by JollyFrogger Diva
Hollywood Studios is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated parks at Walt Disney World. It’s true that the park is in the middle of a transition to change it’s focus from animation to current and popular movies such as Star Wars and Toy Story, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had before those new areas are fully ready. Here’s a list of my favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios from A to Z.
A- Alien Swirling Saucers. This ride is located in the new Toy Story Land. If you’re a fan of Toy Story and enjoy the Mad Tea Party ride at Magic Kingdom, then this is the ride for you. The major difference is that Alien Swirling Saucers does not allow the rider to control the rate of spin- you are at the mercy of your alien guide.
B- Buzz Lighyear, Woody, and Jessie. Speaking of Toy Story Land, a visit to this new area wouldn’t be complete without a meet-and-greet featuring some of the series’ best known characters. You can meet Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl near the entrance to Toy Story land. I’ve also heard they’ve been known to roam around the land to visit with guests, so keep an eye out as you explore the area.
C- Chewbacca. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, then you’ll undoubtedly know who this 7.5′ Wookie is. Even if you aren’t a fan of Star Wars, you’re probably aware of the big walking carpet who likes to make strange noises. If you desire to meet and take pictures with Chewbacca, head to the Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard. Inside the Launch Bay you can also find Kylo Ren, BB-8, and props from the movies. You can read about Soarin Diva’s experience meeting Chewie here.
D- Disney Jr. In addition to Star Wars Launch Bay, Animation Courtyard is home to the Disney Jr. meet-and-greet and Disney Jr Dance Party live show. If your kids are big Disney Jr. fans like mine are, they’ll be excited to meet characters from some of their favorite shows like Doc Mcstuffins, Pluto, Sofia the First, and Vampirina. Afterwards, check out the new Disney Jr Dance Party show that features characters from Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Doc McStuffins, The Lion Guard, and Vampirina. I know this will be one of my girls’ favorite places in Disney World for the next few years.
E- Echo Lake. If you’ve ever visited Hollywood Studios and seen a giant green dinosaur in the middle of a lake, then you’ve visited the Echo Lake area of Hollywood Studios. In addition to Gertie, you can find several restaurants including 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Hollywood & Vine and several attractions such as Star Tours and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular surrounding Echo Lake.
F- Fantasmic. Fantasmic is Hollywood Studio’s nighttime show. It features loads of well-known Disney characters, pyrotechnics, and projections. It happens to be one of my favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios and I make a point to see it each trip. You’ll find the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater located on Sunset Boulevard, between Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. In my experience, the show is extremely popular and the amphitheater fills us, so be sure to get a FastPass+ or get in line early enough to ensure you get a seat.
G- Galaxy’s Edge. Slated to open in “Fall 2019”, Galaxy’s Edge will be the Star-Wars themed area at Hollywood Studios. Disney has announced 2 rides for this new area: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as well as Oga’s Cantina where children and adults alike can take a break from defending the galaxy to have a refreshing beverage. Star Wars fans await, with great anticipation, more specific opening date and I’m sure this will be an extremely popular area of the Walt Disney World resort for a long time.
H- Hollywood & Vine. Hollywood Studio’s character dining spot is located near Echo Lake. This buffet features popular Disney characters for every meal of the day- Disney Jr. Play ‘n Dine for breakfast (currently featuring Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Roadster Goofy, and Vampirina) and Minnie’s Seasonal Dining (featuring Minnie and friends) for lunch and dinner. The characters featured during lunch and dinner change, as do their costumes to match the season. You can read my review of the Disney Jr. Play ‘n Dine breakfast here.
I- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Like Hollywood & Vine, this live show can also be found in the Echo Lake area of the park. The show includes various stunts and scenes from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark as well as pyrotechnics and other special effects. Volunteers from the audience are even included in the show. If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones or just want to sit and enjoy an entertaining show, be sure to check it out.
J- Jedi Training. If your child is between the ages of 4 and 12 and enjoys Star Wars, then be sure to check out Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. This extremely popular activity takes place throughout the day and allows kids the chance to battle the Dark Side and train in the ways of The Force. If your child is interested, slots fill up fast so be sure to arrive well before park opening and make a bee-line for the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost gift shop as soon as you’re allowed in the park. You can read Dopey Diva’s experience with Jedi Training here.
K- Kermit and friends: Muppets Vision 3D. Whether you grew up in the age of Jim Henson or you have kids that currently watch Disney Jr, you’re probably familiar with the Muppets. You can find Kermit, Ms Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and many more at Muppets Vision 3D. This show is located in the Grand Avenue section of Hollywood Studios, just past Star Tours. Grab a pair of 3D glasses and get ready for a fun Muppet movie with all of your favorite characters. Be sure to expect some mischief and unexpected twists- it is the Muppets after all! Did you know there’s a key hidden under the welcome mat at the entrance to the building? Soarin Diva’s family always stops to take a picture with it.. You can read more about that and other Diva/Devo traditions in Devo CabDisney’s Disney Vacation Traditions article.
L- Let it Go! For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration. If you or your kids are fans of the movie Frozen, then this is the show for you! Join the Arendelle royal historians for a condensed and hilarious re-telling of the story from the film. Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff all make appearances, but in my opinion, the royal historians and their comedy really make the show. Be prepared to laugh and sing-along to all your favorite songs from the movie in this 30 min show. You can find For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration at the Premiere Theater located near Echo Lake. The show runs throughout the day so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch it.
M- Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams. If you like meeting Mickey and Minnie in their different outfits at each park, then head down to the Commissary Lane section of Hollywood Studios. There’s one line for both Mickey and Minnie, but they do not appear together. Minnie can be found in a beautiful pink dress and Mickey is wearing his Sorcerer outfit. We found the line moved pretty slowly, so keep an eye on the My Disney Experience app and try to visit when the wait isn’t too long.
N- no one sings like Gaston: Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. I’m a huge fan of the movie so one of my favorite shows at Hollywood Studios is Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. The Theater of the Stars is located in the Sunset Boulevard section of the park near Tower of Terror. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage runs several times each day, but it tends to fill up fast in my experience, so be sure to arrive early if you want to be sure to get a seat. The theater is outdoors but is covered by a canopy to give you a break from the blazing Florida sun. You can read Beauty and the Beast Diva’s review of the live show here.
O- on the lookout for characters. Hollywood Studios has lots of nooks and crannies for character meet-and-greets. It’s the only place my family has ever met Daisy and Donald together and one of the few places you can currently find Chip and and Dale. Be sure to check your My Disney Experience app if you like character meet-and-greets, you may just find one of your favorite characters is waiting for you around the corner.
P- Phasma and friends: March of the First Order. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, be sure to find a place along Hollywood Boulevard between the Star Wars Launch Bay and Center Stage in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater to watch Captain Phasma and her squad of Stormtroopers march. It happens several times a day, so there’s plenty of opportunity. Be sure to get out of their way or risk getting barked at by the captain herself, like my husband did.
Q- quickly drop 13 stories: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For those adrenaline junkies out there, this is the ride for you. Enter “a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind” for a tour of the Hollywood Tower hotel. Start in the lobby that obviously hasn’t seen a good cleaning since the property was abandoned after a mysterious incident caused it to close in 1939. Your tour then takes you into the library filled with artifacts you might recognized if you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone. After a quick message from Rod Serling himself, follow the secret passage and board your elevator to the 5th dimension. Hang on tight as you’ll find yourself falling a random number of times and a random distance- as much as 13 stories. Be sure to smile (or scream) when the doors to the outside open- you’ll be able to view your picture in the gift shop after the ride is over. This is one of my favorite rides on Disney property, and I particularly enjoy riding it at night (you can read about my other favorite rides to enjoy at night here). If you’re a fan of thrill rides, be sure to drop in.
R- Runaway Railway. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is slated to open some time this year and can be found in the former home of The Great Movie Ride. Disney’s website describes it as follows: “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature a new catchy theme song created especially for the attraction as well as a new experience that defies logic that we’re calling 2 ½-D. No glasses required”. I was a fan of The Great Movie Ride and therefore it made me very sad to see it go. I hope this new ride is an entertaining replacement, but to be honest, the animation style they’re using for the cartoons doesn’t look very appealing. I’ll reserve judgement until it opens and I’m able to ride it, however.
S- Slinky Dog Dash. Judging by the wait times, this is the most popular attraction in the new Toy Story Land section at Hollywood Studios. This family coaster is based on the premise that Andy has assembled his Mega Coaster Play Kit and Slinky Dog takes you for a ride on it. Slinky Dog is one of my favorite characters from Toy Story, and I think this is probably one of the cutest rides Disney has come up with. I cannot wait to ride it when we visit Walt Disney World again. If you’ll be checking out Slinky Dog Dash and the rest of Toy Story Land in the near future, check out Soarin Diva’s tips for Conquering Toy Story Land in an Hour or Less.
T- Toy Story Mania. Although this isn’t a new attraction at Hollywood Studios, it’s entrance was moved to tie it into the rest of Toy Story Land. This 4-D midway-style shooting game features 5 different games and includes some of your favorite Toy Story characters and allows you to go head-to-head with your ride partner to see who is the better shot.
U- Ursla in the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Enjoy a short re-telling of the Little Mermaid with live stage performers, music, special effects, clips from the film, and puppets. There are a few parts that might be a little scary (my daughter was a little intimidated by Ursla) but overall it’s a show that kids and parents alike can enjoy. Get off your feet, enjoy a little AC, and sing-a-long with some of your favorite songs from the classic animated movie.
V- Vampirina. The newest member of the Disney Jr. family to appear at Hollywood Studios, this little blue vampire from Transylvania is joining the meet-and-great, Disney Jr. Dance party, and the Disney Jr. Play ‘n Dine breakfast at Hollywood & Vine. I know my girls are dying to see her on our next trip.
W- Woody’s Lunch Box. Toy Story Land’s only eatery is a counter service restaurant called Woody’s Lunch Box. You can find an assortment of delicious offerings for each meal such such as the S’more French Toast Sandwich for breakfast or the BBQ Brisket Melt and “Totchos” for lunch and dinner. The delicious-sounding Lunch Box Tarts, which are available in Chocolate-Hazelnut and Raspberry are available all day. I personally can’t wait to try it out on our next visit. You can read Tiki Diva’s review of Breakfast at Woody’s Lunch Box here.
X- eXtra Magic Hours. One of the perks of staying on Walt Disney World property is the opportunity to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. Some people love them, some people avoid them at all costs. Personally, my family usually avoids the morning Extra Magic Hours but will take advantage of the evening ones. Some of our favorite time at Hollywood Studios is during evening Extra Magic Hours. Like I said earlier, we love riding Tower of Terror at night and this gives us the perfect opportunity. I also think there’s something especially magic about the parks after dark, so evening magic hours allow me more time to enjoy the magic.
Y- you’ll love Olaf’s warm hugs. Frozen fans and those who enjoy warm hugs will love meeting this popular character. You can find Olaf near the For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration in the Echo Lake section of the park. Wait times can vary so check your My Disney Experience app to avoid a long wait.
Z- zoom on a “super-stretch” limo: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Hollywood Studio’s second thrill ride is called Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Located in the Sunset Boulevard section of the park right next to Tower of Terror, this thrill ride takes you from 0 to 60mph in 2.7 seconds before throwing you into 2 rollover loops and 1 corkscrew all while blaring some of Aerosmith’s best known tunes. You battle through traffic in a super-stretch limo on your way to join the band backstage at their concert. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
So there you have it- my A to Z list of some of my favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios. Did I miss any of your favorites? If you want to plan a trip to see everything that Hollywood Studios has to offer, or if you just want a free quote for your upcoming vacation, contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel.