Answering Your Most Frequent Questions about Hollywood Studios
Recently, I’ve attempted to address many of the lingering questions about Disney theme parks.
So, there’s only place left. Here are the answers to your frequent questions about Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
When Did Hollywood Studios Open?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened on May 1st, 1989, as a joint venture of two film studios.
The original name, Disney-MGM Studios Park, reflected this fact. At the time, Universal Studios worked on its own Orlando, Florida theme park.
So, Disney licensed MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) content to maximize the appeal of its new park, the third one at Walt Disney World.
The MGM brand diminished in brand value over the next 20 years. In 2008, Disney changed the park’s name to the current one.
What Is Hollywood Studios’ Theme?
If you hadn’t guessed from the previous name and the competition from Universal, Hollywood Studios relishes its movie-based theme.
On opening day, the original attraction, The Great Movie Ride, celebrated many classic flicks, including The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca.
Universal Studios opened with a marketing campaign called “Ride the Movies!”
However, over time, park guests agreed that the concept applied more accurately to Hollywood Studios.
Disney and MGM Studios also produced some programming at Hollywood Studios backlots.
For many years, guests could watch the filming of various television series. All they needed was a Hollywood Studios admission ticket.
Disney eventually phased out such offerings as the park evolved into a more attraction-oriented setting.
Cast members still perform in several shows, but they’re reenactments of stories from Disney movies (and Indiana Jones) rather than original creations.
How Big Is Hollywood Studios?
When you need a calmer day at Walt Disney World, you’ll find that Hollywood Studios works well.
The park spans only 135 acres. For comparison, Magic Kingdom covers 142 acres, EPCOT’s 300 acres, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s a whopping 500 acres.
So, you’ll place less wear and tear on your tennis shoes and Fitbit when you visit Hollywood Studios.
What Is There to Do at Hollywood Studios?
You’ll discover plenty of rides and shows during your visit. You’ll also encounter quite a few characters.
In fact, during non-pandemic times, Hollywood Studios holds one of the best theme park secrets anywhere.
During Character Palooza, you’ll encounter most of the costumed cast members at the park that day.
Right now, you’ll spend most of your time on rides, and that’s phenomenal, too.
For whatever reason, Hollywood Studios operates more thrill rides than anywhere else at Walt Disney World.
You’ll find Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster extraordinary, and Star Tours has stood the test of time.
The park has recently added two new themed lands, Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, that will delight guests of all ages.
As the cherry on top, Disney also recently introduced the first-ever ride to feature Mickey Mouse.
Somehow, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway might not qualify as the best ride at Hollywood Studios. In fact, it may not even finish second!
I’m saying this as someone who adores the ride, too! Disney took the criticisms about Hollywood Studios seriously.
Now, this park is overflowing with quality entertainment.
Can You Do Hollywood Studios in a Single Day?
For a long time, the park came with a reputation that it wasn’t even a half-day park.
Cynics claimed that you could do everything at Hollywood Studios in four hours or less.
I always felt like they missed the point a bit, as their itineraries skipped many shows and even some attractions.
Still, the criticism no longer applies. Hollywood Studios features the newest two themed lands at Walt Disney World.
You’ll find plenty to do at Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Afterward, you can crisscross the park in a matter of minutes to ride the classics.
The only potential crimp in your plan resides at Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance employs a Boarding Group virtual queue system.
When Disney calls your Boarding Group, you must drop everything to ride this instant classic.
Still, you should have no problem enjoying all major Hollywood Studios attractions during a single-day visit.
Is Star Wars Land Good?
Are rainbows and puppies good? Is the laughter of children or the purring of a kitten good? Are you being serious with this question?
When Animal Kingdom opened Pandora – The World of Avatar in 2017, Disney established a new standard in immersive entertainment.
A mere two years later, Imagineers bested their own feat with the opening of Black Spire Outpost.
This themed land will distract you so much that you’ll forget you’re at a theme park!
Even the restaurants and cuisine here embrace the concept that you’re a stranger on an alien planet.
You can choose the Force or embrace the Dark Side during your visit, and Disney will know which one you pick.
As for the rides, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will remind you of Star Tours, only exponentially better. You’ll believe you’re piloting your own starship.
I already mentioned Rise of the Resistance, but let me be clear. It’s in the conversation for the best theme park attraction on the planet.
Yes, Star Wars Land is good.
Does Hollywood Studios Have Fireworks?
The short answer is no, at least not right now.
Coronavirus considerations have forced Disney to shut down all night-time presentations.
These events cause crowd gatherings that would make social distancing impossible.
However, once all this nonsense ends, Hollywood Studios will return to normal.
At that point, my favorite nightly Disney show will return. I’m referring to Fantasmic!, a sweeping epic wherein Mickey Mouse slays a dragon.
I’m not speaking metaphorically. Disney has constructed a gigantic dragon Audio-Animatronic for this show.
Of course, Hollywood Studios sometimes offers other shows that feature some special effects and maybe even fireworks.
During the holidays, a presentation called Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! tells a story involving characters from Disney’s Prep & Landing.
Also, Disney used to host some Star Wars presentations before Galaxy’s Edge opened. Oddly, the park hasn’t done that since then.
I doubt anything like this returns for at least two years due to the pandemic.
Is Hollywood Studios Good for Young Children?
Toddlers will love anything that happens to them at Walt Disney World.
Seriously, I’ve watched kids trip, fall, and smack their heads, only to get up laughing through the tears. Disney’s magic to children.
Having said that, Hollywood Studios probably qualifies as the worst park for kids. It doesn’t have any rides specifically designed for children.
However, some will still work. Toy Story Land offers three rides – Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania!, and Slinky Dog Dash – that have reasonable height restrictions.
These attractions also provide tremendous fun, as does a visit to Star Wars Land, which absolutely mystifies children.
Some of the shows, like Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, will mesmerize kids, too. Don’t sleep on them as distractions for a cranky child.
How Far Is Hollywood Studios from Magic Kingdom?
I wouldn’t have expected this question to be so popular. Guests ask it as frequently as almost anything else.
I guess this line of thinking speaks to the significance of Magic Kingdom during a Walt Disney World vacation.
Guests want to know how quickly they can return to home base, which is Magic Kingdom apparently.
Anyway, Google Maps suggests that only 4.9 miles separate the two parks, which leads to the next question…
Which Transportation Goes to Hollywood Studios?
I’m glad you asked!
The monorail doesn’t extend to Hollywood Studios. However, you will find a monorail station at the front of EPCOT, and that one will transport you to Magic Kingdom!
Of course, Disney’s not running that line during the pandemic. So, I’ll answer a few more ways.
Disney’s bus system carries guests to all four parks. You can ride from Hollywood Studios to any of the other three gates or Disney Springs.
You’ll also find a boat system, but it primarily takes visitors from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT and back again. It also stops at some Disney resorts.
We’ll discuss that in a bit.
However, the newest form of transportation works best for Hollywood Studios guests.
The Disney Skyliner features a station right beside the park entrance. It will also carry guests to EPCOT, as well as some Disney resorts.
So, you have direct access to three different forms of transportation at Hollywood Studios.
When the EPCOT monorail line works, you’re only about 20 minutes away from the fourth.
Where Should I Stay to Visit Hollywood Studios?
You have several terrific choices here.
Historically, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn worked the best as the resort of choice for frequent Hollywood Studios guests.
You can walk to Hollywood Studios from this hotel, usually in 10-15 minutes, depending on your pace.
Also, since Disney’s Beach Club Resort resides across the lake from the BoardWalk, this option works, too.
Your walk will take another five minutes or so, but it’s manageable.
Alternatively, you can ride a boat from either of these resorts to Hollywood Studios. Your ship will drop you off with 150 feet of the park entrance.
Of course, Disney’s Coronado Springs resides a quick bus ride away from Hollywood Studios, too.
However, the introduction of the Disney Skyliner makes two other resorts the best choices.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort will drop you off right by the front gate.
Soon, Disney will open Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which will reside right beside parts of Hollywood Studios.
Clearly, you have plenty of options here. Your best bet to book a trip would be to contact an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner at MickeyTravels.
Their services remain entirely free to you, and they know about Hollywood Studios resorts than anyone else on the planet!
Feature Image Rights: Disney