First Timer at Disney World - HELP

Hi folks…I am in need of some advice regarding Hollywood Studios and the reality of traveling by Disney buses.

We are planning to be at Hollywood Studios on December 30. We are staying at the Contemporary and plan to catch a bus to HS. Having never been to WDW before, I don’t really know what to expect in terms of travel time. We would like to be there a bit before rope drop, sign our kiddos up for Jedi training, take in some attractions, eat lunch and then return to the Contemporary for an early afternoon break. That night HS is offering EMH from 8pm-10pm, so we would have time to take a 3-4 hour break and return to HS again, but I’m doubting whether we would really want to do this. The big draw is the Star Wars fireworks and seeing HS at night. But depending upon how long transportation takes, it may not be worth the return. I would welcome any advice from those who have done this before and what works and what doesn’t.

To complicate matters, I have an ADR at 50s Prime Time cafe at 4pm. I am leaning towards cancelling that but am still on the fence. It sounds like a fun dining experience, but I don’t want it driving our schedule that day.

Thank you so much for the help!

I am a fan of afternoon breaks especially during the hot months or with littles. As a general rule I expect 1hr transport time to and from resort and park. I like leave noon or 1pm return 5-6pm. Most of the time it is less than an hour for the buses but if you get unlucky on timing an hour usually covers it. If the fireworks are important to you, I would do the break so y’all feel refreshed and can enjoy them. If not you might end up with tired cranky littles.

We stayed at BLT and had no issues taking the bus to HS. I’d allot an hour - that will give you plenty of time to get to/from and factor in any slow-downs along the way (bathroom breaks, waiting for a bus, etc.).
I would also move your reservation back a little bit - maybe you can get one for 530/6?
It really depends on the ages of your travel party but I find long afternoon breaks to be a must - but they aren’t worth it if you are scrambling to meet an ADR and possible cutting your break short/preventing yourself/family from actually relaxing.

Thank you both so much! I really appreciate your insight and advice.

The bus ride itself is only about 15 min - but as others have said, the usual rule of thumb is to allow an hour to take into account waiting for a bus, walking, etc.

Uber is always an option too.

Breaks are key.

Hopefully the Star Wars fireworks will still be underway. They will be broadcast live on July 18 at 9:20pm on the Disney Parks Blog if you’d like a taste of them.

Our last trip (March), we opted to take a cab in the morning from Beach Club to MK in order to make rope drop without worrying about buses - I highly recommend taking a cab if you are concerned about timing with the buses - it was a big stress relief (we had EMH one of the days and an early BOG ADR the other, so we really wanted to get there early). Bell services called the cab for us and as soon as they called, we could see the cab coming from the parking lot instantly both mornings. We had never done it before, but it was great!

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mkropewn - would you mind sharing the cost of the cab ride? Just trying to get a gauge on this for budget planning. Thank you!

Uber is probably the cheaper option. We also have not had bus problems. You will be fine!:smiley:

Uber to/from HS is really great. The have a nice pick up/drop off area close to the entrance (unlike MK for example). You might consider Uber for RD, then bus back for break. You could try to move your ADR to 5 or 6…or even cancel it the day before, based on how the trip is going. You’ll have a wonderful trip either way!

The fact that this is DEC 30 - I would plan extra. Under normal circumstances 1 hr is appropriate - during ultra peak times I would plan for just a bit more and if it doesn’t take longer - that is ok. Big fan of the breaks as well - especially for little ones.

However if you are planning to eat lunch - lets say as 12 noon. You will be done at 1. Get back to BLT at 2. That gives you 1 hour before you need to leave at 3 to get back for dinner reservations at 4. The wild card is going to be WHEN you can get the kids for JEDI training.

If you can get them either in the morning of late afternoon (after 5:30 so you can still eat at 4) - you are good. However if you can only get them at 2 (for example) - you can’t go back and rest and then be back for a 4 PM dining reservation.

You CAN cancel within 24 and not be charged - if you are nice and it is the 1st time you have cancelled within the 24 hour limit (i just did it). You would need to call and just explain the situation - there is NO way that they wouldn’t be able to fill that spot with a walk in.

I MAY suggest either changing your reservation/time - or don’t have a dinner reservation for that day and just wing it and do counter service instead so you have some flexibility.

Also please be realistic about the JEDI TRAINING - it is a nice experience but not the be all / end all. There will be LOTS of people trying to get it - so just be realistic about it

I have nothing to new to add to this conversation but @LowBiscus you have best handle ever. That is so Disney!

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When I took a cab it was about $20. I always budget around $20.

Very good point @davidtyost! I think I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to make the “perfect” touring plans to minimize the affect the holiday crowd will have and I’m overly stressing myself out. I need to chill out a bit about the importance of experiencing certain attractions. This may very well be our only time doing a trip like this, but if we are all a stressed out mess then we will have tons of regrets. I definitely appreciate the feedback and advice!

Definitely worth the cost to minimize the travel time! Thank you!

Sorry for my late response, but I think we paid ~$20. It was well worth it to minimize my stress!

it will be an AWESOME trip - what could be better than WDW at Christmas!!! Just remember it is Wald Disney WORLD - you won’t see everything - so don’t try. I am sure you are planning a great time. I remember we used to be “STOP having fun over HERE - we are LATE having fun over THERE!!!” So just enjoy. Smart that you are doing all the planning you are doing - but be flexible to what the day brings. Have a great time!!!

I am always at the resort bus stop two hours before targeted park open. I want to be at my park one hour before opening minimum.

your handle isn’t so shabby yourself @Lens_number_1_Fan

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A word of warning about Uber at that time of year… on 12/30 (and probably any time during the holiday week) there’s a good chance they’ll hit surge pricing and that can make the price astronomical, so make sure you get a fare estimate before you order the car!

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