker – Kid Version
This is for kids who like a little adventure, but are either too short or aren’t quite ready for Rock ‘n Roller Coaster or TOT. For them, we would choose:
- Tier 1: Slinky Dog Dash
- Tier 2: Star Tours
- Tier 2: Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
Again, not much to choose from on the kiddie-thrill seeking level but between Slinky Dog and Star Tours that’s a great start.
Right now, Hollywood Studios isn’t like Magic Kingdom where there’s just a bevy of things to choose from. Obviously, with Galaxy’s Edge, that adds two very popular rides, and once Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens up, that will add a third. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is scheduled to open early 2020, so not too far away. With Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance not available for FastPass reservations yet, you will simply have to make a choice and make your plans accordingly.
If you choose to go there first thing, I would not make any FastPass plans until mid-afternoon. That will allow you to wait for the attractions and then get some lunch before continuing along. With Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, our assumption is that it will jump in as potentially one of the Tier 1 FastPass reservations. However, if you know Disney, they are keeping that pretty close to the vest at this point.
• Your 30 or 60-day FastPass day arrives and you really, really want to get a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash, but couldn’t get it. Are you completely out of luck? Absolutely not! First off, make sure you choose something from that Tier 1 list. Second, keep looking because people cancel and modify all the time. They might change days that they are going to Hollywood Studios, so they cancel them- freeing up that hard to get FastPass reservations for you to grab.
• Try using the “Modify” feature . We’ve had pretty good luck with this, when we’re just a party of 2, rather than 4 or 5. We’ve been in the parks before and a FastPass wasn’t available for the time we wanted. What we do is grab a FastPass either for a non-ideal time, or for any other attraction. Then we try to modify it so we can change the attraction or time. It seems like sometimes it opens up more options and a ride that wasn’t showing a FastPass being available before is now available and fits into your plans
• Ok, so you didn’t get a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash – your trip is not ruined! Plan to rope drop your Hollywood Studios day. If the park opens at 9 am, get to the park no later than 8 am. Even though Galaxy’s Edge is extremely popular, so is Toy Story Land, and you still want to arrive early. Once you get there, go ahead and get in line for Slinky Dog and you can be one of the first ones to ride it that morning – without a FastPass. Then after that you can hit Toy Story Mania, Star Tours and others early in the day.
• A strategy we will try to use a lot is getting in line right before the park closes. If you are in line for an attraction anytime before the park closes, you will still get to ride that ride. If the park closes at 8 pm and it is 7:50 and you get in line, you’re good.
I think one time we got in line at 7:55 pm and waited 25 minutes even though the wait time posted said 90 minutes. The reason this works is there is no fast pass line running after park closure and the standby line moves a lot faster. That, and the Cast Members may be more motivated to keep the line moving so they can go home. It’s using a little bit of human nature to your advantage.
Honestly, one of our favorite strategies is to ride those hard to get Fastpass rides at night, especially Slinky Dog Dash. At night, it is a totally different experience; it’s really cool with the different lights and you can’t see the turns and dips, so it’s more thrilling. And, as opposed to rope dropping Hollywood Studios (that is, if you don’t rope drop Galaxy’s Edge), you can instead take a more relaxed approach and wait until the end of the night. And in reality, your wait time ends up being probably pretty darn close to what it would be if you had been at the front of the line at rope drop.
• We recommend not getting your first FastPass until 11 am or noon (or later if you are going to be in Galaxy’s Edge). Make plans to ride all the less popular rides in the morning, then save your FastPass attractions for after lunch when the park is at its busiest. You could still rope drop, ride Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers while everyone else heads toward Slinky Dog Dash; eat some lunch, FastPass Tower of Terror, Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and Star Tours in the afternoon, watch a few shows, eat dinner, then right before park closing, ride Slinky Dog.
Wrapping it up
You may be asking, “Is Hollywood Studios still a half day park”? The answer is, it depends on your plans. If you have no desire to experience Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, and not watch any shows, then yes, you can ride all the other rides by mid-day. However, if you want to make the most out of Hollywood Studios, and experience all it has to offer, it sure is a full day park.
Hollywood Studios has attractions for all ages, the FastPass reservations are easy to navigate, so making your plans is a breeze, it has two attractions that have a single rider line, and it is also a short walk or boat ride from some great resorts!!
If you enjoyed this Top FastPasses for Hollywood Studios post, be sure to check out our other posts for tips and tricks, such as Best Quick Service At Hollywood Studios. Also be sure to follow us on social media and check us out on the Capture the Magic Podcast.