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Scoping the Parks
Practical tips for Walt Disney World travel
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Mike Scopa

2002 Disney-MGM Studios One-Day Touring Plan

In this session, let's look at a one-day touring plan through the Disney-MGM Studios theme park, which is based on the experiences of many guests who have recently visited the Studios.

Welcome to the Disney MGM Studios
Welcome to the Disney-MGM Studios

As with all touring plans, there is no guarantee this one works exactly as described. Such factors as crowd levels, time of year, park and attraction operating hours, and weather can work singly or together to throw off the best plans.

As always, I encourage everyone to customize any WDW trip-planning advice to fit their family's needs.

Note: A one-day touring plan of the Disney-MGM Studios is a challenge. Due to the nature of the theme park and the staggered show schedules, you should allocate at least two days to experience all of the attractions in this theme park. This plan is for those who are limited to one day and thus concentrates on the most popular attractions.


There may be other assumptions discussed as we navigate through the park, but let's assume the following:

  • Operating hours - 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Breakfast - eaten at your hotel around 7:30 a.m.
  • Priority seating - made well beforehand for both lunch and dinner to help us navigate efficiently through the park. For our purposes, lunch is at 1:00 p.m. at the '50s Prime Time Café.
  • You have booked a Fantasmic Dinner Package at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano for 7:00 p.m.
  • All party members have equal interest in all attractions and all party members qualify (meet height requirements) for all attractions.

Drew Carey's Sounds Dangerous, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure playground, and the Magic of Disney Animation are not included in our tour, but you can add them if time allows. If you prefer, substitute any of the attractions on our plan for either Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage show or Playhouse Disney. These two are also not included in our basic plan.

Beauty and the Beast is not included in the plans, but you can add it in if you'd like.
Beauty and the Beast is not included in the plans, but you can add it in if you'd like.

Shopping and snacks are not included, but let's assumed that this plan allows you some time to peruse the stores and get a snack or two.

The plan includes attendance at the 3:00 p.m. (assumed starting time) parade and the nighttime Fantasmic fireworks show at 9:00 p.m.

Finally, you will see a window of time in [brackets] throughout this plan. This timeframe gives you a rough idea of expected the time of day for various points in your tour.

The Morning Tour

As always, arrive early in the day and be at the front of Disney-MGM Studios turnstiles by 8:30. By arriving early, you may get a chance to do some early morning shopping before you start your whirlwind tour.

First stop: Sunset Boulevard, and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Currently this is the most popular attraction in the park, so you should visit it first.

Don't miss Rock 'n' Roller Coaster!
Don't miss Rock 'n' Roller Coaster!

Next, head over to "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror." Hopefully there isn't a long line. Since this is a Fastpass attraction, you can grab a Fastpass or wait in line. If you are lucky, you can enjoy this attraction without much of a wait.

[Approximate timeframe: 10:00 - 10:15]

As you leave Sunset Boulevard, stop at the Guest Information Board at Hollywood Junction. This board has up-to-the-minute information on wait times for all attractions, to help you decide whether to visit Voyage of the Little Mermaid or The Great Movie Ride.

I suggest you go to Little Mermaid and grab a Fastpass, then return to The Great Movie Ride, since this makes the best use of your time. The Great Movie Ride is very crowded from mid-day onto the afternoon. You should be able to enjoy this attraction in mid-morning and also get in a Mermaid show thanks to the Fastpass. As of the publication of this article, The Great Movie Ride does not include a Fastpass

The Great Movie Ride remains a perenial favorite.
The Great Movie Ride remains a perenial favorite.

At this time, you may also have an option of taking in a Playhouse Disney show. This may well depend upon the ages of the children in your family or group.

[Approximate timeframe: 11:15 - 11:30]

Mid-Day Tour

After The Great Movie Ride, think about the best way to work towards your Priority Seating time for lunch at the '50s Prime Time Café. I suggest you go to Star Tours. Enter if the line has not extended outside the attraction. If it is, grab a Fastpass and go over to MuppetVision 3-D.

Muppetvision 3D
Muppetvision 3-D

By now, you should see a pattern in this one-day plan, which calls for you to always check the attractions offering a Fastpass. Always have a Fastpass for an attraction in hand.

After visiting the Muppets, return to Star Tours.

[Approximate timeframe: 12:30 - 12:45]

It should be close to our Priority Seating time for lunch. Let's assume you spend one-hour eating lunch. If you leave Prime Time at 2 p.m., you should have some time to shop before grabbing a spot on Hollywood Boulevard to watch the 3 p.m. parade. If you want to save time, look for a spot closer to Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat so you are close to the Studios portion of the park. You can then continue with the tour immediately after the parade.

[Approximate timeframe: 3:30 - 3:45]

Afternoon Tour

As the crowd disperses, make your way to Mickey Avenue. Unless you can get into the very next show, grab a Fastpass to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Play It, then backtrack and visit Walt Disney - One Man's Dream.

[Approximate timeframe: 4:45 - 5:00]

You should have about two hours before dinner. Walk over to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular to see when the next show is slated to start. Enter the theater if you can attend that show. If the show is filled or already started, grab a Fastpass and head over to the Backstage Tour.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

After the Backstage Tour, return to Indiana Jones and use your Fastpass. If your timing is good, you should be exiting Indy in time to make your Priority Seating time at Mama Melrose's.

[Approximate timeframe: 6:45-7:00]

Since you have arranged for the Fantasmic Dinner package, you can take your time at dinner and walk leisurely to the front of the park to be seated for the Fantasmic Nighttime Spectacular. Along the way, why not do some shopping?

So ends your one-day tour of the Disney-MGM Studios theme park.


During the course of your day, you may find that long lines and Fastpass distribution times may alter the sequence of this plan. Use your best judgment to determine how best to use your time.

If at all possible, the biggest decision you should make is to visit this theme park over a two-day period.

Our next discussion presents an even bigger challenge: Visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom in just one day.

Class dismissed.


Photos on this page by Brian Bennett unless otherwise noted.


Here's a list of the trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives!

Michael Scopa -- August 1999 -- Walt Disney World (CSR)

Michael J. Scopa -- July 1997 -- Walt Disney World (WL/CBR)

Mike Scopa -- July 1994 -- Walt Disney World (WL / CBR)

Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, "The Trip Planner" for more travel-planning information!


Brian Bennett, author of MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide (and publisher of the Disney Trip Report Archive), writes:

The first Disney trip report that I ever read was a report by Mike Scopa that I downloaded from the America Online travel library in late 1994. The report was a detailed description of the Scopa family's trip to WDW in the summer of that year.

As soon as I was done reading it, I was hooked.

I picked my own brain and documented my own trips and the things I'd learned from my own experiences. Then, in 1995 I actually wrote a report as the trip unfolded. I took a laptop with me and spent some time in the evenings documenting what had happened that day. (I've repeated that process for my own reports ever since.)

In July 1996, I started my Disney trip planning Web site. Besides including my own reports, I asked for permission from the authors of several other reports and added them to the offering. Since then, the number of reports has expanded greatly. In 1997, I added an information summary for each report to make it easier to sort through the reports that are available.

I still 'blame' Mike for hooking me on this Disney habit.

Thanks Mike!

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