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Skyliner at Hollywood Studios
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Top 10 Things You NEED to Know About Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Discover all the glamor and glitz of Tinseltown right in the heart of Florida with a detour to Disney’s Hollywood Studios while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.

Credit: Disney

Famous for representing the enduring legacy of Disney animation, movies, and various other forms of entertainment, Hollywood Studios is an absolute must-do, known for its rides, other attractions, delicious dining, and great shopping. Whether you’ve never been before and have wondered what it’s all about or haven’t been in a while and have questions about what’s changed, we’ve rounded up these 10 questions and answers to help you out.

10. What distinguishes Hollywood Studios from other Disney Parks?

Answer: Every Disney Park is a one-of-a-kind original. What distinguishes Hollywood Studios from all the rest is its Tinseltown motif and, overall, encompassing tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood. All the same, Disney’s more modern classics are also represented here, honoring the timeless contributions by such art forms as animation, movies, and entertainment in general.

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A fun piece of trivia to take note of is the fact that this Hollywood-themed park we now know and love so much was originally intended to be a pavilion in EPCOT’s Futureworld, focusing on movies and animation. But when Universal Studios announced their own plans to open a theme park, Disney CEO at the time, Michael Eisner, saw this as an opportunity to go against any potential competition by expanding the original pavilion concept into an entirely new Disney Park. On May 1, 1989, Disney’s third theme park opened, operating under the name of Disney-MGM Studios until January 7, 2008, when it received its official name change to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

9. Which characters can I expect to see here, and how are altered interactions being implemented?

Answer: Hollywood Studios has one of the most diverse cast ensembles, featuring both classic characters and newer ones from Disney Animation, Pixar, Disney Junior, Lucas Films, etc. However, the ongoing public health crisis currently dictates that alternate character interactions will continue for the time being.

While Guest meet and greet opportunities and traditional parade events remain on hold, Disney has been providing special character cavalcade processions throughout the various parks—or mini parades in which Guests get to view some of their familiar favorites. Over at Hollywood Studios, park-goers have taken delight in motorcades or car drive-by opportunities featuring characters. The Mickey and Friends Motorcade is a prime example of this, presenting classic Disney characters you know and love (Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, and Dale) as they cruise on down Hollywood Boulevard past Echo Lake in style, waving to fans along the way. Another is the very versatile Pixar Pals Motorcade, featuring Pixar’s pick of the litter characters from Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Monsters, Inc.

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The Park’s youngest visitors may take delight in a popular Disney Junior Motorcade, showcasing friends like Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and Mira, Royal Detective. There are also distanced opportunities for spotting friendly faces from afar. Such examples include seeing Donald and Daisy along with Chip and Dale in a fenced off garden spot near the famed Brown Derby Restaurant, Star Wars characters in varied, designated locations the public cannot enter but may view safely from a distance, and Goofy showing off his goofiness from atop the famed Hyperion Theater.

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8. Each Disney Park has its own various lands within it. Which ones make up Hollywood Studios, and what is it so different about them compared to lands in other Disney Parks?

Answer: Like other Walt Disney World Parks, Hollywood Studios is broken into categorized sections—nine to be exact, making it the Park with the most lands. These comprise the following: Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Grand Avenue, Echo Lake, Commissary Lane, Animation Courtyard, Pixar Place, Toy Story Land, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Not all the lands have traditional attractions such as rides and shows. Hollywood Boulevard, for example, is the place to find essential services, restaurants, Center Stage, and a whole host of glitz and glamor galore. Head toward Sunset Boulevard, and you’ll find fabulous outdoor dining options and some of the Park’s biggest thrills, including the famous Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and the very infamous Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

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The somewhat unassuming Grand Avenue is a snug, somewhat tucked away spot providing a little less limelight but showcasing its fair share of attributes as well, largely because it is home to the renowned Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and Muppet*Vision 3D. Some of the Park’s more obvious buzzing hubs include Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, owing to the fact that they are still shiny and new and boast a broad range of new rides and attractions to boot.

Grand Avenue (formerly known as Animation Courtyard) is more animation-focused and kid-centered, offering plenty of Disney Junior engagements for the Park’s youngest Guests along with explorations into Disney history and varied other interests that older park-goers can appreciate. You’ll find vast and versatile offerings among the other lands as well, depending on your specific interests, but these are arguably the big ones.

7. What options for dining can one expect to find here?

Answer: There are plenty of quick-service dining picks; just head to Sunset Boulevard for a collaborative grouping of some of the very best for confirmation. All the same, many Guests still prefer full table service dining options. Fortunately, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has plenty of those as well, including these top six picks:

  • 50’s Prime Time Café—Along with its adjoining Tune-In Lounge (which also serves the same menu picks), this 1950s-themed café dishes up the works in creature comforts and hearty American classics. They are open for lunch and dinner daily.
  • Hollywood & Vine—Traditionally served up in all-you-can-eat buffet style with character interactions, the delectable dishes here are still all-you-can-eat but, for now, are being dished out family-style with modified character experiences. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
  • Hollywood Brown Derby—A replicated restaurant to the original famous California legend of the same name, the Tinseltown theme is carried over here accordingly, even going so far as to offer some house originals and exclusive recipes harkening back to the first Brown Derby. They are open for lunch and dinner daily.
  • BaseLine Tap House—While more of a bar serving up snacks and pub grub, it’s still a great place to sit down, indoor or out, and reap the benefits of full table service around the clock.
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano—This is a famed family-friendly Italian restaurant and a highlighted Hollywood Studios pick, boasting an extensive menu of both traditional Italian classics as well as house exclusives. They are open for lunch and dinner daily.
  • Oga’s Cantina—More of a watering hole famous for unique drink exclusives (both alcoholic and otherwise), this Star Wars-themed stop offers full table services to Guests. The food menu is admittedly limited to small plate features and snacks but is available for lunch and dinner all the same.
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant—This is another awesome Hollywood Studios pick, serving up great American fare in a drive-in theater setup. They offer up lunch and dinner here daily.

Credit: Disney Fanatic

6. What are some of the Park’s top-related rides?

Answer: Several rides make up the roster at Hollywood Studios, ranging from classic thrills and newly in-demand experiences. Here are some of the hottest:

Toy Story Theme:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania!

Star Wars Theme:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Credit: Disney Fanatic

Other Fun Themes:

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

5. Beyond the rides, what other notable attractions does the Park boast?

Answer: Attractions comprise of much more than just rides, as Hollywood demonstrates through its myriad in-park shows, performances, and interactive extras. While some hot ticket items remain on hold at present, including the long-running Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Fantasmic!, several others have fully reopened to the delight and enjoyment of current Park-goers. These include the following:

  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie
  • Walt Disney Presents
  • Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

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4. Does Hollywood Studios have fireworks and parades daily?

Answer: Hollywood Studios has always taken the concept that “all the world’s a stage” quite literally, with many interactive in-the-street acts, performances, dance parties, and so on. While things remain a little different for the time being, the aforementioned motorcades fill such parade purposes, much to the delight of visitors eager for some impromptu entertainment.

Fantasmic

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As for regularly scheduled fireworks and nighttime spectaculars, the aforementioned Fantasmic! the show is usually a big one, as is the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. But both are unavailable at the present time. However, the nightly 12-minute Wonderful World of Animation spectacular is still taking place every evening as a transformative projection show shot against the famed Chinese Theatre—a tribute to 90 years of Disney animation.

3. When is the best time of year to visit Hollywood Studios?

Answer: It cannot be denied that any time of year makes an excellent time to visit Walt Disney World Resort. There are, however, various times that are better than others. As is the case with most Disney Parks, once you get past the first week in January most of the remainder of the month through all of February, and most of March and April (depending on when Easter falls on a given year) are all exceptional times.

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May through September is also a great season, though even they have their moments of being laden with heavy crowds. This is particularly true during the summer months. According to Disney calendars, projecting “value” days, “regular” days,” and “peak” days, the months of October through December tend to be the priciest. Regarding weather, the months of October through May offer the most moderate temperatures and fair conditions. Do take note, however, that hurricane season runs from June through October.

2. What is the best way to stay up-to-date on the most current day-of times and schedules of events taking place on a specific day at Hollywood Studios?

Answer: For anyone who has ever been to Disney World before, you’ve no doubt seen the ways that scheduled Park happenings are sometimes prone to last-minute changes. But thankfully, you have a trusted source—your very own Times Guide. Printed regularly, each Disney Park has its own Times Guide with all that week’s updates.

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You can be picked up any Park’s Times Guide at any Resort hotel or at a specific Park’s entryway. So if you want to stay in the loop on all the latest happenings at Hollywood Studios, this is an essential resource to have. For those who use smartphones or other devices, it’s also recommended that you download the My Disney Experience app for live, real-time updates as they unfold.

1. Is it possible to tackle everything in the Park in a day?

Answer: Hollywood Studios is admittedly one of Disney World’s smaller parks and features far fewer attractions than parks like the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. So on that note, yes, tackling everything at Hollywood Studios can be easily accomplished in a single day. While some highly in-demand attractions can have extensive waiting periods, even if you burn up several hours waiting for such, you can still successfully meet and exceed any in-park goals all in a day’s time, especially if you plan to arrive bright and early when the Park first opens. In fact, if you purchase Park Hopper, you can split your time between Hollywood Studios and nearby EPCOT easily—all just a ferryboat ride away.

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While some experiences are currently unavailable, the “scene” is forever changing at Hollywood Studios. Furthermore, with brand new things constantly emerging, you’re not going to want to pass on this Park. So get ready for your close-up and plan for a little time in the spotlight with a must-do trip to Hollywood Studios.

What are your favorite aspects about Disney’s Hollywood Studios? 

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