Hollywood Studios (raise your hand if you still call it MGM sometimes) has underwent a pretty substantial overhaul in recent years. Large sections of the park were demolished to construct new Star Wars and Toy Story areas, and it’s now one of the hottest spots in all of Disney World. It’s long been known as the “teenagers’ park,” and there’s lots to offer for grown-ups. Read on for all of my top tips about Hollywood Studios for adults.
Some of the Hollywood Studios rides rank amongst my favorites at Disney World.
- Rise of the Resistance: The most difficult ride to snag a seat on is also the most incredible offering at the parks. Featuring multiple different ride systems and fun interactions with Cast Members, it’s well worth the early wakeup to try to join its virtual queue. There is no way to wait in line without getting a boarding group, so be prepared and find out how to join one here.
- Tower of Terror: My favorite thing about thrill rides is that stomach flipping sensation you get when you drop. In light of that, it’s easy to see why I adore this ride. It’s more than a simple drop ride – you go up and down in a seemingly random pattern a bunch of times – and the theming is excellent. Disneyland’s Tower of Terror has been rethemed to Guardians of the Galaxy, so enjoy this classic ride here.
- Rock’n’Roller Coaster: This is the most intense ride at Disney World by a long shot in my book. It’s a launch coaster with inversions that doesn’t compare to anything on property. It can be a little rough in the back, but I like to ride back there for the better drops (see above). On top of all that, it has a very quotable preshow movie featuring Aerosmith (my siblings and I still yell, “To the Forum!” occasionally).
- Toy Story Mania: I didn’t really get this when it was first announced because there’s already a Toy Story-themed shooting ride at the Magic Kingdom, but it instantly became a must-do when I finally got to experience it. you ride through a track surrounded by 3D screens trying to get the highest score. My only complaint is that my arm gets tired from pulling the cord that controls the trigger after a while, but that’s not enough to deter me. Just make sure that you save some strength for the finale round where you can rack up lots of points in a hurry. I also highly recommend going with a loser-buys-ice-cream wager just to add some stakes to the game.
- Slinky Dog Dash: It looks like a standard kiddie coaster, but actually packs a surprising amount of fun. I particularly love the little airtime run in the second half of the ride, especially if you request a seat in the back.
- Star Tours: I’ve always loved Star Wars, and by extension, this ride, so I was nervous when it was revamped a few years ago. It’s better than ever though and I love that the scenes you go through are never the same twice in a row. It’s also my mission to be the Rebel Spy someday, but that hasn’t happened yet. Even the queue is fun, as it’s styled like a futuristic spaceport with a departures/arrivals board and lots of nods to the classic movies. It is a motion simulator, so beware if you’re sensitive to rides like that.
Hollywood Studios isn’t my top choice for dining (that’s Epcot), but there are a couple of restaurants that I quite like.
- ’50s Prime Time Café: This throwback to the 1950s features servers that insist they’re family and lots of homestyle food. Interacting with the waitstaff is the best part because they won’t hesitate to call you out for not putting your napkin on your lap or having your elbows on the table. And don’t even think about leaving any vegetables on your plate.
- Sci-Fi Dine In: My favorite part about this restaurant is the fact that the tables are shaped like cars. As the name indicates, it’s styled after an old drive-in movie theater, so while you’re eating, you’re treated to the cheesiest of cheesy sci-fi movies.
- Docking Bay 7: It’s one of the priciest quick service options in the parks, but I’m low key obsessed with the Endorian Tip Yip (don’t worry – it’s just chicken) and Batuuan beef pot roast.
A park themed to Hollywood is naturally going to have some shows. Here are my top picks.
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular: This show full of explosions and fight scenes takes you behind the scenes on an action movie. It loosely follows events from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the really interesting part is seeing how the stunts are done. You’ll get plenty of fight scenes with punches, falls, and fire. Get there early to volunteer as one of the townspeople (you have to be an adult) to watch the action from right on stage. If you stick around afterward, sometimes Indy’s stunt double will come take pictures with guests off to the side of the stage, so keep an eye out.
- Beauty and the Beast: This was one of my favorite movies growing up, so obviously I love the show. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s a great way to chill out for half an hour during the day. All of your favorite songs from the movie are performed on stage, so feel free to sing along.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid: This one runs continuously all day, but it has live performers. The laser intro is a touch dated (but still kind of cool), but the effects they achieve with puppetry and black lighting are incredible. Like the Beauty and the Beast show mentioned above, all of the best songs are part of the show, so you’ll get a chance to sing along. The front row can get a bit wet when the waterfall is active, so choose your seat accordingly.
No Disney trip is complete without some goofy photos.
- Near Star Tours you’ll find one of my favorite props at Disney World. There’s a replica speeder that you can sit on, and it even has a painted backdrop that looks like the forest. On busy days, you may have to wait for a turn to take a picture, but I’ve gone at slower times and been able to snap as many as I wanted.
- Tower of Terror has one of my favorite on-ride photos. I love doing silly poses like holding maps like I’m reading, using other items in my bag as props, and doing other silly things. Do a quick search for Tower of Terror ride photos and you’ll see some good ones. The camera is at the highest point of the drop tower. When the doors overlooking the park open all the way, you’ll want to be ready with your pose because that’s how you know it’s about to snap.
- Pixar Place has some great larger than life props to take photos with. My favorite is the giant cookie jar. I’m sure the upcoming Toy Story land that’s being added will have even more. After seeing the similar area at Disneyland Paris last year, I can only imagine that great things are in store.
Don’t forget to end your day with Fantasmic. It’s an awesome combination of stage show, water screens, and live performers that takes place in a giant theater near Tower of Terror. It features a battle between good and evil (as all Disney parks shows must), clips of your favorite animated characters, and Mickey shooting fireworks out of his finger (sorry for the spoiler). It’s a great way to end the night, and you’ll want to get there early during busy seasons because it does fill up.
Did I miss anything? Is there any other vital information I missed about Hollywood Studios for adults? Let me know in the comments.
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