Theme Park Yes Or No — Hollywood Studios
Paralysis by analysis is real, and it can sometimes happen at Walt Disney World.
For this reason, we’ve started a new series called Theme Park Yes or No. We’ll tell you whether various attractions are worth your time.
Last time, we talked about Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, let’s discuss what’s good at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Alien Swirling Saucers
One of my first MickeyBlog articles chronicled the sad state of Hollywood Studios rides at the time.
Once Disney closed The Great Movie Ride, the place was a ghost town until Toy Story Land opened.
Since then, this park has evolved into the most crowded of all at Walt Disney World.
While Alien Swirling Saucers has its critics, I deem it pure joy. I have oh so much fun while riding. And that’s the point of Disney, right?
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Disney’s love of this story shows in the sheer volume of ways you can experience it.
We’re talking shows, sing-alongs, and even restaurants and lounges.
This live stage show isn’t quite Broadway-quality, but it’s close enough that you should take the time to watch it during your vacation.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Similarly, Disney has turned into the Frozen show over the past several years.
I slightly favor this performance over the one at Beauty and the Beast, but that could be a recency factor.
Whatever the reason, you’ll want to watch this one. If you only have time to pick one, I’d stick with Frozen.
Those of you who love Beauty and the Beast more will disagree, though, which is fine. That’s why Disney hosts both performances!
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Something I like about the Indiana Jones stunt show is that you can come and go as you wish.
Since this performance occurs outside, the theater seating doesn’t trap you.
So, this presentation works well as something to do when you need to sit down for a few minutes.
You don’t even need to watch the whole show to get the gist, which is also nice.
Unless you’ve never seen it before – which seems unlikely – there’s not much need to watch the whole thing, though.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
Here’s an example of something you should do once. But, then, you’re probably good for a while.
The Cars franchise has proven remarkably durable and consistent as a revenue stream for Disney.
Walt Disney World hasn’t added much of a park presence, though. So, this show’s a good way to remind people of the joy of Lightning McQueen.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Now that Hollywood Studios has recovered from the slow years of 2016/2017, most of its attractions qualify as exceptional.
Runaway Railway may count as the newest of the bunch, but that’s not the reason you’ll want to ride it.
The appeal is that it’s freakin’ phenomenal! You live out a Disney cartoon! Yes, you should do that.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
The same answer applies here. I often describe this ride as the deluxe version of Star Tours.
However, you don’t need to wait in the entire line unless you’re a big Star Wars fan.
Instead, you can and should use Single Rider to save plenty of time. The downside is that you won’t know the people in your flight crew.
Here’s another one that falls under the heading of “Have you seen it?” If the answer is yes, it hasn’t changed much.
So, I usually tell people to pass on this one unless they’re Muppets fanatics like my wife.
As someone who doesn’t know the words to Rainbow Connection, it’s a solid show but nothing I can’t live without.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This one’s in the conversation for the best thrill ride at Walt Disney World.
I will add the caveat that it’s only about an 80-second ride, though. So, when the wait times creep up in duration, you may want to wait.
Then again, this attraction features Single Rider as well.
Slinky Dog Dash
I said Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster might be the best thrill ride at Walt Disney World.
Well, it also might be only the second-best roller coaster at Hollywood Studios. Slinky Dog Dash is that good.
In fact, I prefer this coaster to the Aerosmith one, although Slinky Dog Dash is short, too.
The catch with this one is that wait times often surpass 60 minutes. So, you’re not getting the greatest bang for your buck.
Then again, that statement applies to most of Hollywood Studios.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Friends, if you haven’t ridden Star Tours by this point, you haven’t visited Walt Disney World in waaaaaay too long.
Honestly, this ride isn’t for everyone, as the motion simulation can cause nausea for some.
Also, Smugglers Run does the same thing better. Still, presuming the wait times aren’t too bad, Star Tours is always a crowd-pleaser.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Folks, you want to ride this. I don’t care how early you must arrive at the park or how late you stay.
Even if you must purchase a Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance, it’s worth the money.
This one’s the gold standard in theme park entertainment right now and for the foreseeable future.
Toy Story Mania!
For the longest time, Toy Story Mania! counted as the alpha at Hollywood Studios.
It was the best reason to visit the park for many, myself included.
Alas, this ride faces competition just to make the top five. But it’s still one of the most thoroughly enjoyable attractions ever created.
You need to ride this. I don’t care how many times you’ve taken a spin on Toy Story Mania! previously. It’s still fun and different each time!
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I think the point I’m unintentionally making here comes down to quality. Hollywood Studios overflows with top-tier attractions, both shows and rides.
To wit, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror nearly retired the Best Dark Ride award at the Golden Tickets. It’s that good.
Few people would rank it in the top three at Hollywood Studios. But I might. It’s a mood thing for sure, but this is another MUST at the park.
Walt Disney Presents
The answer here depends on how much you like the history of Disney theme parks.
Walt Disney Presents qualifies as one of the most underrated park experiences…but only for some people.
As a Disney historian, I love every walk through this building. I literally have dozens of pictures of this place on my phone. It might even number 100+. I’ve never counted.
However, you’ll enjoy Walt Disney Presents less if you’re looking for fast-paced entertainment. This is more of a museum experience.
Now, if you’re reading this site, you likely admire Walt Disney more than the average person. So, I’d still suggest that you give it a shot.
Conversely, this article demonstrates that your free time is at a premium at Hollywood Studios. If you’re worried about that, this one’s safe to skip.