Opened in 1989 in Orlando as MGM Studios, Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World is a film-themed park. It was the third to be built and at the time had an operational production studio, animation facility, and backlot but they’ve since been removed.
It was rebranded in 2008 and began focusing on experiences connected to Disney films rather than Old Hollywood. Many of the streets are created to resemble parts of Los Angeles including Sunset Boulevard. Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours to get the most out of your visit.
Today it’s broken up into seven themed areas, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. New rides continue to open including the Rise of the Resistance in December 2019 and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in 2020.
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Named after the street in Los Angeles, Hollywood Boulevard is the main entry point into Hollywood Studios. This area doesn’t have any rides but includes scaled-down versions of landmarks like Crossroads of the World and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, complete with celebrity handprints.
Citizens of Hollywood is an improv troupe that performs in this part of the park. They’ve been one of the experiences offered since the park’s opening, although they were previously known as Streetmosphere. You might see them doing magic shows or skits in 1930s era wardrobe.
Food and Drink
The Hollywood Brown Derby is a replica of the Brown Derby chain of restaurants popular in Hollywood from the 1920s to the 1980s. It’s said to be the originator of the Cobb Salad, so the Disney version sells this alongside high-end options like Waygu beef burgers and pan-seared New England scallops. They also have a lounge for small bites and drinks.
The Trolley Car Cafe is right near the entrance and is a Starbucks outpost complete with coffee drinks and La Boulange pastries.
Sunset Boulevard is a popular stretch of street within the park as it connects with Hollywood Boulevard. It has buildings made to resemble the namesake and is the best place to watch the lights shows on the Tower of Terror.
The most famous ride at Hollywood Studios is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which opened in 1994 based on the Rod Serling series. It’s set in a haunted hotel where guests are dropped from the top of a lightning-struck elevator. It’s one of the most thrilling rides and using Fast Passes is recommended.
The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is one of the few roller coasters in the park and operates indoors. Inspired by the rock band’s career, it opened in 1999 and features riding in the dark with lights and music. This is the only ride you can use the single rider lane for within the park.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is a show featuring characters from the movie Cars. Opened in 2019, guests help Lightning McQueen and his pals get ready for a race.
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage also is a live performance featuring costumed characters from the film. It’s been open since 1991 and includes beloved songs.
Fantasmic is an evening light and character show that takes place in this part of the park, held at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater.
Food and Drink
There are a number of food options in Sunset Boulevard, but the majority are fast and casual. Anaheim Produce has quick snacks like the Mickey pretzel, churros, lemonade, beer, and margaritas.
Catalina Eddies is open for lunch and dinner, serving pizzas and a selection of beverages. Fairfax Fare has Latin-inspired dishes like empanadas, tamales, and rice bowls.
KRNR Rock Station specializes in macaroni and cheese, served for lunch and dinner. Rosie’s All American Cafe features burgers and chicken nuggets. Sunshine Day Bar has beer and cocktails. Hollywood Scoops serves old fashioned ice cream sundaes, scoops, and sandwiches.
Another area named for a part of Los Angeles, Echo Lake has attractions centered around an artificial body of water. A dinosaur pops out of it, reminiscent of the La Brea Tar Pits.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is one of the longest-running rides at the park and is a simulator of the space ships from the Star Wars films. It predates Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and replaced the original Star Tours from 1987. It now incorporates elements from the newer films.
Next to Star Tours is the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The live-action show brings children ages 4-12 in as young padawans, donning robes and getting lightsaber training from a Jedi master.
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular dates back to 1989 and shows off the stunts and behind-the-scenes work from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The large theater is a nice place to cool off and they also ask for volunteers.
For the First Time in Forever is a sing along featuring characters from Frozen like Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf. The neighboring Celebrity Spotlight has a meet and greet with Olaf.
Food and Drink
Echo Lake is the ideal place to grab a meal as there are plenty of options. 50s Prime Time Cafe is one of the most popular and resembles a midcentury home, complete with dishes like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and fried chicken. If you don’t want to wait for a table, belly up to their Tune-In Lounge, which has the same menu.
Neighboring Hollywood & Vine is a neighboring character experience offering American style buffet food with appearances of Minnie Mouse and Disney Junior characters.
Backlot Express is where you can grab a burger, salad, or sandwich. Dockside Diner also has footlong hotdogs and milkshakes. Epic Eats has funnel cakes and ice cream.
Set in the former Walt Disney Animation Studios, the Animation Courtyard is the place to mingle with your favorite Disney Jr. characters. There are no rides to speak of and only one small food kiosk.
Walt Disney Presents is a great underrated section featuring artifacts from the early days of Walt Disney World and Disney’s animation career. There are mock-ups of the Star Wars rides, a short clip from a new film, and character encounters from Monsters, Inc.
The Star Wars Launch Bay has movie props fans can’t miss. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a live musical performance with puppets and songs from the movie. The Disney Junior Dance Party has characters from the network.
This small section runs alongside the Echo Lake area and is named for the ABC Commissary, which has quick service meals of burgers and salads or sit-down dinners with ribs and vegan dishes. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant has a cult-like following for the science fiction movies that play on a loop and the tables inside cars. There’s also a character encounter at Micke and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams.
An Incredible Celebration
Previously known as Pixar Place, the small area is now home to Municiberg, an Incredibles-themed space with character photo ops, an exhibit on Edna Mode’s fashion designs, and an Incredibles gift shop. There’s a quiet area to sit and The Neighborhood Bakery, an outdoor kiosk with cookies, pretzels, and frozen drinks.
Grand Avenue is another part of Los Angeles featured within Hollywood Studios. It contains buildings inspired by this area and a replica of the Figueroa Street Tunnel, which leads to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Muppet Vision 3D is a fun 25-minute indoor show that includes both images on a screen and real puppets from Jim Henson’s workshop. It’s a nice respite from the heat and appropriate for all ages.
Food and Drink
Grand Avenue is a nice quiet place to eat before you get into crowded Star Wars. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano has an authentic menu for lunch and dinner featuring pasta, seafood, and steak. Reservations are accepted.
Next door is the casual PizzeRizzo, a casual pizzeria with salads and desserts. It’s named for Rizzo the Rat, a Muppets character. Across the “street” is the BaseLine Tap House, a fun California style beer bar with charcuterie, wine, and cocktails.
Toy Story Land
Based on the franchise of highly successful Pixar films, Toy Story Land takes inspiration from your favorite childhood toys and characters. Giant Tinker Toys and blocks make up the area that is popular with kids and nostalgic adults alike.
The Slinky Dog Dash is a kid-friendly roller coaster, but the lines are long so get a FastPass if you can. The Alien Swirling Saucers are modeled after the vending machine aliens from the film and spin like the swirling teacups. Toy Story Mania is a 4D shooting game that was originally in Pixar Place.
There are a number of character sightings, including Jessie and Buzz Lightyear. There’s also the Green Army Drum Corps parade that takes place throughout the day.
Food and Drink
Woody’s Lunch Box is the only food option, serving sandwiches, tater tots, and desserts.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The much-praised Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set on the planet of Batuu at a remote village called the Black Spire Outpost. Rock outcroppings take up much of the horizon as well as futuristic buildings. Ships and droids are set up throughout the space and signs are in a fictional language.
The first ride to open is Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, a simulation ride where different visitors play the parts of roles on the ship including pilot and engineer on a mission for Chewbacca and friends. Your experience depends entirely on how well you fly. If the single rider lane is available, be sure to take that option.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens December 2019 and has been very secretive. Riders find themselves in the midst of a battle between the First Order and the resistance.
Wander through the market, where you can get your cards read by one of the vendors. You can also visit the Droid Depot to create your own droid or Savi’s Workshop to assemble a lightsaber.
Food and Drink
The food and drink options are what sets this area apart. Ronto Roasters is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, selling sausage and pork wraps. Milk Stand has funky blue and green milk. At Kat Saka’s Kettle, indulge in sweet and savory colored popcorn.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and alcoholic beverages. The menu includes fried chicken, pork ribs, and pot roast with an intergalactic spin.
Make reservations before going to Oga’s Cantina or expect to wait in line. Visitors are limited to 45 minutes and must remain in their designated spot. Drinks are expensive, but funky and add to the ambience.
Staying Onsite and Nearby
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has parking for guests that want to drive. The Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn and Villas, Swan Resort, and Dolphin Resort are all within a short bus or boat ride from Hollywood Studios.
From the new Skyliner, you can get directly to the Caribbean Beach Resort. From there, you can transfer north to the Riviera Resort and the Epcot Station with Monorail connections or to the south to Pop Century and Art of Animation. All other hotels also offer transportation to Hollywood Studios via bus.
Tickets and Fast Passes for Hollywood Studios
Get your Walt Disney World tickets for entry into Disney’s Hollywood Studios or hire a Walt Disney World Private Guide to help you see as much as possible. If you have a Magic Band, you can connect it to your Fast Passes as well as your Photo Pass from the rides around the park.
Disney offers one free Fast Pass per day, but you get additional ones for staying at one of the onsite hotels. Once you’ve used that one, you can add others at one of the kiosks around the park or on the app. Download the official My Disney Experience app to change your Fast Pass choices, get directions to attractions, and order meals for pickup.