Surviving FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios During Christmas Week

Even with the impending and ongoing construction at Hollywood Studios, the park continues to be home to three of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World. Ask anyone to list their favorite rides at Disney and I guarantee that Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will break the top 5. It’s the go-to park for thrill seekers.

It’s bittersweet that Hollywood Studios is such a park in flux. It was my favorite park long before I grew the courage to go on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Fortunately I was coerced into going on Tower of Terror during a marching band trip back in high school, and finally went on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster during our first Christmas trip. It was love at first ride – and Tower of Terror continues to be my favorite ride at Disney.

Hollywood Studios, like EPCOT, has a tiered system intact for FP+. Guests choose one attraction from tier 1, and two attractions from tier 2.

Tier 1

Toy Story Midway Mania

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Fantasmic!

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage

The Great Movie Ride

Tier 2

Tower of Terror

Star Tours

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

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

MuppetVision 3D

Disney Junior – Live on Stage

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Spectacular

IMG_0051

Looking at this list, it’s pretty obvious what I’d recommend, so let’s start with what I wouldn’t – and why. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m not a huge fan of using FP+ for shows. The only shows worth using a FP+ for include Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the Frozen Sing-Along.

But why not Fantasmic! – it’s the most popular show at Disney! True. Fantasmic is immensely popular and will see huge crowds. Back when FP+ was in beta, the FP+ gave guests prime seating to the show. Those seats are now reserved for guests on the Fantasmic! dinner package and the FP+ simply gives guests the opportunity to skip the standby line. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d urge guests to arrive 30-45 minutes early for the show. This should give you plenty of time to get in line and secure a seat at the show. A side note – last year we were running very late. In fact, we just got into the park 5 minutes before it closed and got to Fantasmic! as it was just starting. We still found a seat. Sometimes you get lucky. I wouldn’t recommend testing your luck – get there early – but it just goes to show that you don’t need a FP+.

I thought that MuppetVision 3D may see an increase in popularity now that the Muppets have a show on ABC. Even if it does lead to a boost in popularity, I still wouldn’t recommend using a FP+ for the show. Both Indiana Jones and the stunt show, while popular, struggle to draw a crowd large enough that warrants a FP+.

The Great Movie Ride is an awesome attraction and one of my family’s favorites at Disney. It’s a relaxing journey through the history of movies that stays true to the park’s roots. While it can see a longer wait time, it rarely surpasses 20 or 30 minutes.

Onto the rides you should use a FP+ for…

Your first priority should be Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Midway Mania. Your second priority should be Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the Frozen sing-along. Obviously due to the tiered system, it’d be impossible to secure a FP+ for both Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Midway Mania. Many would argue that Hollywood Studios is a one-day park – meaning, you can get everything done in one day. I’d agree – but rather than spend one day at the park, we spend two half days. On the first day, we secure morning FP+ for Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror and the Frozen sing-along. The second day, we head to Hollywood Studios at nighttime. We reserve a FP+ for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror (which is a completely different experience at night) and Star Tours. We’ll then head to Fantasmic! to end the night. Overall, I’d recommend two half days at Hollywood Studios, as it presents you with the best opportunity to experience the top attractions.

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