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A Guide to Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, Walt Disney World is a vacation destination everyone can love. But how do you see everything in the house Mickey built? Here are some great tips on how to get the most out of your trip to Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, formerly Disney-MGM Studios is going through a huge transition. The groundwork is being laid for the largest park expansion in Disney history with the opening of a Pixar themed land (this past June) and a monumental Star Wars-themed land (opening in 2019). Even though this park is going through a lot of construction, there is still much to see and do.

Sunset Boulevard

Disney Hollywood Studios

As soon as you enter Hollywood Studios, make a hard right down Sunset Blvd. At the end of the strip, you’ll find the Hollywood Tower Hotel. On Halloween night of 1939, the hotel was struck by lightning causing five unfortunate souls to vanish into the Twilight Zone. Those of you who are not afraid of a 13-story drop, falling faster than gravity, then step right up to the service elevator of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Right next door to the Tower of Terror is the Rock’n’Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. The inverted Cadillac above the entrance gives you some hint as to what is in store for you. You will be launched from 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds directly into a loop. It’s one helluva ride and takes you past several of the sights of Los Angeles.

Lucasfilm at Disney

Indiana Jones show

Even before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, there was a great partnership with George Lucas. This resulted in two of the best attractions at the park: Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Star Tours.

The Indiana Jones show is a live stunt show featuring all of the best scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark from the opening scene boulder chase to the German mechanic losing a fight against a Luftwaffe propeller. You’ll feel the heat from the explosions, you will hold your breath during the fight scenes, and you will live the Indy dream — you might even be picked to play an extra on set.

On the other side of the galaxy, but next door to Indy is Star Tours. This re-imagined Star Wars-themed motion simulator begins in a starport where you will see several familiar characters including R2-D2 and C3PO.

When you board your StarSpeeder 200 virtually anything can happen. With a random sequence of encounters, no two rides are identical. From Darth Vader to Gungans to Wookies to The Force Awakens, you can ride this attraction over and over and each time will be a new experience.

Star Wars Launch Bay

Stormtroopers at Star Wars Launch Bay

If you can’t wait for Star Wars Land, which is set to open in 2019, you can fill the void by checking out Star Wars Launch Bay. Here you’ll be able to explore props from the film and see what Kylo Ren and Chewbacca are up too. There’s even a chance that the Stormtroopers on patrol will mistake you for rebel scum.

If you’re hungry, head over to the other side of the park to the Sci-Fi Dine-In. This restaurant is best experienced during the day to get the full effect. The host will lead you past the soundstage walls to reveal an outdoor drive-in movie theater contained within the soundstage. As you sit in your vintage convertible, a 1950’s carhop will bring your meal while you watch kitschy science fiction movies on the big screen. Order a milkshake and a burger then snuggle up with the one you love as you take a fun and relaxing break from the park.

And you can’t visit Hollywood Studios without catching Fantasmic! a nightly show that combines classic Disney films projected onto screens of watery mist, fireworks, explosions, live performers, and a full-size dragon. As Mickey Mouse falls asleep, the forces of good and evil battle to gain control of his imagination. Arrive early to get a good seat in the amphitheater, but don’t sit in the first few rows or you will get wet.

Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land which officially opened in the summer of 2018, is Hollywood Studio’s newest addition bringing in a whole world of toys! Join Woody, Jessie and Buzz in Andy’s backyard. You can take a ride on Slinky Dog Dash the rollercoaster that Andy built from his “Mega Coaster Play Kit.” 

Guest favourite, Toy Story Mania! has expanded with a third track, allowing more guests to enjoy the carnival game box. And if you need a bite to eat you can enjoy a tasty meal or old-fashioned soda at Woody’s Lunch Box.  As you travel through the carnival, you pull a cord attached to the lap bar in front of you.

The effect of the cord pull depends on which scene of the carnival you are in. In one scene, the cord launches dart to pop balloons, in another scene baseballs are pitched at flying plates, in yet another scene the cord causes rings to be tossed onto little green men. No matter what your age, you will love this ride and keep coming back to top your last score. Hint: If you work as a team, you can unlock special score multipliers.

Disney touts the new land as a “visual celebration of toys” where you’ll find crayons, green army men, Rubik’s Cubes and Tinkertoys.

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Fantasmic fireworks show

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