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Complete Disney’s Hollywood Studios Guide (2024)

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Hollywood Studios was the third park built at Walt Disney World, opening as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 (it was renamed Hollywood Studios in 2008). It is an ode to movies, which, in a way, is why some of the park can feel a little mish-mashed. But because of the fantastic shows and some of the newest technology in rides, Hollywood Studios has quickly become a must-do park at Disney World. And here’s our complete Hollywood Studios guide!

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Building facades in Hollywood Studios

Getting to Hollywood Studios

Depending on where you are staying, you can get to Hollywood Studios in a variety of ways. Let’s break them down!

Taking a Bus to Hollywood Studios

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you will be able to take a bus to Hollywood Studios. Check the bus schedule at your resort and/or at your resort’s bus stop. Buses run regularly before park open and after park close (but times can vary, so double check). If you are staying at a resort, you should also be able to check the bus schedule on the My Disney Experience app.

Check out other transportation options though, because there might actually be a faster way to get there depending on your resort. And often, resorts that have Skyliner access do not offer bus transportation to parks that can be accessed via the Skyliner.

Taking the Skyliner

If you are staying at certain Disney resorts, you can take the Disney Skyliner.

If you are staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you can take a Skyliner gondola directly to Hollywood Studios.

Guests staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort, Art of Animation Resort, or Pop Century Resort, will also take the Skyliner, but will have to change gondolas at Caribbean Beach.

Taking a Boat to Hollywood Studios

Resorts close to Hollywood Studios offer transportation via Friendship Boat. The Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and the Swan and Dolphin Resort all have accessible Friendship Boat stations. Note that depending on which station you use, you may have stops at other stations before you get to Hollywood Studios.

Walking to Hollywood Studios

If you are staying in a resort close to Hollywood Studios, you can walk to the park. Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and Swan and Dolphin all have walking paths you can use to get to Hollywood Studios.

Note that these walks can take a bit of time though — about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your resort.

Driving to Hollywood Studios

Driving to Hollywood Studios is of course also an option. If you are staying at a resort, you will not have to pay for parking at the park. Annual passholders also do not have to pay for parking.

If you are a day guest with a regular ticket though, you will be charged $30 for a day of parking.

Echo Lake at Hollywood Studios
Echo Lake

Getting Around Hollywood Studios

Walk, walk and walk some more. Hollywood Studios is actually the only park that has zero transportation within the park (Magic Kingdom has the train and Main Street vehicles, Epcot has the Friendship boats, and even Animal Kingdom has the train that takes you to Conservation Station).

Luckily though, Hollywood Studios is also the smallest park space-wise, so you will probably still find yourself logging less steps than you will in other parks.

Is One Day at Hollywood Studios Enough?

Because Hollywood Studios is a relatively small park, one day should be plenty of time to see and do just about everything. In fact, if you effectively use Genie+ and skip some stuff, you could even make Hollywood Studios a half day park.

Wondering how Hollywood Studios compares to the other parks? These guides may help you decide which parks to spend more time in:

Guide to Hollywood Studios Rides & Attractions in 2023

Hollywood Studios is a celebration of the magic of movie making. In recent years it has seen several expansions aimed at attracting more crowds to the park (and away from the sometimes overcrowded other parks). As a result, Hollywood Studios now has some of the most popular attractions on property, making it even more crowded.

Let’s break the park down into sections, with a list of the attractions you’ll find in each one.

Hollywood Boulevard

You’ll enter the park on Hollywood Boulevard, a street lined with shops and restaurants that leads to the Chinese Theater. The Chinese Theater is where you’ll find Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the park’s newest attraction — a dark, trackless, family-friendly ride.

Hollywood Boulevard Rides & Attractions

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Entrance to Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway

Sunset Boulevard

Turning right off of the middle of Hollywood Boulevard will lead you down Sunset Boulevard, another stretch lined with shops and restaurants, ending with some of the park’s headliner attractions.

Sunset Boulevard Rides & Attractions

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic! (nighttime show)
  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (show)

Echo Lake

The center lake and area around it in Hollywood Studios is known as Echo Lake. It’s notable for its giant dinosaur: Gertie.

Echo Lake Rides & Attractions

  • Star Tours — The Adventure Continues
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! (show)
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (show)
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight

Animation Courtyard

Animation Courtyard is located north of the Chinese Theater before you walk back to Toy Story Land. Here is where you’ll find several character meet and greets, notably Disney Junior and Star Wars characters.

Animation Courtyard Attractions

  • Disney Junior Play and Dance!
  • Walt Disney Presents (museum and show)
  • Star Wars Launch Bay (character meet and greet)

Commissary Lane

Commissary Lane is a street behind the Echo Lake section of the park. This is a small street that mostly has a couple restaurants, but there is a Minnie and Mickey meet and greet.

Commissary Lane Attractions

  • Mickey and Minnie in Red Carpet Dreams (character meet and greet)

Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue is located between Star Tours and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is is home of The Muppets! It’s a small area of the park, but if you are a Muppets lover, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Grand Avenue Attractions

  • Muppet*Vision 3D (show)

Pixar Plaza (Municiberg)

Pixar Place is a small area of Hollywood Studios located just before you get to Toy Story Land. Before Toy Story Land opened, the entrance for Toy Story Mania was located here. Now it is usually where you can spot The Incredibles and find Jack Jack Num Num Cookies.

Pixar Plaza Attractions

  • The Edna Mode Experience (meet and greet)

Also note that sometimes this area of the park is called Municiberg (because of the sole presence of The Incredibles right now), but on the Disney map it still shows up as Pixar Plaza (so that’s what we’re going with for now).

Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land opened in 2018 and puts you in Andy’s back yard, making you feel like you are the size of a toy. This popular area of the park is often crowded and it has very little shade, so be aware. Our tip is to visit this area in the morning or evening and avoid it in the middle of a hot day.

Toy Story Land Rides and Attractions

  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Alien Swirling Saucers

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the newest addition to the park, opening in 2019. Here you’ll find yourself on the planet of Batuu, where you might just meet Rey and Chewie or come across the Dark Side. Storm Troopers regularly patrol the area and are some of the most immersive character interactions in all the parks.

Also, use your phone as a datapad to decipher the language of Batuu. You can use the Play Disney Parks app to decode the messages on various signs throughout the land.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Rides and Attractions

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Cinderella Castle -- Happily Ever After

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How to Use Genie+ at Hollywood Studios

What is Genie+?

Genie+ is a system that gives you access to Lightning Lanes (shorter lines). It costs $15 to $35 per day per ticket (pricing is based on crowd level and park). There are also Individual Lightning Lanes that cost a separate fee (usually between $12 and $29) for premium attractions.

Note that aside from rides with Virtual Boarding Groups (right now, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in Epcot and TRON Lightcycle/Run in Magic Kingdom) you DO NOT have to purchase Genie+. Standby lines are still available as usual.

Also note that you can choose to purchase Individual Lightning Lanes for select rides without purchasing Genie+.

To use Genie+ you will book your first Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. the morning of your visit. After that, you can book your next Lightning Lane either 2 hours after park open (or during the day, 2 hours after you book a previous one) OR when you scan into your Lightning Lane ride (usually at the second scan-in spot).

If you want to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane, you can do so at park open (or at 7 a.m. if you are a resort guest).

Also, don’t get Genie+ confused with Genie, which is a free service in the Disney World app that can help you plan your day and book dining.

Using Genie+ in Hollywood Studios

Our first tip for using Genie+ in Hollywood Studios is to get in the app and play with it before your trip. You can go to “My Day” and then the “Tip Board” in the app and see what rides are available at each park, how long the wait times are, and what Lightning Lanes are available to book throughout the day. This will give you a good idea of what to expect.

It’s also helpful to know which rides in the park will have the most demand and which of those have Genie+ Lightning Lane access vs. Individual Lightning Lane Access (available for purchase).

Here are the rides and attractions that have Lightning Lane access in Hollywood Studios (an asterisk indicate a popular line with pretty consistently high wait time where a Lightning Lane would be especially helpful):

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty & The Beach Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play and Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
  • Mickey and Minnie at Red Carpet Dreams
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster*
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
  • Slinky Dog Dash*
  • Toy Story Mania*
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror*
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway*

Here is the premium ride that would require an Individual Lightning Lane Purchase (but remember, standby is still a free option):

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

A few things we’ve noticed about Lightning Lane and Genie+ at Hollywood Studios:

  • Slinky Dog Dash Lightning Lane goes FAST. If this is an important ride to you, book it first!
  • The Individual Lightning Lane Purchase for Rise of the Resistance also goes fast. So book this first thing in the morning as well. (You can purchase this without it impacting your regular Lightning Lane bookings.)

If I were planning a day at Hollywood Studios using Genie+, I would book my first Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash. I would also consider purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance. Then I would rope drop Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad, Tower of Terror, or Rock n’ Roller Coaster, depending on which one was most important to me.

If you choose not to buy the Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lane and that is important for you to ride, I would probably rope drop that (as long as I was one of the first people in the park!). Sometimes, rope dropping Rise of the Resistance is definitely the way to go! They often start running the ride before the park actually opens. (When we last rope dropped Rise of the Resistance, we were actually OFF the ride before Early Entry officially began!)

However, because Rise of the Resistance is included in Early Entry for Resort Guests, I would rope drop something different if I were a non-resort guest and plan to shell out for the Individual Lightning Lane or wait in a long line at some point in the day.

Do I Need Genie+ at Hollywood Studios?

Hollywood Studios is a smaller park, which means there is not as much to do, but it can also mean that for those few rides there are, the wait times can get high. Out of all four Disney World Park, I’d say this is second behind Magic Kingdom as far as the necessity of Genie+ goes.

Whether or not you purchase Genie+ in Hollywood Studios is going to depend on what rides you want to do, how crowded the park is when you are there, and how long you plan to spend in the park. If you are someone who goes to Disney World frequently, and you don’t mind missing out on some of the rides now and then, I wouldn’t stress about getting Genie+. But if you are taking a big once-in-a-lifetime trip, I would definitely plan to buy Genie Plus.

If you plan to visit Hollywood Studios without Genie+, be sure to arrive early in the morning and try to hit a couple of the most popular attractions within the first hour of the park being open. I’d try to hit Slinky Dog, Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway, or Rise of the Resistance depending on what your “must-dos” are.

Also remember that Hollywood Studios has a couple rides with single rider lines (Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run), so if your party is okay with being split up, take advantage of these for shorter wait times.

Early Entry at Hollywood Studios for Resort Guests

If you are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel or at some of the “Good Neighbor” hotels, you will have access to Early Entry. This means that you can enter the park 30 minutes earlier than regular day guests and enjoy access to several attractions.

Here is what is open in Hollywood Studios during Early Entry:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania

If you are staying at the Disney resort, definitely plan to take advantage of early entry! This is a great time to get on some of the most popular rides with little to no wait!

If you are not staying at a Disney resort, be conscious of what rides will already have wait times (because of these Early Entry guests) when you arrive at the park. This is why you may not want to rope drop something like Rise of the Resistance or Slinky Dog Dash, and instead go for something like Toy Story Mania.

Characters at Hollywood Studios in 2023

There are tons of characters you can meet in Hollywood Studios, and many of them are characters you can ONLY meet in Hollywood Studios, like Star Wars characters and Disney Junior characters.

Let’s break down each area of the park with the characters you can generally meet there. Note that this can be subject to change, so definitely check your times guide or My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit to see what characters are available.

Hollywood Studios Character Meals

Currently, Hollywood & Vine is offering character dining. For breakfast you can meet Disney Junior characters at the Disney Junior Play n’ Dine. You can see Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vamparina, and Goofy.

Lunch and Dinner are Minnie’s Seasonal Dining, where you can see Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy in seasonal outfits.

Hollywood Studios Character Meet and Greets

Hollywood Studios has so many unique characters to meet, so if you want to see Olaf or Star Wars characters or Toy Story characters, this is the place to be!

You also never know what other characters might pop up throughout the park, so keep your eyes open!

Sunset Boulevard Characters

At the end of Sunset Boulevard, you can see characters from Cars outside Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. These characters include Cruz Ramirez and DJ. You may also sometimes see a character (like Goofy) on the Tower of Terror balcony.

Animation Courtyard Characters

Animation Courtyard is the biggest place to meet characters in Hollywood Studios and has characters you won’t find in any other Disney World parks.

Here you’ll find Disney Junior characters like Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and Fancy Nancy in outdoor meet and greets (plus see Disney Junior Characters at Disney Junior Dance and Play!). You’ll usually find Pluto here too.

Animation Courtyard is also home to the Star Wars Launch Bay, where you can meet BB-8, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and sometimes Kylo Ren.

You’ll also find Walt Disney Presents here, where recently you can meet Ariel from the live action Little Mermaid.

Echo Lake Characters

In Echo Lake, across from Backlot Express, you’ll find Celebrity Spotlight. This is where you can meet Olaf from Frozen. This is the only place you can meet Olaf in Disney World!

Outside of Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular you can meet Donald and Daisy! And at the front of Echo Lake near Hollywood Boulevard, you can meet Chip and Dale.

Commissary Lane Characters

Commissary Lane is where you can meet Mickey and Minnie. Their meet and greet is called Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams and you’ll see Minnie in her Hollywood dress and Mickey in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice outfit.

Grand Avenue Characters

Recently Goofy and his son Max have been seen in the Grand Avenue area. They are located between Grand Avenue and the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge.

Pixar Plaza Characters

In the small Pixar Plaza area you can meet Edna Mode at The Edna Mode Experience. You can also find Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Frozone, and Sulley out in the area with small lines.

Joy from Inside Out will also be meeting here beginning June 10, 2024.

Toy Story Land Characters

Toy Story Land is of course where you can meet the characters from Toy Story! These will include Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jessie. Plus you can catch the Green Army Men marching!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Characters

There aren’t actually character meet and greets in Galaxy’s Edge, but there are still plenty of characters to see! Chewie and Rey are often out trying to outwit the First Order along with Vi Moradi. You’ll also see Storm Troopers constantly patrolling, and Kylo Ren makes regular appearances.

They have also added Mando and Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) from the hit show The Mandalorian as characters in Batuu, and you can find them roaming around throughout the day. This character interaction isn’t listed in the My Disney Experience app, but you can usually find him in the Marketplace area of Galaxy’s Edge.

Hollywood Studios Outdoor Entertainment

Hollywood Studios has some great nighttime entertainment events, most notably the popular Fantasmic! — one of the most popular shows on property. As always, check the My Disney Experience app to see what it available on the day of your visit.

Disney Movie Magic takes place on Hollywood Boulevard and features projected movie moments on the Chinese Theater.

Wonderful World of Animation takes place on Hollywood Boulevard and highlights Disney animation through projections on the Chinese Theater. Generally it occurs right after Disney Movie Magic.

Fantasmic! is the classic nighttime show at Hollywood Studios. It has been running since 1992! You can see it in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, which is located behind Tower of Terror. Take the path between Beauty and Beast and Tower of Terror and it will lead you to Fantasmic! Make sure you get there early; this is a popular show!

Character Boat in Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios
Fantasmic!

Hollywood Studios Dining Guide

Hollywood Studios hasn’t always had the strongest dining options, but some recent additions and menu overhauls have really improved things. In this Hollywood Studios guide, let’s break dining options down land by land and discuss Table Service, Quick Service, and Snack Quick Service locations in each area.

Also keep your eye peeled for other snack booths throughout the park. In addition to the main locations listed below, you’ll find other kiosks offering ice cream, popcorn, pretzels, and more.

Seating at Woody’s Lunchbox

Hollywood Boulevard Dining

  • The Trolley Car Cafe — Quick Service — the Starbucks location in Hollywood Studios, also offering cupcakes and pastries.

Sunset Boulevard Dining

  • Fairfax Fare — Quick Service location offering tex-mex cuisine.
  • Anaheim Produce — Quick Service Snack location with fresh fruit and veggies, plus Mickey pretzels.

Echo Lake Dining

  • Hollywood & Vine — Table Service restaurant offering American cuisine. This is also the only location for character dining in Hollywood Studios, with Disney Junior breakfasts and Minnie and friends lunches and dinners.
  • Tune-In Lounge is connected to 50’s Prime Time Cafe and offers drinks. They used to offer food, but have not recently.
  • Backlot Express — Quick Service location offering burgers and sandwiches.
  • Dockside Diner — Quick Service located at the ship on Echo Lake, mainly offering hot dogs.
  • Epic Eats — Quick Service Snack location with funnel cakes and ice cream.

Commissary Lane Dining

  • ABC Commissary — Quick Service restaurant with American and global cuisine.

Grand Avenue Dining

  • PizzeRizzo — Quick Service location offering Rizzo the Rat’s pizza. It is usually only opened seasonally or when crowds are high.
  • Ice Cold Hydraulics — A new snack spot offering cinnamon rolls and churros.

Pixar Plaza Dining

  • Market — Quick Service Snack booth offering Jack Jack Num Num Cookies.

Toy Story Land Dining

  • Roundup Rodeo BBQ — Table Service location that opened in March 2023 with immersive Toy Story theming.
  • Woody’s Lunch Box — Quick Service location with sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Plus they are open for breakfast, with some of the favorite breakfast food on property.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Dining

  • Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo — Quick Service restaurant open for lunch and dinner. They offer cuisine from Batuu (really American food with a bit of a twist and a creative name.)
  • Ronto Roasters — Quick Service location known for Ronto Wraps (made with pork sausage). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Oga’s Cantina — Bar/Lounge with Star Wars themed cocktails and mocktails. If you want to visit, you will definitely need a reservation!
  • Milk Stand — Quick Service Snack location where you can get the famous blue and green milk.

Special Events at Hollywood Studios

Disney After Hours

Disney After Hours is set to return to Hollywood Studios in 2024! This event will take place on select nights between January 10 and April 10.

This is a separately ticketed event (aka you don’t need a park ticket) that takes place from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Using your ticket, you can enter the park starting at 7:00 p.m. though.

After Hours events give you the opportunity to enjoy Hollywood Studios rides and attractions with lower crowds because they are limited capacity. However, not every ride and attraction will be open. The event also includes ice cream, popcorn, and select beverages. Prices for the event in 2023 range from $155 to $175.

Disney Jollywood Nights

In 2023, Disney introduced a new event at Hollywood Studios: Disney Jollywood Nights. This was a separately ticketed event that will took place on select nights from November 11 to December 20.

The event included special entertainment including a variety show hosted by Kermit and Miss Piggy, a special holiday projection show on the Chinese Theater, and a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along show. There were also special character meet and greets (like Phineas and Ferb).

Disney also encouraged guests to dress up for this event — it’s all about the glitz and glam!

Prices for Jollywood Nights ranged from $159 to $179. The event took from place 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and ticketholders could enter the park as early at 7:00 p.m.

However, Jollywood Nights didn’t get rave reviews. Many guests who visited thought that the special night didn’t have enough offerings, so we’ll see if Disney decides to continue Jollywood Nights in 2024.

Plan the Perfect Disney Trip!

Where To Stay:

Tickets & Reservations:

  • Use Undercover Tourist (an authorized ticket seller) to save money on Disney tickets. You can save up to $80 per ticket!
  • Need a stroller? We loved using Kingdom Strollers for on-site stroller delivery!

Need Help Planning?

  • Aren’t sure where to start? Sign up here for a free 7-day email course that will walk you through each step of planning your Disney World trip!
  • Download our Disney Planning Spreadsheet, a Google sheet you can take with you on the go, to organize all your Disney World plans! (And use some of our tried and true itineraries!)

Hollywood Studios Current Closures and Upcoming Attractions

Ride & Attraction Closures

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid — Currently closed. Little Mermaid a Musical Adventure (a new show) is opening Fall 2024.
  • Rock n’ Roller Coaster — Closed for refurbishment through summer 2024.

Hollywood Studios Tips and Tricks

  • When Tower of Terror shows a 13 minute wait, that actually means it is a 0 minute wait!
  • Take advantage of single rider lines! There are two rides with single rider lines (Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Smugglers Run) in Hollywood Studios, which can save you a lot of queuing time if your party is willing to be split up.
  • Don’t forget about rider switch! Hollywood Studios has a pretty big proportion of rides meant to appeal to older kids and adults, so don’t hesitate to use rider switch if you need it! (With rider swap one adult can wait with the child while the rest of the party waits in line; then the adult who was with the child can ride the ride through the Lightning Lane.)

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