Recently, I shared my family’s top 5 family rides and attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While my boys don’t enjoy roller coasters so we don’t ride the uber popular Slinky Dog Dash as a family, my top Hollywood Studios rope drop tip still applies:
DISNEY TIP // Rope drop Alien Swirling Saucers, not Slinky Dog Dash.
By “rope drop,” I mean getting to the parks before the park opening time so you’re ready to go when the rope “drops” and the crowd can enter the park. Hollywood Studios rope drop crowds start forming over than an hour before the opening time and crowds can get pretty intense!
That means, if you don’t have a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash and choose to rope drop it instead, you’ll still need to arrive very early if you want to have the short wait. “Very early” means over an hour before the posted park opening time to make a Slinky Dog Dash rope drop worthwhile. If you arrive when Hollywood Studios opens, you’re already late for this ride and are still going to wait over an hour after all those people who got up even earlier!
Toy Story Land Rope Drop Strategy
Instead, ride Alien Swirling Saucers first. This is a much more peaceful start to a Hollywood Studios day! Since there isn’t a mad dash to this ride, you don’t have to arrive an hour early. Unlike Slinky Dog Dash, there is no massive crowd of people going to Alien Swirling Saucers first. It remains a walk-on for about the first half hour most mornings and posts consistent stand-by wait times well over a half hour for the rest of the day.
So, if the park opens at 9:00 AM, just make sure you’re a few minutes early to get through bag check in time, and casually follow behind the wave of Slinky Dog dashers. You don’t need to arrive an hour early for anything other attraction at Hollywood Studios. Veer to the left side as you enter Toy Story Land and leisurely make your way to the back of the land to Alien Swirling Saucers where a short 5- or 10-minute posted wait time will likely greet you!
After this short ride, you may be able to get right back in line again to ride twice in a row, get in line for Toy Story Mania before the line grows too long, or grab breakfast at Woody’s Lunchbox. Seating at Woody’s can get awfully busy, but you’ll have your pick of tables early in the morning while everyone else is in line for Slinky Dog Dash!
Note that I suggest rope dropping Alien Swirling Saucers instead of Toy Story Mania because the ride and queue are both shorter so there’s a greater chance that you can ride twice or get both rides done with minimal wait.
Below: The crowd heading to Slinky Dog Dash rushes ahead of us while we mosey behind on our way to Alien Swirling Saucers.
When to Ride Slinky Dog Dash
My top Slinky Dog Dash tip if you don’t have a FastPass is to wait until the END of the day. Get in line a few minutes before the park closes. As long as you’re in line when closing time arrives, you can stay and ride. Cast members will just prevent guests from entering the line once it’s time to close.
The posted wait times towards the end of the day are typically inflated to deter guests from getting in line so enter the line anyway!
My husband and I once entered the line for Slinky Dog Dash around 7:50 PM on a night when Hollywood Studios closed at 8:00. We were seated and ready to run away with Slinky at 8:25 PM. We waited in line for just a half hour while the waits had been well over an hour all day long. Best of all, we didn’t have to battle those rope drop crowds and sit on pavement for an hour early in the morning waiting for the park to open!
Besides, Slinky Dog Dash is ever BETTER at night with bright lights and, if you time it right, you might even have the evening fireworks bursting overhead during your ride!
So, don’t fret if you can’t get a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash. Get one for Toy Story Mania or Alien Swirling Saucers instead, rope drop the one for which you don’t have a FastPass, and wait to do Slinky Dog just before closing.
Boom. All three Toy Story Land attractions done with minimal wait!
What About The Other Attractions?
Even before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, there are plenty of other amazing attractions at Hollywood Studios outside of Toy Story Land.
Those not visiting Toy Story Land at rope drop will mostly head to the end of Sunset Boulevard for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Both will post long waits later in the day, but will remain relatively short during the first hour of the day.
FastPass one or both of these attractions, but you can reasonably expect to still find the line for at least one of them short after your rope drop experience in Toy Story Land.
Star Tours is also a great choice after rope dropping Toy Story Land if those in your traveling party aren’t thrill seekers.
Scenes from the front of the rope drop crowd after arriving at 7:50 AM for a 9:00 park opening. By 8:35 AM, guests are lead through the tapstyles and stop in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard at the Sunset Boulevard split. There are few ahead (above) thanks to my early arrival, but already a HUGE crowd behind me (below)! 90% of these people are heading to Slinky Dog Dash.
To ride Slinky Dog Dash when the line is shortest, would you rather arrive an hour before rope drop to beat the morning crowds or get in line minutes before closing?