Hollywood Studios @ WDW #ourUSAadventure
It may have been nearly a year since we went on our family holiday of a lifetime but there are still so many elements of it to share. As I look back over pictures and status updates from last April I feel so grateful that we had the opportunity to see Walt Disney World and share in its wonder with our kids.
If you are interested, here are my previous posts on #ourUSAadventure:
WDW really is too big an experience to share in the one post so I decided to devote an entire post to each individual park. So it’s time to discover the fun and adventure of Hollywood Studios!
Our Hollywood Studios Adventure
An early start saw us at the lighthouse pier to take a water taxi to Hollywood Studios. We managed to get some beautiful photos of the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts bathed in early morning light – it was a cool and crisp start to a big day.
The water taxi was fun. It stopped at a few other hotels on the way and it provided another view of the sheer scale of WDW. It’s quite a pleasant way to get around – much more convenient, fast and fun than the normal bus transportation options.
Rope drop was scheduled for 8am and we actually managed to get ourselves there on time (along with a bazillion other people!). We broke into two groups – Gilbert and I headed for Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster because he (and, as it turns out, me!) like scary rides while Nathan and the girls (who don’t do scary rides) did Toy Story Midway Mania and got to meet Woody and Buzz.
The Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster was by far the fastest rollercoaster we experienced at WDW. It starts off with a bang as you are flung forward at nearly 100 kph and the thrills just keep coming from there. As it’s a dark indoor ride, you really have no idea where you are in space but it apparently has 2 roll over loops and a corkscrew. Lucky Gilbert and I couldn’t see a damn thing as we held on for dear life. For some reason he didn’t want to go on it again but I would definitely experience that rush again!
While we were rocketing through space, Nathan and the girls enjoyed Toy Story Midway Mania (we also had a go later in the day). It is one of the most popular attractions at Hollywood Studios, for good reason. Every inch of the ride is incredibly detailed, making the inevitable wait to get to the ride itself a joy instead of a pain. There’s the giant etch-a-sketch, Candyland boardgame, talking Mr Potato-Head statue, mega crayons and some of the most iconic scenes from the three films as the backdrop to the queue.
Then the ride itself is fast, fun and crazy. Spinning around in your own cart, your job is to shoot as many of the arcade targets that you can. It’s old school shoot ’em up action at it’s best and it’s genuine laugh out loud fun for everyone. If the queue hadn’t been so huge I would have definitely gone around for another go to improve on my score – it was a definite highlight of Hollywood Studios.
After enjoying our respective rides we reconvened and headed for Star Tours which is, in our estimation, the best ride at the park. If you are a fan of Star Wars, the attention to detail in the displays as you wind your way through the queue will thrill you. You end up being ushered into a space craft which takes you on a wild ride through the galaxy. Interesting note: there are many possible combinations with this ride so you are bound to have a different experience each time you ride it. I know we did! Definitely one ride to save a FastPass+ for!
We then wandered around a bit to take in the vibe of this action packed park before rocking up to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant for our early lunch reservation. Only problem was they checked us in and then forgot about us so it was over an hour before we were seated. But the wait was worth it – it has been one of my favourite dining experiences so far.
You are seated in a car in a dark auditorium in front of a drive in screen. While you dine on American fries, shakes and burgers (gluten free options are available and very yummy too!), you are entertained by trailers to dodgy B-grade sci-fi movies and old cartoon classics. It spoke to my retro-loving, B-grade adoring heart!
After lunch, we attended For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-along Celebration which provided a welcome respite from the stifling heat outside. Retelling the story of the Disney classic, Frozen, the live action performance is suitable for all ages. And yes, you WILL sing “Let it Go” at the top of your lungs, just like everyone else there. Perfect for all ages – even Gilbert enjoyed it, despite his initial complaints!
We also took in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which is a thrilling 30 minute live action show that showcases three iconic scenes from the movie franchise. The stunts were amazing but I also enjoyed watching the behind the scenes action when sets were changed, actors rehearsed and the crew came in to do their thing. At the end of the performance the director comes on stage to explain how some of the stunts came together. It’s entertaining and fascinating in equal measure – you’ll never watch an action movie in the same way ever again!
Muppet Vision 3D was our last stop at Hollywood Studios. This is a LOT of fun. After watching a pre-experience video featuring many of your Muppet favourites, you are ushered into a replica of the Muppet theatre and thrown into a 3D world of madness and mayhem, as only the Muppets can deliver. My favourites, Dr Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker and the Swedish Chef all made an appearance, as well as Muppet stalwarts Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear. There are 4D effects too (such as blowing air and a spray of water) to keep you on your toes – it’s really is a lot of fun.
We then all mutually agreed to leave a bit earlier than planned because we were all exhausted. Days of being on the go were starting to take their toll and we decided that we would take some time out and not set an alarm for the next day. In fact we didn’t end up waking up until after 10am the following morning – I think it was the right call!
Hollywood Studios is a park that you could do in a day if you plan out your itinerary prior to your arrival and if you can keep up your energy levels. We didn’t get to see everything we wanted to and would definitely go back again to catch up on what we missed. But in the end physical and park fatigue claimed us, after a whirlwind few days full to the brim with action and adventure.
Hollywood Studios has a completely different feel to the other parks. Where the Magic Kingdom is all about magic, fantasy and classic tales; EPCOT is all about exploring the world through science and adventure; and the Animal Kingdom celebrates the beauty of the natural world, Hollywood Studios is all about creativity, imagination and celebrating talent. The park is a homage to Walt Disney himself, showcasing his art, vision and the wonder of his movies.
Make sure you spend at least a day there – you won’t be disappointed.