Laurie shares her tips for touring Hollywood Studios. Check them out, they may save you some time!
It takes lots of preparation for a trip to Hollywood Studios. There is the quirky weather that can turn into monsoons and high winds, plus blistering heat, that can ruin a vacation. The worst thing is the layout of the park. One can end up walking in circles and backtracking repeatedly so here are some key features and tips.
1. The entrance hub has snacks, drinks, rentals, and guest services.
2. The central or main hub branches directly off to all other areas except Muppet Courtyard. From here there are Keystone Lane, the Echo Park paths, Commissary Lane, Animation Courtyard, Hollywood Boulevard, and Pixar Avenue.
3. Star Wars Hub has paths to Muppet Courtyard, Commissary Lane, and the Echo Lake paths.
1. Hollywood Boulevard has restrooms next to Oscar’s service station. There is a snack kiosk, snacks in stores, and Starbucks for last minute drinks and snacks.
2. Keystone Lane and Echo Lake paths connect Hollywood Boulevard and the main hub to the Star Wars hub. This path has the Indiana Jones Stunt show, Star Tours, Jedi training, and the Frozen Sing-Along.
3. Muppets Courtyard has the Muppet show, shops, Mama Melrose and Rizzo’s Pizza. It is a building with a path around it. It is best to do Muppets then exit at the rear where you will take a path to the big Muppet store. Around this is restaurants and shops.
4. Commissary Lane has the ABC Commissary and the Red Carpet meet and greet. This path is best for avoiding the Echo Lake traffic. The meet and greet is right off the Star Wars hub, so this path is not important in your planning.
5. Pixar place has Toy Story Mania and two meet and greets with Green Army Men appearing at the end of the path for a third meet. The other place is One Man’s Dream which does previews and character meets, sometimes. The theater empties into the Animation Courtyard by the bathrooms. Exiting this building allows one to do Launch Bay and the bathroom before returning to the main hub.
6. Sunset Boulevard runs from the main hub to the Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Fantasmic, and the Beauty and the Beast show.
7. The Animation Courtyard has the Brown Derby, Playhouse Disney Junior show, character meets, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the Launch Bay which is everything Star Wars.
1. Entrance on both sides of the gate.
2. Sunset Boulevard has ones in the middle in an Alley and by the Rock n Roller Coaster. Just as you are about to enter the Tower of Terror Courtyard, on the right, are bathrooms.
3. Pixar Avenue in the middle.
4. Main hub has one on the Frozen show building next to Commissary Lane.
5. At the Star Wars hub in a metal building.
6. Muppet Courtyard on the left as you enter.
7. In the Animation Courtyard in a far distant corner, next to the Launch Bay.
8. Fantastic amphitheater.
Some restaurants have bathrooms as well. The nurse’s station has a restroom. The baby center had toddler potties.
I include Star Tours and the Great Movie Ride as they have the same effect as shows, fireworks, and parades. One has to have a backup plan to deal with shows. Suddenly a herd of charging people burst onto the paths. They all seem to being headed for a bathroom, snack stand, attraction, exit, or show. The bathrooms in Muppet Courtyard and Pixar Avenue rarely see heavy traffic so I use those to avoid crowds. Don’t wait until the last minute to enter shows and rides. As soon as Playhouse Disney Junior empties there are people heading to the Little Mermaid. Also, when exiting, try to stay toward the side you plan to head toward, as this reduces the chance of getting stuck in the crowd. If one is leaving Frozen for Star Wars or Sunset Boulevard, then wait until you get to those areas for a potty break. Show times are designed so guests can get a lot of shows seen.
Each trip is unique because of the needs, wants, abilities, and limitations of each member of the group. A single parent with two toddlers will need a different plant than a group of adults. Knowing where things are can help one to reduce wasted time and energy. It helps to be able to find food that you want instead of settling for a cheeseburger or a ice cream bar. Be ready to head to an ice cream shop for a sundae or the Tune In Lounge for a meal.
I did Indiana Jones, Star Tours, Mama Melrose, Muppets, Muppet Courtyard, Frozen, and Toy Story Mania. All of this was on Echo Lake paths, and the Star Wars hub except Toy Story Mania. I had to retrace my steps but I got everything done. Some people suggest criss crossing the park many times. It is easier to do most things in one area than wasting time dashing around the park.
For most guests I recommend doing Rock n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Beauty and the Beast at the same time. Do Frozen, Indiana Jones, Star Tours, and Muppets in one big loop. Toy Story is a block or two away from the main hub but not too far so one can do that then go to FP type rides. Little Mermaid, Playhouse Disney Junior and Launch Bay can be done in one loop.
Stay to the far left if you want to do Star Tours and Jedi training. Stay far right for Sunset Boulevard then move far left for Rock n Roller Coaster. Stay in the middle until you are past Sunset Boulevard then go to the far right to go to the Animation Courtyard and Toy Story Mania. Toy Story Mania will veer left into Pixar Place. That is when you should be on the right side. The entrance is on the right side about 3 feet from the wall. Being right lets you form the line as people merge. Left ends up making a u-turn then follows the forming line back and back and back. This also happens at the Seven Dwarves mine ride. Knowing where lines start helps one to be in a forming line instead of being stuck outside.
I have major wifi issues in the parks. Before heading to the parks I take screenshots of my Fastpass times. When I travelled to Tampa and Lakeland there were screenshots of the map. Take pictures of everything you bring to the parks including kids and service dogs. You can show CMs what the lost stroller, mother, camera, or purse looked like. “Blue shirt” is not as good as showing the shirt in a photo. Take pictures of where you parked. Pictures can be deleted so I take a lot of “reminder” photos.
I recommend Mama Melrose, Green Army Men on Pixar Place, Brown Derby Lounge, Star Tours, Star Wars Spectacular, and Toy Story Mania. The Star Wars night time show is awesome close up but you can see more from farther away like by Indiana Jones. Have a magical day in Hollywood Studios.