What to Expect When Visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios During the Pandemic

The Toy Story Land Preview At Walt Disney World
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios is welcoming back guests to live out some of their favorite movie moments in the park since Walt Disney World reopened after being closed due to the ongoing pandemic. The park, while still fun, has some new procedures and rules in place to keep guests and cast members as safe as possible. If you’re planning on going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the pandemic, there are some things you should know before getting there. We’ve rounded up our best tips and tricks to get the most out of a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Entering the Park

Currently Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. That time will change on September 8, when the park will open at 10 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. The park has some of Disney’s most popular rides right now, so entering the park can be challenging first thing in the morning. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a new security process where you do not have to take things out of your bag, but you will need to hold umbrellas and metal water bottles out in front of you to walk through the metal detectors.

Once past the security area, you will need to scan your MagicBand, but finger scans are not needed. Because Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the smallest of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, it is one of the hardest parks to get a Park Pass reservation for. Be sure you have secured your Park Pass before trying to enter the park, otherwise you will be turned away at the turnstiles. 

Attractions and Rides

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has four of Disney’s newest attractions, all of which are high priority for many guests. The one with the highest demand is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The ride located inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and requires a boarding pass to even enter the attraction queue. You can get a boarding pass at select times through the My Disney Experience app. Since the park has reopened, the times to get a boarding pass have changed. You can now get them at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but passes are limited. Once your boarding group is called you will have one hour to get to the entrance of the ride queue and have your MagicBand scanned to enter the line. 

Over at the park’s newest attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the wait times are higher than most of the other rides at the park. That’s to be expected since the attraction was only open for a few days before the park’s closure due to the pandemic. The ride skips the pre-show, which is very important to setting up the attraction's storyline. If you want to understand the full attraction before riding, consider watching a YouTube video of the pre-show. 

Back inside Galaxy’s Edge, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is only allowing one party at a time in each cockpit. If you’re traveling alone, you get to sit wherever you want. We suggest right pilot so you can make the jump to light speed. 

Slinky Dog Dash inside Toy Story Land has also remained popular. To have to shortest wait time, get to the line right when the park opens or later in the afternoon after 5 p.m. Everyone is loaded into the ride by skipping rows between parties. 

Events and Performances

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is known for live productions, but many around the park have been canceled, including the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage. The shows should return in the future. For now if you want to enjoy a live performance, you can stop by the Theater of the Stars and see The Disney Society Orchestra and Friends, which features a live band and Disney characters. 

Other ways to see Disney characters is through character cavalcades throughout the park, which includes Mickey and friends, Disney Junior characters, and Pixar pals. Just like with any parade, you’ll likely be able to hear the cavalcade before you can see it due to the change in park music. The cavalcades start at the front of the park near the Crossroads sign, and travel past the Chinese Theater and end near Star Tours. 

Restaurants and Dining

Just like many other restaurants around Walt Disney World, dining at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has some modifications. The main changes are the use of QR codes to see menus and relying on mobile order where possible. At the park, some quick-service food and beverage locations have had cups of ice water outside to limit guests inside the restaurant. If you only want water, simply tell the cast member managing the flow of people in and out of the restaurant, and they should be able to direct you to another cast member managing the water distribution. 

Helpful Tips for Your Visit

  • There are some pinch points inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios where it can seem very crowded, particularly around the marketplace inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and at the merge for the exit of Toy Story Mania and the extended queue for Slinky Dog Dash inside Toy Story Land.
  • If you do not care about riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, wait about an hour after the park’s opening to arrive. The park will clear out as people get a boarding pass and are able to ride the attraction.
  • The best time to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the fewest crowds is an hour and a half to two hours before the park is set to close. Many people have already been on both attractions in this area during the day, so it will seem empty, with very short to no waits for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. 
  • Areas where it’s permitted to take your mask off without actively eating or drinking include a small cluster of outdoor tables near the marketplace of Galaxy’s Edge and inside the Star Wars Launch Bay.
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