Hollywood Studios is definitely the park that felt most like pre-pandemic conditions although it didn’t really “ruin” the experience. With all the changes and prevention of large crowd gatherings, Disney has adjusted how you attempt to get Rise of the Resistance boarding passes. The park “officially” opens at 10:00, but they start letting guests in earlier than that. We were at the turnstiles around 9:45 – I believe they start running all or at least most of the rides before 10 as people usually flock to favorites such as Smuggler’s Run, Toy Story Mania or Smuggler’s Run. We decided to hangout on Hollywood Blvd to try to get our boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. Unfortunately, we did not get our group at 10:00, but they re-open the virtual queue system again at 2:00. We were able to get a boarding group at 2:00, but it was for a back-up boarding group which got called about an hour before park close. The nice adjustment with this is that you don’t have to get to Studios at butt crack dawn, so that’s a benefit of the adjustment.
There were more crowds around the park than I expected but no area was seriously congested where I felt overwhelmed or anxious. This was a great time to get to experience Galaxy’s Edge because there wasn’t so many people everywhere, and you’re really able to take in the whole experience. Even to the point that both of my nephews were able to get walk-up appointments to build custom droids at Droid Depot. Throughout our day, we were able to ride Rock N’ Rollercoaster three times, Tower of Terror twice, Toy Story Mania, Alien’s Swirling Saucers, Slinky Dog Dash and Smuggler’s Run twice, so I would say we got a lot done, but it was a long and exhausting day.
I will say the quick service dining options are semi-limited especially if you’re a picky eater such as my mom and I, but almost all of the full service dining options were operating, so if you plan to eat at places such as – Mama Melrose’s, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Sci-fi Dine in and Brown Derby – I would make sure to get an advanced dining reservation. The character cavalcades run sporadically down Hollywood Blvd and head left towards Star Tours – the different variations included classic characters such as Mickey and Minnie in their matching convertibles, Disney Jr friends and the Incredibles members with Frozone. They were cute but not as special as the one in Magic Kingdom. I will say my key recommendation when it comes to visiting Studios is to just be prepared and aware that there may be crowds thankfully Studios has a lot of secluded and shaded areas where you can pull off to the side and take a minute to recenter yourself.