Over 6 years ago, I wrote a blog post about whether or not Disney's Hollywood Studios was a half or a full day park. At that time of that post, I honestly thought you could really do the park in a full day, if you wanted to do everything the park had to offer.
However, things have been changing over the last two months or so. First, the Sorcerer's Hat is being removed from the main plaza area in early 2015. In addition, four attractions have closed or will be closing: The AFI Showcase, The American Idol Experience, The Backlot Tour, and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. Actually looking at the Walt Disney World website, they have a total of approximately 15 attractions that I would consider as legit attractions. (They have a couple of additional things listed that while nice, I certainly am not planning a trip around them, like the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame...which is just busts of famous people....that doesn't count as an attraction, I'm sorry.)
We've added one attraction recently with the "For the First Time in Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration" but still, the net number of attractions in this park have clearly decreased over the past few months. And if you don't like thrill attractions, the number of attractions available to you is even less.
While it's clear that the park is in a transition, I don't think any of us can doubt that, what's unknown is what that transition will include. Sure, we have a good idea, if the rumors are to be believed. We know that some sort of Star Wars extended presence is a lock, but there's also the rumored Toy Story Playland and mini-Carsland that could be on tap. Of course, there's always the chance that there's a complete surprise from left field, however, that's typically not the case. (Though the last surprise was a doozie...Avatarland.)
But, let's face it...even if Disney were to announce tomorrow what is being built for Disney's Hollywood Studios (Or will it be the rumored, Disney's Hollywood Adventure?) the next few years in the park will be transition years. It's going to take time for whatever is announced to materialize.
So, what does that mean for guests who are wanting to visit this park within the next few years? What should you consider to do with your Disney's Hollywood Studios day?
Should you spend a full day or a half day at Disney's Hollywood Studios?
Honestly, at this point in the game, I don't think Disney's Hollywood Studios is a full day park. Too many things have been shuttered at this point. (And who knows what else will get announced for removal over the next few months. I mean, let's be honest. If you were to tell me three months ago that things like The Studio Backlot Tour would be closed and The Sorcerer's Hat would be on the chopping block, I wouldn't have believed you.) It's just hard to justify spending a whole day here. This is especially true with FastPass+ now in play. If you can pre-schedule your FastPass+ reservations for say, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours, you've got it made. The day will be relatively easy as pie. Having FastPass+ reservations makes it even more evident that Disney's Hollywood Studios isn't a full day park.
To me, the only way you can spend a full day here now is if you absolutely want to do everything offered period. If you want to do everything (or just about) a full day is perfect. But if you aren't big on shows or thrills, then a full day is not for you. Do a half day and park hop to another park.
To that end, if you want to accomplish the park and feel as though you've seen the majority of the offerings, I don't think a half day is necessarily enough though. I think that there is enough to do that a half day just won't cut it. This is especially true if you want to see Fantasmic!
Really, I think that the optimal length of time to visit Disney's Hollywood Studios is anywhere between 2/3 - 3/4 of a day. If you get to the park early, you can get most things done, with a little time to head over to another park for the evening activities. Or, my tip is to sleep in a little bit or enjoy some time at your hotel. Then, make your FastPass+ reservations for Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Star Tors in the afternoon, take in some of the other major attractions and minor offerings, enjoy a solid dinner, and go see Fantasmic! (Of course, this method only works if the park is open until about 8 or 9. If the park closes at 7, then you should absolutely get to the park early!)
It will be interesting to see what happens within this park within the next five years or so. Once these changes take place, hopefully Disney's Hollywood Studios will return back to being a full day park, once again. However, for now, this is my best suggestion of how to enjoy the park the best.
Of course, this is just my suggestion, but now I want to know what you think. Do you think, with these changes taking place at Disney's Hollywood Studios that the park is still a full day park? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on the Facebook page.
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