Time for a little midweek magic!
Today I’m focusing on my absolute favorite park of the four at Walt Disney World – Hollywood Studios.
Even as a little kid, this one was my favorite. Perhaps it’s something about the way the entire park looks like a faux movie set, or the gorgeous Sorcerer’s Mickey’s Hat that was once the central hub, or my love for Star Wars, or my obsession with riding the Tower of Terror as many times as possible before park close. (That being said, this is my official apology to all the family members that I’ve dragged onto that ride that really didn’t want to go on, oops!)
Hollywood Studios is slightly bigger than Magic Kingdom, but much smaller than Animal Kingdom or Epcot. It is filled with a little bit of something for everyone in your Disney crew and includes some of the best thrill rides in the parks as well as Toy Story Land, amazing dining, and lots of live shows. If you’re staying on WDW property, you can take your resort shuttle to get here and there is also ample parking. Similar to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios is divided into distinctive lands throughout the park.
Similar to Main Street, USA in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Boulevard is the entry point of this park. Once you are through the main gate, you’ll find yourself on this picturesque movie-set like street lined with park services and shops selling Disney merchandise. At the end of the street is an exact replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which is the backdrop for a few live shows.
Attraction Highlights: March of the First Order, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
Dining Highlights: Hollywood Brown Derby ($$$), Trolley Car Cafe ($)
Character Meet and Greets: Daisy Duck, Donald Duck
Insider Tip: If you have Star Wars fans in your Disney crew, be sure to snag a spot directly in front of the Chinese Theatre or somewhere on Hollywood Boulevard to watch Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular 30-45 minutes before showtime.
Located off of one end of Hollywood Boulevard, Animation Courtyard is filled with character meet and greets and a few live shows. This area is also home to Star Wars Launch Bay, where you can see props from the movies and meet characters from Star Wars. You can also find Disney Junior characters roaming around the courtyard and preparing for a dance party.
Attraction Highlights: Disney Junior Dance Party!, Star Wars Launch Bay, Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Character Meet and Greets: BB-8, Chewbacca, Doc McStuffins, Kylo Ren, Pluto, Sofia the First
Located off of the other end of Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake is home to two classic Hollywood Studio attractions and some awesome table service dining, including one of my favorites – 50s Prime Time Cafe! This area also plays host to Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, an interactive Jedi training course for young Padawans.
Attraction Highlights: For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
Dining Highlights: 50s Prime Time Cafe ($$), Dockside Diner ($), Hollywood and Vine ($$$), Tune-In Lounge ($)
Character Meet and Greet: Olaf
Insider Tip: If you’d like to get the experience of the 50s Prime Time Cafe, but don’t want a table service dinner, grab a drink at the Tune-In Lounge!
Commissary Lane is a small area of that park that connects Hollywood Boulevard to Grand Avenue, allowing you to bypass Echo Lake. This area is home to many character meet and greets as well as the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.
Dining Highlights: ABC Commissary ($), Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant ($$)
Character Meet and Greets: Chip, Dale, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse
Located directly off Commissary Lane, Grand Avenue is dressed up in Hollywood glam, based off the real location in Los Angeles. It is formerly the backlot set of Hollywood Studios and was home to the Studio Backlot Tour for many years.
Attraction Highlight: Muppet Vision 3D
Dining Highlights: Baseline Tap House ($), Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano ($$)
Insider Tip: Muppet Vision 3D is a great show for the younger members of your Disney crew, but also serves as a wonderful air conditioned theater to escape a hot afternoon in the park.
Toy Story Land
Long-awaited as the newest addition to Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land is an escape to Andy’s backyard. Designed so that you are the size of a toy, this land brings the Toy Story movies to life for fans of all ages. With so many details and so much to see, this part of the park should not be missed!
Attraction Highlights: Alien Swirling Saucers, Green Army Drum Corps, Green Army Patrol, Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania!
Dining Highlight: Woody’s Lunch Box ($)
Character Meet and Greets: Buzz Lightyear, Green Army Men, Jessie, Woody
Home to some of the most thrilling rides in the parks, Sunset Boulevard is located directly off Hollywood Boulevard on a similar Hollywood-esque street. You will find the Tower of Terror and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster as well as plenty of shops and live shows. This area is also home to Fantasmic!, Hollywood Studios’ nightly fireworks show.
Attraction Highlights: Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, Fantasmic!, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Dining Highlights: Fairfax Fare ($), Hollywood Scoops ($), Rosie’s All-American Cafe ($)
Insider Tip: Even if you don’t want to ride the Tower of Terror, be sure to stand in line with the members of your Disney crew that do! This queue area is one of the best in the parks and there’s an easy exit to opt-out before getting on the ride.
As always, if you want help planning your trip, I specialize in creating a completely custom dream Disney vacation just for you! Whether you’re about to book or just starting the planning process, send me an email or check out my services here.