Jedi Training and Optimizing Touring Plans

I am trying (a little too obsessively) to game out possible alternative touring plans depending on what Jedi training slot we get. It is possible to manually do this and “Evaluate,” but Optimizing doesn’t work for two reasons: 1. Unlike some of the other shows, you cannot select a preferred Jedi Training show time; and 2. It assumes you show up 15 minutes ahead of time, which may be fine for simply watching the show but I understand that if kids are in the show, we would need to be there 30 minutes ahead of time. I was wondering if these are issues that might be addressed in the Touring plans software?

In any event, both the Touring Plans Optimizer and my manual attempts to fit everything in make the first Jedi training show the best option for us. (First is also best because it is what my kids want to do most, and they will have a hard time waiting all day!) We plan to be at Hollywood Studios by 8:00 am for 9:00 am opening. Do you think we are likely to get that first Jedi Training show?

Also, I would love to hear suggestions on how to plan for the HS day! It is hard, given the show times, and set FPP times! We plan to take a mid-day break from around 2:30-7:00, which makes it doubly hard.

One last question: Some plan scenarios don’t leave time for lunch, which is not going to work, unless it will be possible to pick something up quick and plan to eat while waiting for a show to start and/or during the show. Is that realistic?

Thank you!

First, get your meal/breaks in, and optimize, see about where you are, like if you just have too much stuff in your day and need to drop some attractions. Then re-order to get something flexible like Launch Bay or a break just before your possible Jedi Times, and evaluate, but don’t optimize again. Or if you need to be more tightly scheduled and having a hard time getting touring plan to cooperate, can schedule a 20 minute “break” to force it to give you the required time to get there.

Then, if you want to be really anal about it, repeat, do a few different ones with the Jedi show scheduled at a few different times, in case your first choice (or several top choice) show(s) sold out when you sign up. Playing around with it, I found that late morning and early afternoon right after lunch were the best, with early evening right after break next best. Late afternoon means hard for us to get back to hotel for a rest, early morning means we miss the short lines in first hour of park.

Here is my favorite TP, if you want to borrow from it. For DS7 (obsessed with Star Wars) and DS5 (OK w/Star Wars, getting lots of princess stuff other parks so not focussing on princesses in this park). Young kids, so skipping late night stuff. For food just grabbing snack during break and dinner QS at our hotel so we can be more flexible on Jedi signup, and bc Holly’s QS options sound dismal. I did lock us into a TS lunch in spite of making 1-2 of the Jedi times no-go’s, just bc a long, cool break midday is needed in June.

When we went in February, this is what I did. I creative a TP using our dinner ADR, FPPs and all the attractions we wanted to do. I optimized this plan. I then looked at the showtimes for the two shows my family wanted to do, which were LMA and Indiana Jones. Using the things that were fixed times, which were the ADR, the FPPs and the two shows, I made a list of which JTA times would work best for us. Ultimately, I found three times that would work around those other things. I created a plan and chose the JTA time I wanted most (I was able to select one?!?) and use that in the plan.

The day we were there, we signed up for JTA and ended up taking the first show. I then went into my plan through the app and removed JTA from the plan later in the day, changed my start time for the plan to the end time of the show and re-ptimized the plan and followed it from there.

I think no matter what you do, when you get your specific JTA time the day of, you can create a break around your showtime and re-optimize the plan on the go. I found re-optimizing throughout the day to be very helpful on every day of our trip !

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Thank you! These are helpful ideas. This is by far the hardest park to plan for, I’m finding. I have created several plans, each of which assumes the same fast pass times and break times. None is perfect (e.g., not enough time for lunch in one plan, gets us to show at last second in another, etc.), so unless the stars align I think we will just have to accept we may miss something we would like to see. I originally conceived of our Hollywood Studios Day as a short day, back at our resort for dinner (Ohana @ 5pm) and an early bed time. But then they introduced/extended Star Wars fireworks, which has become a must-do for us (and in particular for my 6 year old son). So that means we need a mid-day break. And the new Star Wars show makes scheduling even more difficult.

What are your thoughts on skipping the following? (at time of trip, will be me, my husband, my just turned 7 year old Star Wars obsessed son, and 4 (almost 5) year old daughter who likes Star Wars and loves princesses).

–Star Wars Galaxy Far Far Away show (I’m inclined to treat it as skippable because we will be doing so many other Star Wars themed things that day and we are likely to be so hot and tired by show time…)
–Fantasmic (the fireworks are our nighttime priority, so if we are not concerned about finding a good seat for Fantasmic, we would have time for Launch Bay and maybe even one more thing in the evening.)
–limiting time at Launch Bay (if we just look at the exhibits and do the 1 Visa Character meet, how much time to allot?)

Our must dos include: Jedi Training, Star Tours, build your own lightsaber in the gift shop (its on my son’s top wish list!), Star Wars fireworks, TSMM, and Tower of Terror (for at least 2 of us, and maybe all 4), and we would like to do at least 1 or 2 of the princess things too.

In addition to the above, my touring plans include the following:
Launch Bay
Great Movie Ride (on my wish list and I think my kids will enjoy it)
Indiana Jones (both my husband and I would like to see this)
Beauty and the Beast
The Little Mermaid

We’re planning to skip the Muppets, the roller coaster, Frozen, and the Disney Jr. show.

First, let me say that you and I are very similar! When I went, I had three sons aged 10, 7 and 4, all Star Wars obsessed. (That sounds weird. I still have three sons, but you know what I mean!) Our DHS day was BY FAR the most stressful planning part of our vacation because of this darn JTA! DS4 wanted nothing more than to meet and fight Darth Vader. Lucky for us, Darth Vader was still doing the meet and greet and was replaced by Kylo Ren the day after we left the World! (Oh, and DS4 also HAD to make his own light saber!)

That having been said, I know how you feel and I sympathize. Fortunately for us, the stars aligned and pixie dust was sprinkled on us and everything went perfectly. I literally teared up when DS4 stepped forward to fight Darth Vader. :blush:

Okay, I am done with my emotion. Of the things you have listed as “able to be skipped”, I would say this:

-They did not have the Star Wars Galaxy Far Far Away show when we went, but I have seen it on YouTube and I feel it is overhyped. It may be neat if you have some extra time, but I feel it could be skipped.

-I love Fantasmic, but it can be scary to some children. If you don’t already know it and love it and are more focused on Star Wars, I say you could skip it. It’s very neat, but if you want to be sure to get a perfect spot for fireworks with less stress, it may be worth skipping.

-The Launch Bay is what you make of it. I enjoyed looking at the various replicas and memorabilia, but I didn’t need to read every single sign. The movie was NOT worth waiting even 10 minutes for, so I would skip it. As far as the meet and greet, I believe the Visa one is now Kylo Ren. If he does not scare your kids too badly (or make you want to punch him in the face, which is what he would do for me–how dare that little wannabe replace Darth Vader!), then the Visa line should be relatively short. However, if the kids love Chewbacca because he is huggable, then you may have to do that one, either instead of or in addition to, and he is only in the regular meet and greet. If you only do the Visa meet and walk swiftly through the rest of it and don’t watch the movie, I would say 30 minutes or so should do it. We went on a low CL day, looked at everything and did the Visa and Chewbacca meet and greets and the movie and were there for over an hour.

If you have any other specific questions, feel free to ask. As I said, I feel your pain! :wink:

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The Hollywood Studios Struggle is REAL! Here’s my two cents on planning our first time at WDW and it played out for our HS days:

For JTA (for my DS4) we were at the park at 8:30am on a 9:00am open. They had started the sign-ups already and the line was LONG. But he really wanted to do it and we weren’t wasting park time since it was before park open so we got & stayed in line even past RD becuase it was moving quickly. That said it was 9:22am by the time we left with his time and we got up to the desk the first time available was the 1:10 show. So if you really really want the first show then I would be sure to be there super super early to be one of the first in line for the sign-ups. I have heard they do not always start them before RD, but if you are there early and they do start them early, then you’ll be done and on your way to attractions.

As for what you have as skippable: Totally agree with the Galaxy Far Far Away show. We watched moments of it in passing but it never seemed to be anything special and it was always so hot & crowded around the stage so we never made the time to see it. If you have to pick one nighttime shore, definitely do the fireworks. We do like Fantasmic, but the Star Wars fireworks just seemed to be much cooler. We did end up being able to do both by doing Star Wars FWs first and then doing the late Fantasmic. If they have two Fantasmics and your family is up for staying up late, then that’s the only way I would do Fantasmic. My hubby and I loved the roller coaster but we took turns doing in Single Rider so that made it easy, but I would do the Tower of Terror over it any time. We never made it to Muppets or Disney Jr either but we’ve seen both of those in Disneyland so if they are similar I knew my kids would be ok not seeing them. We did do the Frozen show but only because my daughter isn’t tall enough for the 40" rides and so I wanted to pick at least one FPP that was enjoyable for her, rather than do Tower of Terror or Star Tours again on our 2nd HS day.

I found that with midday break doing all the shows was so hard! The Little Mermaid was pretty easy to fit in but I struggled with Indy & Beauty & the Beast. I think the only way we worked them both in with midday breaks was because we had two days. If you are coming back at 7 after your break, that makes them hard to fit in. I also don’t know which to tell you would be better than the other because I loved both! I think I would cut out Great Movie Ride out of all it, if you need to drop something. It might also solve your problem of being so tightly scheduled because it is a long ride itself. You can always try to get it as a 4th FPP in the evening and try to work it back into the plan if you’re finding you have some flexibility after cutting it out. I did like it, but it wasn’t a must-do for me, my husband or my kids now that we’ve seen it.

Happy planning to you & if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

I think you might be being too ambitious? Maybe Fantasmic another year when less Star Wars obsessed? Unless your kids nap really well and you managed to fit in a long break. My kids about same age as yours, and we’re not going to do ANY fireworks at Holly this year, we’re doing to hit MSEP at MK on our last day when can sleep in next morning, and maybe the Epcot one on day w/long break. But if it’s your first day or last day or EMH morning or your kids have a lot of stamina, maybe you can fit it all. If you want to make one of your touring plans public, we can take a look–maybe it’s not as full as I imagine. I suggest FP for TSMM, and go to TT & GMR first thing after your Jedi sign-up. TT prob too much for kids? (Do others disagree?) But if you want to for yourselves, hey, go for it. And Launch Pad pretty soon after that if it’s priority for SW obsessed, I’ve heard lines build up there. Check out Kenny the Pirate website for up-to-date info on character meets. Probably should tell plan your day starts 9:15 not 9am for more realistic line assessment, assuming Jedi sign-up will take some time. We saw Frozen last year, it was pretty terrible, but of course my DD4 (that trip, she’s DD5 now) loved it, but not so much she mentioned wanting to see it again. And Little Mermaid was a casualty of them adding that GFFA show, which DS7 will LOVE and she will like, whereas she will merely like LM and he will be rolling his eyes. Choices choices. Muppets, if we are honest with ourselves, is for moi %^)

Thank you for all your help! Here is one possible plan, if we get the first Jedi training slot. I’m inclined to skip the Star Wars Galaxy Far Far Away show, which will allow us to get back to our resort earlier for more rest time. It will be a Crowd Level 4 day. Window for fast passes has not yet opened for us, so the fast pass times are aspirational, for now. (I’m planning to try for 9 AM Star Tours, 10 AM TSMM, and 11:20 ToT). Do you think we would be likely to get a 4th fast pass for Great Movie Ride after we do ToT? If so, I may try to rearrange the plan to put that ride later.

I’m impressed, you fit in a lot. I might need to check out that build your own light-saber, fit it in mine DS7 would LOVE that. My one suggestion is maybe do a later Jedi one so you can hit GMR first when line shortest…? And keep an eye on your kids after lunch, may want to ditch one or more of the afternoon shows and start break earlier if they’re getting cranky.

Where is the build your own light-saber?

The plan looks good, but I would point out one thing. Unless they have changed it, the JTA show ran about 20 minutes for us, and then we had to turn in robes and lightsabers. That would add a couple more minutes to your time and make your arrival time at Star Tours a little bit later. This definitely isn’t a problem, but just something you should be aware of since it seems like your plan is very tight for the morning with very little wiggle room. I think the idea of doing GMR earlier and doing your SW FPP later is good. Maybe do 9:30/10:30/11:30 FPPs? It would allow you some more flexibility. I also think you might be able to get GMR as a fourth FPP, though it’s not something I would count on. When we were there on CL 3 day, we were able to get RNR as a fourth.

So looking over your plan if you can convince your son to do an evening Jedi Training your morning will loosen up a bit allowing you some room. Maybe even room to go early to the character meet at Star Wars Launch Bay.

Also, looking at your not for the girls to go to Frozen while the boys do Tower of Terror, your Little Mermaid show starts at 11:15 and won’t be done in time to get into the Frozen theater before they close the gates. You could always have the option of Little Mermaid show while the boys do Tower or Terror, unless you want to all see LM. My husband is a big fan of LM being one his childhood favorite movies so if your whole family is a LM fan then definitely don’t skip it.

Lastly, when we went to get a 4th FPP on a Sat with a crowd level of 7 we were able to get Great Movie Ride @ 2pm as our 4th. But this was also the day before they changed it to be able to get your 4th FP on your app. However, if you are running behind or having to move things around to accommodate Star Wars stuff, it’s a great way to be able to try to weave it back into the plan for you.

If it’s any help, I enjoyed the Indy & Belle shows far more than the Great Movie Ride. I was prepared for that to be the first thing that got the axe in my plan in order to get all the most important things done and the only way we did get it done was finding a 4th FPP so hopefully you’ll be able to use the same/similar idea.

As for the FPP, definitely agree on ToT and TSMM and Star Wars makes sense for your Star Wars loving son!

This is all great advice. Thank you to everyone who has responded. At this point, I think I have some viable plans for Jedi training shows at 9:20, 10:10, and 11. Removing the Star Wars Galaxy Far Far Away show from the plans helps with our flexibility, and I will also plan to treat the Little Mermaid as “flexible” (if it fits in the morning, great, or if our morning needs that extra time we can try to do one of the 7:00-ish shows, or plan to do that show while my husband and son do ToT, or if we miss it we will be okay).

You’re right that doing the Jedi Training at night would also help make everything else fit in the morning. My main concern with that is we have a 5 pm Ohana reservation that day, and I don’t want to worry about making it back by 6:40 for the 7:10 show, when Jedi training is such a must do for us. My kids will also have a hard time waiting (as it is, waiting until our third day to do Hollywood Studios is going to take lots of willpower for my son). But if no morning slots are available, we will definitely be going for the 8 PM slot!

If I may, I have two last questions:
–Are all of the shows like Frozen, where the doors close when the show starts? Are people allowed to walk late to any of the shows, if seating is available?
–Is Hollywood Studios compact enough to criss-cross it with ease with two small children? I have tried to arrange things so that close attractions are done in order, to avoid criss-crossing the park, but it may open up possibilities if we plan to walk more.

Totally hear you on the Ohana conflict with the 7:10 show. I would not want to be stressed about it either, especially since Ohana can take some time, because of all there is to enjoy!

Little Mermaid would also be like Frozen with doors that close to prevent you from entering the teather, but Belle & Indy are bleachers in a covered amphitheater-like setting so you could slide in, but from my experience with them on our trip, seats were pretty full before the shows started so finding seats together shortly after start or as the show is starting might be more difficult than it is worth. Maybe in the very back.

As for the criss-crossing, it was manageable but definitely not my favorite. The park is poorly structured for any kind of flowing touring plan, especially with kids so we gave into the criss-crossing, but we had the help of the double stroller. My kids do like to walk when they can, but it’s just so much faster to say, sit down & let Dad drive through the throng of people. For parks like this, the stroller was a definite godsend!

is there a list of all the jedi training show times for the various days of week?

If you go on the WDW website and find JTA, I believe if you select your date, it will show all the showtimes. Ditto if you make a TP on this site for your date.

To the person who asked about build your own light saber- I believe it is in the Tatooine Traders gift shop that Star Tours empties into. I’m typically not a fan of spending time in gift shops, but this one is important to my kids!

Just to confirm - Build Your Own Light Saber is in Tattooine Traders. You’ll be forced to walk through after Star Tours - the light saber build is on your right by the exit up against the wall. You can also just enter the gift shop directly w/o riding Star Tours if you prefer.

Saw a picture on Twitter over the weekend claiming the line was 30 deep for the light saber build, although I believe that’s atypical, but you may see some wait to build depending on timing. If you’re riding Star Tours often, waiting until the build line is low could be a big time savings…

Great information, thank you.

We were just there. And in that store like three times? Two for a long time? I can’t remember, my son’s a little obsessed. Line to build own saber built up to 5-10 at worst, down to 0-2 at times as well. Not that terrible. Yes, Holly small enough to criss cross w/small kids IF they’re in a stroller. Can rent nice one for whole stay (we used Kingdom Rentals) or just day of from front of park.