Hollywood Studios was the third park to open at Walt Disney World. Hollywood Studios is undergoing massive change and our guide brings you right up to date with all the latest changes. Our Guide to Hollywood Studios For Beginners guide will be a useful resource for both first-time visitors and repeat guests. We have updated our guide for Summer 2018 with all the latest information including Toy Story Land
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Are you after specific information oh Hollywood Studios? Our handy jumps will lead you key information in our Guide to Hollywood Studios for Beginners.
Dedicated to Show Business the park opened on the 1 May 1989. The theme park was launched by Disney in response to Universal Studios opening in Orlando. The park opened in advance of Universal which did not open its doors until 1990. Opening day attractions were the Great Movie Ride, the Backstage Studio Tour, Magic of Disney Animation and the Monster Sound Show. Later in the summer, the Indiana Jones stunt show opened. Only the stunt show from the opening year is still open.
When the park opened it initially included a working studio. The studio included 3 sound stages and shot many productions for The Disney Channel including the legendary The All-New Mickey Mouse Club featuring a young Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake among others. At one point the studio was the centre for Disney Animation shootings hits including Mulan, Lilo & Stitch & Brother Bear. Sadly the park no longer includes a working studio.
Previously the park’s icons have been the Earful Tower & the Sorcerer’s hat but now the park is without an official icon. Until 2008 the park was officially known as Disney-MGM Studios.
10.8 Million guests visited the park in 2015 making it the eighth-most-visited theme park in the world.
Hollywood Studios Facts
Like all theme parks at Walt Disney World, Hollywood Studios has plenty of interesting statistics and facts. We have created a list of our favorite Hollywood Studios Facts.
Before discussing the park further we should highlight that Hollywood Studios is currently undergoing massive change. Several attractions have closed with exciting new expansions planned. The most exciting changes are Toy Story Land which will open at the end of June 2018 & Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening 2019.
However, the previous rumour that the park will soon be getting a new name appears false.
We have created a guide to all the planned Hollywood Studios Updates over the next few years.
If you want to learn more about Toy Story Land Read Our Guide
Planning Your Visit
To experience Hollywood Studios you should spend time planning your experience. Whilst in recent years the park has become a 1-day affair with the opening of Toy Story Land you will need in our opinion 1.5 days to fully enjoy Hollywood Studios. If you have less time you should consider carefully what are your must-do attractions. Expect long waits for the new attractions. If you don’t have a Fastpass for Slinky Dog Coaster expect 3-4 hour waits.
It is important you understand about Fastpass+ before you visit and the key booking windows.
From the 30 June 2018, there are going to be big changes to Fastpass Tiers at Hollywood Studios:
- The 3 Toy Story Land attractions: Slinky Dog Dash Coaster, Alien Swirling Saucers & Toy Story Mania will form a new Tier 1.
- All other attractions will now be in Tier 2.
Guests are allowed to advance book one option from Tier 1 and two options from Tier 2 each day they visit. You can book 3 selections from Tier 2 if you book no Tier 1 attractions. To make sure you ride all your favourites you need to develop a strategy.
We have created a Hollywood Studios Fastpass Strategy which might help your planning.
Are you big enough to ride?
Don’t create a strategy that includes all family members riding to realise too late not all of you can. Many of the Walt Disney World attractions do carry restrictions. At the Hollywood Studios these are:
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Height Requirement 40 inches.
- Star Tours Height Requirement 40 inches.
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster Height Requirement 48″ inches.
- Slinky Dog Dash 38 inches.
- Alien Swirling Saucers 32 inches.
In addition, both Star Tours and Tower of Terror and not recommended for infants under 3 years but in our opinion only the bravest under 5s should ride.
However, if the kids are too small to ride it does not mean adults and older siblings can’t. Rider Switch, also sometimes known as child swap, allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child.
Single Rider Line
Rock N Roller Coaster does attract long waits. However; it is one of the few rides in Disney World that has a single rider option.
Disabilities at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios provides extensive facilities for all forms of disabilities including visual, auditory, mobility & cognitive disabilities. You are able to contact Walt Disney World at (407) 560-2547 or [email protected] prior to your visit to discuss your requirements. Walt Disney World has created a Disability FAQ which you also might find useful to check before your visit.
Guests of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels & select non-Disney owned resorts can enjoy extra time in Hollywood Studios several days each week. Extra Magic Hours occur either before parks open or after they close to regular guests. Sounds too good to be true?
Remember there are 30000 hotel rooms in WDW so that is a lot of people who can attend.
Extra Magic Hours are often the busiest park days and we usually recommend you consider avoiding. However, for Summer 2018 this is going to be impossible. Every morning throughout July until the last week in August Hollywood Studios will have Extra Magic Hours EVERY MORNING!
Avoiding will be impossible but on certain days there will be both morning & evening Extra Magic Hours. We suspect this might be the best day for off-site guests to visit the park. However, time will tell.
We have created a Guide to Extra Magic Hours so you can learn more.
My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World that allows guests to plan their vacation. My Disney Experience launched in 2012 and is available through either the Walt Disney World Website or the dedicated Mobile App.
Having access to the App is essential when you visit any of the Walt Disney World parks. Filled with handy features the app lets you view and update your plans, make dining reservations, search maps of all 4 theme parks, get real-time attraction wait times and more. Plus with free WiFi now available throughout Walt Disney World you can access this information anywhere.
Our Guide to My Disney Experience provides more information including how to get the App.
Want to avoid crowds on your vacation?
Hollywood Studios is usually busy!
On occasions, it is very, very busy!!!
Following the opening of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land in 2019, this might become the busiest Theme Park in the World.
We have created a Guide to Avoiding Crowds at Walt Disney World which will help you beat the crowds.
Tips, Mistakes & Must-Do Attractions at Hollywood Studios
Anybody who has ever visited Hollywood Studios will have a list of Tips, Mistakes to avoid & Must-Do attractions for a future visit. Here is a selection of ours which we have learnt from previous visits. Learning from other guest experiences is a great way to create your Ultimate Epcot Plan.
We have produced some Hollywood Studios Top Tips to get the most from your visit.
We all make mistakes on vacation. Very occasionally these mistakes can ruin a vacation. Here is our list of Hollywood Studios Mistakes to Avoid.
Do you like characters?
Then Hollywood Studios might be your favourite park.
There is an abundance of characters at Hollywood Studios you will not meet in other parks. These may include:
- Stars of Disney Junior
- Kylo Ren
- Green Army Men
Plus try to find the mysterious Character Palooza to meet some rare characters.
Hollywood Studios is currently undergoing massive change. Make sure you check the My Disney Experience App for the most up to date list of attractions. Current attractions may well move into new lands so we have omitted the use of lands from this guide.
If you want to read more information about Toy Story Land our guide will give you further information.
- HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD Is the opening land of the park containing multiple shops and guest services. This is the Main Street USA of Hollywood Studios.
- JEDI TRAINING: TRIALS OF THE TEMPLE audience participation Jedi Knight adventure. In this attraction, Jedi Knights have assembled Force-sensitive children from throughout the galaxy to test their abilities. You must be between 4&12 to take part. Find out more here.
- STAR TOURS – THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE classic Star Wars attraction in a 3D simulator. The movie clips you are shown are randomly selected. Disney is keeping this very up to date and it now even includes a preview to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
- STAR WARS: PATH OF THE JEDI short film featuring classic clips from all the Star Wars films. This film is really good and should not be missed by any Star Wars fans.
- FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER: A FROZEN SING-ALONG CELEBRATION The title says it all! Great fun for Frozen fans.
- INDIANA JONES ™ EPIC STUNT SPECTACULAR! Now the oldest attraction in the park but still draws in the crowds. Some of the stunts are very impressive.
- MUPPET*VISION 3D 3D movie starring the Muppets. This was the very last Muppet project by Jim Henson. I love the Muppets and therefore love this attraction. However, if time is tight other guests might want to consider skipping.
- TOY STORY MANIA! Will move into the new Toy Story Land but will remain one of Hollywood Studios’ most popular attractions. This 4D attraction allows guest to take part in a selection of classic Midway Games.
- SLINKY DOG DASH a family friendly coaster themed around Disney Pete’s favourite Slinky Dog. Riders of all ages will zip around Toy Story Land on this fun coaster. Expect this attraction to become the hottest attraction in Walt Disney World when it opens this summer.
- ALIEN SWIRLING SAUCERS is a new whip ride. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in California Adventure is in a similar format. Guests will be immersed with Toy Story Aliens & their Flying Saucers.
- THE TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR™ classic Disney thrill attraction. Guest free fall drop at speeds up to 39 mph.
- ROCK ‘N’ ROLLER COASTER STARRING AEROSMITH very fast indoor looping coaster
- BEAUTY & THE BEAST – LIVE ON STAGE Broadway standard show
- STAR WARS LAUNCH BAY exhibit and character meet.
- DISNEY JUNIOR – LIVE ON STAGE! Great for little ones. Skip if none in your party. Will be updated in Fall 2018 to the Disney Junior Dance Party!
- VOYAGE OF LITTLE MERMAID Good fun musical puppet show
- WALT DISNEY PRESENTS Walt Disney life and achievements exhibition. Great place to get out of the rain and actually it is very interesting.
Do not leave Hollywood Studios early as it has some of the best night-time entertainment at Walt Disney World. Make sure you check park schedules to see when the following events will be held.
Disney Movie Magic
Relive your favourite moments in cinema with classic projections that feature the magic of Disney. Projected on the Chinese Theatre, this is a stunning show but it does not adequately replace the much missed Great Movie Ride.
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
The show is based on the Star Wars film series and features fireworks, projections, lasers and searchlights. The outside of the Chinese Theatre is the venue for this stunning show.
A voyage through Mickey Mouse’s imagination that culminates in a battle against the Disney Villains. Some small children might find this show a little scary. This spectacular includes fireworks, characters, water effects, lasers, music, boat floats and mist screen projections. In our opinion don’t miss it.
There are several mini-parades and street entertainers throughout Hollywood Studios. Entertainment to note includes:
- March of the First Order many of your favourite sequel trilogy baddies marching through Hollywood Boulevard.
- Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away characters and film footage in front of Chinese Theatre.
- Sarge and the Green Army Man Drum Corps marching through Toy Story Land
Hollywood Studios has some of the most innovative restaurants in Walt Disney World. There are 5 Table Service Locations:
- Mama Melrose’s Italian Ristorante great Italian.
- 50’s Prime Time Café fantastic fun but don’t put elbows on the table.
- Hollywood and Vine character buffet
- Sci-Fi Dine-In dine in cars
- The Hollywood Brown Derby top signature restaurant.
In addition, there are several excellent quick-service and snack locations. Guest visiting Toy Story Land might want to visit the new Woody’s Lunch Box which will serve meals and soda floats from a walk-up window. Woody’s Lunch Box will be surrounded by Andy’s favourite toys and a giant vintage thermos. Click to see Woody’s Lunch Box Menu.
Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservations are restaurant reservations made in advance at the majority of Disney Table Service Restaurants. The restaurants at Hollywood Studios do fill up and standby lines, if they exist, can be long. Make sure you plan well in advance especially if you have booked the Disney Dining Plan.
Our Guide to Advanced Dining Reservations has further information.
Our Guide to Walt Disney World for Beginners is a great starting place to start planning your vacation.
We have created a fantastic choice of Walt Disney World Planning Tips which you might find useful.