Our Disney’s Hollywood Studios ride guide contains short reviews of top attractions, as well as numerical scores for every show and ride in the park. 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. (Last updated February 8, 2019.)
Before we get into the substance of these reviews, you should know that Hollywood Studios is a park in flux. The first phase of the park’s massive re-imagining project was completed last summer with the opening of Toy Story Land (read our full Toy Story Land Reviewfor thoughts on what it brings to the table at DHS).
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will see many more additions throughout 2019. The Metroville meet & greet area is a minor addition that recently opened, and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (another minor attraction) will debut on March 31, 2019. In Late Fall 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the main component of the expansion, will debut. Around that same time, Minnie & Mickey’s Runaway Railway, another major attraction, will also open.
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…and one that you may want to consider skipping right now.
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, and considering how much their target audience will enjoy them. In other words, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall and within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions
Toy Story Mania (8/10) – A 3D screen-based shooter game with Toy Story characters. Once the most heavily-hyped attraction at Walt Disney World, standby lines have gotten shorter for this in the last year since it opened a third track. 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. It’s a fun and “intense” game that many guests are bound to really enjoy. It’s not a bad use of FastPass+, but not a great choice like it used to be.
Slinky Dog Dash (8.5/10) – The newest headliner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the crown jewel of Toy Story Land. The strengths of this roller coaster are its better-than-expected thrills, track layout, duration, and interesting queue filled with fun details. The biggest weakness is its relative lack of Imagineering, with no show scenes–albeit a cute ending. While this is being called a family coaster–and it is very smooth–even some kids who meet the height requirement might find it a bit too intense. We highly recommend getting FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash if you can, particularly at night when the lighting on the ride looks beautiful. If you’re unable to score a FastPass+, do Slinky Dog Dash first thing in the morning or get in line just before the park closes.
Alien Swirling Saucers (6/10) – The little green aliens pilot spaceships that spin and whip around guests in an attraction that is very similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure. If you haven’t experienced that, think of the tea cups at Magic Kingdom, except with guests in freely moving trailers attached to the tea cups instead of in the cups themselves. It’s a cute and fun attraction, but it could be a bit more quirky or have more details in the queue to up its score.
Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (7/10) – This sing-along is obviously for kids, but there are a few moments of chuckle-worthy humor for adults. The Royal Historians of Arendelle weave the songs together with a loose retelling of Frozen. If you’re interested in finding out what other Frozen things are at Walt Disney World, check out our Guide to Frozen at Walt Disney World.
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.
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. It’s technically a thrill ride, but it’s so much more. The mood, the atmosphere, and the environments before the ride are all top-notch. 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.
Walt Disney Presents… (8/10) – Formerly One Man’s Dream, this is a walk-through tribute to Walt Disney, with a film at the end. In addition to the tribute to Walt Disney, it now also functions as a preview center for additions to Walt Disney World, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It helps put the parks in context, lifts the curtain on some things, and in so doing makes the theme parks more impressive. 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.
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.
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’ Roller Coaster 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’ Roller Coaster 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.
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.
Disney Junior Dance Party! (6/10) – A musical celebration featuring Disney Junior characters, including Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon, and Mickey Mouse. If you have kids, it’s probably for you. If you don’t, it’s probably not. We don’t, so we’re probably the wrong people to judge it.
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. If you’ve never seen the Disneyland version, 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 you only have one night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and have to choose between this and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, choose this unless you are a huge Star Wars fan. Fantasmic is significantly better. 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+. Check out our Fantasmic Tips & Tricks post for more advice.
Star Wars Attractions & Entertainment
Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple (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. This show was just updated around the time that The Force Awakens was released, and the new “Trials of the Temple” version is a nice upgrade from the original show.
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 to include a scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this is a fun, fresh 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. 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.
March of the First Order (6/10) – It’s a stretch to call this a fully-fledged attraction (the name is exactly what it is), but it’s pretty cool to see the Stormtroopers, led by Captain Phasma, marching the length of Hollywood Boulevard. Not much of a time commitment, and a fun photo op, to boot.
Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (3/10) – This is basically a live-action montage show on the main stage in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is very poorly done, but kids (and perhaps adults?) who want to see their favorite characters in the flesh might enjoy it. Star Wars deserves better.
Star Wars: Path of the Jedi (1/10) – Originally prepared as a short film splicing together footage from the first two trilogies for people who had never seen The Force Awakens, this is still around for some reason. There is literally nothing original in this movie–it’s just an edited, long-form trailer. Again, Star Wars deserves better.
Star Wars Launch Bay (3/10) – This glorified gift shop with a smattering of movie replicas and a couple of meet & greets is a quick one-and-done. Once again–you guessed it–Star Wars deserves better.
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (7/10) – This “fireworks” show is worth seeing if you’re a Star Wars fan. It’s light on pyro and heavy on projections, and has a nice soundtrack from the films. There’s also a paid dessert party for reserved viewing.
“Disney Movie Magic” is a 10-minute long projection show celebrating movies (including Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Book, and TRON)and is essentially a pre-show for the “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show, being shown about 30 minutes before the fireworks start.
All of the Star Wars items listed above (aside from Star Tours and Jedi Training Academy) are temporary additions that were added until the large scale, big budget Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. Unfortunately, their quality feels very much temporary. As indicated at the top of this post, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge does not open until Late 2019.
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, 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.
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!