The Ultimate Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Ultimate Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Have you been wondering how to effectively plan your days at the Disney Parks? Well, that starts with knowing the can’t miss rides, shows, and food! This guide incorporates all of my favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios that I do almost every time I visit the park! Plan your ultimate Hollywood Studios experience by checking out my favorite must-dos!

I love Hollywood Studios, and although it’s not my favorite Disney park, I’m always excited to spend time there because of the bubbly and retro atmosphere. Something you should note before you plan your day at the park is that Hollywood Studios is undergoing lots of exciting change right now! And while that change will be amazing once it comes to fruition, for now, the park is pretty much half of what it normally is. So, if you’re planning time at the park, know that you’ll have time to fit in pretty much every attraction by spending a whole day there! My family and I normally only spend a few hours or half a day and pair a day at Hollywood Studios with either a water park or a Disney Springs night. I’ll touch on the exciting additions coming to the park, but for this guide, I will be referencing what I love about Disney’s Hollywood Studios in its current state and what I think are absolute must-dos!

Obviously, I have my own preferences and they might not be in agreeance with everyone else’s, so pick and choose from the suggestions I have for what to see at the park! And I really recommend for anyone to try things at least once! Once you try an attraction, then you know for next time if it is worth keeping on your itinerary or if your time is best spent elsewhere. That’s how I’ve come up with what to incorporate into this guide!

The Attractions

Toy Story Mania — *Fastpass Pick* This is your Fastpass ladies and gentlemen. You need to get on Toy Story Mania when you visit Hollywood Studios! It is one of those rides that is engaging without being thrilling or intimidating, so it’s perfect for all ages and it is so much fun! Even though my brother almost always gets the highest score, my family and I still get super competitive and it’s so fun every time attempting to set a new record for yourself! What’s awesome for the future at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is that Toy Story Mania will be expanding! So, hopefully, those long lines will be spread out across several tracks. (Although knowing Disney World, there will only be more people.)

Rock’n’Rollercoaster — One of the best things about Disney’s Hollywood Studios is that it caters to those who want more of an adrenaline rush out of their attraction experiences. Obviously, lots of Disney World’s rides have to be kid-friendly, so it’s awesome that there’s at least two of the most thrilling Disney rides at Hollywood Studios! One of those is Rock’n’Rollercoaster, which is a classic. While I think everyone’s Fastpass is most valuable for Toy Story Mania, Rock’n’Rollercoaster is just as popular and might be better for you Fastpass pick! Unfortunately, you can’t get both :(. What I love about the ride is yes, it’s thrilling and probably the most fulfilling rollercoaster in terms of adrenaline at Disney World, but even more so, the atmosphere is so fun! Boarding your ride in the alleyway setting and all the neon lights flashing by as you ride through the darkness – it’s awesome! Fun Fact: I was right next to Steven Tyler at a store in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot when he came for Rock’n’Rollercoaster’s anniversary!

Tower of Terror — Tower of Terror is the other main thrill ride at Hollywood Studios! Even I still get a little nervous every time I stand in line to ride! I can never convince any family to go with me, so I’m usually riding solo on this one, but once I push past the fears, it’s SO fun! You definitely get an adrenaline rush and the pictures always come out hilarious at the end. Plus, these two thrill rides I have mentioned aren’t limited to adults! I see kids in line all the time being way braver than my parents and brother, and even me!

Star Tours — Star Tours is one of my favorite rides because if you don’t know already – I love Star Wars and so does my family! What’s awesome about Star Tours right now is that Disney has updated the narrative that you follow within the ride to build off of the newest Star Wars trilogy! What I love about Star Tours is that, technically, it’s the same ride every time. Yet, each time we get a new experience or memory associated with the ride. I think that’s applicable to so many attractions at Disney World and why at almost 21 years old I still want to go back as often as I can! Plus, Star Tours is an attraction I get to do exclusively with my brother and my dad since my mom gets a little sick on the ride. So that makes it all the more special of an attraction!*Warning* Star Tours is a bit bumpy and very motion-driven, so if you get motion sick easily, I would skip it!

Frozen Sing-Along — Yes, I just said I’m almost 21 years old. Yes, I’m recommending you attend the Frozen Sing-Along show at least once on your Disney World vacation. Let’s be real, it’s indoors, has air-conditioning, and you get to sing your favorite Frozen songs alongside a whole lot of other people with no judgment! I can’t think of anything better. But really, this show is awesome and I love that it has been incorporated into Hollywood Studios. My favorite part is the singing along, obviously, but the narrative of the show isn’t that bad either. If you’ve been going to Disney for awhile like me, you’ll recognize the show is held in the same building as the American Idol show was held at Hollywood Studios. I loved that show and cool story – I saw Ryan Seacrest at Walt Disney World going to film for the attraction before it opened!

*I recommend going to see the Frozen Sing-Along or any of the several shows at Hollywood Studios when you’re getting too hot outside, you’re in-between Fastpasses or your feet just need a break from walking and standing. These are the best ways to pass time, relax, but still get enjoyment! 

One Man’s Dream — This is one of those attractions at the park that my family and I never miss. We are obviously a Disney family who loves every aspect of the company and the lifestyle, so there is never a time that we don’t enjoy walking through One Man’s Dream and looking at all of the memorabilia from Walt’s life and journey to creating Walt Disney World! What’s great about this attraction is that there’s usually also a model on display of new additions coming to Walt Disney World, which are always fun to look at and talk to cast members about!

Star Wars Launch Bay — While it isn’t technically a ride, it also didn’t fit anywhere else on my list, but I thought it necessary to cover the greatness that is Star Wars Launch Bay! I’ve probably been in the Launch Bay 50 times so I’ve pretty much seen all there is to cover, but if you’re a huge Star Wars person (like my whole family) then you’ll find you don’t get sick of looking at the display cases or meeting the same characters! You can meet Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and BB-8! The best addition yet – Jawas! There is no formal character meet for the Jawas, they just roam around and interact with guests, which is even cuter!

*Perk Alert* If you’re a Disney Chase Visa cardholder, there’s a special character meet that only you have access too! You’ll never know who the Star Wars character is that you’re meeting, so it’s nice to have a perk that makes you feel more special! 

 

There are so many other attractions at Hollywood Studios, some that are even considered classics, like the Great Movie Ride, the Beauty and the Beast show, Fantasmic, Indiana Jones, etc. But these listed above are the ones my family and I will do almost every time when we visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Above all, I think someone traveling to Disney World should try everything at least once and find your own favorites!

 

The Food

Backlot Express and Sunset Ranch Market — These are the classic Disney World quick-service establishments you’ll find in every park and almost every resort, so you’ll find a lot of the normal menu items like chicken tenders, salads, etc. They separate places, but I consider them a bit interchangeable since they’re the same type of dining experience! Backlot Express is the one my family and I eat at most often when we are looking for a quick-service lunch – it’s got indoor seating to get away from the hot weather while the other one is completely outdoors. There are other quick-service places like ABC Commissary but I would go to either of these over the others!

Pizzerizzo — Pizzerizzo is becoming my new favorite quick-service restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! The quality of the food is as decent as any other pizza place operated by Disney World on the property, which to me means it’s actually pretty good, and the space of the restaurant is so cute! I especially recommend sitting outside on the second-floor balcony overlooking the plaza in front of the Muppets 3D show! I will say the menu is limited, as it really only contains pizzas and salads, so if you’re looking for a quick-service that has more diverse options, then Pizzerizzo probably isn’t the stop for you on your day at Hollywood Studios.

50’s Prime Time Cafe — I’ve written a post about why I love this place, which I will link below, but 50’s Prime Time Cafe has a special place in both mine and my family’s heart! We always ask for our favorite waiter, Cousin Mark, and we have been friends with him for probably close to 10 years! What I love about 50’s Prime Time Cafe is the dining experience. The food quality is sort of average and the price is a bit higher than what you would pay for quick-service here, but I really do believe you’re paying for the experience! It’s so worth being a part of the fun banter and having a laugh at lunch. Your Disney experience becomes that more memorable and enjoyable for all!

Read about my friendship with Cousin Mark: https://airplanemary.com/2017/10/03/memories-of-disney-magic-the-mark-of-a-true-friendship/

 

The Shopping

Keystone Clothiers — This is one of my favorite stores at Hollywood Studios! It’s right down the main boulevard and is geared towards people who are young adults or older. It isn’t a huge store, but there are still tons of Disney-themed accessories and clothing for men and women. What I love most is looking at the Kate Spade Minnie Mouse purse collection and that Keystone Clothiers has all the trending Disney jewelry! So, if you’re looking for Pandora or Alex & Ani, this is your stop at Hollywood Studios.

Legends of Hollywood — This is my favorite Star Wars shop! The women’s merchandise is so adorable that I can hardly contain my excitement when I see Porg sweaters and R2-D2 purses! If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll adore this corner shop on Sunset Boulevard!

Disney & Co. — Disney & Co. is the quintessential Disney merchandise store! Typically, when leaving the park, I’ll walk down Hollywood Boulevard and go through Keystone Clothiers and Disney & Co. since they’re on the way out, so I frequent these two the most. This isn’t the largest Disney merchandise store compared to other parks, but I have found some amazing ears here before!

 

The Future 

Toy Story Land — Opening this summer at Hollywood Studios is Toy Story Land! I’m so excited for this because once you step into Toy Story Land, you’re supposedly supposed to “shrink” down to the size of a toy! With this new addition to the park, we’ll get a new restaurant, an expanded Toy Story Mania, and probably the most anticipated attraction – the Slinky Dog rollercoaster!

Star Wars Land — I believe that 2019 will be the year that Hollywood Studios becomes my favorite park with the addition of Star Wars Land. I can’t even imagine how amazing Disney will execute this project, as I’ve seen a part of the model at One Man’s Dream and it’s jawdropping! I can’t wait for Disney to keep coming out with more immersive experiences and I think Star Wars Land will really attest to the capabilities of the company to deliver a story and experience that is unforgettable.

Also, can we just talk about how beautiful Christmas time is at Hollywood Studios? You can see for yourself in the pictures!

 

 

Thank you so much for reading about my favorite aspects of Hollywood Studios and I hope that you can incorporate some of these awesome rides, shops, and food into your next trip to the park!

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— M

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