Park: Hollywood Studios
at: Disney World
With Avatar on the way to the Animal Kingdom, the Hollywood Studios
theme park is truly the subject of questions… since it may soon
become the “smallest” park as far as places to see, things to
do, and need to return a second time to complete the rounds. (And,
it should be noted, there really does seem to be an awful lot
of speculation out there. Star Wars seems to be the biggest
theme in whispers… but Marvel talk is mounting as well. So there
could be news on the way.)
yet… funny thing is… the park is pretty good.
of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are a strong combination
of thrill rides, and Toy Story Midway Mania! is just brilliant.
like Muppet*Vision 3D, and really enjoy it as a nostalgia attraction
every time I get to the park.
then the next wave of possibilities is pretty awesome… Star Tours
– The Adventure Continues, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!,
and Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show all have strong
supporters attesting to their reach and quality.
Studio Backlot Tour, Great Movie Ride, and Voyage of the Little
Mermaid are quite good for some fun.
Primetime Café and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater are two of the
better in-park and themed restaurants around.
then… the showstopper… Fantasmic!
that list, pick your favorites, and you’ll find that this park…
the third at Disney World and approaching its twenty-fifth anniversary
(opened in 1989)… can hold its own.
we went on:
Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
The Great Movie Ride
Voyage of The Little Mermaid
Toy Story Midway Mania!
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
we ate… or food we enjoyed:
best of the best: Going from our visit, it would be Toy
Story Midway Mania!
that would stand even if we had gone to Tower of Terror or Rock
‘n’ Roller Coaster.
an amazing attraction. And… because we had FASTPASS access, we
missed several aspects of the preshow and line area.
motion of the ride vehicles adds a terrific loopiness to everything,
and it is an interactive experience. It’s just flat out fun. That
really need to know (and other observations): Run…
not pause to get situated and check the map.
to get your FASTPASS for Toy Story Midway Mania! This attraction
not only routinely has a wait of at least 45-60 minutes, it also
features a FASTPASS that quickly after the main gates open has
the return visit time reaching late into the afternoon and up
against park closing.
am only slightly exaggerating. This really should be one of your
first efforts once inside the park.)
it comes to Fantasmic!, you have to get there early.
I have been in this park several times to see people arriving
about 30 minutes prior to the show turned away. Even Disney knows
the theater is filled way ahead of time. In fact, this is so well
understood by repeat visitors and Disney that over the years I
have seen several different preshow events run to entertain the
crowd since people routinely arrive 60-90 minutes ahead of the
unexpected fun we had (or special moments we experienced):
Again, Toy Story Midway Mania! was the most fun for the day… and
easily the biggest surprise.
you have never been to see this attraction, I can guarantee it
will be the one you are talking about for days and weeks after
praise (or complaints): Ok…
have no idea why the Sci-Fi dropped the buffalo chicken potato
skins. We had these during a visit a couple of years ago, and
they were a treasure. I have no clue what sales were like for
the item… but my experience with them was a fabulous presentation
and a great spin on a classic.
were two showings of Fantasmic!, the night we were there,
and in order to move around the incoming crowd our group was directed
to leave through an extended walkway that ended in the main entrance
area. This effectively ended our thoughts of attempting the Tower
of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to end our day.
Tours can still be a bit tricky for motion sickness.
a ribbon on the day: Just a guess… but off the top of
my head, between Toy Story Midway Mania!, Tower of Terror and
the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, I wonder if there is a park where
you would be more tempted to use FASTPASS several times.
likely not true. FASTPASS pros could easily point to the Magic
the reality is, that once you add in Fantasmic!, you’ve
got four major things that require planning, with the potential
of extended waits in the standard line or an early arrival necessary
in order to even guarantee seats.
really can’t go wrong making a reservation and stepping away from
the attractions in the park for a meal in one of the on-site outlets.
Prime Time Café and Sci-Fi Dine In are both great places.
(Just make sure you can take it easy for a bit after the meal.)
I would actually place Hollywood Studios right behind Epcot now
for in-park dining options that are creative, fun, and worth the
investment of time (and money) for the experience.