Ranking the Five New Rides at Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t messing around.
Since June 30, 2018, the park has debuted five (!) new attractions.
So, you’re probably wondering which of these attractions is the best.
Well, I finally got to ride the last two, allowing me to grade them.
Here’s how I rank the five new rides at Hollywood Studios.
5) Alien Swirling Saucers
Usually, when something finishes last, it’s terrible. That’s absolutely not the case here.
With Alien Swirling Saucers, you’re boarding an adorable attraction that highlights the Little Green Men from the Toy Story franchise.
These wide-eyed critters are staggeringly bad drivers, whipping humans at hard angles and thereby causing many in-car collisions.
The ride mimics Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Disney loves it so much that The Happy Ride with Baymax employs the same technology.
Simply stated, this one’s a crowd-pleaser. Even better, it’s one of the least crowded rides at Hollywood Studios.
So, you’ll get to experience it at least once during your park visit, possibly more if you’re like me and love it enough to ride repeatedly.
4) Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Now we’re upping the ante. I could accurately describe everything from this point forward as an E-ticket attraction.
That’s old school Disney terminology for the best rides at the parks.
With each new themed land, park officials have chosen to build an anchor attraction that will drive attendance.
In fact, with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney built two!
During the earliest days of publicity, reports suggested that Smugglers Run would allow guests to live out their Star Wars fantasies.
They would get to fly the Millennium Falcon, just like Han Solo!
The ride sounded like the best one at Star Wars Land. However, Disney undersold the other attraction, one that easily surpasses Smugglers Run.
Still, you’ll never regret taking a spin on the Millennium Falcon.
Imagineers have believably recreated the cockpit from the movie starship…and the rest of the vessel, too.
When you wait in line, you’ll relish the many opportunities to take a perfect photo of the full-sized Millennium Falcon from various points in the queue.
You’ll start on the ground beneath the ship but then walk on a path at eye level with part of the Millennium Falcon.
Eventually, you’ll reach the hangout area of the vessel before moving into the cockpit.
There, you’ll play a team videogame wherein some people pilot the Millennium Falcon. Meanwhile, others fire guns or fix the ship’s damage.
The dirty little secret of Smugglers Run is that it’s an elevated version of Star Tours, but nobody cares! It’s a blast to play and a superlative attraction.
3) Slinky Dog Dash
In truth, judging Smugglers Run vs. Slinky Dog Dash represents an impossible exercise.
How do you compare a motion simulator with remarkable detail against a physics-happy roller coaster?
So, I’ve ranked these based on personal enjoyment more than anything else.
When I board Slinky Dog Dash, I know that I’m about to laugh for the next couple of minutes.
Imagineers built something special here, a thoughtful roller coaster that demonstrates what a life-sized slinky would feel like.
Of course, the catch is that you’re riding on the back of this slinky dog, and his innards tend to stretch only to collapse together in time.
Slinky Dog Dash also introduced something new for a Disney attraction, a full stop in the middle of the ride.
I know that it’s silly and also a way to make a short roller coaster feel longer. Still, I adore the sensation of the stop-and-go.
Imagineers even added a timer element to boost suspense. It’s exhilarating, as are the bunny hops that comprise the second half of the ride.
Slinky Dog Dash makes learning fun…and I mean that!
2) Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Okay, let’s be honest. You knew what the top two were going to be; you just didn’t know the order.
Initially, I’d planned a simple comparison of Disney’s two newest rides, and I may yet do that at some point.
However, I didn’t want to exclude the other three exceptional attractions that Hollywood Studios has introduced over the last two years.
Even so, we all know which rides matter the most at Hollywood Studios in 2020.
You can’t even ride one of them without a Boarding Group, while the other claims the longest line queue at the park.
Again, comparisons here prove challenging, as Rise of the Resistance creates an immersive environment that shatters preconceived notions about Disney rides.
For starters, cast members act mean! Nobody could have possibly seen that coming!
Imagineers have cleverly split the line queue into different sections, with a standard waiting section that shows elements of a galactic starbase.
Later, you board a vessel to begin the…fake portion of the ride? I’m not even sure what to call it, as something happens here, but it’s not the central part.
Suffice to say that the situation declines, and you find yourself a prisoner of The First Order.
When you reach this section of the attraction, you’ll want to stand around and take in the sights as the area dazzles the eye.
Shiny droids and ominous guards greet you, with the latter treating you like garbage. You’re a prisoner of war, not someone at a Disney attraction.
Thankfully, the heroes open a pathway for your escape. From there, you try to outwit Kylo Ren, which ain’t easy.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance qualifies as a true masterpiece and possibly the greatest attraction ever. But…
1) Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Look, fun is fun. When I’m at a Disney park, I marvel at technological innovations and sublime Imagineering tricks.
Still, I’m there to have a great time, and I honestly cannot remember the last time a ride gave me as much pure joy as Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
I think the real answer here was 2000 when I rode Millennium Force at Cedar Point for the first time.
At a minimum, it’s the purest ride experience since Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014.
The instant I boarded Runaway Railway, I was head over heels in love with the jaw-dropping animation.
The bobblehead Audio-Animatronics work surprisingly well, as you’ll first notice when Mickey & Minnie drive by in their convertible.
Soon afterward, everything goes to Hel…heck when you enter the cartoon universe and start experiencing various tropes.
You’ll drive through the desert, survive a carnival cyclone, and dance with Daisy Duck. I’m not even sure which of those seems weirdest.
By the time you submerge and encounter the dancing octopus, you realize that you’re either fully invested in Runaway Railway or confident you took a pill in Ibiza.
Seriously, the shenanigans on this attraction will leave you feeling goofy, and that’s not accounting for the fact that he’s the driver.
I believe that if Walt Disney came back today, he’d experience the most euphoria about the Runaway Railway ride experience.
I know that I do, which is why I give it a slight nod over Rise of the Resistance.
However, I’ll add that the Star Wars attraction inarguably possesses superior technology.
Both are brimming with grand ideas and noble intentions, and you’ll want to ride each one dozens of times.