The third gate at Walt Disney World opened in 1989 and it salutes the Golden Age of Hollywood by celebrating the glitz and glamour that the movies have to offer. While Hollywood Studios is the least popular park (only a mere 10.1 million guests passed through the Mickey turnstiles in 2013), there is a lot to appreciate in the park and these tips will help you make the most of your day there!
5. Consider making an Advance Dining Reservation
Hollywood Studios offers some of the best themed restaurants in all of the four parks. The Hollywood Brown Derby is home to the famous cobb salad. Hollywood and Vine offers the chance to enjoy classic American fare with Mickey and friends (only at breakfast and lunch). Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano offers a great selection of your favorite pastas, but my favorites are housed at 50’s Prime Time Café and the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. 50’s Prime Time Café is home to quality comfort food like pot roast, fried chicken, and meatloaf. All three sound appetizing? Don’t fret – there is a sampler that serves all three. The “down home” feeling is underscored by black and white TVs playing classic shows from the 1950s! Be sure to finish your vegetables and keep your elbows off the table or else your “cousin” may make sure an airplane delivers that last bite of green beans! Sci-Fi Dine-In is themed off of a classic drive-in and allows you and your family to enjoy your food from the comfort of your very own car while you enjoy some science fiction movies from the 1950s. My personal favorite is the Picnic Burger – what’s not to love about a burger topped with a hot dog?
4. FastPass+ Toy Story Midway Mania
Since being introduced at Hollywood Studios, this ride has become insanely popular. It is not unusual for standby wait times to quickly approach an hour within only minutes after opening. This ride allows you and your family to battle in a variety of carnival games. Everyone in the group is going to love the ride. This ride is a definite FastPass! Be sure to book early. Toy Story Midway Mania is known to run of FastPasses days in advance!
3. Take a stroll down the Streets of America
Who knew you could find the streets of San Francisco and New York located in the back of Hollywood Studios? These quiet streets offer a lot to explore and enjoy. Don’t rush by everything they have to offer. If you look carefully, you might even be able to find an umbrella to keep you dry if it rains or allow you to step right into a classic Hollywood musical if it is not! Streets of America is also home to MuppetVision 3D – this is a great attraction that allows you cool off and get off your feet for a while. It is a large capacity theatre, so don’t worry about using a FastPass on it. If Kermit and the gang aren’t exciting enough for you, any car lover will absolutely love Lights, Motor, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – check a Times Guide when you arrive, showtimes vary. Just like MuppetVision, don’t worry about getting a FastPass for the show.
2. Dare to experience one (or both) of the thrill rides
Hollywood Studios is home to two great thrill rides and it is easy enough to accomplish both quickly! If you get to Hollywood Studios at rope drop (Disney lingo for opening), you can quickly get to both attractions located at the end of Sunset Boulevard and do both rides without FastPasses with minimal wait times! Rock ‘N Roller Coaster is an indoor rollercoaster featuring the music of Aerosmith. The ride does have some inversions, so make sure to hold onto sunglasses, hats, and Mickey ears! The soundtrack in the “limo” changes with each ride, so feel free to ride it a few times if you can!
Tower of Terror takes you on a haunted journey to the top of the Hollywood Tower Hotel and offers some great views of the park when the doors open. Be sure to enjoy them quickly before the elevator drops! Disney has modified the ride so you never know when the drop will happen, how long it will last, and how high you might go after dropping. Every ride is truly different! It is a must-do on every trip to the park for me!
1. See Fantasmic!
Fantasmic! is the nightly spectacular at Hollywood Studios. The show celebrates the power of imagination and features many characters of Disney fame. Part stage show, part multimedia presentation, the show is extremely popular, so make sure you get there early to get seats. Hollywood Studios does offer a dinner and a show option – if you make reservations at
Hollywood Brown Derby, Mama Melrose’s or Hollywood and Vine with the Fantasmic! Dinner Package, you get reserved seating at the show! This is a great way to experience two great things at Hollywood Studios!
Hollywood Studios can be a great place to spend a day at Disney. There is something for everyone there that I haven’t spoken about here (Star Tours is always a great time and usually has a short wait). I love going on the Great Movie Ride (did you know there are two different scenes for you to see?), but my favorite Disney secret about this park is trying to find the biggest Hidden Mickey at all of Disney. Give up? Do a quick image search for “Hollywood Studios Hidden Mickey.” See it? There is the magic of Disney and Hollywood Studios at work.