Best Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions & Ride Guide

Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t have a ton of attractions, but it has some great ones. This guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions contains short reviews of our top picks, as well as numerical scores for every attraction. If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it’s a great place to start when making a rough roadmap for what you want to do during your visit. Everyone’s preferences will vary, so we’ll also provide a brief description of every attraction to give you an idea of whether particular attractions will appeal to your group.

Our list of recommended attractions for Disney’s Hollywood Studios includes headliners and less well-known attractions that people overlook, but that are worth checking out. We don’t recommend skipping any attractions based upon the advice of others if you have the time to experience them all, and if you plan well and maximize your time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you should be able to come close to doing it all in a single day. If you go at a slower pace or stop for table service meals, this guide will help give you an idea of which Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides and attractions are must-see for you, and which ones you won’t have time to do.

Unlike our Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide and Epcot Attraction Guide, you’ll notice that this one is fairly top heavy. While this might seem like a good thing, unless you’re a party of only adults, it’s not. These attractions are rated based upon their target demographic (see below) and most of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ attractions–particularly the rides–are aimed at an older audience. In addition to that, it doesn’t have as many attractions, so by virtue of needing enough attractions to fill a whole day, more needs to be in our “top” list.

Even still, Disney’s Hollywood Studios looks fairly good on paper. When comparing the top of its lineup to other parks, it stacks up surprisingly well. Unfortunately, in addition to the low attraction-count, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is more a collection of attractions than it is a theme park. The other parks have great rides and wonderfully themed environments, whereas Disney’s Hollywood Studios is sort of a hodgepodge once you get past Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. If the parks are only about attractions to you and you don’t have kids, Disney’s Hollywood Studios might be a great park for you. However, I present this caveat for those of you who care about a sense of place and a balance of attractions…Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t nearly as good as it looks on paper. To the contrary, we consider it the weakest Walt Disney World theme park. (In its defense, many people consider Disney’s Hollywood Studios a “half-day park,” which it’s not, either, at least for first time guests. Those who have been several times will probably skip the long stage shows that never seem to be rotated out, which is where that half-day reputation originates.)

This guide assumes that you have a full day to spend in each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. You may have more or less time depending on how many day tickets you purchase and whether you add on the Park Hopper option (read our Walt Disney World Ticket Guide to determine which tickets are best for you).

Numerical scores are on a scale of 1 to 10, and only take into consideration overall quality relative to that specific type of attraction. Dark rides are judged against other dark rides, roller coasters are judged against other coasters, etc., to create a relatively level playing field. Attractions are rated based upon how much their target audience will enjoy them. For example, an attraction with a height restriction that precludes kids from riding it might score 9/10, despite it’s score for toddlers being 0/10. Likewise, a stage show based on a TV show for kids might score a 7/10 because that’s how much they’d enjoy it, even though it might be a 2/10 for adults. In our ratings, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall and within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.

Top Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions

Toy Story Mania (8/10) – A 3D screen-based shooter game with Toy Story characters. Since it opened, this has become one of the most heavily-hyped attractions at Walt Disney World, drawing ridiculous standby wait times. Part of this is organic–it’s the only ride in the park geared towards kids, which meant that regardless of quality, its lines would be fairly long–but another part is a cyclical result of the hype. It’s a fun game-based attraction, but it does feel a bit like a glorified Wii game, without much in the way of physical sets (the line has some fun props, but the ride itself is entirely screen-based). Some Disney fans consider it the best attraction at Walt Disney World, but we don’t view it as a classic Disney attraction in terms of quality. It’s superficial and lacks the longevity of other classics. Still, it’s a fun and “intense” game that many guests are bound to really enjoy. Definitely get FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania if you can. If you cannot, either go right at park opening or at the end of the night. We do not recommend waiting 90 minutes or more for Toy Story Mania. It’s just not worth it.

Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage (7.5/10) - A Broadway-style stage retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast in condensed form. Normally, we’re not fans of shows or attractions that are simply condensed versions of the normal stories, but Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage does enough with its choreography and performances (specifically by the inanimate objects) and dramatic styling that it feels like it actually brings something new to the table. In a park high on stage shows, this is a highlight. FastPass+ is available, but totally unnecessary.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror looms at the end of Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here's another eerie Tower of Terror photo:

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (10/10) – A free-fall thrill ride set in the Twilight Zone with an elaborate lead-in and excellent story. This is the best Walt Disney World attraction to open in the last 20 years. We often hear from guests who don’t ride this because they don’t like thrills, but that’s a mistake. Yes, it’s technically a thrill ride, but it’s so much more (and really, the dropping is the least important part of the experience). The mood, the atmosphere, and the environments are all top-notch, and the pinnacle of Walt Disney Imagineering. If you don’t like thrills, take the chicken exit at the very end. It’s worth going through the experience of the attraction up until that point, even if you don’t do the ride itself. Tower of Terror has a 40″ height requirement and offers FastPass+. In its tier, it’s a good use of FastPass+, but don’t hesitate to wait in line for 30-40 minutes for this–the queue is an experience itself, with plenty of references from Twilight Zone episodes.

One Man’s Dream (8/10) – A walk-through tribute to Walt Disney, with a film at the end. One Man’s Dream is often overlooked by normal park guests despite being in a high traffic area. It helps put the parks in context, lifts the curtain on some things, and in so doing makes the theme parks more impressive. In other words, it’s not just a dull museum. Commit 10 minutes to it just to check out some of the cool technology and history on display. You’ll likely find yourself spending a lot more time inside as you pore over the many interesting pieces that have made the Disney empire what it is today. While the film at the end is an enjoyable piece of history, it’s non-essential viewing if you lack the time.

MuppetVision 3D (10/10) – 3D show featuring the Muppets. If you have a sense of humor, you’ll love MuppetVision 3D. The pre-show is actually the highlight of MuppetVision, and we think it can fairly be described as sidesplitting. Make sure you arrive early enough to see the full pre-show (wander around this holding area looking for gags as you watch). The main 3D show is good, and uses the typical 3D show gimmicks, plus characters in the theater. The sharp scripts in the pre-show and main show are incredibly quotable, too. Not loving MuppetVision 3D is distinctly unpatriotic. FastPass+ is available, but totally unnecessary.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (9.5/10) – A 3D motion simulator montage ride through various locations in the Star Wars universe. A recently updated attraction, the new Star Tours is a totally new experience, with modern visuals and even locales from the newer Star Wars trilogy. The ride is fast-paced, and the locations you visit are randomized, adding to re-rideability. What it lacks in story-telling cohesion it totally makes up for in frenetic fun. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has a 40″ height requirement and isn’t recommended for those who easily get motion sickness. Although this has FastPass+, it also has a very high ride capacity, and an entertaining queue.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (8/10) – A stunt show themed to Indiana Jones. Despite its age, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular still works. It features a variety of different stunt styles, offers humor, and engaging narrative scenes that just work. As far as action-oriented shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is by far the best. FastPass+ is available, but totally unnecessary.

Jedi Training Academy (7.5/10) – Small scale stage show giving kids the opportunity to become Jedi. This is an attraction that kids will absolutely love if they’re into Star Wars and are extroverted. It’s not quite as much fun for the audience, but it’s still decent. Originally somewhat of a temporary show, Jedi Training Academy could be so much more than it is, which is why it looses some points.

Wouldn't this view of Grauman's Chinese Theater be nice from the end of Hollywood Boulevard? More on Disney's Hollywood Studios' much-needed

The Great Movie Ride (8/10) – A guided ride through some of the highlights of cinema, with impressive sets and Audio Animatronics. Once a flagship attraction of the Disney-MGM Studios, the Great Movie Ride has itself become a bit of a Norma Desmond. To a degree, the Great Movie Ride is timeless. Part of its fading is the fault of guests–contemporary guests seem to care less about Hollywood classics and more about reality TV. However, it’s tough to deny that every film featured has aged well, or that the tour guide shtick still works. To the extent that people think new or Disney movies needed to be added to the attraction, we disagree. It’s an attraction focusing on great movies, not current movies. That many current-day guests don’t recognize the bulk of these movies says more about guests than it does about the attraction. If you can get past the overacting of the tour guide and their cheesy script, the Great Movie Ride is still an excellent attraction the takes guests on an engaging tour of the highlights of American cinema. The Alien scene will probably scare kids. FastPass+ is available, but unless you’re visiting on a really busy day, it’s not necessary.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid (7/10) – Stage show (partially black-light) telling a CliffNotes version of The Little Mermaid. When this debuted in the early 1990s, I’m sure the tech was cutting edge. Over the years, there haven’t been any updates to speak of, and the show (which leans on tech a fair amount) has started to feel a little long in the tooth. It’s still an enjoyable show that is worth seeing if you have the time, and the black light dancing fish scene is fun. FastPass+ is available, but totally unnecessary.

Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith (8/10) – Intense (by Disney standards) roller coaster with a loop, featuring Aerosmith. The pre-show and queue help make it more of a fully fleshed out experience, but Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster is basically an unthemed rollercoaster in the dark. It’s fun, but it’s not 90-minute-wait fun. It’s a thrills for the sake of thrills attraction. This is in the same FastPass+ tier as Toy Story Mania; if you don’t use FastPass+ on Toy Story Mania, definitely use it on this. Otherwise, do it first thing in the morning or via Single Rider.

Fantasmic (8.5/10) – Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ nighttime spectacular in which you enter Mickey Mouse’s dreams in a show featuring projections, characters on stage, boats, fire, fireworks, and more. Depending upon your perspective, our score for Fantasmic could be too low or too high. If you’ve been to Disneyland, which has a far superior version of Fantasmic, it’s too high (if you’re a Disneyland regular, you can skip this version). If not, you’re likely to be blown away by Walt Disney World’s Fantasmic, which is completely unlike the fireworks at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. If viewing it on a clean slate, Fantasmic is an incredible, wow-inducing must-do. It misses out on a perfect score from us due to over-reliance on Pocahontas, occasional technical problems and missing elements, and long waits to see it. It’s in the same FastPass+ tier as Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, but if you elect or are unable to do either of those Fantasmic is a good use of FastPass+.

The Rest

Would you miss the Disney's Hollywood Studios Backlot Tour if it were to go

Backlot Tour (6/10) – A tram tour through the supposed backlot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When the park opened and was an actual, working studio, this tour was a highlight. The park is no longer a working studio and this tour has been diluted and cut, with little left of interest. This score is actually fairly generous, but Catastrophe Canyon is still cool.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage! (?/10) – A stage show featuring Disney Junior characters. This is the only current attraction at Walt Disney World that we have not done. If you have kids, it’s probably for you. If you don’t, it’s probably not. Here’s a review and tips from StudiosCentral.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (5.5/10) – A vehicular stunt show. Arguably, this has more appeal to its target audience of boys and car-lovers, but its duration and poor-pacing really hurt it. Don’t bother with FastPass+ on it, you won’t need it.

The American Idol Experience (6.5/10) - A stage show singing competition emulating the American Idol television show, with actual park guests competing. The American Idol Experience is not exactly a fan favorite, but it’s not a bad attraction. It gets the feel of the show down, complete with judges who are “characters.” A big part of your enjoyment of the show will be the singing quality and stage presence of the guests performing. Enjoying the American Idol TV show isn’t necessary for enjoying this attraction, but it probably helps. FastPass+ is available, but it’s totally unnecessary.

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow (4.5/10) – An intimate walk-through and show about Pirates of the Caribbean. The technology here is neat, but the premise and show itself are absurd. It’s probably too scary for small children, yet it seems aimed at them.

The Magic of Disney Animation (6/10) – An ‘inside look’ at the animation process, including a drawing class. For those interested in sketching a character, the drawing class is the highlight. Otherwise, this attraction has changed and lost its charm over the years.

This leaves out random pieces of entertainment (the highlights of which are the excellent Citizens of Hollywood performers–their daily “Funniest Citizen” finale is not to be missed), character meet & greets, play areas, and seasonal offerings, like Star Wars Weekends, but it’s the significant attractions. If you have the time, try as much as you can, as you’ll likely disagree with us on at least a few of these attractions.

If you’re planning a trip, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

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Your Thoughts…

Which Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions are your favorites? Which ones do you normally skip? Do you agree or disagree with our ratings? If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World yet, which Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions are you most excited about? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!

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70 Responses to “Best Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions & Ride Guide”

  1. Tyler Bliss says:

    An overall fair assessment! I think most of your scores are spot on, but I have to wholeheartedly disagree with your score for Beauty and the Beast. I don’t mean to sounds like a snob, but as someone who has spent years performing and seeing live theatre, this show is a REAL stinker…(I probably sound like a snob). It’s outdated, the effects are dull, and most importantly, you can tell the CMs who have been performing in it for god knows how many years are OVER IT. It surprises me this show is still running as I would expect guests to complain about its quality compared to the other excellent entertainment offerings across the property. The average guest and kid may enjoy the show but for me it’s just embarrassing. It needed to be retired years ago! Tale as old as time? More like show older than time! In the words of Jebidiah Atkinson… “NEXT!” (End rant)

    • Holly says:

      I am not a theater snob (haha), but I totally agree with your assessment. I’m planning my trip for September right now and it will be my 2.5 year old son’s first time. I immediately crossed Beauty and the Beast off the list because I’m sure it will bore him to death. Maybe we’ll go during nap time! What I’m most disappointed in is that I won’t get to experience the great movie ride this time. I always make a point as it’s one of my faves but may be too scary for my little man. Heck, I know it’s coming and the alien makes me jump every time. Other than that scores are pretty dead on Tom.

      • Daffystardust says:

        you might be relieved to know that it has been a long time since the Aliens in the Great Movie Ride were operational. Of course this knowledge makes the suspense worse for me, because I’m still afraid that somebody might have fixed them “just last night.” I’m 43 and those Aliens creep me out, but I survive them so I can experience the rest of the ride.

      • Christy says:

        HAHA on the Alien! The first time I rode the GMR was in 1990. I was 9. That was the only time I have seen the Alien. Now I’m 32 and 24 years later, I keep my eyes closed from when we enter that room until we leave it. I am a huge chicken.

      • Chris says:

        I thought the show was fine for a constantly running theme park quality type attraction. My biggest problem is with the state of that theater, it’s really in disrepair, peeling paint, cobwebs, ugh.

      • ryan1 says:

        The missus and I were at MGM last week and we took our almost 2 year old on GMR. If you hold your kid or shield their eyes during Alien they should be fine to ride it. Ours has ridden it 4 times so far.

        The aliens are operational and moving, as of last week at least.

      • Bernadette says:

        Same as ryan1: I told my easily scared seven year old to close her eyes right before the alien scene (I would have covered her eyes if she was a toddler) – no problems!

      • Tom Bricker says:

        I didn’t originally mention the Alien scene in the article, but I’ve gone back and edited it. I also remember being scared out of my mind by that as a kid. I love that scene today, though! For what it’s worth, it works here and there, but never consistently (at least for the last several years). I’d put its downtime at about 75% of the time.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Well, we haven’t seen it since 2010, but I sure remember enjoying it and being impressed by the choreography. I *know* it was better than Lights, Motors, Action! Never again on that one.

    • james says:

      well, our opinion is probably like how medical people see medical shows like ER/Grey’s anatomy on TV. So, this opinion, may not be real important or eye opening to the general public…or most the kids that go to see it. lol.

  2. Josie says:

    I’d love to see Muppets get some TLC. I make a point to go see it almost every time I’m there and I love it a lot. I just wish the video could get some upgrading tech-wise. I still very much enjoy the attraction, but the last time I experienced it I remember thinking how dated the video part seemed.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I assume you’re talking about the pre-show? (The main show was updated to a digital projection in 2011 or 2012.) Yeah, a simple upgrade of the monitors would go a long way. As for redoing the pre-show, as much as I like the parks to evolve and introduce new experiences, I don’t have faith that they would do a better job.

      • Josie says:

        Oh, I had no idea that the show had been updated to digital projection. That’s wonderful! The last time I saw it was in 2010. I was suggesting content should stay exactly the same. Updating the monitors of the pre-show would help so that it didn’t seem dated.

      • Chris says:

        I think getting rid of the CRTs would save enough money to redo the whole attraction, ha.

  3. Sean says:

    Toy Story Mania is a “must-do” for me every time I go to WDW. Obviously we try to FastPass is in advance but due to fastpasses for that attraction getting “sold-out” by about noon (or earlier) each day, I have on more than one occasion, waited on the stand-by line for it. Each time it was advertised as a 90+ minute wait, but never took that long. Maybe an hour. But to me it’s totally worth it (as I only really find a few other things in HS worth doing, I don’t mind spending a little extra time waiting for TSM).

    Star Tours is my absolute favorite though. A Star Wars nerd born & bred, I NEVER grow tired of it!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Well, with FastPass+, you’ll finally be able to ride without doing TSM in standby.

      I really hope Disney’s Hollywood Studios does a Star Wars Land, and I’m *not* a huge Star Wars fan!

      • Sean says:

        i’m fuzzy on the details of FP+, will it be like regular fastpass where only a certain amount for each time slot will be given? (ie. 9:00-9:40…9:50-10:20) or is it a “reservation” for any time of the day?

      • Tammy says:

        Blasphemy. Not being a Star Wars fan is decidedly unpatriotic!

  4. Sean says:

    “It’s called A Salute to All Nations, But Mainly, America. It’s a glorious 3-hour presentation!”

  5. Betsy says:

    If you have kids who watch Disney Junior, then Disney Junior Live on Stage has to be a 9 or a 10/10. I took my young nephews to it last summer, and since I am childless, it was my first experience in that attraction. I had never seen so many captivated kids in one room in my life. Every child was on his/her feet and singing along/jumping up and down throughout the entire show. It reminded me of the Two and Half Men episode when Charlie Waffles sings to a room full of kids and they all know every word to every song. I was totally blown away by how much the children in the audience enjoyed this show.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Based on the Studios Central review (and I trust Matt’s opinion), it sounded like a well-done attraction. Still, I can’t assign a score to an attraction that I haven’t personally experienced.

      • Chris says:

        You should totally check it out at least once and sit in the back, the only knock I would give it is that you have to sit on a hard concrete floor. It uses beautiful puppets as the characters and lots of special effects. I was surprised, and my son loved it.

    • Kevin says:

      I agree. I think it quickly loses the appeal as you get older, but for ages 2 to 5/6/7(?) it’s apparently awesome. Jake (from the neverland pirates) is like a rock star coming on stage when they start playing his theme song for the kids.

      Plus, the drop coins and such from the ceiling. Apparently, picking up paper trash is hugely entertaining when you are young.

    • Liz says:

      Totally agree if your kids watch Disney Jr. This is a must see. My youngest son when he was 4 made us go back 3 times to see this ( he would have gone again and again if we didn’t say enough). It is a show worth seeing if you have little ones, just time it right when we went back 2 years later(all ready to watch multiple times) he looked at me and said mom no-way that is for babies. Now at 14 with are trip coming in April, I am sure I will tease him and say let’s go, he will laugh and we will all remanence about what fun we had at Disney Jr. Live, oh the time goes so fast and they grow up too soon.

    • Tammy says:

      I agree that kids love it, but it’s way too long to sit on a hard floor!

  6. wayne says:

    Your dead on. The Tower of Terror is number 1.

  7. Kevin says:

    ToT is probably my favorite ride in all of WDW. Too bad I took my daughter on in too young (just at 40″) and she’s possibly scarred for life. (Parent of the year award! Honestly, we ahd watched it on Youtube and she wanted to ride.)

    I’m not sure I’d rate LMA so much lower than Indy. While I’m not a huge fan, I think it’s probably only a little lower. Like you say, the pacing could be sped up a bit.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m sure that’s a tough decision with the “scary” rides and kids, and really, how would you know if the YouTube viewing went fine?

      LMA isn’t that much lower than Indy? You lost me there! ;)

  8. Mary says:

    Muppets Vision is my second favorite after the country bears (followed closely behind by Tower of Terror). The preshow might be better than the main attraction.

    I have heard that Fantasmic is a million times better at Disneyland. The one time I saw it there, Maleficent was broke. The photos I’ve seen of her are amazing. Why couldn’t they have done the same thing at MGM? (it will always be MGM….)

  9. SkipperKelly says:

    As a former CM at Rock’n’Rollercoaster, I agree with your assessment on the wait times. If I had a nickel for every person who said “It was too short!” at the unload area, I’d be rich. In all fairness though, it’s an intense coaster. I’m not sure anyone would be wanting to experience that type of thrill for more than 2 minutes.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I don’t necessarily think it’s too short, it just could use some more substance. Of course, the same complaint could be made about virtually every Disney coaster.

  10. Wendy says:

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the drawing class being on “the rest” list. I have been to WDW numerous times and had never done the class (but have done the video). However, this past trip my husband (his first ever WDW trip) wanted to try it. We LOVED it!! We could seriously spend all day in there. It was fun seeing whose drawing was better each time we did it (3 times total this trip). Of course, it’s not for everyone, but we LOVED it! Have you tried the drawing class? I would encourage you to if you haven’t.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We’ve done it several times. It’s fine, but the drawing class is only an element of The Magic of Disney Animation, and the rest of the attraction leaves something to be desired.

  11. mitch says:

    Mulch, Sweat, and Shears. 10/10

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I enjoy Mulch, Sweat, and Shears, but I’d probably give it an 8/10. Citizens of Hollywood would get 10/10, though.

  12. Bernadette says:

    Jedi Training Academy: “kids will absolutely love if they’re into Star Wars and are extroverted”. Ding ding ding – you nailed it. My ten year old is completely obsessed with Star Wars – one of my primary goals on our last trip was to sign him up for JTA, but he is very introverted and was scared out of his mind with stage fright the entire time. :(

  13. Dan Heaton says:

    I agree with most of your scores, especially the 10/10 for Tower of Terror. That remains the best ride in the park. I also have found myself enjoying the new Star Tours more with each ride. I’d shift Toy Story Mania down to about a 6.5 or so and raise up Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. I enjoy TSM, but I feel like it’s really popular due to the lack of other kids rides at DHS. RnR really works for me despite the fact that it’s so short. It also does have some theming that fits nicely with the track. Great job!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I could see TSM going lower, but I wouldn’t lower it that much. Once you get past the hype, for what it is, Toy Story Mania is a solid attraction. It’s just not in the same league as other headliners (being overrated doesn’t mean it’s not good).

  14. Erin says:

    Love Toy Story Mania, but the wait time is usually crazy. Definitely agree with the Tower of Terror rating.

  15. Amanda Susan says:

    Obviously every person would have different ratings. I love TSMM and would ride it over and over if the line was shorter, personally I enjoy it more than TOT.

    I would rate GMR about a 2, if I never went on it again I would be very happy.

    This is also the park I spend the least amount of time in and my least favorite park. If I get a ride on TSMM, RRC and Star Tours I’m happy.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve tried to eliminate my own subjectivity from the equation, but obviously that will creep in. Everyone has their own favorite movies, but I think it’s still possible to (more or less) objectively view certain films as superior to others. I may enjoy watching Pirates of the Caribbean more than I enjoy watching Citizen Kane, but I know without a doubt that the latter is far superior to the former.

      Now, I can understand enjoying TSM more, but I don’t think there is any plausible argument for Toy Story Mania being objectively superior to Tower of Terror. Toy Story Mania is just a screen-based ride-through game, albeit a fun one, and Tower of Terror is an immersive, sensory experience. Everything about it–from the approach to the queue to the post-show is all brilliantly designed with astounding attention to detail. Toy Story Mania has a cute queue, but beyond that, it’s virtually all screens.

      I could see giving Great Movie Ride a lower score, mainly on the basis of the guides, but I don’t think there’s any way it’s a 2. I’d love to hear why you think it is, though.

      There’s one thing we agree on–and that’s that spending the least amount of time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is probably a good idea! :)

      • antnee says:

        I’ll have to disagree with spending the least amount of time in HS. It’s my family’s second favorite park (second to MK). My wife and son are completely happy sending half a day at Epcot (they aren’t big fans of the world showcase) and a half day at AK although we’ll probably spend a little extra time this year at AK this year so we can see Nemo and the Lion King shows. We’re going for 8 days in January of 2015, of that will spend 5 full days in the parks and when you add up the time I will bet 1 to 2 days will be HS.

  16. Bethany says:

    Great ratings and I have to say I agree with most with only a few (very subjective) objections. ;) Toy SM does have a lot of re-rideability to me (if you’re willing to wait *sigh*). There are a lot of hidden gems in the ride that help you score big and it does take a little bit of luck and skill to catch them at the right moment and get high score of the hour/day/month. But it’s also fun to see your score still standing at the end of the day. It also makes for great conversation with the cast members if you pick their brain where the extra points are. ;) But we fall into the mid-30′s-no-kids crowd so waiting and scoring aren’t too big a deal for us. But also along those lines, Jedi Training Academy had a lot of value for us. Again, we don’t have kids but we find the humor in the lead cast member and the reactions of the kids super enjoyable. We always try to catch one showing of this before hitting star tours and always get a good laugh. Another great read, Tom!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve ridden Toy Story Mania at Disney California Adventure (MUCH shorter wait there!) with an expert a few times, and it’s really fun to see what you can unlock when you work together. I think re-ridability is very high with it. It’s tons of fun and I really enjoy playing it. I just don’t see it as any sort of revolutionary Disney attraction.

  17. Laurel says:

    If you hate the wait time for Fantasmic!, but don’t want to burn a Fastpass+, there is still the option of the dining package. Apparently they’ve also moved the package to much better seats then they were previously? I guess I’ll find out when I’m there at the end of February. It’s a bit pricy out of pocket, but I like to order the steak on the menu anyway ;)

  18. Arden says:

    Hollywood Studios was my favorite park. I went last October because my twin sister was a CM. My two favorite rides were the Rockin’ roller coaster and Tower of Terror. The best place to sit on the Rockin’ roller coaster is the front.

  19. Tabitat says:

    Again I agree with your assessments. This past trip we skipped GMR because we’d done it last year. I remember turning to my husband after coming off the ride last time and saying it could be great if updated just a little. I’m a movie buff, so I get what they are going for. I agree the movies in the ride are there for a reason. They are classics that contributed to the film industry. However, why not add a few more recent movies at the end of the ride? I can’t remember what the last movie is on the ride, but I vaguely recall it premiered about 25 years ago. I don’t think the overall feel of the ride should be changed by simply sticking a major blockbuster in there, but surely there are a few recent timeless pieces that could be included to update the ride. The film industry didn’t come to an abrupt halt in the 90s. Just a thought.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Oh, I totally agree with you about updating it to include more recent films, just as long as they’re ‘new classics’ rather than ‘new high-grossing films.’ I think the best way to do this is probably in the montage, but a smaller scale scene would be fine, too.

      I think the difficulty with including really recent stuff in scenes is that it’s tough to know what will be remembered well, and what will fade into obscurity in 10 years. I think the only surefire films right now that are recent, have critical acclaim, AND are popular are the Lord of the Rings films. Getting the rights to include those would be really difficult.

  20. Trish says:

    I really like the Stunt Spectacular show! The pacing in between does make it seem a lot longer than it is, but it’s cool to watch. Originally, I only wanted to see it because it was at Disneyland Paris and I had been there once (and loved it). Indiana Jones seems to be closed every time I go…someone said it was because they hold competitions there.

  21. Rachel says:

    If you are an adult then riding toy story mania at the beginning of the day Is a waste of time. The queue is normally already quite long and you’re wasting valuable time where you could be riding ToT and RnR, both with shorter waits. I’d definitely recommend fastpass plus or riding at the end of the day.
    I’m so glad you scored muppetvision so high, I absolutely love that attraction, I find it hilarious. My family aren’t really as into it as I am.
    Fantastic is my absolute favourite, I love the music so much! It always makes me cry with happiness! But I agree with your score.
    I am so glad you out ToT as a 10, I agree. It’s one of my favourite rides in Disney. It’s so much fun and I love looking out of the window because you can see the rest of the park and blizzard beach! It’s so well themed! I think people find it odd that ToT and the Haunted Mansion are my favourite rides at WDW, especially since I’m such a girly girl, but I just love how well themed they are and the cast members who work on them awe usually really good!!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I sort of agree with you about Toy Story Mania, but I think it’s possible to get a FastPass for it, and then quickly head to Tower of Terror and RnRC and do those both before they develop lines. If you have no interest in Toy Story Mania, skip it completely…but a lot of guests really love it.

  22. Rick Gregory says:

    This park is feast for the eyes. I really liked the Star Tours and it would be great if someday this was how we got to experience full length action movies (although that could induce motion sickness at that length). Tower of Terror? Great set up, but the thrill section of the ride lasts what seems like 20 seconds. An hour or more in line for a 20 second thrill no matter how great the sets are to look at? I think not. I went first thing in the morning, otherwise a big set up from the intimidating building to the details of the inside, for a brief thrill. Like a guy who wears lots of jewelry, buys expensive cars and wears designer underwear but sucks in bed.

  23. Ernie says:

    We just went to Disney a couple weeks ago and saw Disney Junior. It was the second time for me, my wife and our now 6 year old and the first time for our 4 year old. Both kids loved it. Its interactive for the kids with bubbles and other objects dropping from the ceiling during the show.

    One perk I was not aware of is that we were first in line for the show, so our 6 year old got to join the castmember in opening the door. He got to go up to the door and say the magic word: meeska mooska mickey mouse, then other castmembers opened the door for the show. They gave us a Disney Family experience postcard with the info that he was picked for this.

  24. Heather says:

    In reference to the Aliens on TGMR, the one from the side is working, the one that falls from overhead isn’t, or wasn’t when I went a few months ago. So only the back side of the tram even sees an alien; it really ruins the whole scene.
    Your assessment of Fantasmic is pretty accurate. The DL version is superior in some ways (the dragon, and I HATE the way HS feels the need to incorporate every villain in the projections instead of the necessary ones) but I disagree on Pocahontas. While the pirate ship is incredible and massive, Peter Pan gets a ton of attention in MK, and this is one of the only places that commemorates Pocahontas in the entire World. I also think it transitions into the “true love” scene much better than Peter Pan.
    Thanks for all your great articles! Even as a park regular, I still enjoy reading :)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The aliens are so hit or miss that it’s impossible to say for sure which is currently working. It seems like the one on the side is more likely to be working than the overhead one, but (recently) I’ve seen both working, both not working, and one working. Maybe that’s part of what makes it scary…you never know what’s going to jump out at you! ;)

      I personally much prefer the Peter Pan scenes, but I can understand that some people prefer Pocahontas. Thanks for your perspective!

  25. Jamie Thornton says:

    Hollywood Studios is our least favorite park. We visit this park only once and the others twice. With two little ones, there is not always a lot for them. We love the Disney Jr show. I wish American Idol would go. And the B&B Stage Show. I’ve seen the off Broadway version, so the HS one is kinda lame. I’m also not a huge fan of the teenager dance shows. I wish they’d bring in the Indy ride from DL.

  26. Nichole Williams says:

    I’ve heard a couple reports that Muppets and Indiana Jones will eventually be removed to make way for an expanded Star Wars area. Have you been hearing similar things?

    While I love Star Wars, I would hate to see Muppets go!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think at this point, Disney doesn’t really have anything tied down with the future of DHS. Late last year, it looked like the plans were solid, but that seems to have changed. At this point, I don’t think anything is certain.

  27. Jason says:

    Great guide! Very informative and thorough. I just wanted to add that the Disney Jr show was good for the kids but they make you sit on the floor which was very uncomfortable. My mom came with us and the kids and she was very uncomfortable as we’re we but she’s almost 60 so you could only imagine.

  28. james says:

    Love the studios. Haven’t been for 13 yrs and just finished there yesterday. Love Toy Story. TSM fun, great for kids (mine 7,9,11) but surely not a must despite the hype, especially if it’s an hour wait. You have to/should do it just because of the hype though but shouldn’t be too upset if miss. I guess it’s big because it is the only Young kid type ride/game there. It’s like a big Wii game like someone said. It is 3D though that isn’t really that much 3D involved I thought. Like most people don’t get enough of WII/tablet/Ipod stuff already in life and I guess it’s unique to many, but I don’t think so unique being Disney. Going back this AM with kids…and all they want to do is Rockin roller coster, tower and one of the show’s again.

  29. Crystal says:

    We did Disney Jr for our 6-year-old who was very Sofia obsessed, and we were kind of dreading it, but it was SO cute, and just long enough to hold a little one’s attention. It’s worth seeing, even if only to watch the reactions of the kids – watching all those little faces light up was priceless (and the special effects were very well done.)

  30. Shir says:

    Great post and I mostly agree! I do love the RNR in Disneyland Paris much more, it is longer there and there were barely any lines so we got to ride plenty of times! :)
    I’m going to WDW for a week in October, and haven’t been there since I was 12 years old so I’m very excited, just wondering – is there no parade in DHS? I’ve been looking for information on one on the internet but could not find any…

  31. Kevin Schneider says:

    My kids are all finally 40″. And we can’t wait to do Tower of Terror. You mention that the queue is the best part of the ride. If we “fast pass” the ride, will we miss out on that part of it??

  32. Tammi says:

    I love your reviews, but not a single mention on here of Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area. My daughter could literally play there all day. If they added some nice comfortable seating for parents here, it would be even better.
    The thing I like about your reviews is that although I go to WDW at least once a year, I have not been to everything. So, some things I’ve skipped or never even heard of, you point out and now I am adding some of them to my plans.
    Even though I went several times before my daughter was born, the majority of my visits have been since my daughter was born. It has been fun going through the different stages of her life at the parks. When she was really little we only did the things that would interest her or that she was big enough to do. As she has grown, we’ve added or changed to new experiences. Some of the things for littler kids she has a lot of nostalgia about so we continue to do them. She is only 7 so I am excited for the years ahead to see what attractions stay favorites or new ones she discovers. I think the key to truly enjoying the parks with your children is to focus on the things at their age level and know that as they get older you may never get a chance to do those things again. If they are little and you are focused on riding the thrill rides you will only torture your child and miss out on their enjoyment of the parks. I know that as my child gets older we will get to all of the thrill rides and will probably, sadly, leave behind some of the other rides.

  33. i want to go to disney couldnt ride cause i was 3

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