Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary: 1 Day Plan

Nasreen Stump Avatar
slinky dog dash roller coaster goes past a giant jessie
Parents and kids will love Slinky Dog Dash – a must on any Hollywood Studios itinerary! Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

As far as Disney World parks go Hollywood Studios has something for everyone. From popular rides like Rise of Resistance to popular attractions like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Adventure there is a ton to do. So how do you pick? We lay out a Hollywood Studios itinerary that you can adapt to fit your family’s needs. Read on to learn how to plan, where to use Disney Genie Service, what you can skip and hacks to take advantage of.

Hollywood Studios One Day Itinerary

You know that saying that the best laid plans go awry? Well, at Disney that usually doesn’t happen. Planning is your friend. We’re sharing our planning guide for the perfect Hollywood Studios one day itinerary including popular attraction tips.

This post has tips for touring the newest lands at Hollywood Studios (Star Wars and Toy Story Land) as well as a ready-made itinerary we’ve used to wring every last drop of fun from one full day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

SheBuysTravel Tip: You can now book Disney vacations up to 500 days in advance! That means you can book now for visits in 2023. All it takes is a $200 down payment. The balance isn’t due until 30 days prior to travel. You can get details on this, as well as help booking, from our partners at Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.

Before You Go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Things to Consider

Don’t Forget to Make Park Reservations

Since reopening after Covid closures, the parks at Florida’s Walt Disney World are using a ticket AND reservation system. You will need a valid ticket for the park of your choice and a reservation for the day you’d like to visit.

Park hopping is back. It starts at 2pm so plan accordingly. Disney did recently add park hopping hours to their daily calendars. On some days you may see earlier park hop times depending on crowd levels so be sure to check.  I strongly recommend using a Disney travel agent or our partner Get Away Today for your tickets and vacation planning. The bonus is that if anything changes they will update you!

Read More: Are Disney Park Hopper Tickets Worth It? 

Know Your Family’s Needs

The Disney World theme parks can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Thinking about what your family will need and enjoy before your Disney trip will help make things flow smoothly.

The main thing to remember is that who you’re visiting with is going to alter what your best day looks like. We’re laying out ideal Hollywood Studios touring plans here but you’ll need to make adaptations for your group. If you’re traveling with toddlers you’ll be looking at more time in Toy Story Land and exploring kid-friendly theme park areas. Got teens in your group? It’s likely to be all about Star Wars, roller coasters and thrills.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If your group is mixed ages, be sure to check out our post about thrill ride substitutions. It covers ride alternatives for those in your party who aren’t ready to scream their way through rides like the Rock N’ Roller Coaster.

YouTube video

Install the Disney Apps: My Disney Experience and Play

You can do many things through the My Disney Experience app, including:

Join our Private Disney FB Group for more tips! JOIN HERE

The Play app is about interacting with the world that you’re in. It contains games that your kids (or you) can play while waiting for rides. It’s a must-have to enhance your Star Wars Land experience as you complete missions.

Here’s our overview on what you need to know about the app before you visit. Then go here to download the Play Disney app to have access to games while in line.

star wars galaxys edge disney lit up at dawn against a dark sky
Want to travel to another galaxy at Disney? This ode to Star Wars is a must do! Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Consider Staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel

Be closer to the action and make sure you get the park reservations and access you’re looking for by staying “on property” at a Disney resort hotel. Resort guests have access to Early Entry Hours and depending on resort level Extended Evening Hours.

Read More: Disney Resorts- Value vs. Moderate vs. Deluxe

Getting to Hollywood Studios

If you have only one day at Hollywood Studios, you won’t want to miss a minute of it. So you’ll want to be through the gates and in the park for park opening.

To do that, we highly recommend considering Lyft or Uber. During our stay in March we barely made it the day we used the Skyliner from Pop Century Resort. It was a photo finish then, and the lines to get on the Skyliner are longer now.

The next day we took a “Minnie” van for less than $10 and arrived with time to spare. We had plenty of time to hit Starbucks for coffee at the Trolley Car Cafe. It’s located right on the main drag, on the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.

It was 90% more relaxed.

Read More: How to Get There from Here- A Full Guide to Walt Disney World Transportation

What to Do in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Although the big draw here is the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, there is way more to do and most of it requires far less planning.

The other big ride is Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The limited crowd capacities means the wait time isn’t that long and there is a standby line for single riders if you’re really in a rush. Be aware that the ride has three positions – pilot, gunner and engineer. The engineer position has the least impact on how your ride goes; single riders are usually assigned to that position.

Plan to spend time in Baatu taking pictures, completing missions on the Disney Play app, learning to speak Baatuese, and just admiring the landscape. You can also build a droid, drink blue milk, and maybe spot Chewbacca.

How to Get Into Hollywood Studios Before Rope Drop

Looking to start off your day earlier than that 10am opening time? There is a “secret” to getting into the park early.

Disney regulars know to book a breakfast dining reservation for the morning of your visit. That allows you to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios early simply by showing proof of your reservation. It’s especially good for guests who aren’t staying on-property since you’ll be able to enter during Early Entry to make it to your reservation.

The two table service restaurants offering breakfast with reservations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are Oga’s Cantina and Hollywood & Vine.

toy story land props giant tinker toys and strings of oversized christmas lights
Toy Story Land is a truly immersive land with its giant Tinker Toys and lights! Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Toy Story Land: Ride Overview and Plan of Attack

Opened in June of 2018, this land is a personal favorite of mine!

Much of Walt Disney World is an immersive experience – from EPCOT’s countries to Animal Kingdom’s landscape to Magic Kingdom’s magical castle. But Toy Story Land? It’s over the top. When you walk in you truly feel like you are in Andy’s backyard, shrunk down to the size of a toy. I was just as thrilled as my kids by the giant Tinker Toys and Cooties.

There are three rides in Toy Story Land:

Slinky Dog Dash

This charming roller coaster tends to have the longest wait time – often an hour or more.

There are three strategies to employ here:

  • Get into the park at opening time, head straight to the Toy Story Land entrance and make a straight rush for the ride.
  • Hit Toy Story Land around lunchtime (keeping an eye in the My Disney Experience app for wait times to go down). Toy Story Land has one food option, Woody’s Lunch Box, and currently it is not operating, so people need to leave the land for food.
  • Purchase Genie+ and utilize the Individual Lightning Lane. As a heads up the time slots book up FAST! Be sure to log in at 7am sharp to snag a good time.

Kids must be at least 38 inches tall to ride Slinky Dog Dash.

SheBuysTravel Tip: This is NOT a kiddie roller coaster. While it’s tame by roller coaster standards, it’s a serious ride with dips and thrills. For a smoother ride, sit closer to the front. For a more thrilling ride, sit in the tail end of the coaster.

rides in Toy Story Land
Take a ride on Alien Saucers one of the rides in Toy Story Land. If you get car sick you may want to leave this off of your Hollywood Studios itinerary. Photo credit: Allison Taylor

Swirling Alien Saucers

Lines for this ride tend to be shorter, generally 35 minutes or less. Word to the wise, this ride mimics the motion of spinning teacups so avoid it if you get motion sick.

Kids must be at least 32 inches tall to ride.

SheBuysTravel Tip: This attraction runs two tracks concurrently. If you’re waiting for your party, watch to see which track they end up on because the exits are different. Or make it easy and set up a meeting spot!

Toy Story Mania

This ride, which existed in Hollywood Studios prior to the creation of Toy Story Land, still thrills kids who ride in cars that spin around so they can shoot at the moving targets. Wait times generally range from 10-35 minutes.

No height restrictions.

Read More: The Genie+ Overview: What You Need to Know about Lightning Lanes

Must-See Shows for your Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary

One of the best parts about your Hollywood Studios itinerary? There are some really fun shows available.

While you won’t be able to see everything, the varied showtimes should allow you to catch 2-3 shows during your day. You should be able to walk into just about all of them without a significant wait.

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

Yes, we know some of you probably are groaning. You’ve heard the Frozen soundtrack 8 bazillion times.

But trust us, it’s a really cute show. The audience gets very involved, the actors are spectacular, and if it’s a hot day, you get 30 minutes in an air-conditioned theater. During the holidays the show has some theme changes and holiday jokes.

disney's hollywood studios photo opportunity at Potatoland following Mickey's vacation fun
Be sure to grab a snapshot of yourself visiting Potatoland after you watch Mickey’s Vacation Fun. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie

This sit down movie opportunity was added in March 2020. You’ll get to sit in an adorable Mickey chair in the theater to view a short, 10-minute movie. It’s a great opportunity to get off your feet. Don’t miss the photo opportunities upon exit. They are super cute (especially the Potatoland one).

Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage

This open air theatre has tons of seating. Pop in at one of the show times to see dancing, singing and all of your favorite characters. The show is 30 minutes long and provides a great opportunity to rest.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

As the name implies- it is epic. Kids and adults alike will be cheering, gasping and maybe even be in the show! You’ll see some of your favorite stunts performed live in front of you during this 1 hour long show.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary: Here’s the Battle Plan

Before Hitting the Park

If you plan to purchase Genie+ to skip lines you can add it starting at 12:01am. You can start booking your first time slot and purchasing Individual Lightning Lanes at 7am if you’re an on-property guest. Set your alarms!


Head to the park to be there at rope drop (that’s Disney-speak for the minute the gates open).

Grab coffee from Starbucks (Trolley Car Cafe) on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset.

Head to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (located inside the old Chinese Theater at the top of Hollywood Boulevard) and jump in line.

After you get off Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway head to whichever of the following has the shortest wait time: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock N’ Roller Coaster, or Slinky Dog Dash.

Tower of Terror and Rock N’ Roller Coaster are near one another. When you get off one ride, head directly to the other.

If you end up at Slinky Dog Dash, ride Toy Story Mania and the Alien Swirling Saucers. They don’t usually have long lines so it’s a good chance to get everything done while you’re in one area.

When you finish the rides in one area, head to the other for those rides.

entrance sign shaped like Mickey ears and reading Disney Junior Dance Party - great for kids on your disney's hollywood studios itinerary
Disney Junior Dance Party at Hollywood Studios is a great way for kiddos to burn off energy. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Morning With Small Kids

If you’re visiting with littles your Hollywood Studios itinerary may look different. You can either do rider switch if the adults still want to go on grown up rides or add in a toddler favorite like Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy show.

Rider switch is the system that allows one adult to go on a ride while the other one waits with the kids. Then, the adults switch so the other one can ride without waiting in line again. The following rides offer Rider Switch at Hollywood Studios:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rise of the Resistance

If you have lunch reservations with small kiddos I highly recommend bringing them to Disney Junior Play and Dance before eating. This interactive show features favorite Disney Junior characters with tons of audience participation. It’s a great way to get the wiggles out before sitting down to eat!


Lunch will depend a bit on your schedule and whether you’ve got any Genie+ reservations. If you’ve got time for a table service meal, the 50’s Prime Time Cafe is well known for its hearty dishes, tables with TVs, and cast members enforcing manners at the table. My husband’s personal favorite food item at Hollywood Studios lives here: the peanut butter and jelly milkshake.

If you need to do a quick service lunch, check out Docking Bay 7 in Galaxy’s Edge. The menu is very allergy-friendly with gluten-free (Roasted Endorian Chicken Salad), meat- and dairy-free (Felucian Kefta and Hummus Garden Spread), and nut-free options (Smoked Kaadu Pork Ribs). You can also place mobile orders here, ordering through the My Disney Experience App, to save time. The Backlot Express is another great option and is centrally located on Echo Lake. It offers familiar American dining fare for picky eaters – cheeseburgers, chicken strips and even Uncrustables for the kiddos.

Install the Disney Play app before you visit to assist the Outpost or the Resistance. When you open the app, you’ll find an entire game/mission designed around the land. Lunch is a great time to make sure you have it. The clues in the app will lead you to items to scan. Ask cast members (that’s what Disney calls its employees) for assistance if you need it. Their responses make the game even more fun.


Squeeze in a show, if you have time. The Mickey’s Vacation Fun is a short 10 minute movie. If you have more time head to the Frozen Sing-Along (30 minutes). It’s a good idea to schedule shows for the afternoon, especially in the summer and fall when rainstorms seem to happen daily.

If you plan to do standby lines at Rise of the Resistance or Smugglers Run we recommend queuing up BEFORE 2pm. At 2pm the parks open up to park hopping which means there will be an influx of guests heading to that ride. In Galaxy’s Edge you can build a Droid to take home (reservations needed), shop, eat, and play.

One unique souvenir to pick up is a little round Coca-Cola bottle that looks like a detonator. This is the only spot at Disney to score them. They took the internet by storm when they first came out and we still see them listed on eBay for avid Star Wars collectors.

Use the remainder of your afternoon as makeup time. Hit any rides you didn’t make it on in the morning from the recommended list. Head over and check out Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage. This show runs several times a day between 11am and 5pm (check showtimes in the MyDisneyExperience app) and most times are solidly in the afternoon.

Don’t miss Muppet Vision 3D! It’s one of my favorite Hollywood Studios attractions. Combining theatre live-action and a movie, I love it as much as my kids do. I’m a huge Statler and Waldorf fan (the grumpy old Muppet guys) and they steal the show.


You’ve got two nighttime events to plan your evening rides and meals around. First of all Fantasmic returned on November 3rd. This fireworks spectacular starts at 8pm most evenings. Featuring a 40-foot-tall Maleficent dragon, you’ll also spot favorite characters from Moana, Frozen, Pocohontas, Beauty and the Beast and more. When it’s over stay until 9pm to experience 90 years of Disney animation during the Wonderful World of Animation nighttime show. This 12-minute long projection show takes place on the facade of Chinese Theater.

If the nighttime shows aren’t your thing it’s a great time to hit Rise of the Resistance. Crowds are lower in the evening hours.

If you’ve got older kids who aren’t worn out you can book a dinner reservation for the Hollywood Brown Derby for its famous Cobb Salad, a Wagyu burger or a filet. This is the swanky option with wood paneling and classy touches.

Another great option is dinner and a “show” at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, which offers burgers, salads and pasta at a lower price point. You’ll dine in car-shaped booths, which is always popular with the tween set.

With Disney Dining Plans currently on hold your Disney food might cost you a little more. Here’s how to save $50+ a day by packing your own snacks (or shipping them to the hotel with Amazon).

Let us know how your day at Hollywood Studios goes!

Nasreen’s adventures started out as business travel. Working as a territory sales manager she covered 21 states during her tenure, traveling 3-5 nights a week. As she visited new cities and states, she always worked in a quick stop at a unique or iconic site. A travel writing career was born. When her father-in-law’s cancer came back she started writing and consulting full-time around his chemotherapy schedule. Traveling with her firefighter/paramedic husband, kids, friends and solo allows her to cover a variety of situations and topics. Her four kids (19 year old boy, 13 year old girl, 11 year old girl and 7 year old boy) are professionals at the cross country road trip. After 10 years in Texas, their family is back in the Northeast exploring both familiar and new destinations. There she runs her own business providing go-to-market, sales strategy, podcast, and content marketing consulting for websites and B2B businesses. Whenever possible she writes for a variety of publications in the podcast, travel, and business space. Connect with her on LinkedIn to chat about travel, content, sales, and podcasts!
Read full bio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *