Update: by the end of our trip we rode Slinky Dog 4 times, never waiting more than 15 minutes, MMRR twice (20 minutes once, walk on another), ROTR twice (both under 5 minutes), and TSM 4 times as well (typically walking on, although we had one long wait when we tried during the early entry hours). We only used lightning lane in HS on day 1 for Slinky, TSM, and ROTR, the rest were all standby times in the evening. Mind blown right ?
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a broken record at this point about evening wait times being the best thing ever. I posted the same thing after our trip last December, and I can officially say it is true now more than ever.
We are still playing around with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes this week (not super thrilled with it in Epcot, AK, or Hollywood Studios sadly), but we are also trying our best to take advantage of early entry to the parks and extended evening hours when available.
That being said, plain old regular evening hours are the absolute bomb-diggity in Hollywood Studios. Wait times from 7pm to 9pm can’t be beat. We did early park entry in the morning to give it its fair shot, since there are people who swear by “rope drop,” but there is no comparison to the evening wait times. We also did a paid lightning lane for ROTR on Saturday morning, and absolutely loved it, but aren’t thrilled at the prospect of spending $47 for a family of 3 every day (with the paid lightning lane, we literally walked into the first holding room with absolutely no wait, so I wouldn’t worry that you still have to wait after paying).
We were in Hollywood Studios from 7-9 pm both Saturday and Sunday evenings this week. Saturday was an obscenely busy day in HS throughout the day. Wait times for Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers (not typically the longest lines in the park at all) crept up over an hour throughout the day. When we entered the park at 8:45am Slinky Dog and ROTR were already over an hour, which made them no-gos for us (Toy Story Mania was a 40 minute wait when we got on line at 8:50, which was well over the posted wait time). However, when we came back in the evenings, it was an entirely different story.
On Saturday evening we rode TSM with a lightning lane, then the rest of the posse walked on Star Tours (that’s a hell no for me), then we waited 20 minutes for MMRR, followed by 15 minutes for Slinky Dog. When we got on line for MMRR, the posted wait time was 45 minutes, but the line was barely out the door into the courtyard, so I was skeptical that it was that long (it was not). We then got on line for Slinky at about 8:50, and waited 15 minutes. No one uses the lightning lane after park close, so the line moves extra fast. Slinky dog was so fun at night, especially with the fireworks going off at the same time. Absolute must do (to quote the TVs in our rooms).
The following evening (Sunday), we were able to ride TSM, followed by the Frozen Sing a long at 7:30 (Olaf is back for the holidays!), followed by building a kiddie light saber, and then we had a FIVE MINUTE wait for Rise of the Resistance. The screenshot below shows the posted wait time at 8:30 was 35 minutes, but I repeat, we waited five minutes before entering the first pre show. Whaaaaaat?! Love it. Want to do it every night. Probably will, based on my kiddos new Star Wars obsession (he has never seen one of the movies, he is obsessed solely from the ride).
Fun tip, if you have a nervous kiddo, turn it into a fun “mission” to keep the secret from the bad guys. My son was getting spooked in the first pre show room and started saying he wanted to leave, but then he ended up LOVING it and has asked to ride it every day. He kept giggling and zipping his lips throughout the ride. He also won’t stop pretending to “use the force” all day everywhere we go.
So take a big old nap in the afternoon and head to Hollywood Studios in the evening! Use a couple lightning lanes to ride things between 6-7:30, and then enjoy the short waits after that! It’s golden. So, so, so enjoyable. Unlike the morning if I may say so myself.