Disney World is in the middle of a huge expansion at Hollywood Studios. On June 30, 2018, Toy Story Land officially opened and on August 29, 2020 Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will open. There is a Tier system for your first 3 FastPasses. You can only select one FP+ from Tier 1 and the other two must be from Tier 2.
For those of you who were getting primed to make a mad dash for Galaxy's Edge FastPasses once you are able to get your FP+, don't hold your breath. I just spoke to an agent who said that, as of right now, Galaxy's Edge is NOT going to going to offer FastPass selections as of now, and that he assumes that there will be no change in that. Interesting... it looks like Disney's newest attractions are going to run it old school style. All this to say, as of right now, it looks as though the FP+ tiers and selections will remain unchanged even after Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens. I'll update this post if anything changes.
I will say that if Disney does not offer FP+ for Galaxy's Edge, the only way you are going to get to ride these Star Wars rides will be with a rope drop. So, if you are determined to ride Star Wars and utilize your FP+ at Hollywood Studios, I would say to compeletely ignore the typical "use all your FastPasses first thing in the morning" rule. You are going to be in line for HOURS in Galaxy's Edge (I'm a realist... sorry). I wouldn't book any FP+ until after lunch and would do my best to get Slinky Dog for the evening; really, that is the best time to ride it anyways.
If you aren't interested in riding the Star Wars rides, here are my suggestions....
What to use your FP+ on:
Tier 1 Rides:
Slinky Dog Dash: Currently, this is the hardest to get FP+. However, the queue line is super cool and if you do a rope drop, you'll get to ride this without too much of a wait. We did the rope drop and only had to wait 40 minutes then we were able to hop over to the Alien Saucers immediately after and ride that with only a 30 minutes wait. If you are staying at Hollywood Studios for an entire day, my suggestion would be to ignore the "use all of your FP+ first thing in the morning rule." There is not a lot worth using a FP+ on at Hollywood Studios (at the moment), so I would use the rope drop to ride Slinky in the morning and get a FP+ for the evening to ride it again. The experience is completely different at night! Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the construction on Galaxy's Edge. You get a great view of it from the Slinky Dog Dash!
Another note about Slinky Dog Dash. The photopass photos are not perfected yet. We only got one that has two of us and two strangers. I'm thinking that if we sat together in rows 5 & 6 our pictures would have been better. I think we were split over two cars (in rows 6 & 7 if my memory serves me correct). Try to sit your family in one car if possible to get a good picture together. I don't know why we didn't get a picture of my oldest daughter and husband in the other car. I think they are still working out kinks on the cameras.
Toy Story Mania!: The only Tier ones at Hollywood right now are Alien Swirling Saucers, Slinky Dog Dash, and Toy Story Mania!. This will change in a few months but, for now, if you can't get a FP+ for Slinky Dog Dash, you might as well grab one for either the Alien Swirling Saucers or Toy Story Mania!. If you can't get a FP+ for Slinky Dog Dash and want to ride all 3 Toy Story rides, I would suggest using your FP+ on this one. Use the rope drop to ride Slinky, jump onto Alien Swirling Saucers immediately after, and set up a FP+ for Toy Story Mania! for the second hour after the park opens. If the park opens at 8:00, try to get a FP+ for sometime between 9-10.
Alien Swirling Saucers: I thought Alien Swirling Saucers would be like the Mad Hatter Tea Cups. It is similar, but more fun, more comfortable seating and you won't get motion sick or dizzy on this one. We were surprised by how fun it was. If the wait is 30 minutes or you have a FP+, then it is worth going on.
As for the Tier 2 FP+, there are only 3 FP+ worth getting:
Rock-n-Roller Coaster: This is not a ride for small kids. It usually does have a long wait and boring queue (a good bit of which is outside) so it is worth a FP+ if you are wanting to go on it. This is like a smoother, more intense version of Space Mountain. It is in the dark like Space Mountain, but whereas Space Mountain reaches a top speed of 30 mph, Rock-n-Roller Coaster reaches a top speed of 60 mph and goes from 0-60 in under 3 seconds.
Tower of Terror: Again, not a children's ride, but because it is currently one of the few rides at Hollywood, it does have a long wait so worth a FP+.
Star Tours: Kids can ride this and, if you have to wait in line, they will enjoy climbing on the rocks in the queue. Also, keep your eye out for a good spot while in queue to take a picture with the AT-AT in the background.
Some extra Hollywood Studios tips:
For the young Star Wars fan, you can sign them up for the Jedi Training experience. I'm a huge Star Wars fan and thought this sounded great! I didn't sign my kids up for it because they just aren't into it yet, and I'm very glad I didn't. I got the chance to see a good portion of it while waiting in line for Star Tours and I'd like to share my observations...
1. Most of the kids were just not that into it.
2. There is a lot of standing and waiting rather than action.
3. It is not for older kids like the description suggests. Your tween is probably going to sigh and roll their eyes throughout the duration while you are wishing they'd smile for one second so you could get a picture.
4. It is rated highly... by parents! I think people love this because they are parents trying to live vicariously through their kids. I understand, I was SO tempted to sign my girls up for this, hoping it would finally turn them into Star Wars fans, but I'm so glad I didn't. It probably would have had the opposite effect. (Watch the video linked above and look at the expressions on the children's faces.)
5. You have to forfeit your chance to use the rope drop on a ride if you want to sign up for this. The only way to get a spot is for you to do the rope drop and head straight to the sign up area by the Indiana Outpost. That means, getting to the park 60 minutes early, waiting in line to sign them up for the event, getting them to the training 15 minutes early to hear directions and get prepared for Jedi Training, and waiting another 15 minutes for them to do the show. By the time you add all that up, you will have spent (and I use the word "spent" because time is $$ in Disney) 90+ minutes on an activity that only a small percentage of your party can participate in.
Bottom line on the Jedi Experience, only do it if you have a very young, imaginative, hard-core Star Wars fan who is patient and good at following directions. And I must say, you have a unicorn on your hands if you have a child that matches that description.
Divide & Conquer
If older kids or a parent wants to go on Rock-n-Roller Coaster and/or Tower of Terror and younger ones can't, you many consider splitting up for a bit. One group could head to the rides (both of which are close to each other) while the other catches a live show such as Frozen or Beauty and the Beast on Stage. My personal suggestion is to go to Beauty and the Beast over Frozen. Beauty and the Beast is truly a live performance while Frozen incorporates a lot of screen watching with characters sprinkled in.
And here's an idea to cheat the system...
Say you have a family of four. Two want to do the intense rides and two want to go to a show. Give all four of your magic bands to the two that want to do rides (it's not worth it to use a FP+ on the shows anyways). Select FP+ for Rock-n-Roller Coaster under 2 of your family members and FP+ for Tower of Terror under the other 2 family members within the same hour time frame. You cannot overlap FP+ times on the same magic band, but you can over two magic bands. Pick your Beauty and the Beast show time (I'd recommend either the 2:00 or the 4:00 so as not to interfere with Indiana Jones, the Jedi Training Experience or rope drop), then select FP+ on the rides for between 1:30 - 2:30 or 3:30 - 4:30. Tricky, right?
Galaxy's Edge coming Fall 2019
If you are a Star Wars fan drooling over Galaxy's Edge like I am, I'm going to give you a little dose of reality. It is going to be a nightmare to attempt with young children. Star Wars fans are crazy (it takes one to know one) and this place is going to be jammed packed for a long, long time. There are estimates that 200,000+ people will be visiting Hollywood Studios/Galaxy's Edge on busy days and that the wait times for the new Star Wars rides are going to blow record wait times out of the sky - estimates are for 10+ hours wait times when it first opens! Holy Crap! (Check out this article for more on that.)
Here's the thing, Galaxy's Edge isn't going anywhere. My personal suggestion is to take your kids to Disney and enjoy all the other wonderful experiences it has to offer. Don't make yourself and your family miserable by "forcing" them to go to Galaxy's Edge until they are ready to enjoy it too.
Disney: The Most Magical Place on Earth
Disney is touted as the "Most Magical Place on Earth." Before we finally decided to take our two princesses, I thought, 'This is going to be a disappointment. There is no way Disney is going to live up to the hype.' Man, was I wrong!