Hollywood Studios was the third park to open at Walt Disney World and has undergone massive changes over the last few years. Even if you have visited Hollywood Studios before, there are many changes to how you plan your vacation in 2023. Our Guide to Hollywood Studios has been updated with all the latest planning information for 2023.
Jump Right Into Our Guide to Hollywood Studios
A lot changed when Hollywood Studios reopened in July 2020. Many of our regular tips and tricks on planning your Walt Disney World Vacation were no longer valid and still aren’t. However, one thing that has not changed is the need to plan your day at Hollywood Studios.
We have updated this guide with all the latest Hollywood Studios information for 2023. If there is specific information you are looking for, these jumps will help you find the information.
- Hollywood Studios The Basics, including the history of Hollywood Studios and what has happened in recent years.
- Planning your
visitto Hollywood Studios, all the essential information to plan a great vacation.
- Hollywood Studios Questions and Answers. Do 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 bring you right up to date, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
- 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 May 1st, 1989. Disney launched the theme park in response to Universal Studios opening in Orlando.
When the park opened, it initially included a working studio. The studio included three 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 and the Sorcerer’s Hat, but now the park is without an official icon. However, the Hollywood Tower Hotel currently acts as an unofficial icon. Until 2008 the park was officially known as Disney-MGM Studios.
The relationship between Disney & MGM was not always comfortable, and 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 park’s official name on January 7, 2008.
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 in aerial photographs of the park? Click the link 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.
All the big changes are now complete, but we expect that there will be further development in some mothballed areas in the coming 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 than at the other Walt Disney World theme parks. Visiting Hollywood Studios needs careful planning; 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 the park has previously been a 1-day affair with recent expansions, it will now take at least two days. If you have less time, you should consider your must-do attractions. Expect long waits for all the new attractions at Hollywood Studios.
Traditional key booking windows at Walt Disney World, including how you make dining reservations, have changed in recent years. 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
Walt Disney World is constantly changing, and it is almost inevitable there will be some refurbishments and closures whenever you visit. Check My Disney Experience for the latest information.
Disney Park Pass Reservation System
Just turning up at Hollywood Studios is no longer possible. A park reservation system is in place. Guests must present their park reservation and a valid park ticket to access their first park daily. Guests who do not have either will be refused entry, including if they have a dining reservation.
To learn more about the Disney Park Pass System, visit our dedicated Guide.
Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit more than one park at Walt Disney World daily.
Guests still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for their first park each day, and they must enter this park before trying to enter another. Guests can then enter a second park during Park Hopper Hours.
Visit our Guide to Park Hopping to learn more.
Early Theme Park Entry
Early Theme Park Entry is a great benefit for onsite guests.
Early Theme Park Entry started in 2021 and replaced Extra Magic Hours. All Walt Disney World Resort guests, and other select hotels, can gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park each day. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Hours are not currently offered at Hollywood Studios.
Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes.
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+. Purchasing Disney Genie+ allows you to book Lightning Lane reservations at select Hollywood Studios attractions. The Lightning Lane will enable you to join a shorter line than the regular standby line.
If you are on a short vacation, you might wish to purchase it every day, but it probably isn’t necessary for more extended vacations. Many attractions included with Disney Genie+ do not have long waits, and Lightning Lane isn’t required.
Some of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World are unavailable on Disney Genie+. An individual fee of up to $25 is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions.
The list of rides has changed several times since the introduction of Individual Lightning Lanes, but currently, there is only one attraction at Hollywood Studios:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Visit our guide to learn more about Individual Lightning Lanes.
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 carry restrictions, which are enforced. At 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.
- 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 three 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
The Single Rider Line at Hollywood Studios can be one of the most fabulous time savers. If you are happy to ride alone, a cast member will fill a gap with a single rider when a gap becomes available.
Hollywood Studios is the only park at Walt Disney World with two attractions with Single Rider lines. Rock N Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run have this facility.
Park Wi-Fi and My Disney Experience.
Online access is essential when visiting Walt Disney World. Don’t even consider entering Hollywood Studios in 2023 without access to Wi-Fi.
Having access to WiFi allows you to access My Disney Experience. My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World that allows guests to plan their vacations. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations, including those of your family & friends.
- Make Disney Genie, Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Order in advance food at select Quick Service Locations. Mobile Ordering is a great time saver.
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and essential information via the app.
- Check on all the latest resort changes, including any closed attractions.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile devices before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location services and notifications enabled.
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, including The Mandalorian
- 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 meeting 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 the Character Palooza! However, rumors suggest it has now returned to Hollywood Studios.
Our Guide to Finding Characters at Walt Disney World has further information.
Visiting Hollywood Studios with Disabilities
Hollywood Studios provides extensive facilities for all disabilities, including visual, auditory, mobility & cognitive disabilities. Before their visit, guests can contact Walt Disney World at (407) 560-2547 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss requirements.
Our Guide to Disabilities at the Walt Disney World contains plenty of useful information.
After your initial research, you will want to write down your vacation plans. Our Free Walt Disney World Planners are a great resource to help create a perfect Walt Disney World Vacation Plan.
Our Planners include new sections for the latest changes at Walt Disney World, including Disney Genie+ and Early Morning Magic. Our Free 2023 Walt Disney World Planners will ensure you miss nothing when visiting Hollywood Studios.
We have redesigned these planners for 2023; make sure you download this free resource.
Hollywood Studios Questions and Answers
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 separate section of Modern Life is Good.
Information in this section includes Baby Centers, International Guest Assistance, hiring strollers, visiting with disabilities, and much more.
In addition, you might find our Walt Disney World Useful Information Guide has the answer if it isn’t here.
Ensure you have downloaded the My Disney Experience App before visiting, 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 for a great time at Hollywood Studios
- We previously considered What we Love and What we Hate at Hollywood Studios.
Current Attractions at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios has undergone massive change, but all announced work is complete. Lands have moved a lot in recent times and perhaps will again soon. Currently, there are eight areas shown on maps for Hollywood Studios.
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 new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway location.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened in 2020, making guests part of a Mickey Mouse short. It is the first ride to feature Mickey Mouse at any Disney park. Disney has used new technology for the attraction, which offers a 3D experience without the need for glasses. The attraction is incredibly impressive and is perhaps my favorite of the new attractions at Hollywood Studios.
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.
- 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 opened in 2020 in the theater that previously held Path of the Jedi. The new show features an original animated short called “Vacation Fun.” After the show, you can explore Potato Land.
- 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 that opened in 2017. It is named after the real area in Los Angeles. There are several areas to eat & drink in Grand Avenue. The BaseLine Tap House is a popular 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, other guests might want to consider skipping if time is tight.
The former entrance to Toy Story Mania is currently dead space and will presumably be redeveloped at some point in the future. Pixar Place is now a short-term home of some interactive Incredibles elements.
Toy Story Land
Toy Story Land opened in 2018 and remains one of Orlando’s hottest attractions.
- Toy Story Mania! It moved into Toy Story Land from the former Pixar Place and has a new entrance. This 4D attraction allows guests to participate in classic Midway Games.
- Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster. Riders of all ages zip around Toy Story Land on this fun coaster. This attraction currently attracts very long waits, and if you are using Disney Genie+ it usually runs out of reservations early in the day.
- Alien Swirling Saucers is a 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 and can have long waits!
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 fast, dark indoor looping coaster. The attraction attracts long lines, and guests 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 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 in the future.
- Star Wars Launch Bay is a walkthrough exhibit and various character meets. If you are a Star Wars fan, the exhibition will be of great interest, but if you are not, there is little to see here.
- Disney Junior Play and Dance! This new attraction replaced Disney Junior Live in the fall of 2018. Guests join Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon and Mickey for a high-energy musical celebration.
- Walt Disney Presents is a Walt Disney life and achievements exhibition. Great place to get out of the rain and it is actually very interesting. Various other exhibits have been added to this area recently, and it now feels 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, it was brought forward to August 29.
On opening, guests could experience the new attraction Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and 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. There is a Single Rider line if you are happy to ride alone.
- 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. If you don’t want to pay for Lightning Lane, try to ride close to the park close; we have walked straight on.
However, the big two 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, ensure you have downloaded the Play Disney Parks app, which transforms into a datapad inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The app allows you to further immerse in the Galaxy’s Edge experience.
A reservation is highly recommended if you visit Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop − Handbuilt Lightsabers, and Oga’s Cantina. Walk-ins are not guaranteed, but reservations can be made 60 days in advance on the My Disney Experience App.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is probably the main reason you are planning to visit Hollywood Studios. Read our thoughts from our first visit.
Night-time Attractions at Hollywood Studios
Do not leave Hollywood Studios early; it has some of the best nighttime 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 take guests through a tour of 90 years of Disney Animation.
- Fantasmic A voyage through Mickey Mouse’s imagination. Some small children might find this show a little scary. This spectacular show, recently updated, includes fireworks, characters, water effects, lasers, music, boats, 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 6 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 open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At breakfast, you are joined by the stars of Disney Junior. 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 where you dine while watching Sci-Fi movies.
- The Hollywood Brown Derby is an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby. A popular lounge bar and terrace are also attached, which does not require advance booking.
- Roundup Rodeo BBQ recently opened in Toy Story Land. This Family Style meal is another innovative restaurant as you dine with Andy’s toys.
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, visit the dining options at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservations are restaurant reservations made in advance at most of Disney Table Service Restaurants. All restaurants at Hollywood Studios fill up, and standby lines, if they exist, can be lengthy.
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 some further updates coming in the future as parts of the park don’t feel very finished.
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
To learn more about Walt Disney World, visit our 2023 Guide to Walt Disney World.