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Saving on a disney vacation series hollywood studios

This is part of an ongoing guest post series on Disney World Savings, written by a life long Disney lover.

Hollywood Studios offers plenty to do and it can get tough trying to plan your day here.  Let’s look at all the options available and see what you want to do.

Hollywood Studios

Formerly known as MGM, this park has more in the way of thrills than the others.  As the name suggests, the theme for this park is movies.  I love Hollywood Studios because it does such a good job making you feel like you are either on a movie set or in the movie itself.  There are several fun rides, but this park also has many great shows to enjoy.  Here are some favorites:

Most Popular Rides (longest wait):
Rockin’ Roller Coaster
Hollywood Tower of Terror
Toy Story Midway Mania

Shows:
Indiana Jones
Beauty and the Beast
Lights, Motors, Action, Extreme Stunt Show
Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Other Good Rides to Do:
Back Lot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon
The Great Movie Ride

Head here for a full list of Hollywood Studios attractions.

Hollywood Studios is actually larger than Magic Kingdom, but somehow feels a lot smaller.  Much of the fun in Hollywood Studios is just the atmosphere created by the buildings and scenery as you walk around.  One thing that is nice about Hollywood Studios is that Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Hollywood Tower of Terror, two of the most popular rides, are literally right next to each other in their own little cove of the park.  I suggest grabbing a Fast Pass for the longer line and ride the other ride as you wait for your Fast Pass time to come up.  Another ride that is a must is Toy Story Midway Mania.  It’s the newest ride (read: longest line) in the park and is so much fun for the whole family.  You wear 3D glasses and are ushered around on a moving car as you play carnival games with the Toy Story characters.

Shows

The shows are also a great experience.  All the shows have set times that they play during the day.  Disney recommends (I do too!) arriving at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the show to ensure seats.  For many of these shows, there are really not bad seats.  The Lights, Motors, Action, Extreme Stunt Show has a few sections that are not so good because pillars block the view of the show.  I highly recommend the Indian Jones Stunt Spectacular and Beauty and the Beast.  I’ve found that we don’t much care where we sit, but during the peak times of the park the arenas may fill up quickly.  Shows can also provide a nice, relaxing break from the hustle of the park.

Restaurants

Dining in Hollywood Studios is a lot of fun.  Two of our favorite restaurants are the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and 50’s Prime Time Cafe.  Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater may be the most intricately themed restaurant we’ve ever been to.  The lobby is nothing special, but the dining area is really fun.  You walk in to a huge dining area that looks like an actual drive-in theater.  The ceiling is painted like the night sky, the walls depict a view of old Hollywood as seen from the Hollywood Hill.  While you eat they play trailers and clips from cheesy, old Sci-Fi movies.  The tables are designed to look like cars with a table shelf in front of you to put your food on.  It’s very comfortable, the food is traditional American cuisine, and it is a great experience for the whole family.  50’s Prime Time Cafe is a lot of fun too.  Again, this is traditional American cuisine with a little more emphasis on home style cooking.  The theme is entertaining as the waiters are your “brothers and sisters” while “mom” is cooking.  They make you eat your vegetables and mind your manners too!  Again, it’s really a lot of fun and a neat deviation from the traditional restaurant experience.  There are many other restaurants to choose from as well, here’s a full list of Hollywood Studio dining options.

Parade, Concert & Fireworks

Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun is the parade in Hollywood Studios.  This parade happens everyday at 3 pm and features a lot of the newer Disney/Pixar characters.  Hollywood Studios also has a concert everyday called Disney Channel Rocks.  This concert has a lot of energy and features many of the popular Disney Channel songs.  “Fantasmic” is the night time firework show.  This show is different from the others as it is held in a theater and you must arrive early for seats or else you really won’t be able to experience it.  This fireworks show is really fun as it is truly a show with fireworks.  Jets of water are shot in the air and there are lighting effects while music plays and fireworks go off.  This is a really nice way to end your day at Hollywood Studios.

What are your tips and tricks for navigating Hollywood Studios?

Tomorrow I’ll jump into Animal Kingdom.