Hollywood Studios is all about film and entertainment, so it’s no surprise that it has lots of live-action entertainment to offer guests. Trying to see all of it in one visit is a challenge, especially if you want to also experience some of the biggest headlining attractions in Disney World, such as the Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania. Hopefully this guide will help you decide which entertainment offerings make the best use of your time in the park.
You know you’re in for quite a spectacle when a show’s title includes an exclamation point! Fantasmic! is Hollywood Studios’ nighttime show, and it is hugely popular. The show will take you on a journey into Mickey’s imagination as he fends off evil. Your breath will be taken away at the sight of Jafar, transformed into a giant, glowing-eyed snake that torments and chases Mickey. Another unique show feature is the use of water screens. Look carefully and you’ll see many infamous Disney villains and cherished heroes projected onto the spray. I won’t give away the entire plot, but you know that good always conquers evil!
A highlight of the show for character lovers is the parade of floats that sails in front of you. You’ll see famous Disney couples, including Belle and the Beast, Ariel and Prince Eric, and Snow White and Prince Charming dancing on elaborately lit boats. At the end of the show, all of your favorites sail by on a double-decker boat with none other than Steam Boat Willie at the helm!
An important note about the show- during the busiest times of the year, you’ll want to get a good seat at least an hour prior to the show. Especially during these times, you may want to consider purchasing the Fantasmic Dining Package. You’ll have a great meal, and you’ll be able to arrive for the show about 30 minutes prior and sit in reserved seating. I definitely prefer this to waiting for the show for over an hour!
6. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
An abridged retelling of the classic Disney film, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is a great show that you should experience at least once in your travels to Disney. The show is set in an outdoor amphitheater near the Tower of Terror. You’ll enjoy the classic songs from the film while watching china and flatware dance across the stage. By show’s end, you, like Belle, will soften to the Beast’s charms. The actors are talented and the quality of the performance is top-notch. This performance is highly recommended for children and adults alike.
5. Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Like Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid is an abridged stage adaptation of a favorite animated Disney film. The show is about 20 minutes in length, and is held inside, near the Animation Courtyard. During the show, you’ll see a mix of both live action and puppetry. I think you’ll be most impressed by the massive Ursula puppet performing “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
4. Disney Junior Live on Stage
Do you have little ones who love the television shows on Disney Junior? If so, you can’t miss this show. This is a “get up and dance” show, so get ready to sing and clap along with your kids! Your children (and adults, too- no judging here) will love seeing their favorite Disney Junior TV stars, like Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Handy Manny, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. And of course, what’s a Disney party without Mickey, Minnie, and friends?
3. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
Perhaps the men, boys, and non-princess-addicted girls in your party deserve a break from all the cuteness of your vacation. If that’s the case, head over to the far back corner of Hollywood Studios for an action-packed show called Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. During the show, you’ll see auto and motorcycle stunts like you see on the big screen, from a classic car chase through the streets of Italy to aerial jumps and 360 spins. And, as an added bonus, your little ones will be thrilled by the appearance of Lightning McQueen! The show is performed 3 times per day. In bad weather, the show is cancelled, so if this is on your list of must do’s, try to get to the earliest show.
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2. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Still going strong after 25 years, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular remains a very popular attraction at Hollywood Studios. During this show, you’ll get to see how stunt performers do some of the incredible feats you see in action films. Watch Indy evade a giant boulder, fight off foes in the marketplace, and fight an enemy mechanic while a runaway plane threatens from above. If you’re a very animated audience member, you might even get picked to get involved in the action on stage (as an extra, of course).
1. Other “Street Performances”
If the older members of your party need a break during Disney Junior, send them out into the park to check out some street performances. “Mulch, Sweat, and Shears” is definitely worth a watch. This energetic and off-beat cover band performs near the Sorcerer Hat several times per day. Also be on the lookout for the “Citizens of Hollywood”, who pop up in the Hollywood Boulevard and are always looking for a few volunteers to involve in their entertaining antics.
There’s so much entertainment at Hollywood Studios that it’s nearly impossible to see all of the shows in one day, especially since many of the show times overlap. Hollywood Studios has even added some special shows as part of “Frozen Summer Fun”, but it remains to be seen how long these special offerings will be around. Which shows are on your “can’t miss” list?