As the name suggests, Disney’s Hollywood Studios aims to reproduce the magic and glamour of Hollywood, and take it from me, it does a great job. Crammed with amazingly detailed and authentic looking streetscapes that would be at home in any number of movies, it lets visitors step from one great setting to another.We knew this park has some great rides that would provide us with some great thrills, so, after a quick coffee and a sugary food hit we headed off to a day of Hollywood magic. This park has far more attractions than I can possibly cover in this post (see maps below), so I’ve decided to just focus on some of our favourite memories from our visits.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
One ride that we were all looking forward to was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We had all been to its namesake in California, and my wife and I also had great memories of this one in Orlando. If you’re not familiar with this one, think old-time Hollywood Hotel blended with the Twilight Zone.
Check in, get ushered to the service lift, head up to your room but end up in doom. If you like to get your senses tingling in a spooky atmosphere, with creepy hotel staff, and have your stomach flip up to your throat as your haunted elevator drops in darkness from the thirteenth floor, then this one is for you. The screams from some of the riders at that precise moment of the drop are brilliant. Make sure you smile for the photo though, or just show your natural terror face.
As expected, we totally loved this attraction (no surprises there). We made sure the we went to this ride early, as soon as we arrived at the park. That way we had an early ride with no lines at all. Then we booked a time for later in the day with our FastPass+. Check out the video at the end of this post.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a super fast indoor dark roller coaster. If you don’t like dark, or speed, or twists, or turns, or loops, or loud music, or screaming riders then I suggest you give this one a miss. The premise of the ride is that you’re in a stretch racing through the freeways of LA to get to an Aerosmith gig. You start from a stationary position and are suddenly thrust at high-speed into the darkness. Music blares at top volume from speakers on each side of your head as you race through the darkened freeways with street signs flashing past as you twist and turn.
My kids loved this one (me too – I loved the speed). We rode on it half a dozen times during our visit and used our FastPass+ to skip the lines for a few of those. It’s a very popular ride, so be prepared for the line or plan ahead and book your times with your FastPass+.
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theatre Restaurant
Lunchtime arrived and we decided to try our luck at securing a table in the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theatre Restaurant. We had tried to make a booking using the Disney App, but unfortunately it was booked out. A little birdie told us that if we turned up at a particular time (about 10.50am) we may be lucky to get a stand up table. We gave it a go, and were pleasantly surprised to get in -woohoo high five- and even more surprised to score one of the sit-in cars -double woohoo high five-. What a brilliant place! Each car has seating for 6, and faces towards the big drive-in screen at the front, which plays cartoons and B-grade movie highlights from the golden era of drive-in theatres.
We binged on sodas, burgers, fries and shakes, all while sitting in our sporty little red car. The service was great and the setting was really well done. Give it a go if you visit this park, but I suggest booking ahead to avoid disappointment (or try your luck like we did).
During our visit we also ate a couple of times at the ABC Commissary. Although it was crowded and a little hard to find a free table during peak times, the burgers and cakes were tasty. One thing that my wife and I always do when travelling in the US is to share main meals. The servings are usually huge, so one meal is enough for both of us.
Keep in mind that when you’re at Disney the food is Disney, so the available choices are consistent wherever you are (except for their ‘higher-end’ specialty restaurants). Not all places offer cakes (as seen above) but keep an eye out for them to up the calories and sugar levels. The theming is the main difference between Disney restaurants. I suggest that you leave your dreams of healthy eating at home and just go with the flow of calories. You can always eat healthier when you get home.
Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Snowground
Another great attraction, which I think was a holiday season special, was the Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Snowground. It was an unexpected find that gave our kids (from the land of no snow) an opportunity to see and touch snow inside a themed building. Decked out with snow-covered fir trees, lumber fencing, and snowy ground (although quite compacted and not naturally produced by Mother Nature) it was way different to anything our family had ever experienced. The kids had a great time digging and building their first mini snowmen. The hue of blue lighting, mixed with the icy chilled air created a truly great atmosphere. Two thumbs up to this awesome attraction.
Thoughts and pics
Our days at Hollywood Studios were great. With some planning we were able to get plenty of rides on the most popular attractions and there were some great dining choices.
Recommended for everyone
Check out this cool video of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You might spot a familiar face. It’s included if you purchase a Disney PhotoPass package.
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PS: I have no affiliation or relationship with WDW, except that I am a customer and fan.