Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Theme Park:Disney's Hollywood Studios (since 2008)
Disney MGM Studios (1989 - 2007)
Part of the Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Address:Bay Lake
FL 34747
Operated by:Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Bay Lake near Orlando, Florida is one of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.  The park which opened as Disney MGM Studios in 1989, changed a lot over the years: while at the beginning the park’s focus was mainly on movie based experience, the park nowadays is home to some of the most immersive theme park attractions worldwide. 


Highlights of the Theme Park



Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Great fun on a runaway train



Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

A highly immersive simulator



Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith

Rockin’ and Rolling through LA



Slinky Dog Dash

The family launch coaster



Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

The most immersive dark ride ever created



Tower of Terror

Droppin’ into the Twilight Zone




The Marvel Avengers Campus

A lot has changed since my last visit to Walt Disney Studios Park. The black light show Animagique has been replaced by Mickey the Magician, the Cinémagique theatre has been closed since 2017 and Mushu’s frikandel joke in the Dutch version of The Art of Disney Animation has been replaced by the musical revue Frozen – A musical Invitation and that’s not all.

There is no trace of the stunt show spectacle Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular and the fiery hot Armageddon Les Effets Speciaux, the Studio Tram Tour has been massively shortened and instead of a light show on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster you now fly through space with Iron Man on Avengers Assemble: Flight Force.  Last but not least, there is Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure – a smash hit of a dark ride and the biggest novelty of the Marvel Avengers Campus area.

Cars Road-Trip

The Studio Tram Tour was a rather boring stopgap at the Walt Disney Studio Park, although Catastrophe Canyon alone was worth a ride. The irrelevant scenery on the way there, as well as the finale to the rather unknown film Reign of Fire were not really worth mentioning and dragged the attraction down a bit.

Cars Road Trip now focuses mainly on Cars-tastrophe Canyon. A few roadside attractions dot the way, but that’s it. The integration into the Cars universe has definitely been successful, which makes this attraction a pleasure to experience more often, despite its significantly shorter ride.

Avengers Assemble: Flight Force

The roller coaster Avengers Assemble: Flight Force presents itself to its potential passengers much more discreetly than in its previous rocking life. The entrance to the ride is hidden around the corner, while the main building offers interesting information to visitors of the Marvel Avengers Campus. I can imagine that if you didn’t know there was another roller coaster here, you would walk right past it.

The queue now has a changed layout. In general, I like the new orientation of it extremely well. It’s just a bit of a shame that you can now only see the launch area from the normal queue and that you can no longer get past it as a Premier Access guest or single rider. The highlight of this ride is the new Iron Man animatronic, which gives you perfect instructions for the ride.

The ride itself is also outstandingly staged up to the moment of the launch. 3, 2, 1 and wham, you miss the state you experienced on this ride for so long before. Don’t get me wrong, the video projections on the ride are well done and would underline them perfectly, if only they weren’t so dark; however, the synchronised light show spectacle of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was just awesome. As with the other indoor roller coasters at Disneyland Paris, something is missing here in places. A few decorative elements here and there would be enough and the ride would be a guarantee for a good mood.  Apparently, this has already been recognised, which is why the ride has been closed again for further work shortly after its opening.

Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure

The Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure interactive dark ride is of a different calibre. The Spider-Bots developed by Peter Parker get a little out of control during Open House Day on the W.E.B. campus and duplicate themselves like crazy. Contact with other substances in turn causes them to partially mutate. Now you have to stop the robots before they devastate the entire campus. To do this, you swing webs like Spider Man and free one location after the other from the little crawlers.

Unlike other interactive themed rides, everything here works contact-free, you just use your hands and shoot your nets through space with amazing precision.  No wild flailing to score points – it’s more about purposeful movements, which can be quite a challenge. The team concept is just as motivating: you play together, which in turn positively enriches the ride.

Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure is definitely a blast of a ride and the current main attraction at the Marvel Avengers Campus. Everything has been done right here. The video quality is outstanding, the interactivity during the ride works really well and last but not least, the ride is incredibly fun.    

Pictures Walt Disney Studios Park

Conclusion Walt Disney Studios Park

The Walt Disney Studios Park is well on the way to overtaking its sister park right next door. During my visit, the park was always better attended, even though the park is still a large construction site and not every show was currently being performed. With the Marvel Avengers Campus, visitors were introduced to the first stage of the park’s major expansion offensive, which will feature the next highlight with the Arendelle themed area around Disney’s Frozen. So things remain exciting at Walt Disney Studios Park.


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A visit to the movies

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is Disney’s most versatile theme park. When the park opened in 1989 as Disney MGM Studios, it focused primarily on its leitmotif of film. There were large live sets – including those where the film Newsies was shot – a studio train that ran directly through this set, three sound stages, the Great Movie Ride, Star Tours and a large stunt show. Over time, the focus shifted from film production and edutainment to a much more experience-orientated overall experience. In this respect, there is not much left of the old park; however, a world-class amusement park has been created, which we will now take a closer look at.

Hollywood Boulevard

When you enter the park, you find yourself directly on Hollywood Boulevard, which epitomises the glory days of Hollywood and is therefore much more attractive than the original in Los Angeles. Shopping and strolling is really fun here.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Right at the end of the path is a replica of the famous Chinese Theatre, where Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is shown and where the Great Movie Ride used to be. We crowded into a small cinema hall to watch a new Mickey Mouse cartoon, which quickly becomes reality. Mickey & Minnie are currently on a picnic outing, while we are travelling by train with Goofy. Before we know it, Goofy is travelling in one direction and we in another. Micky and Minnie rush to the rescue to stop our runaway railway. What follows is a wild ride through various comic scenes, which are mainly supported by projection mapping and can change at lightning speed. Finally, we waltz and conga dance with Daisy before almost ending up in the scrap press. As absurd as it may all sound, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is great entertainment and a fantastic homage to classic American cartoons.

Echo Lake

To the left of Hollywood Boulevard is Echo Lake. The main attraction here is the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which was not running during my visit. The large stage at least promises a breathtaking show with Indiana Jones.

Star Tours

Two years after Star Tours opened at Disneyland, the attraction was also presented at Walt Disney World. Here, however, not in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, but fittingly in the MGM Studios. The ride has had a makeover in 2011. Instead of only travelling to Endor, there are now a variety of elaborate experiences that, coupled with the fun simulator ride, invite you to take numerous repeat rides. Since 2019, however, waiting times at this Star Wars attraction have decreased significantly, but more on that later.

Grand Avenue

Today, as the home of the Muppets, the Grand Avenue themed area feels a bit like a foreign body between Star Tours and the nearby Star Wars Galaxy Edge themed area, which are thematically set in the same universe. The main attraction in this area is Muppet Vision 3D.

Muppet Vision 3D

The 3D film Muppet Vision 3D is just as chaotic as the Muppets themselves. Even if the effects no longer blow anyone away these days, it is the charming and out-of-control Muppets that carry the film and give it a great sense of humour. The additional effects used in the cinema enhance the action even more.

Star Wars Galaxy Edge

Star Wars Galaxy Edge is by far the most immersive themed area that has been created in a theme park to date. You feel like you’re in the middle of one of the Star Wars films. There is also a fantastic bar here, Oga’s Cantina, and a really great restaurant, Docking Bay 7.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

The Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance dark ride is hard to put into words. After standing on our feet for almost three hours, we immediately enter the first pre-show, where we are prepared for our mission. We are immediately drawn into a spaceship, which after a while falls into the clutches of a First Order Star Destroyer. We briefly enter the Stormtrooper hangar and at this moment at the latest, the whole wait is more than worth it. The oversized room is simply overwhelming. Unfortunately, we only spend a short time here because we have been captured by the First Order. We are then gradually led in smaller groups to other rooms to await our interrogation. Shortly afterwards, however, we are freed by the resistance and soon board a captured fleet transporter to make our way to the escape pods. What follows is a wild and, above all, surprising ride through numerous scenes, with each subsequent scene adding to the previous one. In the end, we reach the escape pods and we can flee.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is by far the best dark ride in the world. The ride is stunning in every respect and should be considered more of a 15-minute experience, which definitely does justice to a much longer wait. After my first ride, I couldn’t stop grinning, at least until the end of the day.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is the second of the two dark rides in the Star Wars Galaxy Edge themed area and is usually seen as the weaker of the two attractions. However, Smuggler’s Run is actually a really strong attraction that is definitely worth experiencing. Here, a crew of six experience a breathtaking mission in which each passenger has their own task to complete. The highlight here is that we are in a simulator and can steer it ourselves to a certain extent, which can lead to some really funny driving manoeuvres. Depending on how well you have steered the Millennium Falcon at the end, you get paid accordingly at the end of the ride. It’s great fun!

Toy Story Land

In 2010 and 2011, Toy Story Land opened in the Disney countries in Paris and Hong Kong as a collection of several rides in a small themed area, including a compact Intamin roller coaster. Here in Florida, it took until 2018 for Toy Story Land to move in – but in typical American fashion, it’s not just the toys that are a little bigger here.

Alien Swirling Saucers

The Alien Swirling Saucers ride is similar to an oversized demolition derby, where you are constantly transported through several discs in a circle. However, the gondolas also swing sideways due to the constant changes in direction and lateral acceleration. What marvellous fun!

Slinky Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash is an interesting family rollercoaster from Mack Rides. The ride itself seems extremely slow and repetitive due to its tame launch and an almost endless sequence of hills. However, this impression is very wrong.

After leaving the station, the Slinky Dog makes its way directly to the first launch area. We then approach a right/left turn via an ascending straight, which then leads us towards the ground. This is followed by a wave close to the ground before we enter an upward helix. A small double down is followed by another left and right turn, after which we slowly run out of steam.

After we have come to a standstill, Slinky Dog prepares to be shot down with a rubber band. So we keep travelling backwards to gather as much energy as possible for the imminent launch, which is then initiated with all kinds of sound effects. After a large hill and a turning curve, we reach the most striking part of the ride. At a lofty height, we now ride over hill and dale at an ever-increasing pace, which not only gives us a little airtime, but also a great tingling sensation in our stomachs. Shortly afterwards, we enter a left-hand bend, whereupon another right-hand bend immediately sends us into the brakes.

To my own surprise, Slinky Dog Dash is one of the best family rollercoasters I’ve ever experienced. Although the forces during the ride are limited, the ride has a thoroughly solid layout and a great four-hill finale.

Toy Story Mania

The Toy Story Mania interactive dark ride is one of the most popular Disney attractions in the world. The ride is like a visit to the funfair, where you play one game of skill after another at the individual stands in order to achieve the highest possible high score.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios is characterised above all by the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which towers above it. The other attractions in this area are the big evening show Fantasmic, which was not shown during my visit, and the indoor rollercoaster Rock Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.

Tower of Terror

The Tower of Terror freefall tower has always been one of the most interesting rides Disney has ever built. Here in Florida, the ride is also a little different to the three subsequent models, as the cars leave the lifts for a short time and travel through a mysterious room as if guided by a ghostly hand, which certainly leads us into the Twilight Zone. Shortly afterwards, the tried-and-tested and still outstanding free-fall spectacle begins, which remains unrivalled for the time being. Quite simply, a great attraction!

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Fans of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Avec Aerosmith from the Walt Disney Studios Park near Paris can look forward to a slightly different version at Hollywood Studios. Instead of the many different light shows, here you ride through numerous black light stage sets that line the side of the track, while we roll over three times and race through numerous bends. Unfortunately, this makes the ride a little less coherent overall, but it is still much better than the ride through the void, which you can experience on Avengers Assemble Flight Force – the follow-up Marvel overlay of the Parisian rock legend.

Pictures Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Conclusion Disney’s Hollywood Studios

I really enjoyed my visit to Hollywood Studios. Apart from a few corners, everything in this park is just right. Of all four theme parks in Walt Disney World, this one offers the most breathtaking rides and the most well-rounded portfolio.

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