I find that FastPasses are the biggest source of frustration to first-time or infrequent park goers. Many people don’t know what they are, how to use them, or what to use them on. With this in mind, I’m going to write a guide to each U.S. park on when and where to use FastPasses.
If you are unfamiliar with FastPass+, check out this post for a more detailed description on what it is and how to use it. We have FastPass+ Guides to all of the Disney Parks that you can find here. Let’s get to Hollywood Studios!
Is the FastPass+ System Different in Hollywood Studios?
The short answer here is yes. Why would I ask that question in this blog post if it wasn’t? It’d be a real waste of time to ask that question and then just say no.
At Hollywood Studios, FastPasses are divided into two different groups – Tier 1 and 2. Tier 1 is full of the marquee attractions while Tier 2 is generally filled with less popular attractions, although that’s less true at Hollywood Studios than other parks. When reserving FastPasses ahead of time, guests can select one attraction from Tier 1 and two selections from Tier 2. If you are at Hollywood Studios and have completed your FastPasses then you can reserve a FastPass from either group, assuming they are available.
Hollywood Studios FastPass system has been made-over several times since the implementation of FastPass+. As of February 2020, the tiers have been separated to include the park’s three newest attractions in tier 1 and all others in tier 2. Here’s a look at the current Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers:
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (opening March 4, 2020)
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Alien Swirling
- Toy Story Mania
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration
- MuppetVision 3D
Tier 1 FastPass Rankings for Hollywood Studios
Tier 1 is full of Hollywood Studios newest attractions. All three choices have debuted in the last 2 years, with Runaway Railway opening on March 4th. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway are all deserving of a FastPass but there can only be one! Below is our ranking of Hollywood Studios Tier 1 FastPass attractions.
3. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – I should reiterate that these rankings are not always in terms of quality of attraction. Without having been on Runaway Railway, I think there’s a decent chance that Smuggler’s Run is the best attraction in the Tier 1 group. That said, it has a high capacity and generally clears out at night. It also has a single-rider line. The experience is phenomenal and the ride is pretty good, but we advise waiting on this attraction until the end of the night and hopping into the standby line just before closing.
2. Slinky Dog Dash – This new family-friendly coaster can have excruciating wait times. If you don’t get a FastPass then go straight to it at opening or right before park closing. It’s not the best attraction in the park but it is fun and worth doing. While it ranks second in this post for now, I imagine it will soon be the most valuable FastPass in WDW by summer due to a pretty low capacity.
1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – For now, if you can get this FastPass do it! All new attractions are generally the most popular in the park and we expect the same for Runaway Railway. That said, the attraction should have a very high capacity once it opens and we don’t think it will hold the top spot down for long.
Tier 2 FastPass+ Strategy and Rankings
To be perfectly honest, there are a few attractions on this Group B list that I haven’t even tried. As usual, let’s start with the shows.
Disney Junior Dance Party is the attraction I’ve yet to experience. Being a show for little kids, I’m guessing there isn’t much of a wait time. Also, why in the world does a dance party use the FastPass system? Don’t use a FastPass here.
The same goes for many of the shows on this list. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, MuppetVision 3D, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and the Frozen Sing-Along all are shows with varying degrees of popularity. With that being said, if you show up 15 minutes before showtime to any of these then you will probably get in.
Fantasmic! may be a different story as the show can be very popular on busy days. While I don’t necessarily think it’s worth a FastPass, if you have an extra one after you completed the first 3 or 4 and Fantasmic! has some availability then go ahead and book it. If you don’t end up getting a FastPass for it then go to the 2nd showing of Fantasmic! (if available) or show up about half an hour before the first showing. Really this would rank higher but then you wouldn’t be able to get a 4th FastPass at all that day if you reserve it ahead of time.
That brings us to the actual attractions, some of which are very strong. Alien Swirling Saucers is not worth a FastPass unless it’s your 5th or 6th of the day. Do not reserve it ahead of time. Star Tours nearly falls in the same boat except it is a good attraction. Still, the wait times are generally low relative to the rest of the attractions in Tier 2. Ride it but don’t reserve it ahead of time.
That leaves three attractions to choose from in Tier 2. The obvious choice is Toy Story Mania as it remains one of the most popular attractions in the park. We don’t love it but it is a clear choice here and is always fun. Choosing between Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a legitimately tough choice. I’m giving the nod to Tower of Terror because I like the attraction way more and the FastPass line skips the majority of the outside queue. The Coaster also has a single-rider line but is not a bad choice at all for a FastPass.
Here’s my ranking for the Tier 2 attractions:
12. Disney Junior Dance Party! – I can’t imagine why anyone would try to FastPass a dance party. There has to be some reason out there but I feel like I’m really missing something.
11. MuppetVision 3D – The show isn’t very popular, there are a ton of showtimes, the theater is pretty large, and the queue is really fun compared to every other queue in this park.
10. Voyage of the Little Mermaid – At this point with all of these shows, I’m just putting things higher on the list because they have less seating. That’s why this isn’t last.
9. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration – It’s my least favorite show on this list but it’s still somewhat popular.
8. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage – This show is a little more popular strictly because of it’s location next to Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. I still don’t think it’s worth a FastPass though.
7. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – This is the best stage show at Hollywood Studios, which isn’t exactly high praise. Still, we recommend sticking to attractions on this list. This isn’t a bad choice as your 5th or 6th FastPass of the day.
6. Alien Swirling Saucers – The worst attraction at Hollywood Studios is still somewhat popular. If you can grab this in mid-afternoon then it’s a FastPass worth getting but there are far better options out there.
5. Fantasmic! – If there’s a show to FastPass then this is it. Still, you can get by without it easily and if you reserve this ahead of time you won’t be eligible for extra FastPasses for the entire day. Try to grab this mid-afternoon if any are available.
4. Star Tours: The Adventure Continues – A fun attraction but a shorter standby wait than those that follow. Another solid option for a FastPass later in the day.
3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – This could absolutely be second place on the list, I just enjoy Tower of Terror more. The line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is terrible and worth a FastPass just to skip that. I’d recommend single-rider here instead though.
2. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – One of the park’s best attractions, Tower of Terror has stood the test of time and is a must-do. The lines can get pretty long and standing in the Florida heat is never enjoyable. That lands Tower of Terror in line for a FastPass.
1. Toy Story Mania – Despite Tower of Terror being the better attraction, Toy Story Mania remains one of the most popular in the whole park. It’s a fun attraction for the family and worth getting a FastPass for.
There is a giant caveat in all of this in that Rise of the Resistance is Hollywood Studios best attraction. For now, Rise uses a virtual queue system that we cover in this post. It does not affect your FastPasses in any way.
Hollywood Studios is getting better! When I initially wrote this post there were only six things you could actively ride in the park, with the rest being shows. Now there’s a decent slate of attractions (although there needs to be more) and the FastPass strategy is an interesting one.
What do you think of my rankings for FastPass+ in the Studios? Do you have any tips that you would add? Let me know in the comments. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Planning Guide here. If you enjoy our content then please like our social media pages and subscribe to the blog. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading!
Categories: FastPass Guides