The Four Hour Tour: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Published: April 16, 2008 at 10:40 AM
Theme Park Insider's "Four-Hour Tours" are designed to get you and your family to the top attractions in the world's top theme parks... before anyone can get tired and cranky. The attractions and restaurants selected for this tour are those in Disney's Hollywood Studios most highly rated by Theme Park Insider readers.
When to go: Up until this year, Disney's Hollywood Studios was known as the Disney-MGM Studio Theme Park. It was the third theme park to open in the Walt Disney World Resort, in 1989. All Disney World theme parks are open 365 days a year, although opening and closing times for each park varies from day-to-day. If you are traveling without kids, try to visit on a school day to avoid the largest crowds. If you need to visit during a school vacation, try at least to avoid the week between Christmas and New Year's and the Fourth of July.
If you are not staying at a Disney World hotel, avoid visiting parks on their Extra Magic Hours days, as Disney's hotel guests get into those parks early on those days, inflating wait times for visitors who arrive at the park's normal opening time.
Before you go: Buy your Walt Disney World tickets online at Disney World's website. For advice on picking the right ticket, see our guide to Disney World tickets, keeping in mind that for the Four-Hour Tour, you will *not* need the park-hopper option.
You will also need to call in advance to make lunch and dinner reservations. Disney accepts reservations, via 1-407-WDW-DINE, up to
180 90 days in advance. Times do go quickly, so call early.
When you get there: Plan to arrive at the park's front gate before the park opens in the morning, leaving yourself time to park and either walk or take a tram to the front gate. You can check the park's opening time via Disney World's website.
1. Disney's Hollywood Studios will open its new Toy Story Mania! ride in May, so if you are visiting after then, head up to Pixar Place and make that your first stop, as it is sure to be highly popular.
2. After riding Toy Story Mania!, if it is open, head back to Sunset Boulevard and get FastPasses (Disney's ride reservation tickets) for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
3. Then walk next door to Rock n' Roller Coaster and ride that.
4. Return to Tower of Terror, and if your FastPass return time has arrived, use the FastPasses return queue to skip the stand-by line. If not, go ahead and wait in the stand-by line, then use your FastPasses to ride Tower of Terror a second time, without waiting. Tower of Terror won Theme Park Insider's inaugural Best Ride in America Tournament and features a random drop sequence that makes each ride unique, making this attraction worth a second ride.
5. After Tower of Terror, walk across the park to Star Tours, for your final ride of the morning.
6. Then it's lunchtime! Double back to the Hollywood Brown Derby, in time for your lunch reservations. (We suggest making the reservations for between 12 and 1pm.)
In the evening...
Theme Park Insider readers highly recommend the Studios' night-time show, Fantasmic! You can make dinner reservations at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano that include priority seating for Fantasmic!, which is a nice way to wrap up the day with no waiting. Call the Disney dining number above in advance and ask for the Fantasmic seating at Mama Melrose's, while you are setting your Brown Derby lunch time.