My Hollywood Studios Rope Drop Strategy

This past Sunday, Oct. 16, I had the opportunity to rope drop Hollywood Studios from Pop Century via the skyliner. As a fan of the Skyliner and Hollywood Studios, I had been looking forward to this since Early Theme Park Entry began.

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The day officially began with us arriving at Pop Century just after midnight with a flight that landed around 10:30pm. After grabbing our bags we headed for the Mears Connect loading location, first passing long lines at all of the rental car locations. Mears Connect, in comparison, was empty with just a few groups waiting for their ride. Our vehicle was a 10 passenger van. Besides our group of 4, there was another group of 4 and a group of 2.

Upon arriving at Walt Disney World, the driver dropped a group off at Art of Animation before taking us to Pop Century. The third group was going to All Star Sports.

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In the morning, I was up at 6 and out the door by 6:20. I arrived to the skyliner at about 6:30. I had roughly a couple dozen people ahead of me. At 6:45, the skyliner began testing. Guests began entering the loading area at 6:55 and skyliner loading began at 6:55.

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When we arrived at the Caribbean Beach Resort transfer station, there was very people waiting around, and I was able to get right onto the skyliner over to Hollywood Studios.

At Hollywood Studios, I was able to get right into the security area. I usually have to get my bag checked because of the camera equipment and adapters. They always let me through quickly, but just have to check beyond the initial scan.

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I then found a short line with half a dozen people in front of me and got in line. The lines have signage above stating resort guest entrance. Above you can see crowd levels early on. At this point, they held us until 7:30, at which time, they opened the scanners and people were on their way into the park. Below you can see how many people joined the waiting area just before the gates opened.

My goal was to complete Toy Story Land before the official park opening and I figured I had a good shot being so far up. So, I headed straight back to the Toy Story entrance while many veered off to the left for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. When I arrived at Slinky Dog Dash, I once again had about 2 dozen people ahead of me. They were holding the line just before the queue and kept us there until 7:55.

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We then snaked our way through the entire queue. As a single rider, they had me go right and all groups went left, but I didn’t miss much of the line. I ended up being on the first or second loading of the day. Check out the beautiful sunrise 360° picture below from the high point of the ride!

After Slinky, I headed over to Toy Story Mania and walked all the way through the line queue straight onto the ride. With my 360° camera on my head and my phone live streaming in one hand, I managed a score around 120,000. Not bad, but definitely not the best. I then headed to Alien Swirling Saucers where I had to wait 1 cycle before getting onto the ride.

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After Alien’s, the time was 8:26, 4 minutes until Early Theme Park Entry was over, so I walked swiftly over to Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway and was in line as the non resort guests were being let in. The current wait was 20 minutes. Not bad. I think I did wait that long though as the line was slow moving. I was off the ride just before 9am.

Both Tower of Terror and Rock n Rollercoaster were 1 hour waits now, so I headed to ToT, I figured the single rider line would be the way to go at RnRC anyway. This would be my first time on both rides. Standing in line at ToT, we found Goofy and Max just chilling with the “hotel” guests waiting to check in.

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I didn’t know exactly what to expect from ToT, except that it would bounce you up and down a few times. I really liked the twilight zone theme and learning a bit more about that aspect. The drops were a bit freaky, but not as bad as I thought it’d be. I would definitely do it again, though I know the family would not like it! I was off the ride and back outside by 10am.

I then headed for RnRC’s single rider line. This SRL was probably the longest SRL I’ve been in at Disney. Apparently lots of groups try to utilize it for a faster experience. Except, when a lot tries this, it is not faster. We had a group of 2 boys just in front of me complain they were getting split up to head to the music room. Don’t use SRL if you’re going to do that!

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Anyway, it did take quite a while to ride and they would only pull from the SRL if an odd number group came through. I knew this ride was fast and had a lot of things I’ve never experienced before, or Maybe partially experienced as a kid and didn’t like, but even that I couldn’t fully prepare for. While I had fun and enjoyed the experience, my body wasn’t as happy. Probably not a ride I’d do too often, but it was good to try once. I can’t wait to see the ride video! See my full rope drop Livestream video below.

After RnRC, I had to take a rest on a couple benches. Ok, I actually had a plan for a new YouTube series and it worked out well to start at this time as my stomach needed a rest. I also found a good spot to watch the Pixar Pals cavalcade as well.

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The rest of my morning was spent making 360° videos, which I’ll gradually post to YouTube. I left the park at 12:30, wait times for nearly every ride were an hour long by then, made a few more videos, then returned to my resort to have lunch.

If I had planned to stay at Hollywood Studios for the full day, I would have tried to plan a strategy to watch each of the shows right in a row if possible, booked an ILL$ for Ride of the Resistance, SRL for Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run, and standby for Star Tours. I feel like my morning strategy was good enough to allow me to do nearly everything in the park.

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What has been your favorite strategy at Hollywood Studios? Anything you wouldn’t do again? Comment below to let us know!

If you’re ready to start exploring a Walt Disney World or Disneyland family vacation, I recommend checking out Undercover Tourist for your ticket options. I’ve already used them twice, once at Disneyland and once at Disney World and will plan to continue comparing their prices with other sites, however I usually come back to UT because they have the best deals and their instructions make it easy to add your tickets to the Disney apps.

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