A Day Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Families

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a great place to visit at the Walt Disney World parks. Our guide to Hollywood Studios for families will help you plan an awesome day at the park.

With the addition of Toy Story Land and the special events throughout the holidays and into the New Year, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios also has the recent addition of Galaxy’s Edge and it has made a visit to the park even more incredible.

A Bit About Our Love for Disney

You know how you felt as a kid on Christmas morning? The excitiement and anticipation of what is to come. Knowing that you have an exciting day ahead of you with your family that will be crazy and chaotic but amazing at the same time.

That is how I feel walking into a Disney park.

Toy Story Land is the latest addition to the parks and is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I have been anticipating the opening of Toy Story Land since it was announced in August of 2015.

toy story land hamm

I thought it would be an amazing addition to the park and one that I couldn’t wait to experience.  We even met with an Imagineer at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and our excitement grew.

Our meeting with the Imagineer inspired my kids in so many ways. You can read about it here: Toy Story Land and How it Inspired My Kids

The day had finally arrived and we were ready to spend a full day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As an added bonus, we were visiting during the holiday and the Flurry of Fun event and holiday decorations were found throughout the park. 

Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Families

We arrived very early for our visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We knew we had to be at the beginning of the line to even have a chance of experiencing the Toy Story Land attractions without a very long line.

This was a last minute trip and I didn’t have time to follow my advice of reserving FastPass reservations and dining reservations. I always recommend planning your visit as early as possible.

I have written helpful posts about how to book your FastPass at Walt Disney World. I highly recommend reading them as you start planning your visit to Walt Disney World.

As we arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios our energy was up, even though it was 7:30 in the morning. We were all excited to be back at our favorite place.

Be Prepared to Wait Until Park Opening

We arrived at the park, went through bag check and security, and made our way to the entrance gates. We were the first family in one of the lines…and then we waited.

Waiting can be really tough for everyone, especially when we are so excited. I usually use this early morning wait time to apply sunscreen and eat breakfast. I always pack snacks and a few water bottles for our day.  

disney hollywood studios entrance

The great thing about waiting in line at Disney, other than the fact that you are at Disney, is the cast members. They are amazing at entertaining the kids and talking to you as you wait.

Every park at Disney has a different opening style and you can never really predict what time the parks will open. It depends on crowd level expectations among other things.

At around 8:40 they began letting people into the park. I was so excited…we were going to be earlier than I expected!! We walked for a short bit and then were stopped.

This is one of the ways they control the crowds at the park. They slowly let you in and have another area gated for actual park opening. At around 8:55 the park was opened for the day and the large group made a beeline for Toy Story Land. (Official park opening was 9:00am.)

Toy Story Land 

It was a bit crowded as we maneuvered our way through the crowds and kept track of the kids. Be prepared to walk and stay close because it does get very busy. 

As we rounded the corner to enter Toy Story Land we saw Woody, our favorite cowboy, welcome us to Andy’s backyard. We were grinning from ear to ear!

Our plan was to explore Toy Story Land after we experienced the three attractions: Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Alien Saucer Swirl. 

Toy Story Land was showing long lines on a daily basis averaging up to 120 minutes on most days, so we knew that would be our first stop. 

toy story land at disney hollywood studios

I have to be honest with you this was the one I was most nervous for because we didn’t have a FastPass and I knew the line would get very long, very fast. 

As we made our way to Toy Story Land I could see the wait time was already at around 70 minutes. Even though we would never wait in a line that long, we took our chances and went for it.

slinky dog dash at disneys hollywood studios

I was so happy we did!! First, of all Slinky Dog Dash is a fun, surprising and well themed ride that everyone really enjoyed. Second, we waited about 20 minutes! 

If you do not have a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash when you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and want to ride it with a short wait time, arrive as early as possible and head there first. 

It was about 9:20 when we made our way to Toy Story Midway Mania. Toy Story Midway Mania is not a new attraction, but it is one of our favorites and we love riding it. The wait was about 20 minutes from start to finish and then we headed over to Alien Swirling Saucers.

Alien Swirling Saucers is a spinning ride that is a lot of fun. We probably waited about 30 minutes for this attraction. I would suggest riding it once, but wouldn’t wait more than 20-30 minutes to ride. 

alien swirling saucer at disney hollywood studios

We knew we wanted to try Woody’s Lunchbox for a late breakfast/early lunch and we had until 10:30 to order from the breakfast menu. Woody’s Lunchbox is quick-service dining which means you order at a counter.

 I highly suggest taking advantage of Mobile Ordering when ordering from any quick-service dining option at the Walt Disney World parks. 

Mobile Ordering allows you to order your meal from the My Disney Experience app. Usually I will order while waiting in line for an attraction. Upon arrival to the restaurant you go back to your order and click that you have arrived. 

Mobile Ordering saves so much time waiting in the park and we always use it where it is available. Read my step by step guide to mobile ordering and how it can save you time at all the Disney parks. 

We made it to Woody’s Lunchbox just in time for breakfast and enjoyed the S’more French Toast Sandwich, Breakfast Bowl, Chocolate Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart, and Potato Barrels.

The most difficult part about eating at Woody’s Lunchbox is there is not a lot of tables and everything is outside. On our visit…it was raining. We were able to find shelter under an umbrella and a tall table but we didn’t find a table with seats. 

Toy Story Land is very popular and be prepared for the crowds and some wait time for attractions and dining. 

As we finished our meal I kept saying “they did such a great job”, they being the Imagineers. I was impressed with their attention to details on the attractions and throughout the land. Toy Story Land is a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

We made our exit from Toy Story Land to explore the rest of the park and made plans to return in the evening to see it at night. 

Frozen, Star Wars, and Indy are all at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Of course Toy Story Land brings in so many guests to the park but Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a lot more fun to offer.

As we headed out of Toy Story Land we made our way to Star Tours. We were able to book a FastPass for Star Tours at 9:55am-10:55am. This means we can enter the attraction any time between the time stated. 

With about 15 minutes until our end time we made our way to Star Tours. Star Tours is a fun simulator ride that has a different combination of shows on every ride.

After Star Tours we walked to The Muppets 3D and enjoyed this classic show. Every time I see The Muppets 3D I am blown away with how the technology has held up on this attraction. 

The Muppets 3D has been at the park since the early MGM days and it is entertaining and fun for families. 

After The Muppets we made it to the 11:30 show of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. It was our first time watching the show and it was so fun! The narrators of the show make it enjoyable for everyone.

After Frozen we went to Star Wars Launch Bay to meet Kylo Ren. I don’t know why but we can’t stop laughing when we meet Kylo Ren and it is always funny. I’m sharing our meet and greet at the video at the end of this post. Check it out!

kylo ren at disneys hollywood studios

Next up was the  Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. A few of the parts of the show had to be cut because of the weather but the stunts we saw were awesome. 

After the show we had a late lunch at Rosie’s All American Cafe on Sunset Boulevard. Rosie’s is a quick-service dining option. The kids favorite was the power pack that has yogurt, carrots, fruit, goldfish, a fruit bar, and a drink. 

power pack at hollywood studios

As we were eating we took our time and talked about what we wanted to do next. We decided to head back towards Toy Story Land to explore a bit, take pictures, and stop at One Man’s Dream along the way.

One Man’s Dream is a mini museum and short 10 minute film about the story of Walt Disney. If you are a Disney fan I wouldn’t miss it. They have models of what the parks were going to look like, memorabilia from Walt Disney, and upcoming models of what is to come at the parks. 

star wars galaxy edge at hollywood studios

Then we headed back to Toy Story Land to explore a bit more. At this time in the day it was crowded and most lines were over a 60 minute wait.

We did have an opportunity to take a few pictures and explore the area more, and noticed even more details. As you walk notice Andy’s footprint on the ground. 

The kids were wanting to have a churro snack so we headed over to The Muppets 3D area to purchase one and watch The Muppets 3D…again! 

Then we noticed Star Tours had a 20 minute wait and we walked over to ride again.

When you are visiting any Walt Disney World park it is important to use the My Disney Experience App. It is constantly updated with wait times and can help you decide where to go next. 

As we exited Star Tours I noticed Chewbacca had a short wait time, under 20 minutes, so we walked over to Launch Bay to meet him. 

Launch Bay has memorabilia from the Star Wars franchise, and you can meet Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and BB-8. There is also a short movie about the Star Wars films. 

hollywood studios chewbacca

On a side note in this area is the Disney Junior Dance Party show and Disney Junior meet and greet. At this time you ca meet Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, and other characters. The show is recently updated and a great option for preschool children. 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Night 

One of the best things about visiting a park is visiting at night. Everything lights up and it is something beautiful. Plus we were visiting during the holidays and that made it extra special.

So for a third time we made our way to Toy Story Land…and of course it was worth it. Toy Story Land at night is wonderfully lit up and all the bright colors pop. 

toy story land at night

The characters had a few holiday scarves on but Toy Story Land is always amazing at night which makes it a great place to visit year round. 

Our next stop was Sunset Boulevard for Season Greetings, the laser effect projection show on the Tower of Terror. We also had our final FastPass to ride Tower of Terror. 

sunset season greetings at Disneys Hollywood Studios

Tower of Terror is a bit scary and even though it has a 40 inch height requirement it is not suitable for most young children. A lot of adults I know won’t ride, but it is one of my favorites.

At this point in the night we were pretty tired. We really wanted to see the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! show but we decided it would be best to head back to our resort for the night. 

We arrived at rope drop and lasted until around 8:00 pm. We did a ton of walking and a bit of backtracking but it was worth it to experience the park at different times throughout the day.  

Watch Our Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Our Full Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary

Here is a detailed list of our full itinerary for the day. Keep in mind we did not have any Toy Story Land FastPass reservations or Dining reservations. 

  • Arrive early. At least 1 hour before official park opening.
  • Walk directly to Toy Story Land.
  • Ride Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Alien Swirling Saucers.
  • Brunch at Woody’s Lunchbox. Use Mobile Ordering if possible. 
  • Star Tours FastPass (9:55am-10:55am)
  • The Muppets 3D
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Star Wars Launch Bay to Meet Kylo Ren
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Late Lunch at Rosie’s All American Cafe
  • One Man’s Dream
  • Explore Toy Story Land
  • Snack: Churro’s near The Muppets 3D
  • Watch The Muppets 3D
  • Star Tours
  • Walked back to Launch Bay to meet Chewbacca because he had a short wait time. 
  • Toy Story Land at Night
  • Sunset Boulevard for Season Greetings show on Tower of Terror
  • Tower of Terror (FastPass 6:40pm-7:40pm)
  • Left for the Evening

What’s Next for Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Meet the Supers from The Incredibles (Jan. 18-Sept. 30, 2019 )
  • Meet Mike and Sulley at Walt Disney Presents (Starting January 18th)
  • Lightning McQueens Racing Academy (Spring 20-19)
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad (Fall 2019)
  • Star Wars Galaxy Edge (Fall 2019)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a must do on your next visit to Walt Disney World. Toy Story Land is an excellent addition to the park and the variety of shows and attractions means there is something to do for everyone. 

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Tips for Visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios

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