Disney’s Hollywood Studios is my husband’s favorite park at Disney World. Which I can certainly understand because it is filled with attractions that boys of all ages will love. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s plenty of things here for the girls to enjoy as well!
Depending on your group and what everyone wants to do, you should be able to do this park in a single day. Your mileage may vary on that, and with the inception of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge it will become harder to do in a single day if that is your bag.
I’ll try to give you an idea in this guide of all of the fun things there are to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’ll also give you a little bit of help along the way with where to eat and give you a brief review of the attractions so that you can figure out what you might want to do and what you might want to skip depending on how much time you slate for this park.
History Of Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios was originally known as Disney-MGM Studios Theme park and opened on May 1, 1989.
As the third of the four major parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios was inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood. Featuring film, television, music, and theatre it has a very different feel than any of the other parks.
In fact, originally Disney’s Hollywood Studios had a fully functioning backlot which allowed it to be used as a television production studio. In 2008 the park changed the name to Disney’s Hollywood Studios as we know it today.
If you want to read more about the rich history of this park, check out the video below from Expedition Theme Park.
Daily Operation and Hours
Generally, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is open from 9 AM to 9 PM. However, operating hours vary by season and the park reserves the right to change them whenever they wish.
They also offer Extra Magic Hours from 8 AM to 9 AM on Sundays for guests. But here again, this can change at any time and they may offer special Extra Magic Hours depending on the time of year.
You’ll want to check out our Disney world maps for a Hollywood Studios Map if you need one right now.
Map Of Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Rides and Attractions at Hollywood Studios
Again, I’m going to give you an overview of what is available. But really it will be up to you and your party to choose what you want to do. Keep in mind that you’ll want to prioritize FastPasses for Toy Story Land or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge if at all possible.
Toy Story Mania – This is a 3D screen-based, Toy Story themed, shooter game. This is a pretty fun game that you can share with the kids. I usually like to do this as a break in the day to give us a chance to sit. You may want to consider a FastPass for this if you can’t get one for Slinky Dog Dash or any of the other Toy Story-themed rides especially if your kids are really into Toy Story.
Slinky Dog Dash – This ride is just addictive! It is one of the newest attractions that has been added with the addition of Toy Story Land. One of the most fun rollercoasters in all of Disney World in my opinion and a must-do. Especially if you’ve never done it before. Due to how new this ride is, you’ll definitely need a FastPass at least until Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens up.
Alien Swirling Saucers – It’s like the teacups in the Magic Kingdom….but with Aliens! These cute little guys zip you around in circles. The ride is fun, and it doesn’t seem to whip you around too fast. Although you might want to avoid it anyway if spinny rides tend to get to you.
Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – This Frozen themed sing-along for kids is absolutely great and is a must-do for our daughter on every single trip now! There’s some really raucous humor for the adults built into the show as well. The Royal Historians of Arendelle retell the story of Frozen through the art of song.
Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage – This is the story of Beauty and The Beast told live on stage. You shouldn’t need a FastPass for this as it’s not usually that busy. If your little ones are really into Belle or Beauty and The Beast, then you won’t want to miss this dramatically choreographed tale.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – This is a scary free-fall thrill ride themed after the Twilight Zone that will literally leave you catching your breath. This ride has a 40″ height requirement and if you want to ride it, you’ll probably need to get a FastPass unless you don’t mind waiting in a long line. Although a 30-minute wait would totally be worth dropping 13 stories. You never know how many times you’ll go up and down. I think our record is 5 though.
Walt Disney Presents… – This is a walkthrough area that is a tribute to the man who built the dream, Walt Disney himself. We’ve also seen this area used as a preview for new attractions coming to the Disney World theme parks, like Guardians of the Galaxy. This is an overlooked high traffic area that you’ll need at least 10 minutes to explore.
MuppetVision 3D – This is a 3D show featuring some of your favorite Muppets. You shouldn’t need a FastPass for this one as the line isn’t usually very long. While the comedy here is pretty good and the kids will like it, we’ve never found this to be one of the things on our need-to-do list.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid – This is a fairly enjoyable stage show that is worth seeing if you have the time. You’ll notice a lot of black light imagery being used in this show. There are some pretty neat technical effects that make it fun and honestly it’s better for little kids as the colors are very vibrant. You shouldn’t need a FastPass for this either.
Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster – Personally, this rollercoaster is my cup of tea! It’s a fast and very intense indoor coaster with a loop. If you like Rock music, then you’ll love this Aerosmith inspired rollercoaster as it whizzes you through the night in a 24 passenger stretch limo. Definitely FastPass worthy and you definitely must love rollercoasters.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – If you an 80’s kid like me then you grew up watching Indiana Jones. This stunt and stage show is one of the older attractions at the park, but it still just as awesome as the first time I saw it! It offers a variety of different scenes with some humor twisted in as well. If you want to make your husband happy, take him to this, the best part is you shouldn’t even need FastPasses.
Disney Junior Dance Party!
Replacing Disney Junior Live is a new high-energy, live show that is inspired by some of the most popular Disney Junior shows on TV, including Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Doc McStuffins, The Lion Guard and the newest hit series Vampirina.
Fantasmic – Fantasmic is a must-do when you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This nighttime spectacular takes you into Mickey Mouse’s dreams in a stage show featuring projections, characters on stage, boats, fire, fireworks, and more.
You don’t go to this show for the fireworks. It’s literally an experience that can’t be aptly described. I’ll just say that if you only have one night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, put this on your must-do list. Don’t waste your time on other things, because it will just blow you away.
You will need a FastPass for this in order to get good seating. But if you want the best seats in the house, then you should do the dining package for Fantasmic, as it will give you some of the best seats in the house. (I mean you are going to eat anyway right?).
One last tip about this, when you are leaving Fantasmic, go to the top of the stairs make a left and keep going straight instead of taking the main exit with everyone else. It will put you outright in the middle of the main street in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That way whether you want to leave the park, or stay and enjoy the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular, it will put you in a nearly perfect viewing spot with a quick exit.
Star Wars At Hollywood Studios
Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple – Has your child ever wanted to become a real Jedi? Then this stage show is perfect for them! If they are an introvert then they won’t care about this much, as it does put them on stage. Your child needs to be between 4 and 12 years of age.
Availability is limited, so you’ll want to sign them up first thing in the morning right after rope drop, or if you have a character breakfast in the morning it’s the perfect time to go right next door to the Prime Time 50’s cafe’ and get them registered. Check out our guide to the Jedi Training Academy if you want to learn more.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – My husband rode this 4 times in a row one quiet morning and has been addicted to it for years! Basically, it’s a 3D motion simulator ride that takes to locations in the Star Wars Universe, including Hoth, Kashyyyk, Naboo, or Tatooine, among others.
There are actually more than 54 different ride combinations you can experience, so each ride should feel different. The ride is fast-paced, and the locations you visit are randomized, this is how my husband can ride it several times in a row and never get bored. It does have a 40″ height requirement if you get motion sick sorry, this isn’t the droid you are looking for.
You may need a FastPass for this, the wait time seems to vary. My husband’s tip, if you want to get on this ride repeatedly, then you need to do a character breakfast and head DIRECTLY over there after you are done eating. There is virtually no wait time at the beginning of the day.
Star Wars: Path of the Jedi – I’m not sure why they still have this. It opened right around the theatrical launch for The Force Awakens. It’s a rather boring long-form trailer for The Force Awakens and honestly, it’s a waste of time in our opinion.
Star Wars Launch Bay – There are a few gift shops in Disney World where my husband lingers. This is one of them. Completely Star Wars themed with quite literally an actual Museum inside, if you love the movies then you could spend a long time in here. They do have three meet and greets at the time of writing this. Kylo Ren (shortest wait time for feeling intimidated), BB-8 (medium wait time for a really awkward meet and greet), Chewbacca (long wait time for the biggest hugs in the Galaxy).
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (AKA: Star Wars Land) – It’s been long-awaited and highly touted, this massive section of the park is approximately 14 acres and creates a new planet in the Star Wars timeline called Batuu.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – This new experience will put you behind the controls of the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs!
Star Wars: Rise of The Resistance – If you want a ride that will put you in the middle of an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order then this is it. Now one of the most sought after rides in Walt Disney World.
Daily Events at Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular – This used to be my husband’s favorite fireworks show in all of Disney World. But, since Disney changed to a much lighter pyrotechnics display, it’s kind of a let down for him and he tends to enjoy other shows more at this point. If you are a fan and you have time to catch it, then it is worthy of viewing at least once.
Disney Movie Magic – It’s like a pre-show for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular and is a 10-minute long projection show featuring movies (including Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Book, and TRON). It ends about 30 minutes before the fireworks start.
As you are roaming around Disney’s Hollywood Studios throughout the day you may see the Citizens of Hollywood performers. There are also other character meet & greets throughout the day like Vampirina, and play areas for the kids. We will be updating this post, but for now, you can read our review of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Dining at Hollywood Studios
Now we realize that we aren’t mentioning every single nook and cranny of things to eat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but we’re going to give you some highlights and discuss some of our favorites. There are plenty of places to get pizza and other kids favorites as well as food trucks where you can grab a quick bite. There are also a few other seasonally open places that we won’t get into here as well. Such as Minnie’s Holiday Dine, Star Wars Character Breakfast, and character dinner.
Hollywood and Vine – This is our personal favorite restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not just for the fact that it’s a great meet and greet with Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake, Vampirina, and Roadster Racer Goofy. But rather because the buffet here is pretty darn amazing! Also great if you have picky eaters because they have everything under the sun here for food. There are times during the year that they will have a special meet and greet with Minnie, Mickey, Donald and Daisy, but I won’t get into all the specifics on that here.
50’s Prime Time Cafe – Welcome to the 50’s! This diner is the quintessential throwback American diner with Mom’s kitchen built right in. Just a warning…. keep your elbows off the table and take your hat off when you sit down to dinner! If you want a really good meal then this table service restaurant will treat you like your family and give you family sized portions as well! Highly recommended.
Baseline Tap House – Located in a bar inspired brick building right across from Tatooine Traders. This is a great place to grab a quick appetizer and a California craft beer, wine or your favorite cocktail.
Fairfax Fare – I found the food here to be quite good as well as the portion sizes. They have a good variety of quick-service options which include some Tex-Mex inspired options, and also have one heck of a pulled pork sandwich.
Hollywood Brown Derby – The theme of this restaurant is directly matching that of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant. You’ll see your favorite Golden age stars adorning the walls in caricature form. The restaurant has all of the Hollywood touches that you would expect. You may even catch a live performer singing music in the background here from time to time. The menu is very small, but the food is very good and won’t break the bank. Totally worth a reservation if you need one.
ABC Commissary – Counter service for the stars! This restaurant is themed after the commissary of a working studio lot. Posters adorn the wall paying homage to ABC entertainment past and present. Lunch is served like any other counter service. However, for dinner, you’ll place your order, take a pager, and when your order’s ready, it will be delivered right to your table!
Woody’s Lunch Box – Our newest favorite and the newest addition to the lineup of restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The food here is actually pretty good and they have a great selection for your picky eaters as well. It’s quick service, but it does the trick, and honestly, it’s the only place to grab a bite while you are in Toy Story Land. But the barbeque brisket is to die for and is not to be missed in my opinion!
Shopping at Hollywood Studios
Main Entrance Area
- Crossroads of the World – Small souvenirs.
- Oscar’s Classic Car Souvenirs – Nascar items.
- Celebrity 5 & 10 – Standard Disney Studios souvenirs.
- Cover Story – Get your picture on the cover of a magazine.
- The Darkroom – Camera and film sales.
- Disney & Co. – Disney fashion and accessories.
- Edith & Adrian’s Head to Toe – Personalized character merchandise.
- Keystone Clothiers – Upscale clothing for men and women.
- Mickey’s of Hollywood – Character merch and souvenirs.
- Pluto’s Toy Palace – Disney character toys and gifts.
- The Beverly Sunset – For the Pixar movie lover in the family.
- Carthay Circle Theater – Disney themed home and holiday items.
- Legends of Hollywood – Children’s costumes and accessories.
- Mouse about Town – Disney clothing and housewares.
- Planet Hollywood Super Store – Planet Hollywood stuff.
- Reel Vogue – Toy Story and general Pixar merchandise.
- Rock Around the Shop – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster souvenir shop. Featuring rock-related merchandise.
- Sunset Club Couture – Personalized watches and jewelry.
- Sunset Ranch Pins and Souvenirs – Pin traders paradise.
- Tower Hotel Gifts – “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” gifts
- Launch Bay Cargo – Everything Star Wars.
- The Studio Store – Features items and souvenirs from a current Disney animated release (theme changes frequently).
- In Character – Children’s costumes and accessories.
Echo Lake Area
- Frozen Fractal Gifts – If you are looking for Frozen merchandise, this place has literally everything.
- Indiana Jones™ Adventure Outpost – Indiana Jones themed gifts and souvenirs.
- Tatooine Traders – Star Tours puts you right inside this shop when you get off the ride. How convenient! Plenty of Star Wars merchandise and you can get custom posters made here. We did that once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away!
- It’s a Wonderful Shop – What would shopping in any Disney park be without a Christmas shop!
- Stage One Company Store – Tons of fine art, sketches, and assorted other merchandise from Star Wars and more.
Special Events at Hollywood Studios
- Sunset Seasons Greetings – Watch as the Tower of Terror is transformed into a winter wonderland with “snope” and all!
- Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam – A festive fireworks display that takes over the nightly spot of the Star Wars fireworks.
Coming Soon To Hollywood Studios
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: Slated to open in the spring of 2020, this ride is going to be revolutionary and unlike any trackless vehicle ride they’ve ever had before at Disney World. This ride will focus entirely on Mickey Mouse and will be loosely based on a new Mickey Mouse cartoon short called “perfect picnic” and looks like it will be one awesome adventure for us all to enjoy.
I would strongly urge you to put a solid day aside for this park. I think you will find a special place in your travel planning for Disney’s Hollywood Studios just like we have. If you’d like more tips for your visit to Hollywood Studios, then check out our tips page over here.