Even though it’s no longer MGM Studios, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World remains one of the premier theme park destinations in the world and a must-visit vacation destination.
Disney World Hollywood Studios is fun for the whole family and is where you are immersed in exciting worlds based on your favorite films. There is plenty to do for kids, thrill-seekers, and people that just want to relax and take it all in.
From its inception in 1989, Hollywood Studios gone from a working film studio to a theme park only, all the while still keeping that Disney magic alive, and finding new ways to amaze the millions of guests that visit each year.
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando, including all the rides and attractions, entertainment and restaurants you will find when you visit.
It’s been hard to visit Hollywood Studios at times in the recent past. The park has undergone more transformations than any of the other 3 Disney theme parks in Florida, with a name change, and no original MGM Studios opening day attractions left today.
Instead, Hollywood Studios has transformed into the home of Star Wars (Galaxy’s Edge), Toy Story, and some of the best rides in Walt Disney World. There is still some work left to do, but we’re excited for the future of the park and where it will be moving forward
We’ll also share with you the history of Hollywood Studios and how MGM Studios started, explore each one its themed areas, and share some of our favorite tips and tricks we’ve learned in the decades we’ve been going to the park.
Before we get started make sure to read these other useful resources we’ve put together on Disney’s Hollywood Studios to help you plan your visit:
Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest updates on Hollywood Studios as well as Disney vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter
- Location: Walt Disney World, Bay Lake, Florida, United States
- Opened: May 1, 1989
- Lands: 9
- Attractions: 21
- Restaurants: 42
- Status: Operating
- Operated By: Walt Disney World Resort
- Park Capacity: 60,000
What is Hollywood Studios?
Hollywood Studios is the third theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake near Orlando, Florida, USA. Its theme is based on the Golden Age of Hollywood of the 1920s and 30s.
Disney-MGM Studios opened on May 1, 1989, from an idea brought to life by Michael Eisner, Marty Sklar, and Randy Bright. The concept was to create a park centered around a real, working television and film production studio.
The design of many of the buildings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is based on historic landmarks in the real Hollywood, especially at the entrance plaza. On opening day, Michael Eisner declared: “Welcome to the Hollywood that never was and always will be.”
The park has since shifted away from being a production studio to a traditional theme park. Hollywood Studios is home to 9 themed-areas each with a unique look and feel, all based around the movies or film industry.
It’s the second-smallest Walt Disney World theme park at only 135 acres, but home to award-winning attractions like Rise of the Resistance, Tower of Terror, and Slinky Dog Dash.
Where is Hollywood Studios Located?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida is just one of the 4 Disney theme parks in the Orlando, Florida area. People sometimes get confused, but the park is part of a larger complex of other parks and hotels.
The official Hollywood Studios address is: 351 S Studio Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830.
When looking at a map of Walt Disney World, Hollywood Studios is close to the middle of the property.
To the immediate North East is EPCOT, and farther North is Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to the West. Close-by there are multiple Disney hotels with convenient travel to the park.
Hollywood Studios or MGM Studios?
You may be wondering: “What was Hollywood studios called before?” That’s right, “Hollywood Studios” wasn’t always the park’s name.
In fact, when it opened, the park was actually called Disney-MGM Studios. Disney entered into a partner relationship and licensing agreement with production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in order to increase credibility in the film industry.
You have to remember, Disney was a struggling studio during the 1980s, with very few big hits. This was before it became the record-breaking box office juggernaut that people recognize it as today, and they needed the branding help.
Once Disney started changing the focus of the park from a film and studio production area and into a normal theme park, they dropped the name MGM Studios and officially adopted the new name “Hollywood Studios” on January 7, 2008.
What is Hollywood Studios Known for?
When the park first opened up, it was known for not having many attractions, and that hasn’t changed much over the years. Even though the size of Hollywood Studios has doubled, it still remains the Disney World park with the least amount of attractions which guests often complain about.
As far as park icons, when MGM Studios opened, the Earful Tower was the park’s symbol. That changed in 2001 when the Sorcerer’s Hat became the park icon, until 2015 when it was taken down. Since then, the Chinese Theater has become the main symbol associated with Hollywood Studios.
In recent years, Hollywood Studios has become the most-crowded park in Walt Disney World due to the extreme popularity of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and more specifically, the Rise of the Resistance attraction.
To go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you first need to buy park admission. That means you need to decide how many days during your trip to spend there.
Hollywood Studios in Disney World is definitely a full-day park, especially if you want to see all the shows and attractions. In fact, as long as it remains hard to ride Rise of the Resistance, you might want to schedule two days just to be sure.
You might want to consider purchasing a Park Hopper Ticket which allows you to visit multiple parks in one day. That would allow you to visit Hollywood Studios multiple times in your trip, without having to spend a full day each time.
Since we often stay at one of the Skyliner hotels, this makes it easy to go to Hollywood Studios in the morning, do a bunch of rides, and then go to a different park in the evening, like EPCOT for dinner.
(Park Hopper Tickets are temporarily unavailable at the moment).
Both Single and Multi-Day tickets are available to purchase dates for 2020 or 2021. Tickets are available right now through December 31, 2021.
Disney World park tickets use dynamic pricing which means the cost changes depending on the date you go. If you are trying to get the best value for your money, visit in the off-season when ticket prices are cheaper. The closer you go to a holiday, the higher ticket prices will be.
Make sure you buy Walt Disney World tickets from the official Disney World website or a trusted reseller. If you see an offer on a third-party website that looks “too good to be true,” it probably is. Some resellers even try to sell unusable tickets.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to Hollywood Studios?
Like all Disney World parks, a day in Hollywood Studios is not cheap, especially if you are going with your whole family.
Depending on what date you choose to go, a 1-Day ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios can cost anywhere from $109 to $159.
And that is only the cost of admission. On top of that, you have to remember that food will cost a lot, and vary depending on if you eat at table service restaurants or quick service. Prices for food at Hollywood Studios can range anywhere from $40-$100 per day, per person.
If you are taking a car or a motorcycle as transportation, parking will cost $25 per vehicle, per day.
All of these things add up and you should plan on a day at Hollywood Studios costing you between $150 and $200 per person.
Park Pass Reservations
At this time, visiting Disney World Hollywood Studios requires not only a regular park ticket, but also a park pass reservation.
The Disney Park Pass Reservation System was implemented recently due to the current health restrictions and helps Disney manage the crowds and keeps them from exceeding the new capacity limits.
Park reservations can be made on the Disney World website, but again, you’ll need to have a valid park admission before making a park reservation.
Read our post on How to Make Disney World Park Reservations for a detailed walkthrough on the new system.
Like all Disney World theme parks, park hours at Hollywood Studios can vary a bit depending on the season and if any special events are happening. This should always be factored into any visit so familiarize yourself with the hours before you go.
2020 & 2021 Hours – Disney has modified theme park hours due to the current health crisis, which overall has meant reduced hours for all the parks, including Hollywood Studios.
Here are the typical Hollywood Studios Park Hours during this reopening phase:
- Hollywood Studios Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm.
On some select days around holidays, the opening hours are also extended to 9:00 am. These times are going to vary greatly in the coming months, so make sure to check with the Walt Disney World Park calendar on the official website for the most updated hours.
Normal Schedule – When Walt Disney is operating normally, on most days, Hollywood Studios opens at 9:00 am and often closes at 9:00 pm.
Occasionally it has later closings at 10:00 or 11:00 depending on the season.
Holidays and Busy Days – Hollywood Studios park hours can vary during the holidays and the busy season with earlier openings and later closings.
Extra Magic Hours – Hollywood Studios usually runs Extra Magic Hours on Sunday Mornings and does not typically run evening Extra Magic Hours.
- Morning Extra Magic Hours: from 7:30 am to 9:00 am
- Evening Extra Magic Hours: Not available
Special Events – Hours also vary when Hollywood Studios is running a Disney After Hours event or another special event.
What Time do the Gates Open? – Often, guests showing up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios early will be let in before the official park opening time. Typically they start letting guests in 30 minutes early and line them up on Hollywood Boulevard.
Check the official Walt Disney World park schedule for the latest Hollywood Studios Hours.
Like any Disney theme park, Hollywood Studios is separated into distinctly themed lands that change the look and feel of every area of the park.
Here are the 9 themed lands at Hollywood Studios:
- Animation Courtyard
- Commissary Lane
- Echo Lake
- Grand Avenue
- Hollywood Boulevard
- Pixar Place
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Sunset Boulevard
- Toy Story Land
Hollywood Studios has changed quite a bit from the early days of MGM Studios. At that time, each area of the park was different, but for the most part, they all revolved around a romanticized version of 1920s or 30s-era Hollywood.
Now there is a much bigger difference from area to area and Disney has paved over some of the original lands in the park for more specific movie-themed areas like Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge. Let’s take a look at all the lands at Hollywood Studios.
Any trip to Hollywood Studios starts on Hollywood Boulevard. This is the Studios’ version of Main Street, U.S.A., operates much in the same way, and sets the stage for the rest of your day here.
The entrance gate is inspired by the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Don’t miss a recreation of the Crossroads of the World tower in the entrance plaza.
Modeled after the real street with the same name, Hollywood Boulevard is the main shopping area in the park and the main access to the rest of the park. Its colorful buildings are a mix of Art Deco and modern architecture and make you feel like you are back in the 30s.
One of the highlights on Hollywood Boulevard are the entertainers, including the incredibly talented Citizens of Hollywood street performers.
You’ll definitely want to stop at the Trolley Car Cafe (Starbucks) on your way through and get your caffeine fix for the morning. Grab one of their amazing pastries or cupcakes too!
Down further on the right you’ll find the Hollywood Brown Derby, a recreation of the original VIP hang-out in Hollywood.
At the very end, you’ll see the park’s current icon, the Chinese Theater, which is now home to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
To the left of Hollywood Boulevard is Echo Lake. The first thing that’s immediately apparent is Gertie, the giant dinosaur in the middle of the lake.
Echo Lake has two very popular restaurants in the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Hollywood & Vine. Both worth visiting, but we are particularly fond of 50’s Prime Time.
On the right of the like you’ll find A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and the new Mickey Shorts Theater.
Can’t miss attractions on the far side of the lake include the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show and Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, a big hit with Star Wars fans, but only a taste of what is to come.
The first right-hand turn off Hollywood Boulevard brings you to another one of Hollywood’s historic streets…Sunset Boulevard.
This is another street that is nice if you are looking to do some shopping while visiting the park as there are gift shops themed to old Hollywood and the film industry.
On the left-hand side of Sunset Blvd you’ll find a number of quick service dining options at the Sunset Ranch Market, so stop and have a snack if you are hungry.
Further down on the right you’ll find arguably Hollywood Studios’ best nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! It’s located in an open amphitheater after walking down a winding path.
Sunset Boulevard is also home to some of Hollywood Studios’ most beloved attractions. The Tower of Terror is impossible to miss as the Hollywood Tower Hotel is straight-ahead from the minute you step onto the street. This is a must-do classic Disney attraction.
Before arriving at the Tower of Terror, if you turn on the left-hand side and proceed under the arches, this will lead you to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is the biggest thrill ride in the park and the Racing Academy is a cute show for anyone who is a fan of the Cars film franchise and even has an animatronic Lightning McQueen leading the show.
At the end of Hollywood Boulevard and through the iconic giant gate on the right is Animation Courtyard. There isn’t much going on here these days, but it is home to a few important entertainment venues in the park.
Immediately on the left, you’ll see the entrance to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show. You’ll find the Disney Junior Dance Party! show on the right side of the courtyard. At the very end is the entrance to the Star Wars Launch Bay, a prop museum for Star Wars fans and it holds various Star Wars character meets.
Our favorite area of Animation Courtyard is The Walt Disney Presents attraction. This is really a museum to Walt Disney and shows the evolution of Walt Disney Studios as an animation and film studio and the creation of the Disney Parks. At the end is a touching tribute film to Walt Disney himself.
The importance of Pixar Place has reduced over the last few years with the Toy Story Land expansion essentially taking away its only attraction, Toy Story Mania! Now it mostly serves as a gateway to Toy Story Land.
If you are looking for characters, this is where you will find the Incredibles, including an Edna Mode meet.
Pixar Place is also home to one of our absolute favorite snacks in Walt Disney World, the Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num! Don’t leave here without one!
Toy Story Land
Opened in 2018, Toy Story Land was an expansion of Pixar Place and became a full Toy Story-themed area. Guests here walk into a version of Andy’s Backyard where he has set up his various toy sets for you to play on.
You’ll see reminders of your favorite childhood toys throughout the area, as well as Christmas lights strung up over decorating the area and Andy’s giant footsteps on the walkways.
The new land kept Toy Story Maina!, just moving the entrance to the other side of the building. There were also 2 new attractions added in Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash, which quickly became one of the most popular attractions in the park.
If you are hungry, Woody’s Lunch Box is also one of our favorite quick service restaurants at Hollywood Studios with yummy sandwiches, lunch box tarts and totchos!!
We think there were some shortcuts taken with the design of Toy Story Land and there are things that will hopefully be improved on in the coming years, but it definitely has been a positive addition to the park, giving kids more things to do.
This is not really a full-blown land, but more like a mini-area that is located in-between the Chinese Theater and the upcoming Grand Avenue.
There isn’t much to see here, but it is home to the Sci-Fi Dine-In restaurant, and the ABC Commissary quick service restaurant.
Grand Avenue is the former home of the Streets of America area, and styled after a version of present-day Los Angeles, and tries to recapture the look and feel of the city.
It’s home to multiple dining options with a quick service restaurant (PizzeRizzo’s), a table service restaurant (Mamma Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano) and one of our favorite lounges (BaseLine Tap House).
Muppets Courtyard is now a part of Grand Avenue and it’s where you will find the timeless MuppetVision 3D. This is a hilarious show that is full of cheap 3D tricks that you just can’t help but laugh at.
The tunnel at the end of Grand Avenue is a recreation of the famous Figueroa Street Tunnel in Los Angeles, only here it brings you into a whole other galaxy…
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
This is the crown-jewel of theme park lands, and Disney’s newest addition to Hollywood Stars. As the most ambitious new land in Disney history, Galaxy’s Edge transports you to the planet of Batuu and into the smuggler’s hideout of Black Spire Outpost.
This is definitely the most immersive land in the park and it merits a few hours to fully explore. Everyone is in theme here, even the cast members sell you on the idea you are in another world.
Right now, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has two rides, Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Both are exceptional, but Rise of the Resistance is in a league of its own and has set the bar extremely high for future Disney attractions.
There are plenty of dining options in Galaxy’s Edge with Docking Bay 7 and Ronto Roasters both solid options for a quick meal. The star however is Oga’s Cantina, a bar that makes you feel like you are right in the middle of a Star Wars film.
Galaxy’s Edge is also full of unique shopping experiences, with the Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities all extremely popular with guests.
There is no mistake that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is where you will want to spend a good portion of your time when visiting Hollywood Studios. Read our full guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge where we share more details and all our best tips when visiting.
Rides and Attractions
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
- Toy Story Mania!
- Vacation Fun (at Mickey Shorts Theater)
- Walt Disney Presents
Ever since opening day in 1989, Hollywood Studios (MGM Studios) has always been light on the overall number attractions which has been a sore spot among guests. Disney has tried to remedy that in recent years and the park has gone through a huge transformation with increased emphasis on rides.
Since 2018 alone, they park has added 7 new attractions, giving them 14 in total. This has helped, but more will need to be added in the coming years due to continual overcrowding.
Some of the best rides in Hollywood Studios are thrill rides like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Slinky Dog Dash.
Disney has done a lot however to make the park more kid-friendly and has added rides the whole family can do like Rise of the Resistance, Smugglers Run, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Hollywood Studios Must Do’s
While Hollywood Studios might not have the highest number of attractions, it arguably has the best group of must-do attractions of all 4 Disney World theme parks. Here is a list of our favorites:
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – This is more than just a ride, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Rise of the Resistance takes you on an epic journey using 4 ride systems, dozens of audio-animatronics, and live actors to make the story real.
With some of the most amazing special effects ever created, this is the most advanced attraction Disney has ever built and should be the number one thing on your list to do when visiting Hollywood Studios.
It’s really important you read our guide on Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups which explains how to get a reservation for this ride. It can be very difficult so all the help you can get is needed.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – When this came online in 1995, it was the moment that Hollywood Studios really started coming into its own. The Tower of Terror is a classic dark drop ride that tells the story of a group of people who mysteriously disappeared from the hotel in the 1930s.
This is one of the most beloved and thrilling attractions in Disney World and not for the feint of heart or whoever doesn’t like closed spaces or dropping.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – The newest addition to Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the first full ride dedicated to Mickey Mouse. Guests of all ages will love this trackless dark ride located in the Chinese Theater, the former home to the Great Movie Ride.
Slinky Dog Dash – It’s impossible to miss Slinky Dog Dash when visiting Toy Story Land. All you have to do is follow the screams of the guests whizzing overhead in the roller coaster cars. Built from Andy’s Dash and Dodge Mega Coaster Kit, it’s an incredibly smooth roller coaster that’s not overly intense, do-able for most of the family.
Toy Story Mania! – For years Toy Story Mania! was the most popular attraction in Hollywood Studios, and though that’s not true anymore, we still love jumping on this 3D attraction/game hybrid based in the Toy Story universe.
You’ll want to ride again and again to try and beat your previous high score!
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – This is Galaxy’s Edge “second” attraction, but an amazing achievement on its own. Riders board the iconic Millennium Falcon and go on a secret smuggling mission into the outer rim.
The ride is a flight simulation and the cool part is each guest must fulfill a role to successfully complete the mission. You may even get to pilot the Millennium Falcon yourself!
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – If you are a fan of thrills, you will love the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Jam out to Aerosmith as they send you through the busy Los Angeles traffic on your way to the big concert. Just be aware there are inversions and the ride reaches speeds of 60 mph.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – Before Galaxy’s Edge there was Star Tours. This classic space flight simulator puts you right in the middle of the Star Wars universe and brings you to many of your favorite locations right from the films.
MuppetVision 3D – If you are a fan of the Muppets, you can’t miss this hilarious 3D show. Join Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang as they perfect their latest invention: “Muppet*Vision, and laugh at all of the corny jokes and “cheap 3D tricks.”
*Disney has temporarily suspended use of the FastPass+ system at the Disney World parks until further notice.
When going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, make sure you take advantage of the FastPass+ service. This ride reservation system allows guests to book return times on participating attractions throughout the park, thereby “skipping” the lines.
To use FastPass+, link your ticket purchase to your account to schedule FastPass selections in advance. Guests can have up to 3 FastPass+ reservations in advance, which are then redeemed at the attraction queue when it’s your turn to ride.
FastPass+ reservations can be made using the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone, and reservations can be made between 30 days and 60 days ahead of time. We highly recommend you make FastPass+ reservations as soon as you can, especially for the more popular rides.
Attractions at Hollywood Studios are broken up into 2 FastPass+ tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Guests can only make one Tier 1 selection ahead of time per day. They also have two Tier 2 selections. You will have to do the rest of the attractions waiting in the stand-by queue.
The following are the Tier 1 FastPass+ selections at Hollywood Studios:
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
Make sure one of your 3 selections includes one of the above attractions as they always have the longest wait times.
To learn more about FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios, click here.
In 2019 Disney introduced a new attraction queuing system called the Virtual Queue. Instead of using traditional queues or FastPass+, this new system is designed to control crowds and let guests skip waiting in line for participating attractions.
Guests joining the virtual queue are assigned to a boarding group for that attraction with a group number. Once that number is called, guests can head to the attraction queue. Boarding groups are assigned using the My Disney Experience app.
Right now, Rise of the Resistance is the only attraction using the Virtual Queue in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, though more attractions are rumored.
Read our post on Disney’s Virtual Queue & Boarding Groups to get a better understanding of how the system works.
What’s New Coming to Hollywood Studios?
Over the last few years Disney’s Hollywood Studios has gone through a tremendous transformation, getting rid of some older attractions and areas in the park to make space for Toy Story Land, Galaxy’s Edge and all the new attractions with them.
At this time there are no big projects planned for Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s attention is now on other parks like EPCOT. The only thing currently in the works is the Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant in Toy Story Land.
We’ll let you know as soon as we hear of any new attractions that are coming.
Here are a few links if you are interested in knowing what new attractions are coming to the rest of Walt Disney World soon:
- New Disney World Rides – Everything Coming in the Next Few Years
- Walt Disney World Construction Updates
The entertainment options at Hollywood Studios Florida are numerous, and it might have the best overall group of shows out of all the parks. It has everything from stage shows, street performers, character greets and multiple nighttime spectaculars, all worth seeing.
*Many of the regular Hollywood Studios entertainment like fireworks shows, stage shows, and character meets are temporarily suspended.
Nighttime spectaculars, including fireworks shows are always the most popular among guests, and Hollywood Studios has 5 of them depending on the season.
- Disney Movie Magic – A 10-minute projection mapping show in front of the Chinese Theater that highlights some of your favorite films like Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and more.
- Fantasmic! – Taking place in the 6000-seat amphitheater off Sunset Blvd, this is your classic Disney, good vs. evil showdown, all with your favorite mouse, Mickey on center stage. The best nighttime show at Hollywood Studios and a must-see.
- Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! – Only available during the holiday season, this is a projection mapping and fireworks show that transforms the Chinese Theater and surrounding buildings into the most popular holiday stories.
- Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular – A must-see for Star Wars fans. This nighttime show happens in front of the Chinese Theater and uses a combination of pyrotechnics, projection mapping, lasers, and fireworks to bring your favorite characters to life.
- Wonderful World of Animation – Think of this as the fireworks pre-show. It’s a projection mapping show in front of the Chinese Theater, that makes Disney Animation come to life, both classic and modern IPs. Mickey Mouse, The Incredibles, Coco, Sleeping Beauty, The Incredibles, Steamboat Willie, Coco, and Lilo & Stitch are some of the ones featured.
Shows & Performers
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage – A 30-minute retelling of one of your favorite Disney classics. This is one of the longest-running shows in Hollywood Studios and the music, acting and storytelling are all excellent.
- Citizens of Hollywood – Portraying fictional characters from old Hollywood during the 1920s or 30s, this group specializes in improve acts with many comedic skits that are hilarious to watch.
- Disney Junior Dance Party – A dance party with characters from the Disney Junior shows including Mickey Mouse, Timon, Doc McStuffins and Vampirina. Great for young kids.
- A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – Your classic Disney musical sing-along show, complete with the cast of Disney’s smash hit Frozen. The Royal Historians of Arendelle retell the story of Frozen, with the cast singing your favorite songs from the film.
- Green Army Men (Drum Corps & Patrol) – There are two shows consisting of the Green Army Men in Toy Story Land. High-energy drummers play throughout the day as well as the green army men up to funny antics and interacting and playing with park guests.
- Indiana Jones Stunt Show – Live actors, performing film-like stunts you would see in the Indiana Jones films. The 3 scenes they perform are all taken from the classic Indy film and will have you on the edge of your seat.
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple – An interactive show that chooses dozens of children each day for Jedi training where they can go on stage and learn to wield a lightsaber and then come face to face with the dark side and use the training that they learned.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – This show has been at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since 1992 and is a shortened version of The Little Mermaid story retold on stage with a mix of live actors and puppets.
Brand new Character Cavalcades have been introduced into the parks right now as a replacement for regular parades. This allows guests to still enjoy your favorite characters in the parks without all the crowds.
The Disney character cavalcades in the parks are processions of Disney characters that walk by in an organized way and greet guests from a safe distance. Hollywood Studios has one of the largest selections of characters right now and they vary from classic Disney to Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney Junior.
Here are the current Character Cavalcades at Hollywood Studios:
- Disney Junior Stars Motorcade – If you are a fan of the Disney Junior stars, you will love seeing Doc McStuffins, Vampirina and Fancy Nancy.
- Mickey & Friends Motorcade – Your best chance to see the classic Disney characters in Hollywood Studios. It has Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip & Dale, and Pluto.
- Pixar Motorcade – Get your fix of Pixar films with characters from Toy Story, Monsters, Inc, and The Incredibles.
All three motorcades start on Hollywood Blvd and head toward the Chinese Theater, which is a great backdrop for photos.
There are also special Christmas Character Motorcades going on during the holiday season with the characters dressed up in Christmas outfits. There is a Santa Claus motorcade too.
Check out our complete guide to Character Cavalcades at Disney World for more details on them in all the parks.
- Disney Junior (Fancy Nancy, Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, and Pluto)
- Incredibles (Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Frozone, and Edna Mode)
- Mickey and Minnie Mouse
- Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc.
- Star Wars (BB-8, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader)
- Toy Story (Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie and Bo Peep)
The characters in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando are extremely popular with guests and there are daily character meets available with the above characters, in just about all areas of the park.
Dining and Restaurants
Just like in any of the Disney World theme parks, food and drinks are a big part of any trip to Hollywood Studios and time should be taken to discover all the different treats it has to offer.
Hollywood Studios has an excellent selection of quick service restaurants which are great for an easy and cheap meal. There aren’t that many table service restaurants at the Studios, but something can be found in a pinch.
If you aren’t in the mood for a full meal, check our list of the best snacks at Hollywood Studios for can’t-miss options.
Here are lists of all the restaurants, food stands, snack carts, bars, and lounges at Hollywood Studios.
Quick Service Restaurants
- ABC Commissary
- Anaheim Produce
- Backlot Express
- Catalina Eddie’s
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
- Dockside Diner
- Epic Eats
- Fairfax Fare
- Hollywood Scoops
- Kat Saka’s Kettle
- KRNR The Rock Station
- Milk Stand
- Neighborhood Bakery
- Peevy’s Polar Pipeline
- Ronto Roasters
- Rosie’s All-American Café
- The Trolley Car Café
- Woody’s Lunch Box
The number and quality of counter service dining options have greatly increased at Hollywood Studios over the last few years, with the entire food scene in the park changing after Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge opened.
There are currently 20 counter service restaurants at Hollywood Studios, and a good majority of them range from good to excellent. These are great options when you would rather spend your time on the attractions instead of sitting down for a meal.
Our favorite quick service restaurants in Hollywood Studios are:
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
- Woody’s Lunch Box
- Ronto Roasters
- ABC Commissary
- The Trolley Car Café
All of these are solid choices, and Docking Bay 7 and Woody’s Lunch Box are among the very best in Disney World.
Make sure to take advantage of Disney’s Mobile Ordering service which allows you to order your food ahead and skip the lines at quick service restaurants.
Table Service Restaurants
- 50’s Prime Time Café
- Hollywood & Vine
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
- Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
- Roundup Rodeo BBQ – (Opening 2021)
If there is a weak spot in Hollywood Studios dining, the table service restaurants would certainly be it. Right now there are only 5 options in the whole park, but there is at least one more coming soon.
Out of the 5 restaurants, there is only 1 character meal. Even though choices are slim, we happen to really like all of them.
Our favorite table service restaurants at Hollywood Studios are:
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Since Hollywood Studios is more crowded during the day and wait times for attractions decrease in the evening, we encourage your to make a reservation for lunch if eating at a table service restaurant. This allows you to enjoy the air-conditioning during the hottest part of the day, and enjoy the rides when some guests have gone home.
Whenever you decide to eat at a sit-down meal, make sure you make advanced dining reservations ahead of time, especially for the 50’s Prime Time Cafe as it books up really fast. Dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance which we highly recommend.
Read our guide to Disney Advanced Dining Reservations for more info.
Bars & Lounges
- BaseLine Tap House
- The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
- Oga’s Cantina
- Sunshine Day Bar
- Tune-In Lounge
Alcohol is plentiful at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and can be found in all table service restaurants, most quick service locations, and the bars and lounges in the park. There are nice options for beer, wine, or cocktails.
Our absolute favorite is Oga’s Cantina. Here it is like stepping into a Star Wars cantina and every drink on the menu is an out-of-this-world take on classic drinks. The atmosphere is unreal and DJ-R3X keeps the place hopping with his intergalactic playlist.
For a trip back in time, head to the Tune-In Lounge at the entrance to 50’s Prime Time Cafe. It’s like going for drinks at your grandma’s house, but way more fun!
If you like beer, the BaseLine Tap House in Grand Avenue offers incredible flights as well as the best pretzels at Walt Disney World!
Special Events & Experiences
Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t have as many special events throughout the year as some of the other parks, but there are still some worth coming for. It makes up for it however in experiences, especially those available in Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney After Hours – Just like the after hours events in the other parks, this hard-ticketed event allows guests to enjoy the park with a VIP-like experience. These events have very few people so it’s likely you will experience your favorite attractions with little to no waiting in line.
All-you-can-eat snacks and drinks are also provided to off-set the extra cost.
Sunset Seasons Greetings – This special event happens during the holiday season when the Hollywood Tower Hotel comes to life with 4 Disney holiday scenes.
Droid Depot – This is where you can customize and build your own astromech droid to take home with you. Choose between an R2 or BB model droid which are remote controlled. A great gift idea for kids especially, or big kids like myself.
Savi’s Workshop Lightsaber-building – Don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to build your own lightsaber before..well now you have that chance at Savi’s Workshop in Galaxy’s Edge. Not only do you get to build and customize your own lightsaber, but the cast members really bring the whole thing to life and leave you with one of those “jaw-dropping” moments.
If you don’t want to build a custom lightsaber, head over to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities where you can choose from one of them many Star Wars Legacy Lightsabers belonging to your favorite heroes and villains.
Like all of the theme parks, you can find some behind-the-scenes tours at Hollywood Studios that will show you things you’ve never seen before and give you a new view of the park.
Star Wars Guided Tour – This is the ultimate tour for Star Wars fans. Lasting 7 hours long, the Star Wars Guided tour shows you everything related to the fan-favorite franchise at Hollywood Studios, including VIP access.
Best Tips for Touring Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Whether it’s your first time visiting Hollywood Studios or if you’re an experienced vet, here are some more tips that will help you have the best time possible.
Make sure to read our Hollywood Studios Touring Plans post for more detailed instructions and full-day itineraries.
Best Days to Visit Hollywood Studios
Of course, any day of the week is a good day to be at Hollywood Studios Disney World, but if you plan it right, some days are better and give you an advantage with the crowds.
The answer here is going to depend on how many days you have in Disney World and how many of those days you want to spend at the theme parks.
If you aren’t rushed for time, we suggest avoiding the theme parks on the weekends. Not only do you have to compete with tourists on the weekend, but the local crowds always visit the parks more on Saturday and Sunday.
Monday is the best day of the week to visit Hollywood Studios. Most guests arriving on Sunday will make the Magic Kingdom the first park they visit and do it on Monday. That leaves the other parks less crowded.
If you have to visit the parks on the weekend, Hollywood Studios is not a bad choice. Right now it’s pretty packed every day, but the other parks have bigger fluctuation between weekdays and weekends.
It makes more sense then, to avoid the other parks on the weekend and go to Hollywood Studios if forced to choose.
Make sure to read our post on The Best Times to Go to Disney World which takes into consideration all the factors and breaks it down month by month.
How Many Days Do You Need at Hollywood Studios?
Many are under the impression that Hollywood Studios is only a half-day park and not worth staying all day. While that may be true if you only want to do a couple of attractions, you will need significantly more time if you really want to experience it all.
For first-timers, Hollywood Studios is a full-day park, You might even need two days if you want to ride all the attractions and see all the shows.
This is especially true since Rise of the Resistance opened. Since it is so hard to get a boarding pass, one day doesn’t guarantee you the opportunity to ride. To be safe, we recommend spending two days at Hollywood Studios during your visit.
Have a Plan
Do the most important things early in the day in case those attractions close down unexpectedly later in the day, leaving you without other opportunities to ride.
Since there is so much to do and see at Hollywood Studios, you are going to need to have a good plan. Well before you go, decide which attractions, shows, and characters that are the most important to your family and prioritize your day around those.
Make your FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days ahead of time when possible, and rope drop Hollywood Studios for the other rides.
Look at the list of restaurants and read the menus too. Then make dining reservations for any table service restaurants you want to go to.
If you only have 1 day to visit, make sure it is a FULL day. Get an early start and stay until park closing if possible. That will allow you to see almost everything in one day.
Make Time to Explore Galaxy’s Edge
A big part of your plan should be visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Don’t be one of those people that just rides the attractions and then moves on to the next area. Galaxy’s Edge is a marvel of Disney Imagineering and deserves to be seen right.
Besides the attractions, there are many cool shops in the marketplace area of Black Spire Outpost, with unique Star Wars gifts that can only be found in Galaxy’s Edge.
Look at the insane level of detail that went into each of the buildings and if you are a big Star Wars fan, look for the hundreds of Easter eggs hidden throughout the land.
We also suggest trying as much of the food in Galaxy’s Edge as possible as the dining locations have some of the most unique offerings in Disney World.
Drink Enough Water
This is good advice no matter where you are in Walt Disney World. Hollywood Studios and the other theme parks are extremely hot, especially from May – October. That means you need to stay hydrated and drink enough water while you are there.
All the quick-service restaurants at Hollywood Studios give out paper cups of free ice water, so make sure you stop by often throughout the day.
Go at Night
Visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks at night is always an incredible experience, and Hollywood Studios is no exception. In fact, we prefer going at night rather than during the day.
As you know, Florida is very hot during the day, so going at night is already better knowing the temperature will be a few degrees cooler and you don’t have to deal with the blazing sun all day long.
On top of that, the nighttime shows in Hollywood Studios are great and worth sticking around for. Not everyone wants to do a theme park from sunrise to sunset, so if you haven’t seen them before and don’t want to stay all day, we suggest going a little later and staying until park closing.
This way you can see the nighttime shows and also benefit from lower crowds as the night goes on.
What Can I Bring with Me Into Hollywood Studios?
Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park, with certain restrictions. Any food or drink must be for self-consumption, must not require heating, refrigeration and must not be stored in a glass container.
If you want to bring some small snacks with you like chips, candy, granola, or protein bars, that might be a good idea if you get hungry while waiting in line or if you are on a tight budget and looking to save money.
Even though you can get free cups of tap water at Hollywood Studios, you might want to bring a couple bottles with you.
I highly recommend bringing a small backpack with you to the parks, to hold snacks, your camera, a fan, small towels or any other necessary things.
As with all the parks, make sure you wear comfortable shoes to Hollywood Studios as all-day on your feet can be rough.
Getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
There are multiple transportation methods to get to Hollywood Studios and it will depend on where you are staying. Some of your options include:
- Ferry Boat (Friendship Boats)
- Disney Skyliner
- Ride Sharing (Uber or Lyft)
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, free transportation is provided to Disney theme parks for all guests. This is one of the best reasons to stay at a Disney World hotel. Whether you take the Disney Skyliner, bus, ferry boat, etc), they are all complimentary.
Buses – All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels provide free bus service to the theme parks. This however is one of the slowest ways of traveling to the parks, and we suggest you avoid it whenever possible, especially around park opening or park closing.
- Make sure to allow at least 45-60 minutes if arriving by bus, depending on where you are coming from and including wait time at the bus stop.
Ferry Boat – Disney’s Hollywood Studios is service by the Friendship Boats for any guests staying at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort, or The Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin. Boats run approximately every 20 minutes.
Disney Skyliner – This is our favorite way to get to Hollywood Studios and it offers a bird’s eye view of the park as you arrive. The Skyliner is available from Disney’s Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, Art of Animation and Riviera Resort or any of the Crescent Lake hotels.
- Allow approximately 20 minutes to arrive using the Skyliner.
Walking – This is often the fastest way to get to Hollywood Studios. Disney’s Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn and Swan and Dolphin Hotels all are conveniently within walking distance of Hollywood Studios and there is no wait time. Allow approximately 15-20 minutes depending on your walking pace.
Ride-Sharing – This can be done from anywhere in Walt Disney World with a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.
If you are bringing a car or motorcycle to Hollywood Studios, you’ll need to leave it in the parking lot outside the park. The parking lot here was recently expanded so finding a space is not difficult.
Here are the latest Hollywood Studios parking prices:
- Standard parking for a car or motorcycle costs $25 per day.
- Preferred parking for car or motorcycle costs $45 per day in off-peak seasons and $50 during peak season.
Trams are provided to bring guests from the lot to the front of the park. From there you can walk to the entrance.
Best Hotels to Stay at Near Hollywood Studios
Staying at a hotel close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be helpful, especially if you plan on going there more than once during your trip. This will save you valuable travel time those days.
The best hotels for Hollywood Studios if using the Skyliner are:
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
All of these have Disney Skyliner transportation to Hollywood Studios, making it super simple.
Here are the Disney World hotels within walking distance of Hollywood Studios:
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
The closest hotel to Hollywood Studios is Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort. It’s only 10 minutes on foot to the front entrance.
We prefer staying at Disney’s Beach Club, and it’s only another 5-10 minutes on foot, or you can take the Skyliner. It’s also the closest hotel to EPCOT so it’s a good compromise.
If you are on a budget then we recommend Disney’s Pop Century or Art of Animation. They are farther away, but easy to get to from the Skyliner.
Even though Disney’s Hollywood Studios has only been around since 1989, it has an interesting history, and has changed more than any of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks.
The park started out as the pet project of then Disney CEO Michael Eisner. When he took over as Disney CEO, he developed an aggressive expansion plan for the Florida resort, which included building a 3rd theme park.
Eisner wanted to give guests the experience of going behind the scenes of a real, working TV and Film studio and let fans see up close all that goes into making their favorite productions. Disney then signed a working contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for rights to the MGM brand and logo. The name of the park then became: Disney-MGM Studios.
With the pending arrival of Universal Studios Orlando, Disney was also under pressure to open MGM Studios as quickly as possible, and as a result, it only had two real attractions ready by opening day on May 1, 1989 (The Great Movie Ride and Studio Backlot Tour).
Disney-MGM Studios underwent its first expansion project in 1994 with the creation of The Twilight Tower of Terror, which was an immediate hit with guests. There was another big expansion in 1999 with the opening of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith.
In 2001, a giant blue sorcerer’s hat was constructed at the end of Hollywood Boulevard and took over as the park’s icon, replacing the Earful Tower.
2008 was a big year for the park as Disney made the name rebranding of the park official and changed it from Disney-MGM Studios to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Later in 2008, Toy Story Mania! opened and quickly became the park’s most popular attraction.
In the following years, Disney started phasing out all of the studio-themed attractions which were the main focus at the park’s beginning. Attractions were closed down like the Studio Backlot Tour, American Idol Experience, the Streets of America, the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, and the Earffel Tower.
Plans were announced for Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which would take over these newly empty plots of land. Toy Story Land opened on June 30, 2018, followed by Galaxy’s Edge on August 29, 2019.
The last remnants of MGM Studios were erased from the park on August 13, 2017, when The Great Movie Ride took its last trip through the movies. Its replacement attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened in the Chinese Theater on March 4, 2020.
Closed Hollywood Studios Attractions
- The American Idol Experience (2009 – 2014)
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage (2011 – 2018)
- Disney Stars and Motorcars Parade (2001 – 2008)
- The Great Movie Ride (1989 – 2017)
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ Movie Set Adventure (1990 – 2016)
- The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow (2012 – 2014)
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (2005 – 2016)
- March of the First Order (2016 – 2019)
- Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (1995 – 2016)
- Playhouse Disney! – Live on Stage (2001 – 2011)
- Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (2016 – 2020)
- Star Wars: Path of the Jedi (2014 – 2019)
- Streets of America (1989 – 2016)
- Studio Backlot Tour (1989 – 2014)
- SuperStar Television (1989 – 1998)
- The Monster Sound Show (1989 – 1999)
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – Play It! (2001 – 2006)
Facts & Trivia
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios used to be a real, working TV and film studio and was where classic Disney animated films like “Lilo and Stitch,” “Mulan,” and “Brother Bear” were made.
- The original symbol of Disney-MGM Studios was The Earful Tower, a giant water tower in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears. It was not a working water tower, however, and only there for the look.
- Does the big sign above the entrance to Pixar Place look familiar? The large gateway is an exact replica of the gateway at Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California, all the way down to the bricks.
- There are hand and footprints in front of the Chinese Theater from 112 of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Stars with their own prints include Samuel L. Jackson, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, as well as fictional characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Kermit the Frog and R2-D2 and C-3PO.
- The Stratocaster guitar in front of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster building is a full 32 feet long.
- Do you like Star Tour: The Adventures Continue? It would take 4 hours of continuous riding to experience all 54 potential ride sequences.
- The moat surrounding the Fantasmic! stage holds 1.9 million gallons of water but is only a surprising 1.5 feet deep.
- Standing at 199 feet tall, if the Hollywood Tower Hotel building were just 1 foot taller, Disney would be required to attach a flashing red light on top to comply with Federal Aviation Authority regulations.
- The giant rolling ball in the opening scene of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular weighs over 400 pounds. I guess Indy really is running for his life!
The original name for the park was Disney-MGM Studios, and it opened on May 1, 1989.
Yes. Hollywood Studios is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company and is part of the larger Walt Disney World Resort complex.
Tickets to Hollywood Studios will cost between $109 to $159 each. However, when you factor in food and other costs, one day can easily cost between $150-$200 per person.
We hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with us. If you are going to any of the other Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, read our full guides to those below:
If you are planning a trip make sure to read our Disney World Crowd Calendar which will explain when the least crowded time of the year is to visit.
I want to know what you think about Disney’s Hollywood Studios…
- What is your favorite thing to do at Hollywood Studios?
- Which is your favorite Land?
- What is your favorite attraction?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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