When Michael Eisner dedicated Disney’s Hollywood Studios or as it was known at that time, Disney-MGM Studios, he declared “Welcome to the Hollywood that never was and always will be.” Over the years, the park has morphed away from the working studio idea to a theme park full of the best attractions Walt Disney World has to offer.
The Studios (as it was called at one time) no longer creates movies which is a shame. It was fun to watch the animators work. However, the rides here are as good as it gets anywhere.
Hollywood Boulevard – The Introduction
Welcome to Hollywood, or an unreasonable facsimile thereof. This is the main entrance area of Hollywood Studios. There are lots of shops here to slow your progress into the park or to get that last dollar out of your wallet as you leave. During the day, “movie stars” appear and are “filmed” making their big debut.
Hollywood Boulevard ends at a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, which used to house The Great Movie Ride, but has been taken over by a new attraction – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – in 2019.
This is a great way to start and end any day at a theme park.
Echo Lake – The Scenic Detour
Echo Lake, the small pool of water at the end of Hollywood Boulevard is a mix of show, singing and a ride to a galaxy far far away.
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – A live show full of thrilling stunts based on the Indiana Jones movie series.
- For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – Join Anna and Elsa for a musical sing-along to your favorite songs.
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – Take a ride to Endor on Star Tours, an inter-galactic journey you won’t soon forget.
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple – Kids can becoming Jedis in this interactive show.
Grand Avenue / Commissary Lane – The Pit Stop
This area has undergone a major overhaul. It’s mostly restaurants and a couple character greeting spots now.
- Muppet-Vision 3-D – A hilarious 3-D experience starring Kermit and friends. Even the old guys from the balcony get in the act.
This is a great spot to slow down – or fuel up.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” Wow. Just Wow. That’s about all you can say about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It is by far, the best, most immersive land Disney has ever created. You’ll almost expect to see Chewbacca roaming around. (Hint: he actually does.)
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – Take a ride in the Millennium Falcon. The fastest hunk of junk in the universe. You might even be the pilot. Really Really cool.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – This is the best ride Disney has ever created. Step into a real Star Wars adventure. You get to play the part of Rebel Spy. What could possible go wrong?
There are only 2 attractions in Galaxy’s Edge, but they are 2 of the best attractions in the world.
Toy Story Land – Become an Honorary Toy
A few decades ago, Pixar and Disney teamed up on a little film called Toy Story. It wasn’t very successful (yeah, right). It only became one of the biggest blockbusters ever. Now Disney and Pixar have done it again. They’ve teamed up on an entire Toy Story themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s quickly become the longest line at the Studios, and that’s saying something.
- Toy Story Mania! – Join the Toy Story gang in a mid-way style arcade adventure.
- Slinky Dog Dash – race around a Hot Wheels Track on Slinky Dog’s back.
- Alien Saucer Swirl – spin around Pepperonia with your very own green alien guide – but watch out for “the claaaaaawwwwwwww!”
Disney and Pixar, does it get any better?
Animation Courtyard – Uncle Walt (and More)
This area has really suffered during the construction, and is now a mishmash of things that don’t really belong together, but they’ve located here out of convenience.
- Walt Disney Presents – A walking tour of images and items from Uncle Walt’s life and Disney history. It’s history buffs dream.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – A live, musical presentation of scenes taken from the movie.
- Disney Junior Live On Stage – a puppet show with some of your kids’ favorite television characters.
- Star Wars Launch Bay – exhibits, activities, and more to get you hyped up for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The tribute to Uncle Walt is amazing.
Sunset Boulevard is the blockbuster area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There’s only 3 attractions and one show down this not so sleepy lane, but they are the parks biggest, loudest, and busiest. The first attraction on Sunset Boulevard is Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. Then come the biggies, The Hollywood Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. WOW. It doesn’t get any better than this. OK, that was before Galaxy’s Edge. It’s still pretty cool.
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage – A live production taken from the Broadway musical.
- The Twlight Zone Tower of Terror – Journey into a world, a world of time and space, a world where the bottom drops out, over and over.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Starring Aerosmith – Join Aerosmith on the most hair-raising limo ride you’ll ever take.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to some of the most uniquely themed Disney World Restaurants. Here you’ll find a drive in movie restaurant and a lunch counter in a larger-than-life lunch box. Check them out.
- ABC Commissary – a menu with American classics in an art deco setting.
- Backlot Express – fast lunch and dinner in Eacho Lake.
- BaseLine Tap House – a grown-up lounge with light snacks.
- Oga’s Cantina – Snack and drink in a Star Wars Cantina
- PizzeRizzo – a pizza restaurant based on the Muppets and especially the character Rizzo the Rat. (Open Seasonally)
- Ronto Roasters – Star Wars food cooked with a podracer engine
- Sunset Ranch Market – there are several quick service offerings along Sunset Boulevard with a variety of foods and outdoor seating.
- The Trolley Car Café – this is the place for your Starbucks fix.
- Woody’s Lunch Box – see what the toys snack on from Andy’s leftovers.
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo – out-of-this-world quick service food in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe – take a trip back to a slower time where families dined together right in the kitchen.
- Hollywood & Vine – character dining buffet starring Disney Junior characters or Minnie and friends.
- The Hollywood Brown Derby – take a trip back in time to a more elegant age when movie stars roamed Hollywood Boulevard and the Cobb Salad was a thing of legend. *signature dining location
- Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano – get some interesting Italian food with a Hollywood flair.
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant – jump in a 6-seater and watch old time Sci Fi movies under the stars.
There are lots of snack carts selling popcorn, slushes, ice cream, coffee, and pretzels throughout the park as well as a few cute walk-up windows with ever changing menus – Oasis Canteen, Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner, and Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction.
The daily entertainment schedule at Disney Hollywood Studios is as good as it gets.
- Fantasmic! – Fantasmic! is a spectacular voyage into the dark world of Disney villains as they battle Sorcerer Mickey, complete with fireworks and dancing water. This is a must see show.
- Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular: nightly fireworks show themed to Star Wars and set to the John Williams score.
- March of the First Order: Captain Phasma leads a brigage of Storm Troopers through Animation Courtyard to Hollywood Boulevard.
- In a Galaxy Far, Far Away – stage show with video and lots of characters from Star Wars onstage.
- Path of the Jedi – cool video presentation to catch you up in case you’re not a lifelong Star Wars fan like Dad.
Dad LOVES Christmas at Walt Disney World, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has lots of fun extras to get you into the holiday spirit each year.
Hurray for Hollywood
Hollywood Studios was on the drawing board for several years before Universal Studios announced they were going to build a theme park in Orlando. This get Disney moving and the new movie park was born.
Having a plan for touring the park is the only way to go. If you want to have a Perfect day at the Studios, you need to know how to avoid the crowds. At Touringplans.com, they provide several touring plans to help you navigate your way around the park with the least hassle. They also have an app for your phone that will show you the wait times on all the rides. Check it out today.
Get started on your trip today
How about a trip to see Disney Hollywood Studios in person? Doesn’t that sound fun. Here’s what you can do. Go over to Dad’s partners at Destinations to Travel and let them get your Perfect Vacation started today. What are you waiting for?
Dad’s Bottom Line
A lot of people over the years have complained that the Disney Studios or Disney-MGM Studios, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or whatever, was a work that was thrown together to compete with Universal and that the park needed more attractions. I think Disney finally got the word and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has become a complete and “fabulous darling” vacation experience.