Nine Key Takeaways From Visiting the Newly Reopened Disney's Hollywood Studios
Ahh Hollywood Studios! Truth be told, I think I missed this park most of all during the closure! The mix of Old Hollywood glam, Star Wars excitement and so many other perfectly themed areas provide countless opportunities for exploration and adventure.
I'll be the first to admit that the current in-park experience is very different from how it was pre-closure in both good and not-so-great ways. However, we learned a lot of helpful tips during our time at the newly reopened Hollywood Studios that I’m sharing in this post to equip you for the excitement and adventure you’re sure to find!
1) Attraction lines are much longer than any other park we visited - This was a surprise to us since the other Disney parks had basically walk-on wait times at most of the rides open with a maximum of a 30ish minute wait. However, with Hollywood Studios being a show-focused park (and most shows are currently not running), the minimal amount of attractions being offered have pretty significant wait times. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway was our top priority but when we saw the wait time clocking in at upwards of 60+ minutes, our priorities quickly shifted. We decided to wait until later in the day, but apparently it didn't matter. Two hours prior to park close the line was at 70 minutes.
If you get to the park before rope drop, you may have the best chance to enjoy this attraction. If you don't have an interest in this ride, definitely start with Rock'n'Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror or Slinky Dog. The lines at those attractions are much lower at the start of the day before guests disperse out :)
2) I highly recommend making a table-service dining reservation (mainly for lunch) - We love table service dining at Disney, but when we're visiting the parks as a family, we usually opt for quick service options and save visiting table service locations for when we're going to the park solely to enjoy a special meal. With the number of quick-service locations reduced across property and lines for mobile ordering returns backing up, having a dining reservation just feels like the most practical option these days.
You know you're guaranteed a table and food when you want it instead of having to deal with the uncertainty of quick-service. Along with the servers, runners and hosts/hostesses being required to wear PPE, the new digital check-in was a fantastically safe and efficient way to share your arrival with the restaurant. In order to digitally check in for your reservation arrival time, you scan the QR code outside of the restaurant with your camera app where it opens a new internet browser with the check in form.
From there, you note how many individuals are in your party, their ages, if they require special seating, and if any members of your party have food allergies. Once your table is ready you get a text and walk right to your table. It really is a nice setup.
3) You have way higher chances to ride Rise of the Resistance - This ride is AMAZING!!! If you're at the park, please do yourself a favor and try to get a boarding pass while the park capacity is limited. Virtual queues are still in effect for this attraction. I'd check the Walt Disney World app early in the day to see when the boarding passes will be released. When we visited, passes were available at 10am, 1pm and 4pm. However, I've seen that now they're only available at 10am and 2pm. Basically you'll want to have the app downloaded and your family/friends joining you linked to your account before arriving in the park. Then sign into the app right before the release times, and select join boarding group and follow the prompts right at the time of release.
When you get your boarding group, your app will notify you when your group is called. You'll have an hour from that time to enter the queue.
TIP - If you want more information about the overall Rise of the Resistance process, you can check out this post. The major difference between pre-closure and reopening is the new ticket release times. You no longer need to arrive to the park at 4am. This is an incredible experience and now is by far the best time to try it out!!
Also another big change is that your party is the only one in your ride vehicle. So if you’re visiting solo or using the child swap program, you’ll be alone in your eight-person ride vehicle! I do have to say, that element alone adds a whole new level of immersion and intensity to the experience! #MeAndMyDriod
4) The character motorcades are really cute and bring a lot of energy to the park - These sweet character motorcades are absolutely adorable and totally reminded me of the 00s when the Stars in Motorcar parade was the jam! With multiple groupings spontaneously appearing throughout the day, you're bound to see one during your time on Hollywood Boulevard.
They have 3 different groupings, Mickey and Friends, Disney Junior characters, and Pixar Pals. I'm going to be honest, the fact that they don't have a Star Wars motorcade was a major bummer in my book.
TIP - You can see the occasional Star Wars character in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge on the roof across from Driod Depot and also in front of Kylo's shuttle.
5) If you want some midday relaxation, I'd recommend joyriding on the Skyliner - If you're needing a break from walking around in the middle of the day, or if you need a quiet space for your kiddo to nap, I definitely recommend enjoying the newly reopened Skyliner system right outside of the park.
It's by far the most relaxing experience on Disney property. It's slow-moving and quiet, and with the new protocols in place only one party is allowed per gondola. It's a great addition to any park day if you just want a break with your family.
6) There is an amazing photo area you can legally remove your mask and have a full-face photo with your family - This was probably the most exciting find for me on our adventure.
Our all-time favorite wall to take photos at on Batuu, the Resistance Wall is part of a mask relaxation area! So, if you want an amazing place for a mask-free photo, look no further!
7) Now's your chance for some crowd-free Star Wars photos - Speaking of photos, it used to be next to impossible pre-closure to get a photo of the Falcon without an insane amount of people blocking the shot. However, right now... this is what it looks like!!!
Also, if you've been interested in the Tiny World 360 magic shot by Kylo's shuttle but have been turned off by how long the line is, now's your chance! There wasn't a line at all and it's a really fun shot.
8) Shopping is a very organized process - There are way fewer shops open right now across Disney property during this part of the reopening, which is unfortunate for anyone who likes to shop, or pretends to shop while enjoying some must needed air conditioning. However, on Batuu they have a really cool setup for their shopping district.
Before entering the area, you'll wait in a socially distant line and are required to use hand sanitizer when you enter. Every shop in the distract has an additional line and hand sanitizing station before entering. Most shops are capped at one party shopping at a time. TIP - You'll want to allot more time than usual for shopping since it does take quite a bit longer to get into each individual store.
9) If you want a snack, start looking for a place to stop before you’re anywhere near the hangry phase - Speaking of fewer locations being open, this also holds true with snack locations. For instance, Woody's Lunchbox is now a relaxation station and isn't serving food. Even some of the popcorn, churro and popsicle carts are closed for now, so you’ll want to scope out options early.
All in all, the lines may be a bit longer than some of the other parks right now and food and shopping locations may be limited, but just being back taking in the sights and sounds of this beautifully themed park are absolutely worth it. Hopefully those tips can help you and your family on your next Hollywood Studios adventure.
When do you plan to visit next?
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