Thursday, 9 June 2016

Disneyworld's Hollywood Studios - The Best Bits

Hollywood Studios was the second park on our list to visit during our Disneyworld trip in October. I knew this park would appeal to Husband and Z because of the Star Wars attractions and I had heard great things about so many of the live shows, something the Disneyland Paris park lacked.

Hollywood Studios was probably the closest park to our hotel, Art of Animation. I think it took us less than 10 minutes to get there by Disney bus. 

As you approach the park, there is a lake connecting Hollywood Studios to Epcot and you can take a boat ride to the Epcot resorts and Epcot itself. You can, apparently. also walk from Hollywood Studios to Epcot but I think it would take you a little while.

When you go to the Magic Kingdom, it can take you about 10 minutes to walk from the bus stop to Main Street. Security is always really busy too. Hollywood Studios was completely different. It took us less than 5 minutes to walk from the bus stop, clear security and enter the park. It was early right enough as we had a reservation at Hollywood and Vine for 8.25am but still, we were in pretty quickly.

Another difference between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios is how spectacular MK is in comparison with HS. I wasn't blown away when we walked through the turnstiles. Maybe it was different when they had the huge Sorcerer Mickey hat but they took that down a few months before we arrived. It is a cool park though and you feel like you are in Hollywood with all the movie themed scenes. I loved all the window displays featuring Minnie, Mickey and Goofy. We also got a picture in front of The Great Movie ride before heading to breakfast. You can read about our breakfast experience here.

All Disney parks are separated into different lands or areas. There are 7 different areas to visit in Hollywood Studios however there has been a lot of work done throughout the park so these may have changed slightly since we were there.

Hollywood Boulevard

As you enter HS, you walk on to Hollywood Boulevard and, as the name would suggest, it is very Hollywood themed. Mostly within this area there are shops and restaurants but at the very end of the street is The Great Move Ride and just in front of it is where you can meet some Disney characters. We managed to meet Pluto on our second visit. The Great Movie Ride is a pretty fun ride where you go through different movie sets from some of the biggest classics; The Wizard of Oz was my favourite!

Echo Lake

Similar to Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake has a lot of shops and restaurants. This is where you'll find Hollywood and Vine, a fun character dining experience. In terms of rides, the very popular Star Tours can be found here and I believe there is going to be a lot of work done to extend the Star Wars theme. We're looking forward to seeing what's new when we go back. I have heard that there are quite a few character meet and greets now. You'll also find the Indiana Jones stunt show in this area which we really enjoyed!

Streets of America

What was Streets of America is now called Muppet Courtyard I believe. A lot of the attractions that were once there such as the Lights, Motors, Action show and the Studio Backlot Tour have now closed to make way for new attractions. What these may be, I'm not sure but I can't wait to go back and find out. The Muppet Vision 3D show is still there and it's really fun.

Commissary Lane

This is just a small lane where you'll find a couple of places to eat; ABC Commissary and Sci-Fi Dine-In. We ate at both and they were good. We really enjoyed sitting in a little car, watching old movies and eating our dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In. Just off Commissary Lane is a stage area where you can see the Frozen sing-along show but we didn't get the chance to see it when we were there. I've heard it is good though.

Pixar Place 

If you love Toy Story then this is the place to visit to meet Buzz and Woody together, spot some Green Army Men and ride in one of the most popular attractions in the whole of Disneyworld; Toy Story Midway Mania. You have to FastPass this ride because it can have queues of over 2 hours depending on the time of year you visit. They recently refurbished the ride so I'd like to see what changes they made.

Animation Courtyard

If you have a Disney Junior fan but don't fancy paying the $$$ to go to a character meal at Hollywood and Vine, you can meet some of the characters here. You can also catch the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show but we didn't bother with that show either. I think there have been a few additions relating to Star Wars and I know Disney closed some of the attractions within this area to create new ones. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Sunset Boulevard

We watched a brilliant street show whilst walking up Sunset Boulevard. We were heading to see Beauty and the Beast which is a fantastic show! You can get a FastPass for any of the shows but instead of getting in early, you get to sit in a sectioned area which will give you the best view of the show. We didn't bother using FastPasses on the shows though and still managed to get great seats. If you love a thrill ride then you'll find two of them here; The Twighlight Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. We didn't go on either because the kids didn't want to but there is the option to do a rider switch at both rides so one of you can stay with the kids whilst the other rides and then you can switch. This is a free service offered at selected rides across all of the parks. Another fantastic show to catch in this area is Fantasmic. It was probably my favourite show of the full holiday. It's an evening show so you'll need to stay in the park or come in later in the day but it is well worth it.

You can read about our two days at Hollywood Studios here and here.

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