After arriving at The Beach Club on Saturday, and squeezing every drop of fun we could out of Harry Potter World on Sunday, I was impressed that our crew was still ready to get up and go to rope drop Hollywood Studios. Because my best friend is a Disney pro and sat down with me beforehand to comb through every tiny detail, I felt prepared.
Disney has a way of making things quite complicated for people who don’t go often. There is Genie+, individual lightning lanes, and rope drop strategies. With Christen’s help, we successfully navigated these strategies over the four park days and fit in the rides we most wanted to experience. I’m going to share our plan for each park on the recap post, in case that’s the kind of thing you might find helpful for planning your own trip!
Rope Drop Strategy for Hollywood Studios
- Park Opens: 8:30 (8:00 for on property guests)
- Leave hotel: 6:45 AM
- Mode of Transportation: walk from Beach Club
- Lightning Lane: Rise of the Resistance (40”)
- Genie+ selection: Slinky Dog (38”)
- Rope Drop: Mickey’s Runaway, then right to Tower of Terror (40″)
- Other Priority Rides: Toy Story Mania, Flying Saucer, Star Tours (40”), Smuggler’s Run (38”), Rock ‘n Roller Coaster (48”), Barnstormer (35″)
When I woke up at 6:00, my first order of business was to purchase Genie+ for the whole crew on my Disney app and ensure we had two phones that could log onto the app. We would need two phones to both log on exactly at 7:00 AM, one to purchase the lightning lane and another to select the first Genie+ (fast pass) of the day.
I was quite nervous about doing this correctly on the first day and even found myself running the concierge at 6:30 AM to confirm I had indeed purchased it and was ready to go at 7:00. If it sounds crazy, let me assure you, it was.
We left the hotel at 6:45 Monday morning to walk to Hollywood Studios. It was a pretty walk and only took about 15 minutes. That included us stopping at 6:57 so David and I could refresh the Disney app over and over to be able to successfully nab the rides we were going for- success!! I felt a huge weight lift off me once we had confirmed Ride of the Resistance and Slinky Dog for the day, picking the earliest time slot available, which even with being right on top of the timing, wasn’t until early afternoon for both. Still, we had done it!
We made it to the gate and scanned to get through to the front of the line for on-property guests by 7:25 AM. I heard they always open the park 30 minutes earlier for on-site guests, and sometimes even a couple minutes before that, I was planning on a 7:50ish entry, leaving me feeling perfectly comfortable to take a 7:30 trip to the bathroom with Kaitlyn and Kyla. We walked back through the crown a few hundred feet to reach the bathroom and as we were washing our hands I got a text saying “they’re letting us in!”
This is how crazy I was about sticking to our plan- I kicked into high gear and told the kids to keep up. We ran and weaved through the crowd and the nicest people let us jump in front of them at the entry. Since there is no running in the parks, we did our best speed walking to catch up with our family, which we finally did about 15 heart-poundingly minutes later, and headed straight to Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway.
We were near the front of the line at 7:52 AM and that kicked off our day at Hollywood Studios! Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway is a newer ride that we hadn’t been on and what a great one it is! It’s precious and so much fun. Everyone loved it and it was a top ride from our trip.
From there we headed straight to Tower of Terror, which Hailey was quite nervous about as a first-timer. She liked to spooky décor and braved the ride, leaving on a high at her ability to conquer it!
From there we walked right on at Rockin’ Roller Coaster, feeling really satisfied with the rope drop strategy for allowing us to knock out so many great rides with little to no waiting. Both Hailey and Kaitlyn were in literal tears of fear as they loaded onto the coaster, then both got off saying “that was awesome!”
That was pretty much the theme for the whole trip for Hailey- intense nervousness and stomach aches in line, then really enjoying it afterwards. What can I say, my girl likes to know exactly what to expect out of a situation so a bunch of new thrill rides was stressful at times for her.
After hitting up so many of the rides we wanted to experience, they lines started getting longer and the heat kicked up a notch. It was the perfect time for a show! We snagged at Genie+ pass to Frozen and it was the perfect “take break” show we needed. It was funny, engaging, and there was plenty of air conditioning!
I adore Hollywood Studios. I love the size and the theming. We loved exploring Toy Story Land and the Star Wars area. The Star Wars land was a first for me and I was seriously impressed with their attention to detail. We even walked right by Kylo Ren, a Storm Trooper, AND Chewbacca. The girls loved it!
The coolest ride we went on was probably The Rise of the Resistance. I’ve never been on a “ride” that is such an immersive experience. David geeked out over the trackless ride and we all geeked out over the intricate details (I mean, that light saber through the ceiling?!).
Slinky Dog was adorable of course, and we enjoyed The Barnstormer and some other small rides like the alien twirl. Once about 1:30/2:00 hit, we had ridden most everything we wanted so we opted to walk back to Beach Club and hit up the pool.
After some water slides and pool volleyball we showered and walked next door to Ale & Compass at The Yacht Club Resort. Our server was great and the food was delicious. We had a hungry crew and devoured our meals, especially enjoying the buffalo cauliflower appetizer.
I loved our day at Hollywood Studios! For our group, I feel confident saying that we nailed the experience (which wasn’t the case for every day of our trip ;)). From rope drop to our Genie+ and LL ride selections, to leaving the park at the right time to cool off in the pool. I could have lived this day several times over.
Favorite rides from Hollywood Studios: David- Rise of the Resistance, Hailey- Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway, Kaitlyn- Tower of Terror, Brittany- a tie between Rise of the Resistance and Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway
What’s your favorite Hollywood Studios ride or experience??