If you’re looking for a Hollywood Studios one-day itinerary that doesn’t involve purchasing Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes, then this article is for you!
In this guide, I’ll walk you through an entire day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios without paying for Genie+ while still being able to maximize your time and money.
From watching all three shows (Fantasmic, Indiana Jones, and Beauty and the Beast) to eating the best snacks in between thrill rides, this one-day itinerary will be easy on your knees and wallet.
If you are looking to plan your park day with Genie+ then this article probably won’t help you. But if you want to have an out of this world experience at Hollywood Studios without having to run around, I got you.
Before you enter the park, the first thing you should do is look at all of the rides, attractions, and shows that you want to check out and then make a note of the ones you absolutely need to experience, followed by the ones you’re okay with missing.
Thankfully, Hollywood Studios doesn’t have a lot of rides like Magic Kingdom, so you can easily knock everything out with just a little bit of pre-planning and strategizing.
If you’re a first time visitor, then I recommend that you try to hit the following attractions:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Beauty and the Beast
Anything additional will be a bonus.
As for food, I have a few Star Wars recommendations such as the Blue (or green) Milk and the Ronto Wrap (breakfast or lunch). The food at Docking Bay 7 is nothing special so it’s totally fine to skip.
Outside of Star Wars, I recommend that you dine at either Hollywood Brown Derby, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, or Sci-Fi Diner. Roundup Rodeo BBQ is a very immersive and fun restaurant that’s worth trying if you’re into Toy Story and average barbecue.
You should also make a list of all often snacks that you want to eat at this park. This list will help!
Who is this for?
This Hollywood Studios itinerary is great for adults and big kids who don’t want to buy Genie Plus.
Hollywood Studios Itinerary without Genie+
Here is my one-day itinerary for Hollywood Studios that doesn’t require you to pay for Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes, but it’s still packed with some immersive fun and tasty treats.
Hollywood Studios opens at 8:00 am or 8:30 am for Early Entry and 8:30 am or 9:00 am for all other guests.
This is honestly one of two parks that I recommend rope dropping if your goal is to knock out every ride possible. You can easily arrive later in the day, but there’s a good chance that you may have to skip some shows like Indiana Jones or Beauty and the Beast, if you want to go on most of the major rides. This of course all depends on the time of the year and even day of the week.
But for the sake of this post, let’s say you arrive at 9:00 am.
As soon as the rope drops (park officially opens to all guests), you have two options – go to Star Wars Rise of the Resistance or go to Slinky Dog Dash. I recommend that you start with Rise of the Resistance because the wait time at park opening will be the lowest of the day. If you decide to ride it later, you can expect an average wait time of 104 minutes.
After Rise of the Resistance, it will probably be around 10:30 am, which is a good time to head to Slinky Dog Dash, after a quick pit stop at the Milk Stand for some Blue Milk. Normally I tell people to Slinky Dog Dash as their last ride of the day since the wait time is around 86 minutes on average, but if you plan on watching Fantasmic, this is the only way to sneak it in.
After Slinky Dog Dash, it should be time for lunch. If you’re looking for a table service restaurant, then Roundup Rodeo BBQ or Hollywood Brown Derby is the best bet. If you want more of a quick service meal, then PizzeRizzo or Woody’s Lunchbox are solid choices.
After lunch, I would head straight to Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.
After the show ends, I would quickly get in line for Tower of Terror. The wait time average around 79 minutes during this time and stays consistent all the way through park closing.
After Tower of Terror, it should be time for a snack or a pick me up. If you are looking for a snack, then the carrot cake cookie sandwich from Trolley Car Cafe (Starbucks) is great! You can also get some ice cream or a sundae from Hollywood Scoops if you’re looking for something cooler.
Now will be a great time to check the wait time for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If it seems reasonable around 3 pm, then I would hop in line. If not, then I would go straight to Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.
If you decided to go to Indiana Jones, I would then go to Star Tours right after. Wait times average around 18 minutes or less during this time so this is a great time of the day to knock it out.
Once you get off of Star Tours, I recommend that you either go to Muppet*Vision 3D or meet some characters. All of these experiences are indoor so if you need to cool down, then these will help!
Around 5 pm, you should head to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway since the wait times will be pretty low (around 57 minutes compared to 74 minutes during the day).
Once you get off Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway, it should be a great time to head to Toy Story Mania, especially if you’re super competitive.
After Toy Story Mania, I recommend that you head to Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run. If you don’t mind splitting your party up or if you don’t care about being one of the two pilots, then I would utilize the Single Rider Line. If this ride doesn’t interest you, this would be a good time to get some dinner.
Honestly, the food choices at Hollywood Studios are just okay. If I had to recommend a nearby Quick Service Restaurant, it will probably be Rosie’s or Catalina Eddies on Sunset Blvd.
If you skipped Smugglers Run and decided to eat on Sunset Boulevard, you will be in prime position to ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster before you grab a seat for Fantasmic.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s wait is around 54 on average during this time of the day, so you should have more than enough time to ride this then grab a seat for Fantasmic. If you want to get through the queue even quicker, then I would 100% use the Single Rider Line.
Once you get off the coaster, I would head to Fantasmic to end the day. If you aren’t in the mood to watch Fantasmic, this is the best time to ride one of the popular rides like Slinky Dog Dash, Tower or Terror, or even Rise of the Resistance.
And if you didn’t want to do any repeats, the last worthy attraction would be Alien Swirling Saucers. If you skipped Smugglers Run to eat, then I would do this instead of Alien Swirling Saucers. Just make sure to request to be the pilot or else it will be one of the worst rides of the day.
Hopefully this Hollywood Studios itinerary without Genie Plus has given you some ideas to plan an epic park day!
Example Itinerary #1 – Half Day
Here’s my favorite half-day Hollywood Studios itinerary that I personally use when I visit in the late-afternoon.
- 4:00 pm – Scan into Hollywood Studios
- 4:10 pm – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- 5:20 pm – Tower of Terror
- 6:40 pm – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Single Rider Line)
- 7:30 pm – Slinky Dog Dash
- 8:45 pm – Star Wars Rise of the Resistance before park closing
If you have some additional time to kill after Slinky Dog Dash, I would use that time to grab a snack before heading to Rise of the Resistance before the park closes.
Example Itinerary #2 – Full Day
Here’s a pretty solid itinerary if you plan on visiting at park opening.
- 9:00 am – Scan into Hollywood Studios
- 9:10 am – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- 10:30 am – Slinky Dog Dash
- 12:00 pm – Lunch
- 1:00 pm – Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- 1:30 pm – Tower or Terror
- 3:00 pm – Snack
- 3:15 pm – Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- 3:45 pm – Star Tours
- 4:10 pm – Meet some characters or Muppet*Vision 3D
- 5:00 pm – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- 6:00 pm – Toy Story Mania!
- 7:00 pm – Dinner (quick)
- 7:30 pm – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- 8:40 pm – In line for Fantasmic
- 8:40 pm – If skipping Fanstasmic, repeat a popular ride like Slinky Dog Dash, Tower of Terror, or even Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
This day is pretty jam packed and you’ll notice that there really isn’t too much downtime. Food-wise, it will be quick grab and go options in order to maximize time. The only way to truly save upwards of 80 minutes during your day, is to purchase a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Individual Lightning Lane. This will cost between $15 to $25 per person but it truly is a time saver.