Hollywood Studios was the third park to open at Walt Disney World and has been undergoing massive changes over the last few years. Our guide brings you right up to date with all the latest changes, including Toy Story Land, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We have updated our Guide to Hollywood Studios with all the latest information for 2020.
Jump Right Into Our Guide to Hollywood Studios
Are you after specific information in our Guide to Hollywood Studios for Beginners? Our handy jumps will lead you straight to key information.
- Hollywood Studios The Basics including the history of Hollywood Studios.
- Big Changes at Hollywood Studios just what has been happening at Hollywood Studios in recent years.
- Planning your
v isitto Hollywood Studios all the essential information to plan a great vacation including Fastpass, Rider Switch and the Single Rider Line.
- Hollywood Studios Questions and AnswersDo you have a question about Hollywood Studios? You will probably find the answer here.
- Hollywood Studios Tips & Tricks Our very best Hollywood Studios Hacks.
- Current Hollywood Studios Attractions we have brought our guide right up to date including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. We have details of what you will find in each of the lands and the other park entertainment offerings including the fantastic evening shows.
- Dining at Hollywood Studios All about the fantastic dining options available at Hollywood Studios
- Coming To Hollywood Studios all the news and rumors from the park.
Hollywood Studios Basics
The World you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood—not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was—and always will be.Michael Eisner, May 1, 1989
Dedicated to Show Business, the park opened on the 1 May 1989. Disney launched the theme park in response to Universal Studios opening in Orlando.
The park opened in advance of Universal which did not open its doors until 1990. 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 All-New Mickey Mouse Club featuring a young Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake among others.
At one point, the studio was the home of Disney Animation. Animation hits produced at Hollywood Studios included Mulan, Lilo & Stitch & Brother Bear. Sadly the park no longer consists of a working studio with both the sound stages and animation studio now closed.
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.
The relationship between Disney & MGM was not always comfortable & Disney was contractually prohibited from using the name in certain markets. When unable to use the name The Disney Studios was commonly used. Hollywood Studios became the official name of the park on January 7, 2008.
10.8 Million guests visited the park in 2015, making it the eighth-most visited theme park in the world. It is anticipated, following the opening of recent new attractions, attendances will rise significantly.
Like all theme parks at Walt Disney World, Hollywood Studios has plenty of interesting statistics and facts. For example, did you know that the park’s original layout featured a large Hidden Mickey, which can only be seen on aerial photographs of the park? Click the link if you want to see more of our
Big Changes at Hollywood Studios
Before discussing the park further, we should highlight that Hollywood Studios has been undergoing massive changes in recent years. Several attractions have closed with exciting new expansions taking their place.
The majority of changes are now complete, but we expect there to be some smaller changes in the next few years. The biggest new additions to Hollywood Studios are:
- Toy Story Land
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
These new additions have meant that Hollywood Studios now attracts enormous crowds. The list of must-do attractions is probably bigger at Hollywood Studios compared to the other Walt Disney World theme parks. Visiting Hollywood Studios probably needs more careful planning than any other Disney World Park, and this guide will help you with that process.
Planning Your Visit to Hollywood Studios
To experience Hollywood Studios, you should spend time planning your experience. While in recent years, the park has become a 1-day affair with recent expansions, it will now take at least 2 days. If you have less time available, you should consider what your must-do attractions are. Expect long waits for all the new attractions at Hollywood Studios.
There are key booking windows to secure dining reservations and make ride reservations at Hollywood Studios. Also, if you want to ride Rise of the Resistance, there are currently special Virtual Lines in place. In this section, we will guide you through all the Essential Hollywood Studios’ knowledge you need to enjoy your vacation.
Hollywood Studios Park Hours
Park hours usually get
Click the link to get all the latest Walt Disney World Park Hours.
Refurbishments & Closures
Walt Disney World is constantly changing and it almost inevitable there will be some refurbishments & closures whenever you visit. This handy guide contains all the current renovations and closures at Hollywood Studios.
FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios
It is essential you understand the basics of FastPass+ before you visit Hollywood Studios. FastPass+ is Disney’s attraction reservation system and allows you to book attractions in advance of your visit. There are key booking windows to ensure you get the best chance of obtaining the top attractions.
Hollywood Studios attractions are split into tiers which have recently changed frequently.
From March 4th the Tier 1 attractions at Hollywood Studios are:
The attractions in Tier 1 will be:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
All other attractions are in Tier 2 including Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Fantasmic! and more.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance currently does not have FastPass+ available.
Guests are allowed to advance book one option from Tier 1 and two options from Tier 2 each day they visit.
To make sure you ride all your
What about Rise of the Resistance?
FastPass+ is currently not available for Rise of the Resistance, and there is no indication when it will be. You have to join a virtual queue, through the My Disney Experience App, to experience Rise of the Resistance.
Your best chance of getting a place in the virtual queue is to arrive at the park early, before the scheduled opening. Currently, you can book a boarding group as soon as the park opens, but they usually run out within 1 minute.
Make sure you check My Disney Experience for the latest Hollywood Studios Park Hours. These have been getting changed regularly and additional Extra Magic Hours have been getting added too. Currently, the Rise of the Resistance is not available in Extra Magic Hours.
This information is correct at the time of writing but is likely to change. Check My Disney Experience and online forums before you visit for the latest information.
Are you big enough to ride?
Don’t create a strategy that includes all family members riding to realize too late not all of you can. Many of the Walt Disney World attractions do carry restrictions and 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.
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at least 38″.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at least 40″.
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 allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child.
Single Rider Line
Struggling to get a Fastpass for all your top attractions?
The Single Rider Line at Hollywood Studios can be one of the most fabulous time savers. As long as you are happy riding on your own when a gap becomes available, a cast member will fill it with a single rider.
Hollywood Studios is the only park at Walt Disney World, which has two attractions with Single Rider lines. Rock N Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run both have this facility.
Extra Magic Hours
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 there are a lot of people who can attend.
Visit our guide to learn more about Extra Magic Hours.
What about crowds at Hollywood Studios?
Want to avoid crowds on your vacation?
Hollywood Studios is usually busy! Currently, Hollywood Studios is incredibly busy.
However, no matter how busy the park is you can still have a great time and even find the odd quiet spot. We have created a Guide to Avoiding Crowds at Walt Disney World which will help you beat the crowds.
Meeting Characters at Hollywood Studios
Do you like meeting characters? Then Hollywood Studios might be your favorite park. Characters are abundant at Hollywood Studios, including some you will not find in other parks. Characters may include:
- Stars of Disney Junior
- Star Wars Characters
- Green Army Men
The Park Guide or My Disney Experience App will have all the information on where to meet your
Perhaps one of the best character experiences is Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams. This experience can be found on Commissary Lane. The highlight for many guests is the opportunity to meet Mickey dressed as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia.
Also, try to find the mysterious Character Palooza to meet some rare characters. Cast members will even deny the existence of Character Palooza!
Our Guide to Finding Characters at Walt Disney World has further information.
Sometimes it is difficult to find the answers to all your questions before your visit to Hollywood Studios. We have grouped together a collection of the most common questions for Hollywood Studios in a new section of Modern Life is Good.
Information you can find in this section includes Baby Centers, International Guest Assistance, hiring strollers, visiting with disabilities, and a lot more.
In addition, you might find our Walt Disney World Useful Information Guide has the answer if it isn’t here.
Make sure you have downloaded the My Disney Experience App before you visit which will help you find services and facilities.
Tips, Tricks & Mistakes To Avoid at Hollywood Studios
Anybody who has ever visited Hollywood Studios will have a list of tips & tricks for a future visit. Here is a selection of ours which we have learned from previous visits.
- Mistakes to Avoid at Hollywood Studios
- Our Top Tips & Tricks to have a great time at Hollywood Studios
- We recently considered What we Love and What we Hate at Hollywood Studios.
Current Attractions at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios has been undergoing massive change, and as soon as we update this guide, the information is soon out of date. However, the majority of work is now complete.
Make sure you check the My Disney Experience App for the most up to date list of attractions.
Lands have moved a lot in recent times and perhaps will again at a future date. Currently, there are seven lands/areas in Hollywood Studios. The list of attractions in this guide includes all current attractions including the latest attractions Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Mickey Shorts Theater.
Hollywood Boulevard is the opening land of the park containing multiple shops and guest services. This is the Main Street USA of Hollywood Studios.
Near the park’s gate is a recreation of the Crossroads of the World tower which when built, in 1936, was considered the first shopping mall in the United States.
At the far end of Hollywood Boulevard is a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre which previously held the Great Movie Ride. The Great Movie Ride closed in 2017 and is the location of the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens on March 4th and will make guests part of a Mickey Mouse short. It is the first ride to feature Mickey Mouse at any Disney park. Disney promises new technology for the attraction, which will offer a 3D experience without the need for glasses. Guests will experience unique music, an original story, and an immersive multidimensional “toon” experience.
The area is based on Echo Lake in Los Angeles & includes several attractions.
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is now the oldest attraction in the park but still draws in the crowds. Some of the stunts are very impressive and taken straight from the movies.
- Jedi Training: Trials of The Temple is an 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 and 12 to take part. Find out more here.
- Star Tours – The Adventure Continues is a classic Star Wars attraction that was updated in 2011 & is now an impressive 3D simulator. The movie clips you are shown are randomly selected & updated regularly to reflect the ever-changing Star Wars Universe. Recent updates include highlights from The Rise of Skywalker.
- Mickey Shorts Theater opens on March 4th in the theater that previously held Path of the Jedi. The new show features an original animated short called “Vacation Fun”.
- For The First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration …the title says it all! Great fun for Frozen fans but if you aren’t it is a little tacky.
Grand Avenue is a new area of the park which opened in 2017. It is named after the real area in Los Angeles. There are several areas to eat & drink in Grand Avenue including Modern Life is Good
The BaseLine Tap House is a new pub that serves California brews and wine, accompanied by small plates of food.
Muppet*Vision 3D is the only attraction inside the Grand Avenue area. This 3D movie starring the Muppets 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.
You can Celebrate with the Incredibles at Pixar Place! This temporary transformation was expected to close at the end of September 2019 but appears to now be a permanent exhibit.
Toy Story Land
Toy Story Land opened in 2018 and is currently one of Orlando’s hottest attractions.
- Toy Story Mania! moved into Toy Story Land from the former Pixar Place and has a new entrance. The ride remains one of Hollywood Studios’ most popular attractions. This 4D attraction allows guests to take part in a selection of classic Midway Games.
- Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster themed around Disney Pete’s
favoriteSlinky Dog. Riders of all ages zip around Toy Story Land on this fun coaster. This attraction currently attracts very long waits and Fastpass is recommended.
- Alien Swirling Saucers is a new whip ride. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in California Adventure is in a similar format. Guests are immersed with Toy Story Aliens, their Flying Saucers & some rather annoying tunes. Be warned the ride is not very long & can have long waits!
Also, don’t miss Sarge and the Green Army Drum Corps marching through Toy Story Land several times a day.
Our Tour of Toy Story Land has further information on what you can expect in this new area. In our opinion, the land looks better at night & you should try and visit after dark.
Sunset Boulevard was the first expansion area at Hollywood Studios opening in 1994.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a classic Walt Disney World thrill attraction. The tower is the focal point of this region of the park. Guests free-fall drops at speeds of up to 39 mph. The ride is inspired by the television classic The Twilight Zone.
- Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is a very fast dark indoor looping coaster. The attraction attracts long lines and guests without a Fastpass should consider using the single rider line.
- Beauty & The Beast – Live on Stage is a Broadway-style show based on the popular Disney Classic.
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy allows guests to get face to face with Lightning McQueen & learn from his years of experience on the track.
Animation Courtyard is home to attractions based on Disney Animation. The area has been under a considerable change in recent years including the closure of both the Studio Backlot Tour & The Magic of Disney Animation. This results in the animation theme being lost at the moment. I expect this area to have a further refresh once current confirmed expansions are complete.
- Star Wars Launch Bay is a walkthrough exhibit, and various character meets. If you are a fan of Star Wars, the exhibition will be of great interest, but if you are not there is little to see here. Fans will be thrilled by the opportunity to meet BB8, Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
- Disney Junior Dance Party! This new attraction replaced Disney Junior Live in fall 2018. Guests join Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon and Mickey for a high-energy musical celebration.
- Voyage of Little Mermaid is a fun musical puppet show.
- Walt Disney Presents is a Walt Disney life and achievements exhibition. Great place to get out of the rain and it is very interesting. Various other exhibits have been added to this area in recent times, and it does now feel a bit of a mismatch of multiple themes. Mike & Sully started meeting guests in this area in 2019.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios was the most anticipated event of 2019 at Walt Disney World. Initially scheduled for a fall opening, but it was brought forward to August 29.
On opening, guests were able to experience the new attraction Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, plus enjoy the sights and sounds of Black Spire’s Outpost. The 2nd big attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened on December 5th.
Both big attractions are great fun, but Rise of the Resistance is the must-do attraction for all guests.:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests pilot the Millennium Falcon on a mission. Each guest will take one of 3 critical roles to complete the mission. FastPass+ is now available and there is a Single Rider line.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, guests experience a Star Destroyer’s hangar bay in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and First Order. Guests will even encounter Kylo Ren during their mission. Currently, the only option to ride Rise of the Resistance is to get to the park early and join a virtual line. You can find details of how this works here.
However, the big 2 attractions are not all there is to see at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There are plenty of other areas to explore and interact with.
Before visiting, make sure you have downloaded the Play Disney Parks app, which transforms into a datapad when inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The app allows you to further immerse in the Galaxy’s Edge experience.
If you are planning to visit Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop − Handbuilt Lightsabers and Oga’s Cantina then an advance reservation is highly recommended. Walk-ins are not guaranteed but advance reservations can be made 180 in advance on the My Disney Experience App.
Night-time Attractions at Hollywood Studios
Do not leave Hollywood Studios early as it has some of the best night-time entertainment at Walt Disney World. Besides, Hollywood Studios looks stunning at night.
Make sure you check park schedules to see when the following events will be held:
- Wonderful World of Animation opened on the park’s 20th Anniversary. State of the art projections takes guests through a tour of 90 years of Disney Animation
- Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular The show is based on the Star Wars film series and features fireworks, projections, lasers, and searchlights. The show was recently updated to include the Rise of Skywalker. The outside of the Chinese Theatre is the venue for this stunning show. Even guests who are not fans of Star Wars will be impressed by this show.
- Fantasmic 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 show includes fireworks, characters, water effects, lasers, music, boat floats, and mist screen projections. In our opinion don’t miss it!
Dining at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios has some of the most innovative restaurants in Walt Disney World. There are currently 5 Table Service Locations:
- Mama Melrose’s Italian Ristorante is a great Italian diner that serves some really tasty food.
- 50’s Prime Time Café fantastic fun but don’t put elbows on the table. There are various rules you must follow as Mom cooks dinner. One of the most original restaurants in Walt Disney World.
- Hollywood and Vine is a character buffet that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At breakfast, you are joined by the stars of Disney Junior including Doc McStuffins. For lunch & dinner, Minnie and her pals are your hosts for a seasonal meal.
- Sci-Fi Dine-In featuring a 50’s style drive-in
theater. Most guests are seated in mock cars within which you dine as you watch Sci-Fi movies.
- The Hollywood Brown Derby is in an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby. This is an incredibly popular signature location. There
isalso a popular lounge bar and terrace attached, which does not require advance booking.
A new Table Service has been announced to be coming soon to Toy Story Land. Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant will be opening during 2020.
Also, there are several excellent quick-service and snack locations. Many of these locations allow you to order your meal in advance via mobile ordering. For something special make sure you visit the dining options at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservations are restaurant reservations made in advance at the majority of Disney Table Service Restaurants. All restaurants at Hollywood Studios do fill up and standby lines, if they exist, can be lengthy. Make sure you plan well in advance, especially if you have booked the Disney Dining Plan.
All restaurants at Hollywood Studios are well equipped to deal with the most common food allergies. Our Guide to Dining with Allergies & Food Intolerances has further information.
Coming To Hollywood Studios News & Rumours
A lot has happened at Hollywood Studios in recent years. Disney has announced that “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a crowning achievement in this transformation”. However, we expect there will be some updates coming to shows over the next few years.
At Modern Life is Good we try and keep you up to date with all the latest news & rumors from Walt Disney World including Hollywood Studios. Visit our Walt Disney World News Section for all the latest information on Hollywood Studios.
Read More Walt Disney World Tips
Our Guide to Hollywood Studios for Beginners forms part of our Guide to Walt Disney World for Beginners. The guide is a great starting place to plan any Walt Disney World Vacation. The information will be useful for both first-time and repeat visitors to Walt Disney World.
In addition, we have created a selection of Walt Disney World Planning Tips which will help with your vacation planning.