It was only a few years ago when Disney’s Hollywood Studios was barely a blip on anyone’s radar, and many travel sites called it a half-day park at best.
But that all changed with the addition of a few new lands and attractions, and Hollywood Studios is a park you could easily spend two days or more at now!
There is a LOT to do now at Hollywood Studios, but if you’re wanting to make the most of your time there, you’ll need a list of things you MUST do, so that’s why we’re here. Here’s what we think you shouldn’t miss out on when you’re visiting the Studios.
Y’all — Hollywood Studios has some of our favorite Disney World food!
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Totchos! You’ll find this bowl of goodness over at Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land. Totchos are Potato Barrels (AKA tots) covered with Beef and Bean Chili, Shredded Cheese, Queso, Tomatoes, Corn Chips, and finished with Sour Cream and a sprinkle of Green Onions.
If you have the slightest interest in chili and cheese covered tater tots (like we do, obv.), they are a snack that you just can’t miss! You also get a huge portion size for $8.99.
Unless you’re really hungry, you might even want to share (or not — that’s all on you).
Carrot Cake Cookie
Another one of our favorite snacks that we really REALLY love at Hollywood Studios is the Carrot Cake Cookie. You can find this treat at the Trolley Car Cafe on Hollywood Boulevard — better known as Hollywood Studios’ Starbucks location. This unassuming treat is basically one of our favorite snacks like…ever.
The Carrot Cake Cookie is a whoopie pie consisting of two soft carrot cake cookies with a TON of sweet cream cheese frosting between them.
PLUS since it has actual carrot in it, it totally qualifies as a veggie serving (we don’t make the rules…it’s science.)! 😉 You can currently grab this cookie for $4.99.
If you happen to find yourself in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, we highly suggest you pick up a Ronto Wrap at Ronto Roasters. This is a big, soft Pita wrapped around Roasted Pork, Grilled Pork Sausage, Peppercorn Sauce, and Tangy Slaw.
We can’t sing the praises of this little portable meal enough. The meat is smokey and delightful and the slaw adds a cool creamy crunch. But the sauce is totally boss here. This was one of those things that we could NOT stop eating the first time we tried it (ok, and every time since). It’s a tasty filling meal that costs $12.99.
Walt Disney Presents: One Man’s Dream
Walt Disney Presents: One Man’s Dream is one of those things that many visitors to Hollywood Studios skip out on. Maybe it’s because they don’t know what it is (or…ahem…that it even exists!), or maybe they think it’s just a boring movie. But this highly underrated attraction should be on your “do not miss” list!
This is a multimedia presentation that explores Walt Disney’s life and legacy. Yes, there IS a movie, a 15-minute documentary. But there are also TONS of galleries of drawings, photos, storyboards, models, artwork, props, costumes, and more! You can even see the ORIGINAL Abraham Lincoln audio-animatronic that debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. That’s HISTORY, folks!
One Man’s Dream follows Walt’s work throughout his lifetime and allows guests to see his dream progress from movie theaters to what would eventually become Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It’s a museum dedicated to everything Walt Disney has given us, and we always find it as inspirational as the man himself. If you want to appreciate the wonder of a place like Disney World, we highly recommend popping in and seeing where it all started.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Let’s face it — a lot of people come to Hollywood Studios with their sights set on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — for good reason! But there’s still a lot in this land that people miss out on! We’re not talking about flying the Millennium Falcon or riding on Rise of the Resistance (that is, if you’ve made a deal with Jabba the Hut to score a tough to snag boarding pass).
Now, don’t get us wrong — both attractions are a MUST, even if you’re NOT a Star Wars fan. Particularly Rise of the Resistance is probably one of the most technologically advanced attractions Disney has ever created! But what most people tend to forget is that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in and of itself is an immersive experience.
The premise is that when you step into the land, you’re now on the planet Batuu at the Black Spire Outpost in the Outer Rim of the galaxy (way, way out there). The outpost has a spaceport, a cantina, and a market. Cast Members aren’t Cast Members here — they’re residents of Batuu. They stay in character, so don’t be surprised if you ask where Toy Story Land is and get a questioning look followed by “What galaxy is that located in?”. You’ll be greeted with a cheerful “Bright Suns” or other “on planet” lingo the Black Spire folk frequently use.
And the atmosphere is AUTHENTIC — you really do feel like you’re on an alien planet. Those “citizens of Batuu?” They might give you a lighthearted hard time or want to know what side your allegiances lie on — First Order or Resistance. Take time to stop and enjoy everything presented to you — talk to Cast Members, interact, and LIVE on Batuu for awhile. Don’t just hit the rides and bounce — there’s so much more to experience here!
Be sure to take a lot of moments to just take it all in and look for details — every corner of Batuu holds a surprise, especially if you’ve ever wanted to be in a Star Wars movie. Smell the smells, listen to the sounds, and take it all in — it’s going to carry you away to another world! Even the merchandise is legitimately themed, and you’ll find some VERY unique items (like this Jabba-inspired frog sipper) beyond lightsabers and droids.
If you are or ever were a Muppets fan, Muppet*Vision 3D is a must. It’s a 3D film attraction with a hilarious pre-show (Rizzo the Rat gets us every time). The film itself starts with Kermit leading guests on a tour through Muppet Studios, but, as is always the case, something goes wrong and everyone gets sucked into the experience!
Although this is an older attraction at the park, the humor isn’t dated. The Muppets have a classic silly humor with pratfalls, oops moments, and funny dialogue, that keeps kids — and adults — laughing. Oh, and did we mention bubbles? Bubbles are fun, guys. This attraction is great for a good laugh! There’s a reason the Muppets have stayed relevant for so long, and this attraction is a good reminder of why. And as a bonus, it’s a chance to sit down in an air-conditioned theater in the Florida heat — need we say more?
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
We’re just going to say this: if you’ve been to Hollywood Studios and you haven’t been on Tower of Terror, have you really even BEEN to Hollywood Studios? Not only is the Tower of Terror the icon that represents the park, but it is a stunning looking attraction that’s hard to miss — you can see it from as far away as EPCOT’s World Showcase and hear screams as you approach!
The premise is that once you step inside, you’re in the old Hollywood Tower Hotel, which is in a state of dusty disrepair and has been like that for a long time following a tragic accident on (dun dun DUN!) Halloween. The details inside the lobby include cobwebs and dust with props that look as if they haven’t been touched for decades. It perfectly sets the tone for what lies ahead.
It’s downright eerie, but then you discover you’re trapped in the Twilight Zone and you’re loaded into a passenger elevator that takes you on a thrilling ride through the hotel’s stories (both figuratively and literally). The final chapter brings you crashing down (several times) in a heart-pounding ride that’s never the same twice because the drop sequences are randomized by a computer.
It’s a thrill ride that makes you feel like you are part of a Twilight Zone episode, and that’s the appeal of it — it isn’t just a ride, it’s an experience. If you’re a fan of thrill rides and some seriously next-level Disney World theming, this is a total must-do. Keep your eyes peeled for easter eggs hiding in the queue!
Toy Story Land
Remember all the great theming and atmosphere we mentioned with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Well, Toy Story Land has the same kind of fantastic theming only…super-sized! When you step into the land, it’s like you’ve been hit with a shrink ray and you’re now a toy living in Andy’s backyard.
And as a toy, there is much fun to be had, including eating those Totchos we previously mentioned! But you can also ride Slinky Dog Dash, which is themed around Andy building a roller coaster in his back yard with his Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Kit and using Slinky Dog as the vehicle! FUN!
There’s also Alien Swirling Saucers that takes you on an intergalactic spin with the aliens from Toy Story. Or you can hop on Toy Story Mania! to try your luck at this ride that takes you through a series of 3D carnival-like games where the goal is to score as many points as you can!
All these attractions are fun for the whole family — and the whole land brings out the kid (or, shall we say, toy?) in everyone! This is another spot worth taking some time to appreciate the gorgeous theming. From the MASSIVE footprints in the ground to the colorful bathrooms, this whole land is a colorful feast for the eyes loaded with fun easter eggs.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
We hate to admit it because we loved the ride this one replaced (The Great Movie Ride), but Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a really fun ride. This is another of those rides where Disney went above and beyond and broke out technology that is way ahead of its time!
First, this is a dark ride that does NOT have a track (just like Rise of the Resistance), which allows the ride vehicles to pretty much move in any direction! These vehicles launch you into a wacky cartoon world with Mickey and Minnie that defies the laws of physics, with lots of shocking turns and twists. But more importantly, it’s the first ride EVER that features Mickey and Minnie!
And the beauty of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway that it’s something everyone in the family will enjoy.
50s Prime Time Cafe
50s Prime Time Cafe has been around for a while, but it’s still a favorite location for a sit-down meal. Not only are the home-cooking favorites really good, but it’s also a great place to be entertained while you eat! The idea is that you’re transported to an authentic 1950s kitchen (complete with an old-fashioned TV set) and you’re being served a meal by your cousin, aunt, uncle, or other family member. Imagine eating dinner n the set of I Love Lucy!
What’s really unique and fun is that your meal comes with a fun side of family attitude, too. You will get teased for putting your elbows on the table, and you will get heckled if you don’t clean your plate! It’s just so much fun that you might even forget to watch classic TV shows on the black and white TVs at many of the tables!
The dining here is all about comfort food, so you’ll see things like pot roast, meatloaf, and fried chicken on the menu (and the fried chicken is YUMMY). So although it’s not the fanciest meal you’ll ever have, it will still be tasty, reasonably-priced (by Disney World standards, at least), and fun! And yes, even now, the servers still put on a good show!
There are other themed dining locations at Hollywood Studios, but the addition of the servers acting the part here is what puts this on our “must-do” list! You might find a better meal at somewhere like Hollywood Brown Derby, but it won’t be as much fun as 50s Prime Time Cafe!
There are SO many great details at Hollywood Studios that it could take you DAYS to take them all in, but it’s important to not rush around and take time to just enjoy the park itself. The Hollywood theming is what sets this park apart, after all, and it’s a shame to miss out on it. First, look at the windows on Sunset Boulevard – one is actually themed to the classic movie Sunset Boulevard.
And Hollywood Studios is FULL of classic movie references and old Hollywood! Look at all the celebrity handprints in front of the Chinese Theater. In particular, look at Audrey Hepburn’s — it meant so much to her to have her handprints there that when the real Hollywood (in California LOL) asked her to do the same, she declined and said her prints were where they belonged.
On Hollywood Boulevard, there’s a door with a window that says “Holly Vermont Realty,” which is the name of the company where Walt and Roy Disney had their first office space. The Echo Lake apartments have mailboxes with Imagineer names on them. A certain detective from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has an office window you can spot near Echo Lake. Peevy’s Polar Pipeline (which is a great place to get a frozen Coke) has a helmet on display that might look familiar — it’s a tribute to the film The Rocketeer.
And there’s so much more to look for. Even Gertie the Dinosaur in Echo Lake has a story behind her — she’s designed in the style of “California Crazy” architecture, which was popular in California during Hollywood’s Golden Age AND she’s a nod to the first character ever animated all the way back. in1914. EVERYTHING is a detail if you look for it!
So take a moment to look around and see what you can discover! And enjoy your time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! We’ll see you there!
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Have you been to Hollywood Studios? What was your favorite thing there? Tell us in the comments.