Hollywood Studios Reopens on July 15th. What Does This Mean to You?
On July 15th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen after four months without operation.
Yes, the pandemic’s still ongoing, but you shouldn’t allow that to derail your happiness during your next park visit.
When Hollywood Studios returns in a few weeks, here’s what you should do.
Attractions You Should Do Immediately
Run, don’t walk, to Sunset Boulevard. Your destinations are the park’s beloved thrill ride offerings.
You’ll want to tackle Twilight Zone Tower of Terror first, preferably between meals. It’s not a ride you should do on an empty OR full stomach.
The zero-gravity sensation of plummeting up and down the elevator shaft will remind you of just how much you’ve missed Disney.
Of course, you’ll know that before you ever get on the ride. Walking through the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel is enough to remember the brilliance of Imagineers.
Once you’re done there, you’ll follow the path as you have so many times before.
You’ll walk out the exit of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, perhaps do a bit of shopping, and then turn right. Your next destination is familiar.
You’re joining some rock stars on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith!
I’m not quite sure how this one will work when it returns. There’s an indoor waiting area for a pre-show video.
Disney might need to adjust this until Coronavirus becomes less of an issue.
Still, you’ll eventually reach your stretch limo, and you know what happens next!
Your car will tear down the interstate as you listen to one/some of Aerosmith’s greatest hits.
You’ll reach 57 miles per hour in less than three seconds, and you’ll maintain that velocity through every curve, bump, and hill the rest of the way.
The genius of this roller coaster is that it delivers pure velocity.
Relish every moment of one of Disney’s most magnificent thrill rides!
After you’re done, you can continue to satisfy your need for speed at Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, too!
Make sure to honor social distancing, though, since it’s an indoor attraction in a closed space.
Attractions You Can’t Do Yet
Disney won’t operate any of its parades or nighttime shows until the pandemic subsides.
Sadly, this decision rules out Fantasmic!, which is my favorite of all Disney nighttime presentations.
The Star Wars shows with fireworks are also non-starters at the moment.
Similarly, character meetings aren’t available right now. So, you can’t meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, or Olaf until we’ve flattened the curve more.
However, the overall situation at Hollywood Studios is pretty good.
Over the years, this park has introduced several unusual character presentations.
For example, Rey and Chewbacca wander through the outskirts of Batuu, evading The First Order while meeting potential members of The Resistance.
At Black Spire Outpost, Stormtroopers harass guests that they suspect of having ties to The Resistance.
Then, there are people like Vi Moradi who provide quests to a few daring off-worlders.
In short, Disney can adapt many of its current character presentations to protect guests during the pandemic.
Cast members shouldn’t even need to reduce the entertainment value of these proceedings.
Even now, Stormtroopers are standing on a roof at Disney Springs and yelling at random guests.
So, park planners can mimic this setup at Star Wars Land and possibly other sections of Hollywood Studios.
Attractions to Approach Warily
I previously mentioned Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. It could accurately fall into this category, too.
In fact, Hollywood Studios bears the brunt of Coronavirus more than any other Disney park.
Disney has populated Hollywood Studios with plenty of shows. During my virtual park visit, I mentioned several of them.
At Hollywood Studios, you can watch shows based on Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, The Little Mermaid, and Indiana Jones.
The problem is that most of them are indoors. So, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular! is totally fine.
You may have second thoughts about For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, though.
The same concerns exist for indoor shows as movie theater exhibitions. And, as you should know by now, most cineplexes closed for several months.
The current target date for returns is July, but the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is in turmoil right now.
NATO just swore that 90 percent of theaters would return by the time that Tenet comes out on July 17th.
Meanwhile, the producers of Tenet believed NATO so much that they turned around and delayed the film until July 31st.
Wonder Woman 1984 dropped back into October, and Disney switched Black Widow from May into November.
So, a lot of smart people worry about COVID-19 safety in closed theater spaces.
For these reasons, you should, too. So, only go to indoor shows if you’re fully confident in Disney’s safety measures in place as well as the behavior of other guests.
If you notice a bunch of people with masks pulled down, get out of there and go to Star Wars Land! Speaking of which…
Attractions You Should Do If Possible
Unless you’ve visited Walt Disney World since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened, you haven’t ridden Disney’s best new attractions yet.
There’s actually three of them, although one isn’t Star Wars-related. For several years, Hollywood Studios was the least popular of all Disney parks.
Disney didn’t introduce new attractions regularly, which allowed Disney’s Animal Kingdom to surpass Hollywood Studios in popularity.
That park unveiled Pandora – The World of Avatar and never looked back.
Meanwhile, Toy Story Land arrived at Hollywood Studios and disappointed some critics. Disney infamously cut the budget, and there wasn’t enough shade.
Galaxy’s Edge singlehandedly changed the flagging perception of Hollywood Studios. Both attractions here are dazzling achievements in Imagineering.
When the new themed land opened, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run took some of the concepts from Star Tours and elevated them to unprecedented levels of immersion.
Since this ride seats six in a tight cockpit, you may worry about the experience during the pandemic.
Thankfully, Disney will control throughput and keep the attraction safe for guests.
I expect that many parties will even get their own cockpits rather than share the experience with strangers.
Of course, the other attraction that you want to do is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. It’s THE E-ticket ride at Walt Disney World right now…or anywhere else on the planet.
Imagineers have constructed a storyline so immersive that you’ll struggle to distinguish between the line queue and the ride experience.
This ride is so spectacular that it’ll justify your entire trip.
Then, there’s the newest ride, which was only open a few days before the parks closed.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will put a smile on everyone’s face. And that’s what we all need right now, isn’t it?