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Hollywood Studios Pitfalls

Last week I was at Hollywood Studios conducting my usual photo update when I decided I wanted to grab a quick drink at Starring Rolls Bakery.  I made my way there at about 10:00am and found the place filled to the brim with guests who were having their breakfast and I wanted to yell to them "You fools...go ride rides while the lines are low!" and it got me thinking about what the biggest errors I see from guests at Hollywood Studios are.  There are definitely lots of general errors you can attribute to all of the parks, but I wanted to focus on the ones specific to the Studios that I think are avoidable.
Eating before 11am
It pains me to see guests who stop to sit down and eat before 11am in the park because of the prime time being wasted.  From 9:00 am (when the park opens) to 11:00 am is the least-crowded time of the day and the best time to experience the most popular attractions at Hollywood Studios.  In fact, it's the best time to experience any attraction, although it's a bit of over-kill to rush to Muppetvision 3D at 9am since there's hardly a line throughout the day.  So when I see folks having their breakfast at 9:30 am at Starring Rolls, I cringe to myself because these guests are wasting the best time of the day to ride the popular rides.
What you should do is eat your breakfast or early lunch before you get to the park.  If waking up early is an issue, then you need to weigh which means more to you: saving an hour of sleep or waiting on shorter lines.  If you opt to lose the hour, you'll benefit from shorter lines and get more done in less time.  If you opt to sleep in and eat at the park, you'll have longer waits ahead of you for attractions.   It's simple really and especially if you go during the summer months or other busy times of the year, you need any advantage you can get.  After all, the most common complaint people have after visiting Walt Disney World is "the lines were long" and in my opinion, if there's anything you can do to avoid long lines, go for it!
Going to the first Fantasmic! show
With the current schedule of Fantasmic! being just a few times per week, many people are opting for the Fantasmic! Dinner Package to avoid a long wait at Fantasmic!.  Others, simply opt for the first show for a variety of reasons.  What's being overlooked is the fact that there's an identical show an hour later that will allow for a shorter wait than the first show and provide you with more park touring time.
Since the second show is usually an hour after the first show, you have to first consider that the first showing needs to run (25 minutes) and guests need to leave.  Following that, that leaves 30 minutes or less to get into the theater to see the show.  What that means is the most you could wait is 30 minutes, you just need to be ready to get into the theater at that point.  So rather than wait an hour or longer for the first show or suffer with bad seats by going with the dinner package,  you can avoid all of that and still see the show without the hassle.  Yes, I know the second showing is later and it's hard to keep the kids or someone else up later but work in an afternoon nap (a solid strategy regardless of your evening plans) and you can easily stay up later and be more refreshed.
Walking the short way to the parking lot
Often it makes sense to walk to or from the parking lot rather than take the parking tram yet I see many guests taking the long way to get there.  The long way to go is to walk through the resort bus area to get to/from the parking lot, but it's actually faster to go another way.  If you're coming from the parking lot, walk through the Stage parking lot and as you get past the last row in Stage (where the taxis park), cross the parking tram road and cross over to the other side.  Then walk past the Cast Member parking lot and continue down a path that runs parallel with the parking tram road and you'll find yourself at the Studios gate much faster than if you tried to go through the resort bus area.
If you want to go from Hollywood Studios out to the parking lot, once outside the turnstiles, take an immediate right and go past the Guest Relations windows and restrooms and follow the path way out to the Cast Member parking lot.  Cross over the parking tram road for access to the Stage and Music parking lots or continue straight for the Film parking lot.
These are a few that came to mind as some easy, yet overlooked pitfalls at the Studios.  If you think of any, post them in the comments here as I'm sure I've overlooked something to err...overlook.
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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, August 05, 2009 by