If you have been following the recent news, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is in a state of flux. The iconic (or, based on your perception, rightfully maligned) Sorcerer’s Hat is going to be taken down at the beginning of 2015. Many rides and attractions are being shuttered to make way for a renovation to the park – American Idol Experience closed in September, along with the Studio Backlot Tour and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. We don’t know what it is being considered as replacements – Toy Story Land, Star Wars Land, or Cars Land – or perhaps all 3? While it is easy to dismiss Hollywood Studios because of the closures and the renovations, there are a bevy of attractions here to enjoy (most you can enjoy without a FastPass+ or waiting in much of a line).
For purposes of this article, I am defining attractions as experiences where guests are the member of an audience for a show, rather than a ride. While Hollywood Studios has many enjoyable rides, that is a topic for another posting. Not in any particular order, here is the compete rundown of the attractions for you to enjoy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
10. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – located in the Echo Lake area of the park, this attraction is extremely popular, but is situated in a large theatre to accommodate crowds. The show features a wide array of stunts and the movie magic behind them. If you get to the show early enough, you may be selected to be an “extra” for the show! The show lasts about 30 minutes and showtimes vary depending on the day and the season, so be sure to consult your Times Guide when you arrive at the park!
9. Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy – located right outside of Star Tours, this is an interactive experience for the littler ones in your party. Junior Jedis will be trained in proper usage of lightsabers and will prepare for battle against the Dark Side. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up early for one of these trainings! Those not participating can still watch the battle between good and evil!
8. MuppetVision 3D – located in the Streets of America, this is a wonderful attraction starring everyone’s favorite Muppets. The show does utilize 3D glasses and offers a great opportunity to get off your feet and enjoy some air-conditioning. Again, the theatre is quite large, so no need to use a FastPass on it, but make sure you get there a little early to enjoy the pre-show!
7. Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show – located at the back of Streets of America, this stunt show shows you the behind the scenes tricks used in movies. The show lasts approximately 40 minutes (depending on time of year and the season, there may only be one show per day). The stadium is quite large – you may want to get there just a little early to make sure you can get seats in the shade. I’ve seen the show many times and always enjoy going back and watching it!
6. Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream – this attraction wins the award for the most overlooked attraction at Disney World. Located on Mickey Avenue (right near Toy Story Midway Mania), One Man’s Dream offers you a rare glimpse at Walt Disney memorabilia and photos. It tells the story of Walt’s creation of Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Disney characters and the history and creation of the Disney theme parks. The experience is topped off with a short movie about the life and history of Walt Disney. The attraction is self-guided, so it can take as long (or as short) as you’d like it. It is a wonderful history lesson that is sure to only increase your appreciation of the parks.
5. Voyage of the Little Mermaid – this attraction tells the story of the Little Mermaid using live actors and black light puppetry. The show runs constantly, so you shouldn’t have to wait in line too long. You may get just a little wet during the show from the mist that is used as part of the show. You’ll also get to enjoy some of the songs from the movie!
4. The Magic of Disney Animation – this attraction allows you to see how animators create your favorite Disney characters and how the animation process works. You can also learn how to draw some classic Disney characters as well!
3. Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage – the story of Belle and the Beast is told live-action in a covered theatre. The show features some of the classic songs from the movie. Even though it is covered, the theatre is still outside, so you may want to consider grabbing some water from any of the food vendors at the Sunset Ranch Market before heading in.
2. Fantasmic! – this is an amazing show that will capture anyone’s imagination. The show features your favorite Disney characters, water elements, fireworks, pyrotechnics, and much more to show the power of imagination and dreams in conquering the forces of evil. Fantasmic is extremely popular, so make sure to get there early (or go on a day when there are two showings of Fantasmic). You may also want to consider utilizing the Fantasmic Dining Package – you can eat at select restaurants and you will receive preferred seating for Fantasmic. Reservations are required, so make sure to book those before you head to to park!
1. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (seasonal) – every year from early November to early January, the Streets of America are transformed into a holiday wonderland of music, lights, and pure wonderment. The show features lights choreographed to classic Christmas music. Multiple YouTube videos are available of this, but it is no substitute to seeing this attraction in person!
Hollywood Studios’ conceit is to celebrate the magic and majesty that movies and Hollywood has to offer. Movies have entertained generations of people, so it makes sense that a park dedicated to celebrating that tradition would feature so many crowd-pleasing attractions. Be sure to enjoy some on your next trip!
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