Planning for Hollywood Studios w/ 4YO

I posted earlier in the week about our first visit to HS. Now I’m second guessing because my travel agent is telling me taking a break mid-day is going to take a LOT longer than I thought. We are staying at the Poly. It’s our first time at the Poly and first visit to HS. Last year we did AKL, but only 3 days so we skipped HS.
I am really stuck now on what to do. I’d like to take my son to Fantasmic because he likes villain-themed stuff lol. I think he will like it. Of course I want to do all the Toy Story stuff too. So I am torn between starting early or taking a long break. From what my agent is telling me, my rest isn’t going to be very restful if I spend all of it traveling back and forth, but I also don’t think my DS or my DH can handle a 12 hour day without a break. Am I overthinking this?

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I take a break just about every day in the world. I would plan from 9-12 or 1 and then return around 5. What were you planning?


I was looking at the 1 day touring plan for parents w/ Small Children. This is my current plan but I really don’t care what order I do anything in. I was originally planning 9-12 then a quick service lunch at the Poly, during a 4 hour break, and then table service dinner somewhere. I had reservations at AK Rainforest but I’ll probably drop that. I don’t see a way to make that work. I don’t think I’ll do tower of terror either. Don’t think we are ready for that yet lol. I just need HELP! Last year we were completely exhausted and frustrated with it. The transportation drove me crazy. So this time I am leaning towards driving our vehicle on the HS day, because we only have the 1 day and I don’t want to waste hours waiting for and riding on the bus. Other 4 park days busses are probably fine.

How much time do I need to plan for driving back and forth, and parking, etc.?

I am definitely pro-break and find that my entire family does better when we have a 3-5 our break in the middle of our day to swim, nap, and just relax. If you are really worried about the travel time, you could always spring for a Lyft or Uber which will be faster than the Disney buses. If you can get your family to do rope drop then I would do 3-4 hours in the morning, a quick service back at the Poly, a 4 hour break, and then head back to Hollywood Studios for the evening.


Thanks for the reply!

I can’t do Lyft or Uber because of car seat. My hubby drives some for uber lol so I love them. BUT it’s rough with a kiddo. We can drive though. Does that not help much with time?
And what would you do for dinner?

30 minutes should be fine to get to HS? A mini van or Uber would be quicker just because you do not need to park.

With a 4 year old have you considered the Hollywood and Vine dinner package?

I am open to anything. I’m just not familiar with HS. What’s the dinner package?
And what is the cost of the Minnie Van option?

Minnie Van is $25. The dinner package gets you dinner at Hollywood and Vine (character meal with Mickey and Minnie at dinner) and a pass for Fanatasmuc. You have to book the package.

Here it is

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Thanks! Does a Pass to Fantastic mean we are guaranteed a seat?

Yes! It is center section!

WOW! Ok that’s great information. Thank you! And do we have to get there early? Or just a few minutes before the show?

Sorry… Have more questions. SO we have some character dining already booked (Tusker House, Breakfast at Ohana, and some dinner shows). I’m guessing Hollywood & Vine is a buffet? The menu is pretty general. I’m looking a the Mama Melrose since my DS is a spaghetti enthusiast lol. Thoughts? Also, is the package just 1 table service credit or is there an extra charge?

The dining package is one TS credit. You will be given tickets for Fantasmic at dinner. They guarantee you a seat in the middle section. I would still arrive half an hour or a bit more before the show to ensure a good seat. H&V is a buffet. Mama Melrose has decent Italian food, nothing special but still good. They do have a spaghetti and meatballs cupcake for dessert for the kids that my daughter still talks about years later.

A couple of things to be aware of with the dining package:

  1. Make sure you know which show you are getting tickets for if there is more than one that night.
  2. You will have to eat a bit earlier, probably before 5:30, to get the dining package. They require your meal to be about three hours before the show or earlier.

We liked the dining package. It saved us worrying about getting a seat and we liked the food at Mama Melrose.

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Thanks so much!

So, I’m going to give a different point of view here. We took my 8 and 4 year old boys in Sept 2016 to DW. And I had heard all about taking a break. I had planned some (which ended up not working for us) and was very concerned about HS. I had a really difficult time planning that day, as my kids are huge Star Wars fans and hubby wanted to see Fantasmic. I ended up planning the day flexibly, with an 8am ADR to after Fantasmic. I planned our must do’s for the AM and after dinner and left the afternoon for shows. If we got too tired, we would have taken a break and missed the shows. We did Mama Melrose Fantasmic dinner package at lunch.

We ended up not taking a break. My 4 year old did not have a stroller and he did awesome. The dinner package viewing was awesome. I would recommend H&V though as Mama Melrose was meh. Having the shows in the afternoon worked well, so everyone could rest some. The kids had a blast and loved the park. Probably the best day of the trip. My DH did give my 4 year old a piggy back ride back to the bus area. When we went in May 2018, we planned the day similarly, and again never took a break. This time we did the Star Wars fireworks.

HS was the only day both trips that we did open to close. The rest of the trip, we either left by dinner or arrived by lunch (or in the case of 2016, we tried taking a break one day).

You know your child, but I think having a flexible plan can work and if you really need a break, take it. That’s my thoughts.

Thanks so much! Exactly what I was looking for. I’m still debating. What time did you arrive at the park on each day for HS? Also, what’s an 8am ADR sorry?
H&V had mixed reviews. There seems to be a wide range of experiences for both restaurants. I am leaning to taking his stroller if we did no break.

We had an 8am dining reservation at Hollywood and Vine. We arrived at the park that day around 7am. We were really early, as we went to the bus stop at 6:30ish and a bus pulled right up. This past May we got there around 8/8:15am because we were going to sign up for Jedi Training. (Park opened at 9am). We liked H&V breakfast. Mama Melrose gets mixed reviews as well and we weren’t that impressed.

At 4 if you think he needs a stroller, go for it. Our back up plan was to rent one of he had gotten too tired. The only time he would have needed it though was to leave the park.

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