Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World provides guests with excellent rides. What are Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ best rides? Also, are there rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that your group should skip?
Guests wishing to live in the “Star Wars” or “Toy Story” world can experience that at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In fact, those areas of Disney’s Hollywood Studios provide rides, allowing guests to experience “The Force” and even feel like a toy in Andy’s backyard.
Some of us remember the theme park race between Disney and Universal to build the first movie studio-based theme park in Florida. Disney won this race when what is now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened in May 1989. However, the race to open those theme parks led to some challenging operational issues. Many of the attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from the opening years are no longer there. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has gone from a theme park with working studio operations to a theme park filled with top-of-the-line attractions.
Based on the history of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests who last visited this Walt Disney World theme park decades ago might struggle to recognize it today. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has become a ride-filled theme park with some magnificent state-of-the-art attractions. At least three of the best rides at Walt Disney World reside at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even though Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers some of the best rides, some of the rides there qualify as skippable, depending on your group. Though we enjoy all the rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we do not always have time to live through all of them. This means some of Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides must be skipped.
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Basics
Disney’s Hollywood Studios consists of six different theme park lands. Each offers attractions for your group. These lands are:
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Toy Story Land
- Animation Courtyard
- Sunset Boulevard
- Grand Avenue
- Echo Lake
Guests can utilize various methods of transportation to reach Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If staying on-site at Walt Disney World, guests can use the Disney Skyliner, boat transportation, or bus service, depending on where they are staying. Guests staying off-site will find an easy parking system when they arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you find yourself parked too far away from the theme park entrance, trams are provided to help save your feet.
After guests enter the theme park, they will know they have entered a different style of theme park. The décor still gives off some old-school Hollywood vibes. As guests move further into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they will see merchandise locations on their left and the Trolley Car Café, a Starbucks, on their right.
After that, guests can turn right towards Sunset Boulevard. This area continues the old-school Hollywood vibe. Then, the iconic Tower of Terror looms at the end of the boulevard. Two of the better Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides are here.
Instead of turning right, guests could move straight ahead toward the façade of the Chinese theatre. In this area, guests can ride another of the magnificent rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Towards the left, as one enters Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will encounter Echo Lake, where they can see Gertie the Dinosaur, Grand Avenue with some Muppet entertainment, and eventually Galaxy’s Edge for the Star Wars fans. Also, in the rear of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land invites guests to become a toy in Andy’s backyard.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Best Rides: Determining Factors
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a lower number of rides compared to Magic Kingdom, for example. However, a higher percentage of thrill rides reside within Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This theme park contains some of the most popular attractions at any of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
However, not every attraction will appeal to everyone in your group. Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides have a higher average height requirement than the other three Walt Disney World theme parks.
Currently, some common complaints about Disney’s Hollywood Studios relate to long queues and lack of rides for smaller children. These complaints have some validity. Of course, Disney’s Hollywood Studios contains many shows that the whole family can enjoy.
Based on these factors, this list of Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides becomes a bit subjective based on your group. So, this list of the best rides at Hollywood Studios will focus on what most people will enjoy. If you do not like the more Disney-level thrill rides or have small children, this list will need to be adjusted for your group. However, we will note rides in this resource that may work better for people avoiding or unable to ride the more thrilling rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
In this Disney’s Hollywood Studios best rides list, we gave higher ranks to the rides we feel guests should not miss out on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In other words, if you have only one day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, our list of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ best rides focuses on the ones displaying uniqueness at Walt Disney World.
Hollywood Studios Best Rides: The Best of the Best
Disney’s Hollywood Studios contains several state-of-the-art rides and attractions. Still, one stands out over all the rest. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance shows off what the Disney Imagineers can do with the latest technology. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance combines multiple ride systems and queue elements into an attraction that takes the theme park experience to a new level.
The two downsides of this attraction involve the downtime in which the attraction stops running and the lengthy potential wait times for most guests. This attraction opens for early theme park entry for Walt Disney World hotel guests. Also, due to its popularity, it is not a choice in the Genie+ attractions. To access the lightning lane, formerly known as FastPass lanes, guests must purchase an individual lightning lane for this attraction. Many guests do this to avoid the potentially long standby queue.
This ride has a 40-inch height requirement. This may limit some of your group riding. Also, this attraction offers some thrill-ride elements. That could be an issue if your group members dislike those style rides. However, we still recommend trying this ride at least once.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance involves a highly themed queue. Guests encounter droids, several prominent characters from the most recent “Star Wars” movies, and a few encounters with the First Order. The entire ride experience lasts longer than guests first expect. Nevertheless, whatever you do, do not give up the location of the secret base to the First Order.
From the moment you enter this immersive experience, you will be transported into the heart of a galactic battle. Guests join the resistance on this ride. You will be recruited for a mission that involves evading a Star Destroyer. The incredible visual effects and excellent storytelling of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance make this the best of the best.
We recently rode this attraction with some first-time guests. Those guests did not know anything about the ride before that day. They loved every element of the ride. In addition, they came out of the ride so excited. I asked them if they would have preferred to know about some of the thrilling elements in advance to prepare. They said they preferred not knowing about the “thrill” elements. Even one group member who usually experiences motion sickness said she preferred not knowing. We will tell you that a trackless ride system features prominently on this ride.
This ride makes a must-do for any Star Wars fan. If you want to experience Disney technology at its best, try Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance on your visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You will enjoy a visit to a galaxy far far away.
Hollywood Studios Best Rides: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The iconic ride at the end of Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios should not be missed. Even though you cannot stay at this Hollywood hotel, you can experience one of the best theme park attractions in the world. We love this attraction. The theming of The Twilight Zon Tower of Terror works very well. The cast members you encounter along the way make this ride great. The setting and façade make for a beautiful time as you experience this ride.
Imagine, if you will…an elevator that opens for you. On Tower of Terror, guests experience no ordinary elevator ride. This makes for one of the scariest rides at Walt Disney World. Still, Disney’s level of scariness brings more fun than frights.
Nevertheless, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror starts with a preshow that could be straight from the original television show. Afterward, this ride has some tricks and treats for guests.
This elevator-based ride could take you up, or it could take you down. Either way, the Tower of Terror provides thrills and fun for all who dare to enter. For those wanting more information about The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, we wrote a resource about surprising things regarding this ride.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Though old-school Walt Disney World fans will remember The Great Movie Ride, its replacement brings new life to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened briefly in 2020 before the pandemic. Thus, it did not receive as much fanfare as it could have back then. Also, a version of this ride opened at Disneyland Resort recently.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway has become a popular must-do ride for most Disney’s Hollywood Studios visitors. This dark ride utilizes the trackless vehicles seen in other Walt Disney World rides. Runaway Railway lacks the top-level thrills of the previous attraction. Still, this dark ride offers excellent visual effects and a solid story. In addition, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway gives the classic characters their own Walt Disney World ride to shine on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Nothing Can Stop Us Now
Unless you have seen Mickey and Minnie in their new animated format, their appearance may throw you off with this ride. However, this vibrant style works very well for this attraction in the center of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You might even sing the song played within this ride as you exit.
The animatronics and other elements show what Disney does well with its partners. Guests will venture along in this ride vehicle through several enchanting scenes. As guests travel through these scenes, they will become immersed in the magical world of animation. From amazing illusions to unique colors on this ride, this attraction is designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into an actual Disney cartoon.
Also, the experience varies slightly depending on which of the ride vehicles you receive. You can follow the storyline of different characters based on which of the ride vehicles you are placed in. Some experienced Walt Disney World fans ask for certain ride vehicles to see the “Trumpet Squid.” Combined with a unique pre-show, this ride counts as one of the best at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Slinky Dog Dash
Toy Story Land made a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The signature ride in Toy Story Land is Slinky Dog Dash. This ride builds on the idea of guests being toys in Andy’s backyard. Though we have concerns that Andy never cleans up his toys, this concept of a toy coaster being built and put together by Andy for his toys (us) to enjoy exhibits some creativity by Disney.
Guests go aboard a playful journey through the world of toys on Slinky Dog Dash. Slinky Dog Dash fails to bring significant thrills. You can find more exciting rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, this family-friendly attraction provides a fun time with its overall theme and pleasant nods to the “Toy Story” movies.
Guests hop aboard Slinky Dog’s back for this ride around Andy’s backyard. Guests will travel over other toys, Disney-designed sets, and other elements in the imaginary world of being one of Andy’s toys.
In terms of Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides, this one qualifies as fun. This makes for a fun time for this coaster designed for the whole family.
This coaster has a low height requirement of 38 inches. However, this attraction develops lengthy wait times as each theme park day continues at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Also, the timeslots for this attraction on Genie+ disappear the fastest for Slinky Dog Dash. If you have early theme park entry as a Walt Disney World, this makes a reasonable option for your first ride of the day if not going to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance first. Either way, we wish you good luck being a toy on one of the best rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
The Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios has many things to offer theme park fans. The standout ride in this area is Star Wars: Ride of the Resistance. Still, another ride makes this list of best Hollywood Studios rides – Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
Guests get to board the Millennium Falcon of “Star Wars” fame. They become part of a crew on a mission for the Rebel Forces (mostly). If you have wanted to board this famous spaceship, this is your chance. Before taking their seats, guests can enjoy some iconic areas of the Millennium Falcon for photos.
Depending on your pilots, you will need to hold on very tight as the ship navigates through impressive space battles, “Star Wars” fans might see a familiar face or two during this ride.
Do not feel any pressure; the galaxy’s destiny may be in your hands as you ride this attraction. It is up to you to complete the mission and ensure victory for the Rebel Alliance. Guests must take their assigned position and enjoy a thrilling and maybe bumpy ride aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Hollywood Studios Best Rides: Toy Story Mania!
Before Toy Story Land, there was Toy Story Mania! as a ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Before the reworking of that section of the theme park, guests could experience this unique ride like they were having a day of “midway mania” fun.
This ride will bring out the competitive side in most people. You might also discover you get in your daily arm workout with this whimsical arcade-style ride.
Guests enter a fanciful queue filled with larger-than-life toys and vibrant colors. This prepares you for what lies ahead on this ride. You must prepare to ride around in an interesting vehicle while shooting at targets.
The excitement of this ride revolves around the attempts to hit specific targets with more skills than those riding in your ride vehicle. Guests will spin and shoot their way through a series of engaging competitions, testing their skills and reactions.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Rides That You Might Want to Skip
Some of us love Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We have memories of this theme park dating back to when it was called MGM Studios. Those memories involve when this theme park functioned as a working movie and television studio. Those former days featured tram tours like visiting a proper studio in Hollywood.
The present-day version of Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers some of the best rides anywhere. We have listed several of them. However, since the wait times to enjoy those big, exciting Hollywood Studios best rides grow very large, you may run out of time during your theme park day to enjoy every ride.
0ne of the weaknesses of Disney’s Hollywood Studios relates to the fewer rides for guests to enjoy here. This makes wait times longer than desirable often.
Based on this, we created a list of rides to skip at Disney’s Hollywood Studios potentially. Feel free to disagree with our assessment. We encourage this if you acknowledge we suggested skipping them based on the best use of your theme park time, not that they are terrible rides.
Rides to Skip: Alien Swirling Saucers
As mentioned, Toy Story Land made a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios when it opened several years ago. Two of the three rides in this theme park section made our Hollywood Studios’ best rides list. However, Alien Swirling Saucers falls into the ride-to-skip category.
This ride system, used in other Disney theme parks, combines elements of classic spinner rides and a fairground-style scrambler. We appreciate that every ride at a theme park cannot be a headliner attraction. Based on that, this ride serves its purpose. It takes up less space than other rides. This provides another ride for guests to enjoy when the other attractions are busy to spread out the crowds.
Still, that equates to a less spectacular experience compared to other rides. Also, since this ride sits right on a major pathway in the Toy Story Land area, guests are drawn to it, causing far longer queues than this ride is worth. For example, on a weekday during a slower week, we saw a 45-minute posted wait for this spinner ride. This ride experience does not measure up to that length of time waiting in line. In addition, on our last time riding Alien Swirling Saucers, we felt very uncomfortable due to the jarring nature of the attraction. The ride system adds a fresher element to the classic spinner-style ride. However, we felt thrown around far more than needed, with the transition points being far rougher than in previous experiences.
If your group contains smaller children, this makes a reasonable choice for a Disney’s Hollywood Studios ride for them. Still, Alien Swirling Saucers does not measure up for adults who can ride Rise of the Resistance or Tower of Terror. Alien Swirling Saucers can be done if you have time during your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, we suggest skipping this basic ride for something else at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Rides to Skip: Star Tours
At this point, we enter the more controversial of our selections of Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides to skip. Star Tours falls onto our list of Disney’s Hollywood Studios rides to skip. Before all the “Star Wars” fans come for our heads, we love this attraction. However, the ride technology has become dated. Star Tours started the age of “Star Wars” being in Disney theme parks.
This simulator attraction takes guests on a journey through the “Star Wars” movie universe. This ride was designed for different simulations to happen over time. In fact, a new simulation will be introduced in 2024, featuring new stories and characters.
Despite that, this ride looks a bit out of place, with the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area taking over a significant portion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After that state-of-the-art theme park area opened, Star Tours, located in another section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, looked and felt out of place. “Star Wars” fans did benefit from having more attractions to enjoy. However, Star Tours does not match up with new technology.
Nevertheless, Star Tours brings another valid reason to skip it. This ride creates motion sickness in some guests. This screen-based attraction serves as one of the most common rides people get sick on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have any tendency towards motion sickness, this ride should be skipped.
So, you can skip this one unless you have plenty of time or must do all the “Star Wars” rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now, when the new scenes and characters arrive in 2024, then maybe a stop here will be merited. Until then, Star Tours falls in the skip category, especially if you tend to have motion sickness.
Rides to Skip: Rock “n” Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This recommendation hurts me the most. I love this roller coaster. Also, when living in the Boston area, I saw that some members of Aerosmith frequented an area tennis club. For the record, one of them had a decent backhand. However, that backhand had very little to do with the senior resident tennis professional at that tennis club.
Having said that, I fall into the category of people who still enjoy Aerosmith’s music. On Rock “n” Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, guests ride in a two-to-a-row coaster vehicle with Aerosmith’s music blasting. This ride, especially for Walt Disney World, provides a powerful adrenaline rush with a launch sequence that takes you from zero to almost 60 miles an hour in about three seconds.
Guests journey into the world of rock, joining Aerosmith in this “super-stretch” limousine adventure through the streets of Los Angeles. When guests enter the ride vehicle, they then move towards the ride’s beginning. A countdown starts soon, followed by the incredible launch sequence. The ride takes guests through corkscrews, loops, and other exciting coaster elements.
Based on all those glowing words, why would anyone skip this ride? The ride presents a few concerns. The main one relates to the thrill factor. Though this coaster will not reach the thrill level of coasters at Universal Orlando Resort or your nearby regional amusement park, the speed and looping elements of this coaster intimidate many Walt Disney World guests.
Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster also needs some updates to the pre-show and ride system compared to the newer rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Currently, this ride develops long wait times comparable to the level of the headliner attractions. The single-rider queue even moves slowly with this ride. For whatever reason, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has a very slow-moving queue. So, we suggest skipping this Disney’s Hollywood Studios ride until you first enjoy other attractions.
Once again, I love Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. However, I love thrilling coasters. Despite that, I have not ridden this coaster in some time. Considering my current day job requires me to “work” at the Walt Disney World theme parks thirty hours a week, I have ample opportunity to ride this attraction. My lack of riding this coaster should indicate why it fell on this ride-to-skip list at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
If you love roller coasters offering big thrills, this coaster fulfills that need. Still, other Orlando area theme parks outside Walt Disney World Resort, like Universal Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando, provide better roller coaster thrills if that is your thing.
Ready to Try Out Disney’s Hollywood Studios Best Rides?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers some excellent rides. The other three Walt Disney World theme parks also provide awesome rides and other attractions. Are you ready to plan that Walt Disney World vacation? Did you know we offer a free newsletter that includes theme park news updates and ways to save on your holiday? You can subscribe here, and the newsletter will arrive in your inbox.
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