11 October 2019

THE TRAVEL DIARIES: DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS


Disney park number two, say hello to Hollywood Studios. Or MGM Studios as it used to be known when I came with my family 15 years ago. This was the park I thought would be Adam's favourite, and from memory was the most like a Universal park. However, it turned out to be our least favourite out of the three. Not because it sucks - because it doesn't, it's still amazing. It just wasn't our favourite.

For the most part, Hollywood Studios is the more grown-up Disney park and is set out entierly like a movie studio - as the name would suggest. It's done in a very similar style to Universal Studios. Has very much the same feeling I would say. It seems to be more focused on the non-classics from Disney - so your Pixar movies, Indiana Jones and of course, Star Wars - the newest addition to the park.





What's at Hollywood Studios?
As with the other Disney parks, there are set areas in this park. As you walk in you have Echo Lake, where you can watch a couple of shows or grab some food, to the right you have Sunset Boulevard which holds the famous Tower of Terror, you have more shows available to view and if you carry on round you get to the Aerosmith ride. Go back to the centre you and can find Animation Courtyard which is mainly shows, and you can follow it up to Toy Story World - which is a must if you're a fan of the films. On the other side you have Grande Avenue which has everything Muppet, and then the new and excited Star Wars: Galaxy Edge area.

There are a lot of shows in this park - from Beauty and the Beast live show, to Star Wars parades, Indiana Jones stunt show, Frozen sing-along, Incredibles Celebration, Muppets 3D, Little Mermaid puppet show and of course the Fantasia night show. There's a lot to see here, and if you want to do all the rides as well you won't be able to do it all so make sure you prioritise and use your fast passes for shows you really want to see. 

Rides wise - I expected more adult rollercoasters and big rides, not sure why, but really the only ones you have is the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith ride. Smaller thrill rides can be found in Toy Story, and then you have 4D rides such as the Millenium Falcon ride. The ratio is definitely more on the show side I felt. 

All of which is really well done though, and a really great experience. 




My Thoughts
As I said, it wasn't our favourite park, but it was still a great experience and a really good day. Here are some of the experiences that stood out for me:

  1. Star Wars - I had to mention it somewhere obviously! It had just launched when we went, and there's more to come, but it's an incredible experience. We're not die-hard fans, but we still appreciated the effort, the feel and thoroughly enjoyed it. To the point that our favourite part of the park was probably meeting Chewbacca. The area itself is incredibly cool, and the staff commit to the world as well. The ride itself was good - it was very cool to sit in the Millenium Falcon cockpit and pilot it as part of the ride - the organisation of it was a little weird but overall, a really great experience.
  2. Indiana Jones Stunt Show - this was my Dad's favourite back in the day, and it's still incredibly impressive. It's interesting to see how they do all the different stunts and see all the key scenes from Raiders in the flesh. The way they include the audience is amazing as well - it was a lot of fun.
  3. Beauty and the Beast Show - I am biased because it's my favourite film, but the show in the flesh is magical to me. It's a shorter version (20 minutes), but it's really good fun, the main songs are there and it made me very happy.
  4. The Aerosmith ride - really random, but a really good rollercoaster. It's all inside and definitely a bit different, and it's the only one we went on across all parks that went upside down. Keep in mind - you take your bags on with you, so just make sure you have it safely secured around your feet before you take off. 



Top Tips
The same tips for Magic Kingdom still apply for this park. 
  1. Fast Passes - again, use these wisely but also know that if you use these for shows, it doesn't mean you're guaranteed to sit in a specific area. So to be honest I would save these for the rides, rather than the shows as you'll still get into the show.
  2. Food - definitely book for dinner, if you don't you won't get into a proper restaurant to eat. You can use the app to do this really quickly and easily.
  3. Magic Maker - I only really saw photo pass photographers in a couple of places, at the entrance and in front of the Tower of Terror. Otherwise, it was purely on rides. I expected to see more around Star Wars especially - but if you want to hunt them out just use the app. 
Overall, it's a great park and worth visiting. However, don't go expecting loads of rollercoasters and rides, it's definitely more on the show side. But it's an amazing experience. 
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