Updated: Sep 9
Everything Hollywood Studios, Disney
For my son‘s 18th birthday he wanted to make his own light saber, and luckily, I knew just the spot! We live 45 minutes from Orlando where Disney makes just that opportunity available. Savi‘s Workshop, in Hollywood Studios Disney World, is a one-of-a-kind adventure. It had been 15 years since the last time we had stepped foot in Disney, and we had only ever been to Magic Kingdom. I did not know where to begin. Below I will share all of what I’ve learned through research and experience to help you plan your amazing day! This day is inspired by the Star Wars saga, which during the pandemic we all watched and rewatched. The idea to be immersed in a world that only exists on a faraway galaxy can be fun to give in to!
While Hollywood Studio’s caters more to the older than younger child/ individual, it is definitely a full day park. With Covid, Disney was not allowing full capacity, so it seemed to me the lower numbers in the park would make it less crowded and therefore more enjoyable, and less waiting. I felt this was a smart time to visit, between the season for perfect weather and less people entering. There were less crowds, but the lines were still pretty long!
Budget: I am a budget planner. There is no real way around the basic cost of entry. Hollywood Studios offers different prices for different days, weekends being more expensive. Also, if you book in advance there are some cheaper days available. We paid $549.00 for a family of 4 to enter. For one day. Plus $25.00 for parking. Plus, food, snacks, and some souvenirs… this was a "splurge" not a budget day. (Thank you stimulus) I joked with friends about us having a spending freeze until after Disney because no matter how much I planned for I didn't think it would be "enough". However, my real point here is plan accordingly and prioritize. We ate breakfast at home, we brought our own water bottles and snacks, and we planned specific meals. This made it all more fun. Was it worth every penny? Absolutely!!!
Apps: I downloaded two apps to help with the whole process: Walt Disney World
And Magic Guide. These are both crucial. Get them and use them accordingly. Play with them beforehand so that you can explore how they can help you make your magical day, a happy one! Add your tickets into the app which will make your planning smoother if you plan to reserve through the app once you are there.
Buying tickets: Covid has made entering the park tricky.
Since Covid had "ended" Disney has made some changes but kept some of their protocols in place.
First you purchase your tickets online and pay. Enter all your names of those in your party.
Then, reserve your day. These are two separate actions, If you plan any special events (like Savi‘s Workshop) it’s a good idea to reserve that date & time first - before you reserve your day. While Josh‘s birthday was in January, February 25 was the first day available to book the build your light saber event. Also, I had specific places I had hoped to eat, and I could not even get a reservation at those places one month in advance. So, while the crowd is less, they are still lining up to get in for months. February 25th it was! I went with the first available time that would allow us to build our sabers. Honestly, it all worked out great.
Note: While planning this day event I spoke to many friends who are avid Disney goers.... A few of their common themes were:
Avoid Disney on a weekend, Floridians don't go to Disney on a weekend.
Eat breakfast prior to entering
Eat dinner after you leave. (Most common suggestions Macaroni Grill and Rain Forest Café)
Plan to eat your lunch and snacks after reviewing your options, there are some good ones!
Don't worry about wait times, they aren't always accurate just enjoy being there.
Plan as little as possible during park hours as you won't know what time your Rise of the Resistance boarding pass will be- and you don't want to conflict in the event you DO manage to get into that ride. This ride is all the rage, and everyone is trying to get in!
** I am glad Rise no longer requires the virtual que for riding. Since this blog is also a journal of our day, I am not deleting the history, just noting the updates.
NO LONGER APPLICABLE! Virtual queue: The My Disney Experience App will help you reserve seats in restaurants and plan your day. The Rise against the Resistance ride is a big deal. A REALLY BIG DEAL. You can enter the queue at exactly 7 am, and 1pm. These are the only two times you can snag a place in the line for this ride. Open the app one minute before and get your fingers ready to "join" the ride. The ride will be full within 10 seconds, boarding groups book that fast! Connect all people in your boarding party, if you are assigned a time, be there.
*People are planning multiple days at Hollywood Studios to increase their chances of riding this ride, and if they can't board the day they are there, they will park hop to another Disney Park. We did not go that route, however there is a system people are using to plan this accordingly.
Hours: 9 - 7 (The app will show you hours by day)
Fast passes are on hold, meaning all lines are in real time, and you must wait for all rides.
Transportation: If you stay in a Disney Park, there are options to leave your car and take the air tram or shuttle. If you sleep at an area hotel, many in the area have free shuttles. Uber if not, as parking is costly, and the parking lot traffic is never fun. They did park us skipping spaces to social distance.
Masks: Are mandatory. There are a few places you can take them off and breathe. Reminders over the speakers were a buzz kill and signs everywhere a bit unnecessary, however Disney is trying to "do their part" **Update: NO Longer Mandatory (2/22).
At 7 am from home we all attempted the first ride queue unsuccessfully. Right after, we got in the car to drive over. We knew we had one more chance at 1:00 to board the Rise of the Resistance ride. I think part of the lure is definitely the supply and demand. There is more demand than supply.
We had a goodie bag of water and snacks packed.
I printed all our receipts to bring with me to the park.
I paid for parking, $25.00
Walking in for rope drop a Disney worker stopped me to save me a step of waiting in line to get our admission cards, and scanned my reservations. I had to pull up my email for him, as the bar codes didn't print, and he gave us each a Disney card, this saved us some time. Yay for efficient workers!
Going through the turn style we were swiping those cards we just got - they still told me I did not have a reservation for the day. WHAT?!? Management came over, and added us in. Not sure what that was about. They claimed I didn’t have a reservation and said luckily we came early and they had space to add us. 🙄 I showed them my reservation. I don't know how this glitch occurred, I am glad they fixed it quickly and we moved on in...
Advice: Get there early to iron out any wrinkles.
We had picked up a couple of maps, but we had already studied the map before arriving. The first thing my kids wanted to do was just walk around and see everything. This is not typical for us, we usually have a packed agenda and know which rides we are hitting in which order. Here, getting sucked into the world is part of the fun of the day. Seeing the layout of the land and enjoying the atmosphere is worth the stroll. If you are not a walker, start with toy story land. The good thing about us walking around a little was by the time we circled back to Star Wars the lines were shorter. The initial wave of people flooding the park had let up a little bit.
Our first ride was Star Wars: Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
This is a fun weaving through the zig zag line with lots to look at, and photo ops worked into the wait. Disney has perfected the art of not feeling like you are merely waiting around in line. The line is part of the attraction. The ride itself is a motion simulator attraction, based on the Star Wars film series and true to the story line. It fits 4 people, two gunners and two drivers. A bit dizzying, this ride is a good time and does not disappoint.
After that we stopped at the Milk Stand. Batuu’s legendary blue or green milk, served frozen was exactly as we'd imagined and tasted delicious. Yuuuuum!!
We had just a little time left before having to check in to Savi's so we walked around enjoying the whole "being on another planet" feel. My son bought himself a resistance backpack. We were enjoying the merchandise and displays. We had two light saber builders, the birthday boy, and his older brother who wanted to join him.
Savi’s Workshop: Build your own Light Saber:
At Savi’s, each builder can have one person enter the encounter with them. My youngest son and I both tagged along. With covid, they had the workstations very spread out, and we were directed to stand on a particular spot. I will say the circle we were directed to, does not really allow for pictures or video because you were behind your participant. I did not follow directions well, wandering farther and farther to get a better angle for pictures, and was asked once to stay on my dot. To be fair, we were on the end so even me moving down should not have impacted anyone else, from a social distancing stand point.
The light saber building is $200.00 each, and yet I must say it was worth every penny. We geeked out family style for this. The man who portrayed Savi, was very believable, and that is the perfect job for him. We may have well been in Star Wars on another planet building light sabers for real. His enthusiasm and explanation is convincing, totally sets the mood.
Yoda‘s voice comes over there speakers congratulating the Jedi's on their quest, and wishing them well in their journey. There was not a person in there who wasn’t convinced of their power.
The light sabers provide multiple options for how to build each style. My oldest knew he wanted a peace and justice (blue) saber, which he personalized very easily. The birthday boy however really struggled narrowing down which one to build, and decided on a power and control (red) saber. They both turned out awesome, and afterwards the boys went and bought their own additional crystals, one of each color in fact, so that they would be able to switch out the colors afterwards.
They were initially very discrete, carrying their weapons in the padded cases provided. They would slide them out and check them out giddy with excitement. I was the one who started to take it out and swing them around adding all sorts of ninja noises. While the boys seemed a little embarrassed about my enthusiasm, it definitely caught on LOL. Soon they were dueling.
Lunch: The Hollywood Brown Derby:
We were hungry at our reservation time, 12:25. I reserved this online a month in advance. I did not know how fancy it was going to be until we walked in. I knew it was a bit pricey, but I had planned ahead and wanted to enjoy the entire experience to the fullest extent. We did not have to wait long when we checked in, they texted when our table was ready. We walked through the dining room and up the stairs to the lounge area, which was perfect for us.
Our server said, “you can put your light sabers on the table behind you”, and we knew we were in the right place!
What to eat:
I don't think you can go wrong there...
In the midst of tons of food options, we went with: The Hollywood Brown Derby
I do recommend this restaurant if you want to eat well on your Disney Day.
I ordered the Salisbury steak.
The Jedi’s had the Derby burgers
And my youngest had the chicken breast.
Each meal was delicious. We all sampled each other's.
I did not want to have any leftovers to have to carry around, so I told the boys we had to eat what we ordered. And that was no problem. I will say neither of them completely finished their burgers, but they came close. The fresh potato fries were absolutely amazing, the best I’ve ever eaten. Each of us were 100% happy with the meals chosen and felt very good after eating. Not overly full or tired. The food was so well-made. The bill was about $150 for lunch for the four of us. Higher than preferred, but not higher than expected.
At 1 o’clock the queue opens for the Rise of the Resistance experience. It was clear that every person and there was on their app trying to work their fingers as fast as possible to get in the ride. We thought we were in, however we were not. Those who did get in cheered and the whole restaurant cheered with them. I believe we had a glitch, and our server said we should speak to guest services and screen shot our message; however, I did not want to spend the rest of the day being disappointed. So, I chose to shake it off. Lunch was tasty, filling, and we were energized for the rest of our adventure!
**I'm so glad this is no longer the way to get into the ride - now you just stand in line for hours.
If you are a resort guest, you can enter the park early, and take advantage of the lightning passes at $25/ per person.
Next stop: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train. The line was long, but it was right across from where we had eaten and the boys were playing with their light sabers to pass the time. The ride itself was fun, very lighthearted, and intriguing. My boys were trying to figure out how the trains moved and if it was magnetic. Our family enjoyed the run away train.
Then we were off to: Toy story land.
I completely underestimated how fun this was going to be. First we rode Toy Story Mania. The line was long, and somethings seemed to go wrong right before we entered the turnstile for the ride. It was hot, and at this point of the day it got very difficult to wear a mask. Up until this point in the morning was breezy and the sun was just right. Suddenly, true to Florida style, the heat was just suffocating.
Happily we continued into the inside area, and walked through all of the old toy displays, reminiscing about the different games we've played. The ride itself was more fun than I can express. We twisted and turned in a double car, that pointed us towards carnival games, and our goal was to pop as many balloons as possible. The cannons in our cars were fun to pop and we each thought we were winning; turns out I lost by a lot lol.
Still= Total Mom Win!
Need more fun?
We continued on to the Slinky Dog Roller Coaster. This wait time was 30 minutes, however once again as we were very close to riding, the ride shut down. We all just sat on the ground and waited. Although I questioned how long we would be willing to wait, my kids we’re very patient so we sat tight. Luckily we waited for 30 minutes and then the ride opened back up. Once we stood to progress, we turned the corner and were the second riders! I was especially glad we stuck it out. This was such a fun roller coaster. Possibly the family favorite. The only "real" roller coaster we went on. Loopy loops and twirls, we threw our hands up and went with the fun.
Make your own Droid? The Droid Depot was just full of parts, pieces and a world of possibility. While we did not opt to create our own, it was tempting, and those participating were completely engrossed. Just being there is amazing. How fun!
We had wandered back into the Star Wars land, Galaxy's Edge, looking all around and getting some more blue milk. The shops here are part of the story. We went into the Droid Depot, and the Den of Antiquities. We had discussed the possibilities at Halloween, dressing up and being Jedi's. We priced out all of the things we wanted. We are not big shoppers, but we were genuinely enjoying the place. We had decided to look for a baby Yoda shirt. Once we visited some of the shops in Star Wars we were directed to the gift shop out by the main strip.
We walked down palm lined Hollywood Blvd, found the shop with Yoda clothing (Keystone Clothiers), as well as the item, but saw the “Star Tours” ride was right there also. (DISTRACTED) We decided to do the ride first, then come back to make our purchases. And we realized this would be our last event of the day as it was pretty close to 6:15, park closing at 7. The line leading up to the ride is fun. Aliens, R2 problem solving, and intergalactic scenarios are always a great time. However I will say this ride made us woozy. Of course it was due to the motion rockiness of the ride, although I must say, they do get the details right :-) but it’s never a good thing to get off a ride and feel seasick. We went back into the gift shop and got our items. I went outside and sat down to drink some water. Our day was over, and I was not feeling so hot! I took a few minutes to catch my breath. (Did you really have fun at the amusement park if you never felt sick?)
The day was a success. We walked back through Star Wars land in the dark now, this time admiring the evening sky against the scenic stage setting. it’s so well designed you really feel you’ve been transported. A few more photos, and we walked out swinging the light sabers the whole way. I wanted to stay longer and just continue to be there. So much fun.
Total spent: close to $1100/ day. For 4 people.
Time: left home at 7 am, arrived home at 9:30 pm. Park time = 9-7 (open to close)
Miles walked: 7
Afterwards: I had planned to eat at Macaroni Grill, however the kids having school the next day suggested Chick-fil-A and I happily obliged. We pulled through the drive-through on192 by Medieval times, and ate on the ride home. 192 has a lot of lights, but we were all talking, eating, and the conversation was great; I did not feel the need to rush. Such a great day. I couldn’t wait to look at all of our photos but in all honesty when I got home I was too tired, and opted to climb into my bed. (THIS IS VERY RARE)
We do not have Disney passes.
Many Floridians take advantage of the yearly passes or even discounted multiday passes.
This was a one-day event for us. While Florida resident passes are available, the days and times were not best for our schedules. I am still disappointed that we missed the Rise Against the Resistance and I'm not sure how to correct that as it will be a while before we cycle back to this park. I hope Disney is able to add more ride times or add more people, I just hope they can expand their system. **They have since done away with the virtual cue for this ride!**
*Some airlines will require you to check your lightsaber, others will allow it as a carry on.
Friends of mine traveling discovered at the airport that checking their light sabers was an additional $240 cost for a family of 5. If this is your plan and you are flying - be sure to budget for that.
I strongly recommend this park for Star Wars fans, and also people needing a reality break!
***Wander * Explore *Enjoy* Play***
Affordability meter: 2/10
On a scale of 1-10 how affordable is this trip?
When considering the value and quality of this day vs the cost, with 1 being being unaffordable and 10 being practically free, I rate this day at Disney a 2. It's the most expensive day I've had in quite a long time. Because of Covid travel restrictions we had not been going anywhere, and I saved some money staying home so much. Disney gets away with VERY expensive tickets because people keep coming back willing to pay. I would love to see a family resident discount or some saving offers. The resident days they offer periodically are impossible for me as a teacher to take advantage of. In fact, I think they should have an education discount like Sea World does!! Ok, griping aside, the day lived up to the hype.
I will say, I am glad I budgeted, and so glad we went. Doesn't change the fact that it is $$$$$ Buku dollars.
Where ever your travels take you, enjoy the journey and be blessed!
Thank you for visiting, please leave your own experiences below, I love to hear of your adventures!
~ Mz. Savvy
If your thing is more about the water parks, check out Universal's Volcano Bay while you are in the area! Click here for all you need to know to spend a day and get your money's worth.
If you plan to go to Florida and want some ideas for the Best things to do in the Sunshine State, click here.