In the last week Walt Disney World’s most popular attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, has moved from a virtual queue system to a standby line. Hollywood Studios has a far different itinerary and strategy because of that change. In this post, we’ll give our best strategy in how to utilize the new standby line to make your park day more efficient.
While the virtual queue had many detractors, I never fell into that group. Honestly, I found the system to be fairly easy to use especially once Disney switched to not having to be inside of the physical park to get a spot in the queue. But many people did have issues with the system and it put first time visitors at a disadvantage. Moving to the a typical standby line decreases the likelihood for angry guests, which is what we should all be in favor of.
The other positive when it comes to Rise moving to a standby line is that it makes a park day here far more efficient. Anyone who has been to Hollywood Studios in its current state knows that spending 12 hours there is… unnecessary? With a lack of entertainment running in 2021, there just isn’t that much to do. Now that you don’t have to worry about when your boarding group will be called, getting to the park whenever you darn well feel like is the way to go!
With all of our park itineraries, I assume that guests will want to spend a full day in the park and I think many people do! At worst, that leaves you with world class attractions that you get to re-ride as you soak in the details. It also leaves plenty of time for snacks. But, we also know that a Walt Disney World vacation can be pretty exhausting and sleep is at a premium. With this in mind, and until entertainment comes back in full (or simply gets much better at DHS) we recommend sleeping in on a Hollywood Studios day or taking a break in the middle of the day.
At the core of this plan is the idea that you get in line for Rise of the Resistance at the very end of the park day. Yes, you could show up to the park an hour early and get on it without much of a wait but that does require an earlier wake up. I’m a night owl so I steer away from that but saving the attraction for late wastes the least amount of park time anyway. Rise lasts at least 20 minutes even without a line due to the extensive pre-shows and different rides you get on. Even if you only wait 10 minutes for that attraction in the morning, which you won’t unless you show up an hour early, then that’s 30 minutes of park time that wasn’t used. Instead, get into line 5 or 10 minutes before the park is set to close and that’s all the time you miss out on at Hollywood Studios regardless of how long the line is.
On top of that, DHS clears out pretty early in our experience. Even during busy months, the park’s most popular attractions have been about 20 minutes waits at the last part of the night. We were in the park today (9/28) and got into line for Rise at 8:50. We were in the first pre-show by 9:04. It wasn’t a busy day in Hollywood Studios but the point remains. The attraction’s posted wait time was 35 minutes, for the record, and you can expect to see those numbers be a little inflated at the end of the night. Don’t let them scare you off.
From there, it’s about filling in the gaps of your day. As our itinerary notes, if you get there at opening then churning through the Toy Story Land attractions early is the way to go. If not, doing them in the hour before you get to Rise of the Resistance should work as Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers have dwindling wait times as the night goes on. Slinky isn’t quite as easy to get on but leave plenty of time for it in the evening and it shouldn’t be a problem.
Outside of those attractions, most of Hollywood Studios has varying wait times throughout the day. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Smugglers Run and Runaway Railway are the big rides left and all of those vary in wait time. If it’s not a busy day then arriving mid-afternoon will not be an issue in getting everything done. If you’re going during a holiday or busy time of the year then a long break in the afternoon may be an easier way to go.
Smugglers Run clears out at night very quickly but can have some longer lines during the day. Runaway Railway has a fairly high capacity and the line moves pretty fast regardless of time. The same goes with Tower of Terror. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is the outlier and could make for a longer wait.
However you divide up the day, the point remains that Hollywood Studios doesn’t take a full day to do. We like nearly all of the attractions in the park but can easily do them all in a half day now that you don’t have to plan a virtual queue and boarding group. While there might be more waiting in line due to Rise of the Resistance shift in queues, the park going experience became more flexible and relaxed because of it. Take advantage of that and get a little more sleep in!
As always, if you have questions or thoughts on our Hollywood Studios itinerary then leave a comment below. If you are planning a trip to Disney World, then check out our planning guide. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!