• Hollywood Studios Early Entry & Rope Drop Guide

Hollywood Studios Early Entry & Rope Drop Guide

Luiz Alberto H.

Created: Jan 31, 2024

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

Hollywood Studios Early Entry & Rope Drop Guide

Hello and welcome to our special in-depth guide, where Famvia will give hot tips to those that will wake up at 5am just to say hi to Buzz Lightyear and Han Solo!

Yeah, that wasn’t a typo, you will need to wake up pretty early if you want to be one of the first guests to experience everything Disney World has to offer without spending much (or any) time in lane.

It’s worth it, trust us, and a very fun experience to do with your friends and your family. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend almost twenty four hours inside the Happiest Place on Earth?

Disney Hollywood Studios Entrance 3.webp

What is Early Entry & Rope Drop?

Early Entry and Rope Drop are actually two different terms.

Early Entry is a perk given to every guest that stays in a Disney hotel or one of their partners. It lets you enter most theme parks 30 minutes earlier than everyone else. Disney hotel guests have access to Early Entry on the day of their check-in and also on the day of their check-out.

Rope Drop is more than just saying “it’s when the park opens”. It’s rare that Disney keeps every guest outside the main gates then gives the green light for everyone to come in at once. This would probably look like that scene from The Lion King with Simba and the stampede, phew!

In fact, most parks open one hour before the official time, even if rides are still closed and most areas are off limits. This is called a soft opening, mostly to spread out guests so the entrance doesn’t look too chaotic. For example, at Magic Kingdom guests can enter Main Street USA and have breakfast at the Starbucks there, even if lands like Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are still closed to the public.

In Hollywood Studios, guests are usually let inside the theme park 30 minutes before Early Entry begins, and are held in a specific area before they can head to popular areas like Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.

In short, every guest has access to what we call a Rope Drop, but only Disney hotel guests can enjoy Early Entry.

Hollywood Studios Rope Drop 3.webp

Preparations

It’s important to know that you need to have everything ready for your Early Entry/Rope Drop strategy and not leave important details for the last minute.

  • Check park opening times through the official Disney website or the My Disney Experience App the night before your visit.
  • Get your backpack ready with everything you need already inside: snacks, an extra t-shirt if you want and everything else you might need. Again, do this a night before your visit.
  • Get that alarm clock ready and wake up early! If a park opens at 9am and you don’t have Early Entry, get there at 8am. If you do have Early Entry, this means that the park will officially open at 8:30am, and you need to be there around 7:30am if you want to be one of the first ones in line for the most popular rides. Yes, this means you will need to wake up pretty early. Take into consideration the time to take a shower, eat something and wake up your kids (yeah, this might be tough, but you can do it!).
  • Remember that Disney Genie+ opens at 7am, and you will probably need to do this while you are already inside the park. Individual Lightning Lanes purchases are also available at 7am for Disney hotel guests. Currently, there are no rides in Hollywood Studios that use the Virtual Queue system.
  • Make sure you know how to get to Disney World during that specific day. Driving is probably the easier method. If you are taking a monorail or an Uber, for example, you are going to need more time to reach your destination, so take that into account.

Remember that Early Entry and Rope Drop is just a small part of your park strategy for that day. You will save a lot of time in one popular attraction, maybe save precious minutes on a second ride, and that’s about it. After that, it’s time to follow a traditional ride strategy or a Disney Genie+ strategy.

Early Entry & Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios Frozen Sing Along Olaf.webp

Hollywood Studios is packed with amazing rides, probably more than any other Disney park in Florida. You have Rise of the Resistance, Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Rock N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and at least five other must see rides that should be included in your itinerary. We can safely say that Early Entry & Rope Drop are two strategies that work perfectly well at Hollywood Studios, even more so if you plan to have a lot of extra time to explore Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.

First things first, you need to know at what time Hollywood Studios will be open on the day of your visit. Opening times are usually either 8am or 9am, but always check the My Disney Experience app a day or two before the day of your visit to make sure. If the park opens at 9am, Early Entry will be at 8:30am. Make sure to arrive 30-60 minutes before Early Entry official times so you are always in front of the queue and ready to ride the most popular attractions in the park.

Hollywood Studios often admits guests to the park around 30 minutes prior to Early Entry, with Cast Members strategically positioned at the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. This makes sense, since 90% of all Early Entry and Rope Drop guests will either go to Rise of the Resistance or Slinky Dog Dash, which are the two most popular rides in the entire park.

These two rides will also be the main targets of our guide.

Hollywood Studios Rope Drop 2.webp

Early Entry

So, what should your general plan be if you have access to Early Entry? Before getting down to business, we need to figure out some things.

First, do you have Disney Genie+? If you do, do not forget to book Slinky Dog Dash as soon as the clock hits 7am. Seriously, this is the most popular Disney Genie in all of Disney World, and sells out in a matter of seconds. Rise of the Resistance isn’t included in Disney Genie+, but you can always buy an individual Lightning Lane for it.

With that in mind, we are going to present four different strategies for Hollywood Studios:

  • The standard Early Entry strategy
  • The Rise of the Resistance strategy
  • The strategy that doesn’t use Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lanes
  • The strategy for families with toddlers

Let’s get started then with the first one. Here is a very good strategy for Early Entry guests at Hollywood Studios, which is perfect for most guests and also for families with young children.

  1. Slinky Dog Dash (regular queue)
  2. Toy Story Mania (regular queue)
  3. Tower of Terror (regular queue)
  4. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Individual Lightning Lane)
  5. Slinky Dog Dash (Disney Genie+)
  6. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run (Disney Genie+)

The itinerary above prioritizes the best family coaster in Disney World and what has become the most popular ride in Hollywood Studios. Yes, your first Disney Genie+ should still be used for Slinky Dog Dash, and the second one should be Millenium Falcon Smuggler’s Run. Just remember to book Millenium Falcon Smuggler’s Run two hours after the official opening hour for Hollywood Studios, which should be around 11am. 

Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror cast member.webp

There is a second itinerary you could follow in case you are a huge Star Wars fan and prefer to start your adventure at Galaxy’s Edge. This one takes you directly to Rise of the Resistance, but there is a very important detail you need to keep in mind: Rise of the Resistance loves to break down or open a little bit later than usual due to technical reasons. Keep an eye on the My Disney Experience app and on the many digital displays around the park to see if this ride is working properly and you simply don’t waste time in lane.

If there is nothing wrong with Rise of the Resistance, then your Early Entry adventure could look like this:

  1. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (regular queue)
  2. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run (regular queue)
  3. Toy Story Mania (regular queue)
  4. Slinky Dog Dash (Disney Genie+)

There is also a third itinerary you could try in case you do not want to buy any additional services like Disney Genie+. You need to be lucky and move fast for this one to work, but it looks like this:

  1. Slinky Dog Dash (regular queue)
  2. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (regular queue)
  3. Star Wars Smuggler’s Run (regular queue)
  4. Tower of Terror (regular queue)

The one above takes you directly to the two most popular attractions in the whole park. There is a good chance that you won’t stay in line for Rise of Resistance for more than 30-60 min, depending if you got in Slinky Dog Dash early. The good news is that Galaxy’s Edge is right next to Toy Story Land, so you actually don’t waste a lot of time just walking around. You will probably face long lines for Smuggler’s Run, though.

Well, it’s time to present our fourth and final strategy for Early Entry. This one is perfect for families with toddlers and is mostly aimed at guests that need rides without any sort of height requirements.

  1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (regular queue)
  2. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (regular queue)
  3. Toy Story Mania (regular queue)
  4. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage (regular queue)

This one lets you ride Runaway Railway twice if you want to. This is a dark ride that launched in 2020 and is great for kids, so it makes sense to go there a second time before moving on to Toy Story Land and visiting Toy Story Mania. After this, it’s time to head to Sunset Boulevard and get a good seat for Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, with the first show usually starting around 11am.

Disney Hollywood Studios Slinky Dog Dash 3.webp

Rope Drop without Early Entry

If you can’t be in Hollywood Studios thirty minutes before everyone else, that is completely fine as well. Hollywood Studios has so many amazing rides that you can blindly choose most of them as your first one and still have a great time.

With that said, there are still some strategies that will save you a lot of time. Are you ready to open your wallet and spend a little bit more than usual? Then you should definitely get Disney Genie+ and book Slinky Dog Dash as soon as the clock hits 7am. You should also get an individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. These two service make sure that you will experience the two most popular rides in the park without wasting time in the queue.

It’s usually not recommended to go straight to Slinky Dog Dash or Rise of the Resistance for two very simple reasons. First, 90% of Early Entry guests will be in line for these rides. Second, most Rope Drop guests that entered the park with you are also heading there, which will just make the lines longer and longer.

Hollywood Studios Rock Roller coaster entrance.webp

Here is a good plan you could follow, which starts with Tower of Terror then moves on to Rock N’ Roller Coaster. This itinerary makes sure you visit two amazing rides early on while most guests are in Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land:

  1. Tower of Terror (regular queue)
  2. Rock N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (regular queue)
  3. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage/Toy Story Mania (regular queue)
  4. Slinky Dog Dash (Disney Genie+)
  5. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (individual Lightning Lane)

If you don’t plan on buying Disney Genie+ or any extra service, it’s recommended to start with Rise of the Resistance and leave Slinky Dog Dash for a time slot around 7-8pm. Will you face long lines? Sure, but you should not leave Rise of the Resistance for later, since there is always the chance that lines will just get longer or the ride will face technical difficulties.

  1. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (regular queue)
  2. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run (regular queue)
  3. Tower of Terror (regular queue)

If you have toddlers in your party and you don’t want any rides with height requirements, your plan won’t be that much different from an Early Entry guest, but you probably won’t be able to re-ride Mickey’s Runaway Railway:

  1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (regular queue)
  2. Toy Story Mania (regular queue)
  3. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage (regular queue)

Disney Hollywood Studios Rise Resistance 2.webp

That’s it!

We hope you had fun learning a bit more about Rope Drop and Early Entry at Hollywood Studios. Remember, these strategies will save you some time but, after riding two or three rides, it’s back to a traditional guide to optimize your time.

One important thing to point out is that you don’t need to get too attached to an itinerary that you must follow all the time. Visit the rides you want to visit and have fun. Try to not stress out if a ride has queue times bigger than usual and enjoy the moment, especially at Hollywood Studios, with SO many good rides you can visit. If you arrive early, there is a very, very good chance that you will go to the best rides (even more than once) even if you don’t min-max your strategy.

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