Sunday, August 13, 2017

Disney World: Rating the Rides - part 3, Hollywood Studios

If you're jumping in on part 3, please jump back to part 1 for a minute for a thumbnail sketch of my family and their theme park styles. Then come on back here and read our comments and reviews of the rides and attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios! (A map of the park is here.)

Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage (show): A shortened version of the movie, this live musical is in an outdoor theatre, but there's still not a bad seat in the house. The voices, dancing, and costumes are all spectacular. If your family has any fans of either the original animated movie or the recent live-action version, they'll love this show.


For the First Time in Forever: Frozen Singalong (show): Just what it says, this show is basically group karaoke of all your favorite songs from Frozen. Hosted by a pair of Arendelle "historians", there are appearances by Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff, as well as an indoor (soap bubble) "snowstorm" between the songs, all against a backdrop of clips from the movie on the huge screen. I was surprised at how few people actually sang along, but our family dove right in and belted out all the songs. If you like to sing, you'll love this show. If not, stick with the Frozen ride back at Epcot.


Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (show): A typical stunt show, this one has fast cars, explosions, bad guys falling off buildings, an actual plane, and of course (given the name), a guy in a leather jacket and a battered fedora trying to outrun a giant boulder. This particular show included a fair amount of explanation of how stunts are designed, which made it a bit more interesting for the adults but a bit less so for the kids. But it was a visually impressive piece of theatre for all ages. The sounds and heat can be intense, so if you have little ones, you may want to sit a little further back.

March of the First Order (show): Every hour on the hour, an armada of Imperial Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma marches through the park and performs a short show on a central stage, complete with Jumbrotrons and real-time video. A fun show to catch for a little change of pace. 

Star Tours: Both kids - and Dad - agreed that this was their favorite ride, not just in Hollywood Studios, but in any of the Disney Parks. A great 3D ride that immerses you in one of 50 or so mix-and-match Star Wars adventures. You'll find yourself flying through space with C-3PO and R2-D2, racing across the forests of Endor, and crashing onto the surface of any number of different planets. Put this at the top of your Fast Pass list, and try to ride it multiple times if you can. We caught it first thing when the park opened and rode several times in a row with no wait.

Toy Story Mania: My favorite ride in this park, and a close second for the rest of the family, this ride is an immersive moving shooting gallery. Each of the two riders in the car dons 3D glasses to shoot a cannon worked by pulling a string. Shoot virtual targets throughout the ride to score points. Visuals are full of Toy Story characters, from Buzz and Woody to the Little Green Aliens to Hamm and Slinky Dog. Even the waiting line is fun, checking out familiar toys and games in Andy's giant bedroom (because we're the size of Andy's toys!). This one is also at the top of our family's Fast Pass and try-to-get-there-first-so-we-can-ride-it-twice lists.


Other rides and attractions to check out:

Disney Junior - Live On Stage (show): Our kids are starting to be just a hair too old for Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (and Dad and Mom are a hair too old to sit on the floor for this show), but they ate it up when we saw it a couple of years ago.

Jedi Training (characters): Tweens and younger teens will enjoy learning to use a lightsaber under the tutelage of a "real" Jedi Knight - and then putting their training into action against a foe like Darth Vader. Only a limited number of kids can participate, so get there early. It's fun to watch even if you're not chosen.

Muppet Vision 3D (show): This ride was closed for refurbishment during our visit, but parents who remember the original Muppet Show will love to enter into the Muppet Theater itself for a this immersive 3D tour of Muppet Labs with Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.

Rock 'n' Rollercoaster: A rollercoaster race through the streets of LA backed by Aerosmith music, Touted as the best Disney roller coaster in any of the parks, this ride has phenomenally long lines, so be sure to get a Fast Pass if you want to ride.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: The icon of the park, this ride puts you in an elevator, lifts you to the top of a haunted hotel, and then drops you. We deemed it just a little two intense for our two little ones. But maybe next time!

Enjoy!

If you're planning a Disney vacation, let Stacey Trask make your life easier!



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