Considering spending a day at Disney Hollywood Studios? With all the recent closures you may want to think again! Although there are definitely some wonderful restaurants, expanding Star wars presence, and don’t miss rides, you will NOT need a full day here until the park as finished it’s overhauling to add Star Wars Land (exact name pending) and Toy Story Land. Keep reading for the Hollywood Studios tips and Disney World Planning details you need to make the most of your time here.
Hollywood Studios Tips
This fun park is geared towards feeling like you stepped on the set of a movie; it is also home to the Pixar characters (Cars, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Up, etc.)
This park has been one of my favorites for years, but with the recent closures and reduced character interactions this park has dwindled down to my 4th favorite. This will be the home of Star Wars Land (14 acres; details pending) and newly opened Toy Story Land so it will be awesome by the end of 2019. For now, I honestly only recommend a 1/2 day for those that have a week or less at Disney World. (preferably the second half so you don’t miss Fantasmic! as outlined here)
If you would like a relaxed full day (with time to slow down, enjoy sit down restaurants, and even head back to enjoy your resort pool ….. here is what I recommend:
What Hollywood Studios Fastpass+ to Get
First, learn about Disney Fastpass+. Second, make sure you reserve them up to 60 days in advance for hotel guests and 30 days in advance for all other ticket holders. Finally, here are our recommended Hollywood Studios Fastpass Selections in order of best first:
- Slinky Dog Dash – this is the newest ride open at Disney World so the lines are still heavy for this super cute, whimsical roller coaster
- Alien Swirling Saucers – another new ride in the newly opened Toy Story Land; think tea cups a la Alien
- Toy Story Mania – this always popular attraction is perfect for everyone. You will done your 3D glasses and shoot targets of flying plates, ring toss, and bullseyes in an attempt to get more points than other guests
- Fantasmic – this amazing evening show is my favorite at Disney World. It combines characters, boats, projected images, pyrotechnics, and fireworks too! I suggest you get free ticket with a dining package. It is a large venue so most everyone who goes will get in, but the better seats go to Fastpass+ and Dinning package guests.
Eating at Hollywood Studios
First things first, if you haven’t already made your dining reservations and you are less than 180 days before you trip – make your dining reservations ASAP! Guest favorite restaurants fill up quickly.
At Hollywood Studios I recommend eating . . . .
- Sci Fi Diner– amazingly themed table service meal; need reservations (see review)
- 50s Prime Time Cafe – well themed table service meal; need reservations (see review)
- Mama Melrose – table service meal; need reservations (see review)
- Hollywood & Vine – this buffet restaurant has basic all you can eat food. The reason to pick this place is the characters in unique themed costumes and as part of a Fantasmic Dining Pacakge
- Toy Story Pizza Planet currently closed; reopening as a muppets themed pizza restaurant
- Backlot Express – lots of indoor seating, free drink refills, star wars themed menu items
Hollywood Studios Attractions
Note: One of my top 2 favorite shows is at this park – Fantasmic. It does not run every night so make sure you pick a day to come where it will be showing!
Plan to arrive at the park at least 30 minutes before it opens.
Like all the Disney parks, you will need to go through security before entering.
(Hint: If you are a Disney Resort guest, try to do this park when you get morning or evening magic hours!)
Toy Story Land Disney World
Toy Story Mania is an incredibly popular ride, and for good reason! Everyone can ride this interactive and playful ride. After walking through the cutest line filled with larger than life toys, you will get in a car, put on your 3D glasses, and get ready to use your shooter/canon. As you go through there are different screens where you shoot rings, darts, pies, etc. But it is better than 3D because if you hit a balloon air will blow at you, etc. This is SUPER fun for kids and adults of all ages!
Now that a new track has been added this ride has lower wait times! Expect 30-60 minutes wait time during the day.
Morning Priorities at Hollywood Studios
Jedi Training Academy
- The sensational six (Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) are all available under the iconic hat during the first couple hours of the morning only. They will be wearing their “hollywood” clothes.
- Buzz and Woody have a wonderful meet and greet opposite of the Toy Story Mania ride. The line just gets longer throughout the day so if this is a priority, go ahead and hop in. You will probably wait up to an hour, but there are fun photo ops along the way. You may also run into the Green Army Men patrolling in front of the Toy Story Mania ride. All three of these characters either sign or stamp their autograph.
- Meet Klyo Ren and Chewbacca in Star Wars Launch Bay
- Meet Olaf in his summer setting (next to Path of the Jedi)
- Meet Sorcerer Mickey in his fantastically themed area
- Meet Disney Junior characters like Sophia the First, Jake from the Neverland Pirates, Pluto, and Doc McStuffins, next to the Disney Junior show.
Filling up the Rest of Your Day at Hollywood Studios
Once you’ve seen the Toy Story Mania Ride and done any morning priority items for your family, it’s time to plan the rest of your day.
If your group is made up of older children & thrill seekers you will want to hit the following attractions (suggested order based on crowds & location):
- The Hollywood Tower Hotel
- Rock ‘n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (not a favorite with our family because it is so loud and jerky)
- Star Tours
- Star Wars Launch Bay (Path of the Jedi movie, chance to meet Kylo-Ren and Chewbacca, “museum” like exhibit)
- The Indiana Jones Stunt Show
- Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show closing April 2, 2016
The Great Movie Rideclosed to make room for a new Mickey Mouse ride
- Beauty and the Beast
If your group is made up of families with children 8 and under, you will want to prioritize the following attractions:
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Voyage of the Little Mermaid (okay show; great indoor spot for a break)
- Disney Junior Live (great for toddler/preschool crowd)
- Meet Mike & Sully from Monsters Inc closing April 2, 2016
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play Area closing April 2, 2016
- Muppets in 3D
- Star Tours (you must be 40″ tall to ride)
- The Hollywood Tower of Terror (must be 40″ tall to ride)
All of Hollywood Studios Rides & Shows at a Glance
Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Hint: We usually get to this ride just before lunch and then again in the later afternoon or evening.
Tower of Terror
Hint: This attraction is now linked to your magic bands! Pictures and 15 second video from your ride will be automatically uploaded onto your account!
Star Wars Jedi Academy
Meeting Characters inside The Magic of Disney Animation (closed)
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
This show runs continuously throughout the day so no need to run here right away. The show has lost some of it’s luster, but it is still a great chance to sit down in some air conditioning and enjoy a short retelling of The Little Mermaid. Kids might be frightened by the huge Urusla, but will love the special effects (bubbles filling the auditorium) and live acting & singing. The show lasts about 15 minutes.
Indiana Jones Stunt Show
This show is in a covered, outdoor auditorium so it gets hot towards midday (although a few fans do a nominal job at keeping the air moving). This is really fun look at how movies do stunts. They run through various scenes in this 30 minutes show. I still remember seeing this as a kid! Kids 8 and up will enjoy it, younger children may be frightened by the special effects and slower pace of the show.
Disney Junior Live on Stage
Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show (show closing 4/2/16)
The Great Movie Ride closed to make way for new Mickey Ride
This ride is Disney’s tribute to great movies over many, many decades. You will begin by entering a replica of Hollywood’s historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater. As you weave through the line you will see costumes from various movies. Then while you wait you will watch clips from classic movies .When it is your turn you board large vehicle with your guide. (There are 2 slightly different rides you may take – either with live acting with gangsters or in the wild west.) You will go through scenes from some classic movies like Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain, Alien, Tarzan, Radars of the Lost Ark, and more. When you get to the 1930s gangster area there will be a shoot out with live actors popping out of the scene and your guide will pop out to interact with them (my preschoolers were a little startled, but okay sitting on Mommy or Daddy’s lap). This is a fun look back if you like movies and will take about 20 minutes (assuming there is a minimal line).
Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play Area (closing 4/2/16)
Muppets Vision in 3D
Whether you like the Muppets or not, you will enjoy this silly, fun 12 minute show. The show is in 3D with special effects that will fill the theatre. Your kids will not be frightened as they may be in other 3D shows.
The Magic of Disney Animation (closed)
One Man’s Dream
Fantasmic! is one of my top two shows – DON”T MISS it!! It doesn’t play every night so plan carefully! Some nights it plays at 7pm and 9pm, others it only plays once. You will want to line up 45-60 minutes early to get in. It is a huge open air amphitheater with lots of seating. The middle towards the lower third might be ideal, but there really is no bad seat.In the show Magic Mickey fights off the Villains (so there are parts that can be scary for toddlers or preschoolers). You will see fire tricks, water tricks, images in the water, fireworks-ish, Villains, and Princesses riding by on boats in the water – this show has EVERYTHING!! It lasts 25 minutes .
Hint: You are welcome to bring snacks or drinks into Fantasmic, so feel free to grab something to keep your kids entertained while you wait for the show to start!
Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular
Star Wars fans young and old will delight in this new fireworks show featuring music from the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens.
CLOSED (September 2014) – The American Idol Experience
CLOSED (September 2014) Backlot Tour
CLOSED – Pixar Pals Parade
Star Wars Weekends
*Please visit Disney’s website for any updates, changes, and current ride closures/refurbishments.
More AMAZING Tips for your Next Disney World Vacation
- When to take your kids (what is the ‘perfect’ age)
- Planning for your trip (time of year, how long to stay, Disney hotels, and affordability/deals)
- Tidbits (20 tips from the best place to see Mickey to strollers to super cool Disney features you may not know about)
- Dinning: My top picks for snacks, quick meals, and reviews on 12 restaurants (including character meals)
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, CA