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The cardinal rules of the Studios

When it comes to touring the Disney-MGM Studios, everyone has a preferred method. Some like to do the attractions on Sunset Boulevard early in the morning to get them out of the way, while others never leave Sunset.  Regardless of your preferred method of touring the park, there are some cardinal rules you should adhere to if you would like to ensure your trip to the Studios is a successful one.

  1. Arrive Early
    The key to any theme park is to arrive early to the park so you can take advantage of that first hour the park is open when crowds are the lowest.  This will afford you the benefit of experiencing the most popular attractions with the least amount of wait.  Moreover, by arriving early, you can experience some attractions that are open when the park is first opened which will then allow you greater free reign to be on hand for the first showing of other attractions that don’t have their first showing until sometime well into the day.

  2. Prioritize the shows
    The schedule of shows at the Studios can be really daunting to fit into your day at MGM, especially during the off season when the amount of shows are limited.  Therefore, it’s important to plan your day around the show times and fit in the continuous attractions (Tower of Terror, MuppetVision 3D, Star Tours, etc) around that.  While a show like Voyage of the Little Mermaid performs often throughout the day, other shows like Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show or Beauty and the Beast may only have a few shows per day.

  3.  Give yourself time for Fantasmic!
    Fantasmic! is a wonderful show and definitely worth seeing when you go but you will need to know how much time to give yourself to get a seat for it.  During the busier times of the year (Holidays, summer time, spring break) you will want to get a seat about 45-60 minutes before showtime.  During the off season, you can afford to show up 25-40 minutes before the show begins.  Besides getting a seat in general, showing up early ensures you get a good seat, meaning, not a seat on the extreme end of the theater where in the princess scenes the audio doesn’t match what you’re seeing or even worse, the standing view seats.

  4. Avoid the sun
    If you want to see the afternoon parade at the Studios, be aware where that sun is because it can give some terrible glare.  If you’re seeing the show near the beginning of the parade route along Echo Lake, you will want to be on the Sounds Dangerous side of the route and not the Indiana Jones side.  Along Hollywood Boulevard, you will want to be on the Keystone Clothiers/Mickey’s of Hollywood side of the street and not the Dark Room side of the street. Being in the shade and more importantly, out of the glare, will allow you fully enjoy the parade.

  5. Beat the crowds
    Often crowds from one attraction letting out can temporarily hamper another attraction.  Some good examples are to avoid Star Tours after Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular lets out or the Backlot Tour and Muppetvision 3D after Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show lets out.  You can also add avoiding Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster when Beauty and the Beast lets out.  The good news is these large crowds are absorbed quickly in most cases and if you give yourself roughly 15-25 minutes (about the time to go do something else) to let the crowd pass, you will find much more manageable waits.

There was something else I wanted to mention but I can’t seem to remember right now. It is something really important that everyone needs to know.  I can’t believe I don’t remember. It feels like it’s on the tip of my tongue. Oh yea......have fun!

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 by