Personally, Hollywood Studios is my least favorite park and part of that has to do with how many attractions it shares with the Disneyland Resort. But if you’re a huge fan of Star Wars, then this is the WDW park that you’ll probably enjoy most. In addition to my recommendations below, there are lots of great streetmosphere acts, pretty photo spots and plenty of shops to fill time when not waiting for the few attractions.
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
This is an adorable and stunning dark ride featuring Mickey and Minnie! It’s the newest addition to Hollywood Studios and hasn’t yet been completed at Disneyland.
- Rise of the Resistance
The most immersive theme park ride I’ve ever experienced. And why not try to get as many opportunities to ride it as possible (even if you’ve done it at Disneyland before)?
- Smuggler’s Run
You get to join the crew on the Millennium Falcon! You’ll be one of two pilots, gunners, or engineers who each have different roles onboard. The queue offers lots to look at, an amazing animatronic, and photo opportunities at the chess board table. Each ride is different depending on how well your fellow crew members respond!
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This launch coaster is the biggest thrill ride in this park. To me, it feels like a shorter, indoor version of California Screamin/The Incredicoaster because it goes upside down (even though I could barely tell that it went upside down). There’s a single rider line too!
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I recommend this ride not only because of the nostalgia that Disneyland pros might have for the original theming of Tower of Terror but also because there’s extra ride elements that make it much cooler and better themed than Disneyland’s previous iteration.
- Slinky Dog Dash
This ride is totally unique to Walt Disney World and it is a great family-friendly coaster that’s a step up from Gadget’s Go Coaster and with friendlier theming than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It is especially fun to ride at night with all of the Toy Story Land lights illuminated!
- Muppet Vision 3D
Another attraction that used to be at Disneyland, this 4D show is actually quite amusing and has the nostalgia factor for those of you that remember and miss it (I don’t).
- Walt Disney Presents
This walk-through attraction includes a wonderful museum-like trip through Walt’s animation history and history of the parks and includes models and information about upcoming movies and attractions. Additionally, there is sometimes a character meet-and-greet and either a film preview or a film on Walt’s life that brought me to tears. Come here if you need some air-conditioning!
- Star Wars Launch Bay
This area houses character meet-and-greets that you can find in the app as well as an area where jawas wander around and interact with guests. There is also a small art gallery with Star Wars art you can only get in the parks and a separate, large Star Wars shop. The Launch Bay Theater in this area also screens a film about some of the stories of the passionate people who have worked on Star Wars movies.
- Meet Mickey and Minnie
This is the only place where you can meet Mickey in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice outfit (my personal favorite) and Minnie’s glamorous pink starlet gown will make any family photo look fabulous. The uniqueness of these outfits make this the place I most highly suggest meeting Mickey and Minnie.
- Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
You can’t meet this guy in Disneyland and for a character who can’t really move his hands, he’s still pretty expressive.
- Meet Edna in Municiberg
Edna is hard to find in Disneyland and here she has a whole queue, indoors, just for her. I’m sure she’ll have snarky things to “say” about your outfit.
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
If you’re like me and have a craving for Disneyland’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye while you’re at Disney World, this is the closest you can get besides the track of DINOSAUR. This show has all of the humor, fight scenes, and explosions galore of an Indy film and you might even be selected to be an extra in the show! There are rumors that this might be replaced in coming years so see it while you can!
- Wonderful World of Animation & Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
This park’s nighttime entertainment involves lot of projections on the facade of the Chinese Theater. Some of the coolest effects are the ways that they use lasers to make you feel like you’re in the middle of a battle and there are fireworks and fire coming from several locations around the main plaza.
Food & Drink
- 50’s Prime Time Café
This restaurant is an experience and not just a meal. If you only want to do one table service meal at Hollywood Studios and don’t want to splurge for Hollywood Brown Derby, I would recommend this place.
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
The theming in this place is out of this world and the milkshakes are too. For some upscale versions of theme park burgers and a few other delicious sandwich options, I recommend this place to give your feet a break while you watch a few sci-fi trailers.
- Woody’s Lunch Box
This quick-service has really delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and tater tot bowls. The pop-tart like pastries are also delicious. I recommend getting the kids meal to get a drink and an orange on the side if you aren’t too hungry! Although it is still pretty straightforward American food, it is one of the more unique dining options in Hollywood Studios.
- Alien Swirling Saucers
This is the same ride as Tow Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at the Disneyland Resort and the queue is very sunny.
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Unless you or someone in your party really loves Frozen, the Frozen stage show at the Hyperion Theater in California Adventure is far superior. If you must see it, try to go only about 5 to 10 minutes before a show is supposed to start to check if there’s still room or else wait for the next show. The snow falling at the end of the show never ceases to be magical.
- March of the First Order
This happens so frequently that you really do not have to plan for it; it is more likely to get in your way. I personally don’t think there is anything too special about stormtroopers marching (with much poorer form and worse synchronization than even a terrible high school marching band) but I guess you can get some up close and personal photos.
- Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
This is the lamest thing that Disney has ever made to cater to Star Wars fans. The show is solely composed of characters (some of whom have died in the films) coming out and posing on stage without saying anything. The only chance you have of interacting with them is to lurk by the path they take to come on stage. And it happens several times a day.
Food & Drink
- BaseLine Tap House
This place pretty much only has beer and some less than amazing appetizers; you can get a much better beer selection at Disney’s California Adventure.
- Most quick service
There aren’t really any unique or can’t-miss treats or meals to get at the counter service locations here and it feels like there are a lot of them. If you can, I would try to do table-service or go to Epcot (if you have a park-hopper), the Boardwalk or Disney Springs for lunch or dinner instead.
- Hollywood & Vine
This is character dining that mostly appeals to the target audience of Disney Junior (sometimes dinner has characters from the Fab 5, but Tusker House at Animal Kingdom is a much better option). Food-wise, I’ve heard that it is actually bad.
To Do Time-Permitting
- Star Tours
You have the exact same options for scenes as in Disneyland’s version but part of the outdoor queue looks like Endor and I’ve heard that ewoks can sometimes be spotted.
- Toy Story Mania
The ride is the same as the Midway version at California Adventure but the queue for this attraction has absolutely incredible theming.
I almost put this on the To Skip list because the refurbishment of Disneyland’s version blows this show out of the water. But, I think this one is worth seeing just for the Pocahontas scene and to appreciate how Disney actually planned seating for one of its most popular shows. You will usually have to pick between seeing this and having a good view of the Star Wars fireworks so decide for yourself which is more important. My usual choice is to leave early and either park-hop to Magic Kingdom for Happily Ever After or walk to Epcot to catch the fireworks, picking up Ample Hills ice cream on the way.
- Beauty and the Beast-Live On Stage
Somehow Disney has managed to scale down it’s Oscar-winning film into a 25 minute swirl of costumes and choreography with voice recordings for everyone except Belle and Gaston. This show is fine but I would be much happier if Disney were to replace this with Mickey and the Magical Map from Disneyland or a more original show.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
This theater adaptation of The Little Mermaid is very outdated so the effects are laughable yet oddly charming. If you have time to kill before a FastPass+, go for it but there are plenty of other things that are more worth your time.
Food & Drink
- Hollywood Brown Derby & Lounge
The theming will give you all of the Los Angeles vibes. It is definitely more upscale and expensive, but the food is more exciting than the other table-service options in Hollywood Studios.
- ABC Commissary
Stop in here to get a free cup of water and check out the costumes and props from your favorite ABC shows like Grey’s Anatomy. This is like a less themed version of 50’s Prime Time, serving things like meatloaf as well as teriyaki bowls.
You’re almost done figuring out all that you want to make time for at the parks. Last stop, Animal Kingdom must-dos as a Disneyland pro!