Seven Must Do Attractions at Hollywood Studios
At Walt Disney World, one park requires more planning and hard choices than the others.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios operates under different rules due to its volume of E-ticket attractions.
Sometimes, you’ll have to cut bait due to time constraints, as the wait times grow too long. And this knowledge leads to an important question.
What are the must-do attractions at Hollywood Studios?
7) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This list grows harder when more show-based attractions are in operation. However, Hollywood Studios has still scaled back on its shows.
The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! attraction returns for Christmas week. So, this situation likely changes in 2022.
For now, we’ll rule out all shows, though. Also, we’ll make the exercise a bit harder compared to Magic Kingdom, where I allowed eight. This time, we can only pick seven.
Also, please keep in mind that you CAN do everything at Hollywood Studios in one day, and that’s before we factor in Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane.
You just have to catch a few breaks here and there. With Disney Genie+, I’m confident that you can ride everything, but that’s a topic for another day.
So, I cannot just pick everything. Regrettably, that costs me one of my favorite attractions, Alien Swirling Saucers. I consider it a hidden gem of Walt Disney World.
Alas, I cannot overlook the exceptional roller coasters at Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately, the Aerosmith attraction is no longer the alpha here, but it still rocks.
For me, the best part of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster happens at the start, as the lightning-fast acceleration knocks your head back against the seat.
As a lifelong Aerosmith fan, I love the combination of classic tunes and high-velocity twists and turns, too.
6) Toy Story Mania!
Intellectual property drives much of the entertainment at Hollywood Studios these days.
A few years ago, non-Disney properties like Twilight Zone and Aerosmith anchored the park, along with the “little bit of everything” attraction, Great Movie Ride.
Now, Star Wars, Toy Story, and Mickey Mouse comprise most of the park’s rides.
Toy Story Mania! might deliver the most consistent amount of pure fun. So, I cannot imagine a park visit without it.
However, a Hollywood Studios visit no longer requires Toy Story Mania! to feel complete, which wasn’t the case just a few years ago.
When the lines are equal, I will pick Toy Story Mania! over Alien Swirling Saucers every time, though, and I say that as someone who just heaped praise on the other ride!
5) Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Here’s the other challenging park decision. Should we pick Star Tours – The Adventures Continue or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run?
There’s no wrong answer here. In truth, Smugglers Run works as a technologically advanced, interactive version of the Star Tours premise.
So, when Star Wars: Galaxy Edge lines prove too long, you can switch this one without missing a beat.
Still, when you have your choice of attractions, you should pick Smugglers Run. It’s telling a better story with superior technology.
Also, the attraction scores you and your friends for your performances, which adds a bragging rights element to each ride.
4) Slinky Dog Dash
I mentioned a moment ago that another roller coaster had surpassed Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
This sequence of events remains remarkable to me even after several years.
I mean, did anybody believe that a Toy Story (!) roller coaster would be better than an Aerosmith one?
That’s like watching a nature video where a bunny takes out a grizzly bear. It just shouldn’t be possible.
So, we score this round to physics, as the remarkable science of the slinky has led to a brilliant creation.
Slinky Dog Dash stretches and then contracts in ways that no roller coaster has ever attempted before. It’s this slinky-like behavior that makes it so great.
3) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
For roughly 25 years, I never thought I’d see the day when a Hollywood Studios attraction surpassed Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Then, Imagineers unlocked this achievement twice in four months. We’d obsess on this miracle much more if not for the pandemic.
Hollywood Studios visitors enjoyed too much of a good thing in March of 2020.
That’s when the top three must-do attractions were all operational for the first time.
Even though Tower of Terror represents the old guard, it’s still the pinnacle of theme park storytelling.
You enter an abandoned hotel with a cursed elevator, one that resides in the Twilight Zone.
When you enter the elevator, you should realize that something’s wrong as you sit down. Who does that on an elevator?
Moments later, the entire elevator moves. First, it slides across the ground, which shouldn’t be possible. Then, it reaches a new destination that is virtually bottomless.
You’ll never want to ride on an elevator again afterward…and you’ll certainly never willingly sit down in one.
Tower of Terror debuted in 1994, yet it’s still every bit as thrilling today.
2) Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
If you think the moving elevator shaft is weird, wait until you ride this runaway train!
Your compartment coach will ballroom dance at one point! It’ll also slide down a waterfall and submerge you underwater. So I guess it’s a dancing submarine of sorts?
Anyway, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway had its thunder stolen by Coronavirus.
The ride was literally a few days old when Walt Disney World closed. So, it’s slid under the radar a bit.
That’s regrettable, as it’s legitimately in the conversation for the most authentic Disney ride ever.
For more than 65 years, Imagineers never got to play in one sandbox. They couldn’t build a ride for Mickey & Minnie Mouse.
When these geniuses finally got their chance, they developed a madcap real-life cartoon experience that marries animated hijinks with a wonderful ride experience.
You’ll feel all the ups and downs of the cartoon universe even though your ride cart only moves side to side. That’s how immersive the whole thing is!
Frankly, as a non-Star Wars fan, I deem this one the must-do attraction at the park. However, I realize that the answer for most people is…
1) Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Let’s start with the great news that this ride is better than ever! No, Disney hasn’t changed it in any way.
What’s different is that you can now experience it without having to hope for a Boarding Group.
Disney recently changed the system to a standard standby line queue. So, as long as you’re willing to stand in line for a while, you WILL get to ride this.
Obviously, you want to do that, as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance just won several awards as the best new ride of the past two years.
To me, the stunning part involves the ride structure. I’m not even sure it’s fair to describe this one as a single attraction. It’s like three in one!
The “pre-show” ride is longer than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Then, you enter a staging area with impressive pageantry.
The fact that someone is currently holding you hostage doesn’t even seem to matter.
Finally, you ride the main part of Rise of the Resistance, which is basically an intergalactic getaway chase co-starring some of the scariest Sith villains ever.
Disney filled every bucket with Rise of the Resistance. You legitimately couldn’t ask for more from it, which makes it THE attraction at Hollywood Studios.
Overall, if you leave the park having ridden all seven of these attractions, you’ll have a smile on your face for sure!