Hollywood Studios’ two most famous attractions, Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, are great for getting fast thrills (and funny photos) at Walt Disney World. Conveniently located adjacent to each other off of Sunset Boulevard, these two rides can keep you entertained for hours if you catch them at the right time.
The trick to riding these attractions without having to endure long lines is like any other: you have to go at the right time, and you have to be a little clever. Here are three ways I’ve found to be most successful.
If you’re not into Toy Story Mania, it’s best to Fastpass Rockin’ when you first arrive at the park, because this is the main area’s most popular ride, and if you wait too long, you will be waiting for an hour or better. Fastpass will allow you to come back later to ride at your designated time and avoid the general waiting line. Then you can hop off that ride and head right over to Tower, whose line only gets really bad during the middle of the day.
The second way to go about this is to employ a bit of strategy. Fastpass Tower of Terror first, and about a half hour before your designated return time, go hop in the Single Rider lane for Rockin’. The Single Rider lane is a little-known benefit to riding some WDW attractions in a short amount of time. It’s located all the way to the right, next to the Fastpass lane, and so most people never see it or just assume that it’s part of the Fastpass lane. Getting in the Single Rider lane means you might be separated from your party when you actually get on the ride, but if you’re all right with riding separately, it’s much quicker than waiting in the regular line. The ride seats two people across but can fit a bunch in each car, so you might end up riding at the same time after all. When you get off the ride, go right over to Tower and ride that with your Fastpass, or go back on Rockin’ if you have a bit of time to wait to use your Fastpass.
Here’s a final strategy that has proven most effective. If you’ve already seen Fantasmic! or are planning on coming back to Studios later in the week, ride Tower and Rockin’ while everyone is watching the fireworks. Fantasmic! pulls in lots of people, so the majority of Guests in the park will be there come nighttime. Take advantage of that and go ride Tower and Rockin’, whose lines will be much shorter than they will during the daytime (usually about 10 minutes for Tower and 20 for Rockin’).
Warning: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror might be scary for young children. They’re both fast and they’re both mostly in the dark. Rockin’ is an indoor roller coaster with loops that does go upside-down, and it features music by Aerosmith that gets loud at certain times during the ride. Tower is based on the TV horror series The Twilight Zone, and it’s laid out to represent the lightning-struck tower of the old Hollywood Tower Hotel of legend. The ride takes place in the broken “maintenance elevator.” It takes you up and drops you very fast, so only the biggest thrill seekers should ride this one, and those who are severely afraid of heights should not ride.
Doing everything you can to reduce wait times for attractions will ensure that you get the most out of your WDW vacation. It may take you out of your way for a small portion of the day, but in the end it’s well worth having the time to see and do other things in the parks.