**Updated May 26, 2016**
This post is difficult to write because Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) is a park in transition…again. Some favorite attractions are closed and many new, exciting things are on the horizon but they haven’t even been officially announced yet. This park is being reinvented for the second time in its relatively short life. Opened May 1, 1989 as Disney MGM Studios this was a theme park and working movie and animation studio. No longer a working studio and following a falling out with MGM, the park was re-named Disney’s Hollywood Studios effective January 7, 2008. It was recently announced that another name change is in the park’s future so we will see what it becomes in the not-so-distant future. Another recent change to this park is the change in icons. The Sorcerer’s Hat which became the park icon in 2001 was removed in early 2015, again pointing to the changes coming to DHS.
Top 10 Must-Dos for your First Visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
If you want to know more about a certain attraction, click the link. It will take you to a more in depth post I have written about that particular attraction.
10. Character Meet & Greets
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the place to meet some of your favorite classic and newer Disney friends. On Pixar Place you can meet Buzz, Woody and sometimes even the Green Army Men of Toy Story. If the stars of Disney Junior are on your must-meet list head on over to the Animation Courtyard to find Jake and Sofia. Mickey and Minnie starring in Red Carpet Dreams can be found on Commissary Lane near the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater. Olaf, everyone’s favorite snowman is greeting guests in the Echo Lake area. If Star Wars characters are your must-see visit the Star Wars Launch Bay to get a hug from Chewbacca! Other classic Disney characters are available throughout the day in the center stage area.
9. Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage takes place several times a day in the Theater of the Stars. This 25 minute musical theater re-telling of this beloved Disney classic will draw you into the story with beautiful costumes, talented dancers and of course…the Beast!
8. Star Wars Launch Bay
Explore immersive special exhibits and get a peek behind the scenes of the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Discover sights, sounds and surprises that are sure to delight any Star Wars fan.
Get an up-close look at replica props, models, costumes, concept artwork and artifacts from the Star Wars films, including these special galleries:
- Celebration Gallery
- Preview Galley
- Light Side Gallery
- Dark Side Gallery
Inspect a full-size replica of Rey’s Speeder or step inside an intergalactic cantina reminiscent of the famous Mos Eisley cantina. Take a photo as you pretend you’re one of the cantina’s alien scoundrels, play holographic chess, sit at a Sabacc table or mosey up to the bar—complete with a glass of blue bantha milk.
7. Toy Story Midway Mania
Toy Story Midway Mania is the must-fastpass ride in this park. The stand-by wait time is seldom less than an hour and usually over 90 minutes! This ride is perfect for all ages and includes fun midway style games everyone can play. The games feature some of your favorite Toy Story characters as you break plates, pop balloons and toss rings all from your spinning ride vehicle.
6. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I need to be honest, this is one of only 3 rides on property that I have never ridden. The thought of the drops and losing my stomach scares the crap out of me. Many people including my father and Jordan, love this ride so that is why I am including it here. Tower of Terror is a drop ride with multiple, random drop sequences! You don’t know how many times you will drop! Yikes! If you are a thrill seeker that is 40″ tall or taller, go for it-and then come back here and tell me if you liked it.
5. Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Featuring Aerosmith
I am not a coaster enthusiast but I rode this one several times before my neck injury sidelined me from riding it any more. Visis G-Force Records and then catch a limo to the Aerosmith concert across town. Get ready to be launched 60 mph on a track that includes 3 inversions all while jamming to your favorite Aerosmith tunes! Riders must be 48″ to ride and this attraction has a single rider line for those who don’t mind riding with strangers.
4. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
This new nighttime show, which will be the most elaborate fireworks display in this park’s history, will begin nightly performances on June 17. This elaborate show will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and video projections that will turn the park’s Chinese Theater and other buildings into the twin suns of Tatooine, a field of battle droids, the trench of the Death Star, Starkiller Base and other Star Wars destinations. And the show, which will feature music from throughout the film franchise, will be punctuated with a tower of fire and spotlight beams, creating a massive lightsaber in the sky.
3. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Love Frozen? Don’t miss this 30 minute show features Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and introduces Aria and Eric the Royal Arendelle Historians. This show is funny and enjoyable for all ages. Due to the nature of the comedy, no two shows are exactly alike. I have lost count as to how many times I have seen the sing-along since its debut in the summer of 2014 but…I can’t wait to go again!
2. The Great Movie Ride
This attraction is exactly what this park is all about…MOVIES! This attraction lets you ride through classic movies with the aid of a cast member/host who narrates the show. This ride can be scary for young children, the scene from “Alien” freaks me out. If you love movies then The Great Movie Ride is a must-do for you. It is also a nice place to sit down for 20 minutes in the air conditioning on a hot Florida day.
No visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is complete without viewing Fantasmic! at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater. This show is the ultimate east coast Disney nighttime spectacular. Complete with heroes, villains, princesses and their princes-Fantasmic! weaves together many Disney stories throughout Mickey Mouse’s dreams which are turned to nightmares by Maleficient. Featuring dancing water, pyrotechnics, laser lights, projections and live action, Fantasmic! is full of fun and suspense for the whole family.
I hope I listed your favorites here. If I missed it, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think I missed. If you are ready to plan your own visit to Walt Disney World, please Email Me, my travel planning services are free to you!