Half day at Hollywood Studios?

So it seems pretty clear to me that it is pretty manageable to do HS in a half day. I’m wondering on what everyone’s thoughts are about when they prefer to see the park. In the evening/afternoon? I’m debating about whether it makes more sense to do HS in the morning and just spend the afternoon at the resort before heading out for dinner. Or combine HS with another park for either morning or evening touring.

I think the first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you’d like to see Fantasmic. If the answer is yes, they go for the afternoon/evening. If you don’t care to see it, go for the morning/early afternoon.

We do morning at HS because my boys want to do Jedi Training Camp and you need to signup for that first thing (and come back later for your time). We always try to go back to the room mid-day (except when we go to AK because it is so far and closes early) and with MK parks and EP we typically go back in the evening but typically don’t go back to HS. If you want to see Fantasmic, you will need to head back or make it your evening park. I will say we never do EVERYTHING we would want to do at HS (we miss a few shows) with our half day, so it would be okay to go back there for evening too if you wanted to. But our favorite evening park is Epcot because there are so many snack and drink options at the World showcase so we typically end up there on HS days. I will say that getting there at park opening has let us go on our fav rides a few times before waits start accumulating.

Given it’s mostly headliners that are still open, I’d go early and hit the biggies when the lines aren’t long. The exception case is Fantasmic, but I’d probably still go early and either park hop back one night for Fantasmic or on your HS day take a break and go back for Fantasmic plus any other loose ends.

If you do want to catch the shows, you can likely string a full day together at HS if you want as well. But if not doing at least 2 shows it would be tough. We did a full day recently at HS, but also had the Osborne lights to catch prior to Fantasmic which killed another hour or so…

What are your priorities at HS? Someone pointed out the other day that most of the shows are scheduled during the day.

I love HS at night! There is something magical about free falling on Tower of Terror and seeing the lights over HS! HS is one of two parks I use FPs (MK being the other). I hop there at. Night and FPs RnR, ToT and ST!

Prior to the institution of the SW fireworks, I would say AM, no questions (I’m not that big a fan of F!). As I can do all of the attractions that I want to do with FPPs and usually short SB lines for others, I would probably lean toward the PM.

We didn’t care about seeing F! so stuck to the morning, we got there 30 min before the park opened and had done ToTx2, RnRCx2, GMR, and ST by 11, then hung around to see Indiana Jones. Didn’t do TSMM because couldn’t get a fastpass and didn’t want to wait in a 60 min line. If those are the only rides you care about, and don’t want to see all the shows, morning is perfect.

How did that full day feel? Was there a lot of time you felt like you were just killing time?

Like all of you, I keep getting caught up with trying to plan the “perfect” day. So I keep thinking something like a morning at the resort or a water park with an evening tour at HS sounds good to me.

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I was worried about needing to kill time, but it worked out relatively well. We hit the headliners early, had a 1PM table meal (Fantasmic Dinner package) & then managed to hit both Indiana Jones & Lights, Motor, Action back-to-back. We then plugged in a couple re-rides of Star Tours etc. and then headed over to Osborne at dark and walked that. After that, it was more a rush to then grab some quick serve food for dinner prior to heading into Fantasmic.

Without Osborne for an hour we might have had some time to kill, but frankly you could use that to re-ride a headliner or two and fill that gap adequately I’d think. Now w/o Osborne there, the lines for the headliners might be worse, or attendance may just be down so it will be about the same wait times.

A couple of trips ago I decided that I wanted to do an “ultimate” at DHS (seeing ALL of the shows and doing ALL of the attractions - minus Dis Jr; I could NOT sit through that a second time). This was specifically to test the half day/full day argument. If you want to do all of the rides and see all 5 shows (BatB, LM, Dis Jr, Indy, and LMA) you will definitely need a full day.

When I did this I made my FPPs and lunch ADR, planned out where the shows would fit in, and then did the “other stuff” in between show times. Even without Dis Jr, my schedule was full from RD until around 5:30 PM (with a TS lunch in the middle and no re-rides). It can be very challenging to figure out how to get all of the shows in, especially if you are working around FPPs and ADRs. I DID want to stay to see F! that night and do some night time photography, so I had some “dead time” between 5:30 and 7:00 (when it would be “full dark”), but I happily spent that at the Tune-in enjoying a couple of margaritas (I could have fit a TS dinner in here, but I had made other plans). I spent some time taking PM photos and then went to see F! (I had a dining package, so I didn’t have to queue up for F! way in advance). I left with the “hoard” and went to the BW area for a late dinner. This was on a CL 3 day.

But now, I’ve seen all of the same shows enough times, I rarely do more than 1 or maybe 2 (I almost always see Indy, my favorite show in the park), so a half day is typically more than enough for me. Using RD and FPPs, I can do all of the major rides (one or two maybe twice) and a show or two and even with a TS lunch, be done by early afternoon. I’m not that huge a fan of F!, so I only do it once every 3 or 4 trips.

Bottom line: If it’s your first visit and/or you want to see all/most of the shows, it is definitely a “full day” park. If you’re a DHS vet and only want to do “personal highlights” it’s a half-day park.


I am glad you said this. Everywhere I read that HS is a half day park, but when I did my TP, there was absolutely no way to get everything done that we wanted to do in less than a full day. I thought maybe I was just totally insane!


Its a full day park for us also. We skip lights motor action and dis junior as well as HISTK play area and do star tours Tot and RnR a few times. With the launch bay now open my April plan runs 9 am to 7.30 pm

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We are visiting HS for the 1st time on a CL3 day in May, and have a very similar day planned to what you described as your full day. Any pointers on making a touring plan for it i.e what FP to use and when? Fitting all the shows in seems very challenging.

On my recent trip we got to HS for rope drop on a EMH day. We were able to get in two rides on Rock n Roller Coaster and two rides on Tower of Terror, all within the first hour without FP+. By midday we’d gotten to do most everything we wanted and took an afternoon break by taking the boat over to Boardwalk. Spent a few hours exploring Boardwalk, and Yacht and Beach Club resorts. But we did go back to HS to see Fantasmic and the new Symphony in the Stars fireworks. If you’ve never seen one or the other you need to. The fireworks are probably the best ones at WDW IMO. Fantastic show. Good luck and have fun

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Thanks everybody! We have 8 total days so beyond planning a good touring plan, I’m finding that trying to distribute days in parks is almost as hard.

I got my FPPs for TSMM, ToT, and ST, and did RnRC at RD; my FPPs were between 11:00 and 3:00. For shows, look at the ones with the fewest number of performances per day, and fit those in, then fill in the others. LMA typically has the fewest showings per day; LM and Muppets are pretty easy as they have quite a few showings per day.

If you are planning a TS lunch and/or dinner, that is also something you have to figure out early. If there is one place that you REALLY want to go to, make that ADR at your 180, and then work your FPPs around it. Dining is as important to me as rides, so I usually lock my ADRs in as early as possible. Alternately, you could wait until you have your FPPs at 60 days and then make your ADR around those, but the selection will likely be limited as to location and time (I’ve never been able to get a Sci-Fi ADR for the day/time I wanted at less than 60 days, but there’s no real way to predict how fast ADRs will fill up on any given day). If you want to do a F! dining package, definitely make the ADR as soon as possible.

One variable I can’t comment on is the SWLB; when I did my “ultimate” it was still the AA. There was virtually no line and I only spent about 20 min there. SWLB, from what I’ve heard, frequently has a line to get in, and then 2 more for the M&Gs; if you want to do it all, you’ll probably need a larger block of time. Perhaps others who have done it can provide guidance as to how long you should plan for it.

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In regards to Star Wars Launch Bay, when I was there last Thursday the lines for both Chewbacca and Darth Vader M&G were the same at about 40 minutes in early afternoon. There were also Jawas walking around the cantina area which were fun. They wouldn’t stop for pictures or autographs, but if you had an item they’d trade with you. My daughter had a smooth river rock that they traded with her for what looked like a random piece of a droid. The handler also said if you asked really nicely they MIGHT stop for a quick photo.

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How do you coordinate Fantasmic and Symphony of Stars? Is it easy to leave fantasmic and still see the symphony fireworks?

With great difficulty; ideally they should be seen on separate nights (which I think was Disney’s “plan”). If you want to see them both on one night, sit in the back of the F! arena and bolt just as the show is ending. Then “walk with extreme purpose” toward Echo Lake and 50s. Depending on the crowds, you may get there before the show starts.