Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
“The future home of Toy Story and Star Wars”
Europeans love complaining. And one of our favourite things to complain about is Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. We always seem to think that everything is better in the United States, but is that really true? Is Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort so much better than our own studio theme park? During my most recent visit, I would have answered: no, not necessarily. Good things are on their way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, though. The park will open its own version of Toy Story Land in 2018 and this will include a fairly large family roller coaster. Besides, the park is working on a new Mickey Mouse dark ride and the much-anticipated Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge will be inaugurated in 2019. These novelties will transform Hollywood Studios into a must do destination and it will certainly affect park attendance. But unfortunately, things have to get worse before they’ll get better. That’s why the Hollywood Studios I visited in 2017 was in a rather poor shape.
For now, Disney’s Hollywood Studios features only one roller coaster. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster opened in 1999 and it still counts as one of the resort’s biggest thrills. Vekoma has installed an LSM coaster with over one kilometre of tracks, 3 inversions and a top speed of 90 km/h. Besides, this version of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has a considerably better theme than our European version. I realize that lighting at Disneyland Paris is far superior, but the Orlando version actually tells a story. I don’t mind the fact that decoration during the ride mostly consists of cardboard, because it works surprisingly well. Or at least… that’s my opinion.
Florida didn’t only get the better Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but they have the best The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror as well. This is, by a large margin, the best attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to date. The abandoned hotel theme is a perfect fit for a thrill ride and Tower of Terror might also be the the most unusual drop tower in the world. Orlando was the first Disney park to add this beloved attraction and from a technical point of view, it’s still considerably better than the versions which were later built in Anaheim, Tokyo and Paris. There’s only one major downside in the Tower of Terror story: Disney has made every other free fall tower in the world look pathetic.
If you take a look at the wait times, Hollywood Studios currently consists of 3 major attractions. I’m talking about Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania. Can anybody please explain why tourists seem to be okay with the 100-minute queues the attraction causes? To me, Toy Story Mania is an enlarged computer game with very limited theming. And although I agree that it’s a fun ride, I wouldn’t want to wait more than 30 minutes to ride it. This seems almost impossible at Hollywood Studios. Fortunately, many other attractions at this park almost never require queueing. I’m talking about Star Tours (the modern 4D version), Voyage of the Little Mermaid (a 15-minute live action performance featuring Disney’s sexiest princess) and Muppet Vision 3D.
Don’t go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the rides, but definitely go there if you like a good show. There is a Frozen Sing-a-Long, an underwhelming Indiana Jones Stunt Show, a nice Beauty and the Beast Musical and much more. Hollywood Studios is also home to the very popular nighttime spectacular Fantasmic (I definitely prefer the Japanese and California versions, though) and a Star Wars themed fireworks show. If you’d like to see all those shows, Hollywood Studios should be considered as a full-day experience. And if I may add a little tip: choose 50’s Prime Time Café for your lunch or dinner. This restaurant is one of the best immersive experiences within the park, but be prepared to eat all your vegetables or you’ll get punished.
WORTH A VISIT?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park with a few flaws, but you obviously need to visit it for Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. However, for the very best experience, you should probably come back after 2019. Hollywood Studios currently is the Walt Disney World’s weakest theme park, but this opinion may change dramatically once Toy Story Land, Mickey’s Runaway Railway and Galaxy’s Edge are added to the lineup. From zero to hero…? To be continued soon.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Photo Gallery 2014 & 2017
Pixar Place was the home of Toy Story Mania until 2018. As Toy Story Mania is a part of Toy Story Land nowadays, Pixar Place got retired.
STREETS OF AMERICA
Streets of America closed in 2016 and it was removed to make way for Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge.
Is this the least interesting theme park at Walt Disney World? Will Galaxy’s Edge be able to change this? And is Tower of Terror the best ride ever built at Disney World? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.