• What is... Hollywood Studios?

    What is... Hollywood Studios?

    Luiz Alberto H.

    Created: Jan 18, 2024

    Last Updated: Jan 22, 2024

    What is... Hollywood Studios?

    Hollywood Studios is one of the theme parks with the biggest number of new lands and attractions added in the past decade or so. Previously, this beautiful site devoted to movies and cartoons was mostly known for the classic Tower of Terror, the night show Fantasmic and the Aerosmith roller coaster. Nowadays? Oh, it got better. A lot better. 

    Toy Story Land was added in 2018 and is a very colorful corner that both kids and adults can enjoy. Galaxy’s Edge, the land dedicated to Star Wars, launched back in 2019 and it’s one of the most atmospheric areas in all of Disney World. Not enough? Mickey & Minnie’s Runway Railway is another great dark ride that opened in 2020 and certainly deserves your attention. That is a staggering amount of new content if we consider it was all added in the last five years or so, and the new attractions certainly help elevate Hollywood Studios to one of the best theme parks in the United States.

    It’s also worth noting that traversing through the new lands is a complete joy. Galaxy’s Edge does make it feel like you are inside a Star Wars set as you make your way through Tatooine. Toy Story Land, on the other hand, is incredibly colorful and sometimes makes you feel like you are a character in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” with giant wooden blocks and toys surrounding you. 

    Disney Hollywood Studios Star Wars Galaxys Edge Xwing.webp

    Disney’s Hollywood Studios is probably the most packed Disney park after Magic Kingdom. It’s also not so open and spacious like Epcot Studios, which can make some areas feel more crowded. I’d definitely recommend two visits here if you want to check out everything. I’d also recommend a Disney Genie+, even if Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn’t included on it. It’s still a pretty good deal that will quickly get you inside a good number of amazing rides.

    Now it’s time to check in detail why exactly Hollywood Studios is ranked amongst the best parks in Florida.


    Rating: 10/10

    Disney Hollywood Studios Grand Avenue Muppets.webp

    While Universal’s Islands of Adventure gets a perfect ten basically because of its amazing thrill rides, Disney’s Hollywood Studios receives the same score based on the variety and quality of its most recent rides. Want something more thrilling with high octane speeds? You can go to the Rock n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Want something fun and casual for the whole family? Sure, there is Toy Story Mania. What about a live show to just sit down and stretch your legs after lunch? You have two very different options: Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.

    Of course, it’s impossible to talk about awesome attractions and not mention Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which has won for the third year in a row the Golden Ticket Award for the best dark ride in the world. Yep, it’s that good. It’s actually so good that many consider the queue a ride by itself. Without spoiling anything, I’d certainly say that it’s the best queue in Disney World. It manages to tell a story and use some neat tricks to “teleport” guests to different environments. Very, very cool.

    Rise of the Resistance also won’t let you down when you finally make your way inside the vehicle. This is a long ride which will bring you face to face with Imperial Stormtroopers (yes, their aim is still bad), AT-ATs and Kylo Ren. The fun thing about this ride is that everything is set to hyper mode: the space is way bigger when compared to other dark rides, the visual effects are way better and the props and animatronics in each environment have an extra level of detail. Overall, it’s just a very fun ride. 

    Let’s not forget to talk about the Tower of Terror as well, which is one of the most recognizable attractions in the world. And you know what? It’s still one of the best rides even after its debut way back in 1994. It definitely helped that Disney kept updating the Tower of Terror through the years. It only had a single drop when it opened, then they added one more, then another one and then they made the drops completely random! Yep, now you can make your way inside the elevator and sometimes you will even be launched up before the first drop! It’s an incredibly immersive ride with updated visual effects and you should. Not. Miss. It.

    Since Hollywood Studios celebrates the history of movies and animation in general, it’s no wonder that you can find awesome live shows here. Indiana Jones has a pretty cool stunt show that you should go once, but don’t forget about Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration for all those that want to scream Let it Go at the top of their lungs. If that’s not enough, there is also Fantasmic!, a special, beautiful thirty minute long night show that only happens on certain days and features Mickey Mouse battling the Evil Queen and a giant dragon.


    Rating: 10/10

    Disney Hollywood Studios Toy Story Land Midway.webp

    I’m a big, big Star Wars fan. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie of all time, Knights of the Old Republic is one of my favorite games ever and I’ve even read a few of the Expanded Universe books. Let me tell you that Disney did a great job with Galaxy’s Edge, which is the Star Wars area of Hollywood Studios. This is to Star Wars fans what The Wizarding World in Universal is to Potterheads. 

    The feeling of being part of a galaxy far, far away is definitely there, even if you skip all the rides and just focus on visiting stores and taking pictures. Yes, keep your phone in hand, there is a lot of cool stuff to see and record on camera. The most mind-blowing thing is probably the full-size Millenium Falcon which is located near the entrance to Smuggler's Run. This is a huge, imposing spaceship which looks absolutely incredible up close.

    There are also a bunch of characters walking around Galaxy's Edge, from Rey to R2-D2 and Stormtroopers following Imperial Officers. They all do an amazing job roleplaying who they are supposed to be. For example, I was with my cousin there back in march 2023 and he was wearing a t-shirt with an image of the best character in the whole series, Jar Jar Binks. The Stormtroopers came by to talk to us and asked if we had seen any Rebel spies nearby. I said no and pointed to my cousin’s shirt, asking if they had seen that (beautiful) specimen before. They recognized Jar Jar, became all scared out of a sudden and just ran away. Yep, the presence of Jar Jar Binks is just that powerful.

    Okay, Galaxy’s Edge is great, what about the rest of the park? It’s also good. Toy Story Land is perfect especially for kids, with giant crayons, playing blocks and adult size Army Men patrolling the area while yelling orders and playing drums. It’s also here that you can meet Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jesse and a handful of characters from the movies. Just keep in mind that Toy Story Land can get very, very crowded, but it’s still a joy just to take a stroll there. 


    Rating: 10/10

    Disney Hollywood Studios entrance plaza.webp

    Oh my god, a third perfect ten in a row!? Yep! I’d say that Hollywood Studios is one of the best theme parks for teenagers and kids above the age of ten. They can basically ride any attraction and have an amazing time at Galaxy’s Edge, Tower of Terror and the Rock n’ Roller Coaster, while still enjoying everything else the park has to offer.

    Younger guests and toddlers might have a better time at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but there are still a lot of fun surprises for them here. Toy Story Land is the perfect place to bring kids under ten, especially since the Slinky Dog Dash is such a good family coaster. Want another good family ride? Toy Story Mania! is a 4D shooting game which looks like something that came straight out of the Nintendo Switch, perfectly suitable for those that want to aim for a high score and are known for their competitive spirit.

    What most kids will definitely enjoy is the huge amount of shows and live presentations available at Hollywood Studios. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular features a bunch of fights  which will keep teenagers at the edge of their seats. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is a traditional stage performance with music from the movie and it’s just a joy to watch. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is a live musical and a must watch for fans of the movie. Which is probably every kid on planet Earth. Oh, there is also Fantasmic!, the premier live show on Hollywood Studios, which is a must see for both kids and adults alike.

    With that in mind, let’s see how different age ranges should fare in Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

    0-5 years old: not a bad choice, even if I think the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are better suited for this group since there’s more chance for character meet & greets there. 

    6-9 years old: hey, that’s a good age range for Hollywood Studios. Kids are probably tall enough to go to every attraction, even if some of them might be terrified and want to stay away from the Tower of Terror. They will have a great time at Toy Story Land and checking out all the live shows.

    10-14 years old: children around this might think they are too old for the live shows and Toy Story Land, but bring them to Toy Story Mania, they will love it. Galaxy’s Edge is now more interesting to them as well.

    15+ years old: probably the best age range for Hollywood Studios. Fans of Star Wars will love Galaxy’s Edge and can have a great time visiting the Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. Highly recommended. 


    Rating: 7/10

    Disney Hollywood Studios Vine.webp

    As it’s the case with all Disney World parks, there is a good assortment of fancy table-service restaurants and quick-service options for you to choose from at Hollywood Studios. I like that a bunch of restaurants have a theme behind them, like the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, which is built to make it look like a kitchen from a sitcom decades old or something that came out straight from Wandavision. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater offers American food and resembles a classic drive-in, where guests sit down at tables that resemble vintage cars and can watch movies on a big screen while eating.

    You can also try character dining at the Hollywood & Vine, a restaurant that offers a buffet with a wide range of choices and the chance to take pictures with Disney favorites like Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto. Prices for a single adult are around $59, and you should probably make a reservation a few weeks in advance.

    I do find it weird that there isn’t a huge, table-service restaurant inside Galaxy’s Edge. The best option there, in my opinion, is Oga’s Cantina. An amusing bar for you to try out drinks you’ve never seen before, all of them with names that would make a Star Wars fan proud, including the Jedi Mind Trick and Jabba Juice. The atmosphere is also great, and resembles the Mos Eisley cantina from Star Wars: A New Hope. Oga’s Cantina gets so packed that sometimes it’s a good idea to make a reservation months in advance.

    Ride Queues

    Rating: 7/10

    Disney Hollywood Studios Slinky Dog Dash vehicle 2.webp

    This is something you must know: Disney Genie+ is incredibly valuable at Hollywood Studios. Sure, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn’t included on it, but you can basically use it anywhere else. Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway are just a few examples that make use of the service. The price range goes from $15 all the way up to $35 depending on the day of your visit.

    Hollywood Studios is usually a very packed theme park, receiving almost as much traffic as the Magic Kingdom. The Toy Story Land is probably the most crowded area, and you need a lot of patience for some of the rides. Slinky Dog Dash usually has a 120 min queue, and it’s common to wait in line for 70 min to experience Toy Story Mania. 

    Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has two of the most hyped rides in the entire park and is based on one of the biggest entertainment franchises in history. Yep, it’s packed. Rise of the Resistance used to have the Virtual Queue system, but now only a standard line and the Lightning Lane pass are available. Much like Slinky Dog Dash, it’s very common to arrive at Rise of the Resistance and see a 120 min queue. Expect a little less for Smuggler’s Run, something around 60-70 min at peak times. 

    Remember that queue times can vary a lot, especially during holidays, the weekend and the entire month of July, when every ride gets absolutely chaotic.

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