POLL: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Favorites

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“Hooray for Hollywood! That screwy, ballyhooey Hollywood!” Every time I think of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that song pops into my head and I’m transported right back into The Great Movie Ride. 1989 was a fantastic year because Disney’s Hollywood Studios along with myself were born. We are both celebrating the big 30 this year and if you want to celebrate, not my birthday of course, but the Studios’ birthday, you must check out the Stage 89 event happening very soon!

With Hollywood Studios’ birthday fast approaching, I wanted to do a countdown and a poll honoring this beloved park. Growing up, the Studios has always been my favorite. Not only do I have an obsession with 1930’s and 40’s Hollywood but I also have an extreme passion for movies and how they are made. So for me it has been a match made in heaven.

It is really hard to beat Magic Kingdom’s evening atmosphere. But I believe Hollywood Studios comes at a very close second. Even as I write this, I am listening to the Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard area loop. I can close my eyes and imagine myself walking down the street enjoying the evening Florida breeze and art deco buildings under a soft neon glow. It is one of my favorite places to be.

Just like many of you, I miss the Hollywood Studios that was. The Great Movie Ride was one of my all time favorite attractions. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can check out my favorite things about the Great Movie Ride right here. The original Hollywood Studios (AKA MGM Studios) stole my heart. Being a part of the production in Catastrophe Canyon, creating sound effects with Drew Carey, learning how to draw Mickey Mouse and watching my brother be a part of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids screen test are just some of my favorite memories and things that I miss.

With Disney’s impeccable production standard guests only ever see what is “on stage.” So there was something entertaining and refreshing about seeing what happens behind the scenes. And yes, even behind the scenes for Disney was still “on stage.” But it felt different and exciting to be a part of the production and see how movies were made. It is something I miss very much with the parks new direction.

Even though the park has been transitioning away from the backstage magic into a general celebration of movies, I think it will still always be my favorite. I have wonderful memories from the old Hollywood Studios and I am excited to see where the park is headed in the future.

To get into the Disney Hollywood Studios birthday spirit, I am going to share with you 5 of my favorite things about the park. And as always, I want to know your favorite things too! Remember to vote and comment. 

5. Fantasmic

Reservations Now Open for Fantasmic Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Fantasmic is one of my favorite shows in all of Walt Disney World. From the moment I walk into Hollywood Hills Amphitheater I feel the excitement. The atmosphere is always fun with the hustle and bustle of guests picking the perfect seat, participating in the wave and singing along to Disney hits.

I love it when it grows dark and the crowd hushes in anticipation to see how Mickey will overcome his nightmare. I am always in awe watching the magical story unfold. Even though I know what happens I still sit on the edge of my seat rooting for Mickey to slay the dragon. And without fail I bawl like a baby during Mickey’s ending line, “Some imagination, huh?” It gives me all the feels.

4. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular has been around since the park opened and there have been many touch and go moments where we thought we were gonna lose it. But to my excitement it is not going anywhere, for awhile anyway. Disney will be updating the set for 2021. Indy has always been one of my favorite characters. I love that he is represented and his stunt show is still fantastic 30 years later. I know the performance like the back of my hand but I still laugh at the jokes, marvel at the stunts, and gasp at the explosions.

Growing up, one of my dream jobs was to become the Casting Director for Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. The day I turned 18, it was my goal and to be an extra in the show. To my surprise and excitement, I was picked and it was awesome! I encourage all of you to try it! This show will never get old for me. I am ecstatic that it has lasted this long and excited to see where it is going.

3. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

I love the Hollywood Tower of Terror. I watched Twilight Zone all the time growing up and I was so excited to see it become a part of a Disney attraction. Not only is the ride so much fun, but I absolutely love the story and overall theme.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel looks amazing at the end of Sunset Boulevard. The exterior and its surrounding gardens give a sense of mystery that draw me in. The interior certainly does not disappoint with its grand lobby filled with Imagineering details. The attraction is so well done, so much fun, and I feel fully immersed into the story.

I do not think walking down Sunset Boulevard would be the same without screams from guests riding the attraction. I remember years ago one of the bell-hops stood outside of the queue entrance with a suitcase begging visitors to take him away from the hotel. It was a clever interaction that made the story all the more real. It’s the little things. 

2. Toy Story Mania

I could ride Toy Story Mania over and over again. Everything about this attraction is so lively and enjoyable! My family overall is not super competitive, we usually just like to have fun. But Toy Story Mania changes people. The minute we start walking towards the attraction everyone starts throwing shade and picking who they want go up against.

I am going to brag a little and say that so far I have the winning track record in my family. But if I want to keep that up, I feel like I need to start working out. My intense shooting technique always results in burning arms. Toy Story Mania competitions has kind of turned into one of our family traditions. I look forward to it every time we visit. 

1.  Citizens of Hollywood

Yet another confession of this Cast Member wannabe, I also wanted to be a Citizen of Hollywood. What could be better than living out my 1930’s Hollywood dream performing skits and impromptu jokes at my favorite place on earth? I could sit and watch these folks all day long. In fact, my sister and I have done just that many times. The characters always look fabulous, their back stories are well thought out and their personalities are spot on.

Over the years I have seen so many new ideas and skits. But when they pull out old faithful, the 99 jokes competition, it is still the best ever. It was hard choosing the order for this countdown. I love everything on my list. But the Citizens of Hollywood make my number one because I really appreciate the little Disney touches that make the experience even more magical. 

Now it is your turn! Tell me your favorite thing about Hollywood Studios. Check out the poll below and if your favorite thing is not listed then tell me what it is in the comments. I am always so excited to read about what you love!

Here is your Extra Magic Tip: Book the Fantasmic Dining Package! You will get to enjoy lunch or dinner at Hollywood and Vine, The Hollywood Brown Derby, or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.  And then when it’s time for Fantasmic, you and your family can choose the perfect seat in the VIP seating area!

What is your favorite thing about Hollywood Studios?

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About the author

Cassie Calkins

Cassie has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time she was 3 years old. In 2013, Cassie became an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. As a Disney enthusiast, she is always eager to share her experiences, park tips, and planning advice. With her overall love for Disney and years of park experience, she is the WDW Hostess with the Mostess. Contact me at [email protected]

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Mike P.
Guest
Mike P.

Hollywood Studios Top Five:
5. Muppet 3-D Vision
4. Rock n Roller Coaster
3. Toy Story Mania
2. Star Tours
1. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre

Steve A
Guest
Steve A

Since they took the Great Movie Ride out (and a part of my childhood) I had to go with Toy Story Midway Mania.

Doug
Guest
Doug

I agree. The Great Movie Ride was one of my all-time favorite attractions. I feel bad for the people who will never get to experience it.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Fried chicken at 50’s
Walter Cronkite, Robin Williams short from years ago at the Animation Tour

Andrea Rice
Guest
Andrea Rice

LOVE Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster (and I dont even care for roller coasters!)

Tyler
Guest
Tyler

Slinky Dog Coaster!!!

Lanan Dixon
Guest
Lanan Dixon

Favorite was Great Movie Ride! With all the changes when we went to Disney last September we just skipped Hollywood Studios all together.

Benny
Guest
Benny

Muppet vision 3d

Edgar
Guest
Edgar

My favorite is/was the Great Movie Ride. Very sad that it is no more. I will ride the new ride but it just won’t be the same.

Zac
Guest
Zac

It’s a tough call between Indy, Toy Story Mania and Star Tours for me. I went with other for Star Wars though.

Platinum Disney
Guest
Platinum Disney

You forgot the Frozen Sing-A-Long with its incredible cast.

Micah L
Guest
Micah L

mine is American Idol experience and it aired on ABC! Hopefully they will bring it back to Hollywood Studios

Justin
Guest
Justin

Like most of you… I’m a Disney enthusiast and former cast member. I miss the heyday of this park. Back when it was Disney’s MGM Studios. I think the park has lost a lot of it’s original vision. I understand you must change with times, but so much of what makes Disney so magical is its’ nostalgia. I haven’t visited this park in a number of years…but I hope it hasn’t lost too much of its “hollywood that never was…but always will be” luster!
There will never be another Great Movie Ride or an original back lot studio tour!

Bob C.
Guest
Bob C.

The Great Movie Ride

Shelly Orrico
Guest
Shelly Orrico

May4 is a huge deal !!
Hollywood studios does nothing special or extra for our force day🤨

Janice Graham
Guest
Janice Graham

It has been a long time since I got in Tower of Terror. Can someone refresh my memory on something? Do you miss anything when you are in the Fast Pass line instead of the standby line?

Andrew Olszewski
Guest
Andrew Olszewski

Star Tours is a phenomenal tease for Galaxys Edge, with it being a mainstay for the park, and MuppetVision 3D is the only ride I would miss leaving the park, and it will always be hilarious.

Doug
Guest
Doug

Star Tours. The first time walking up and seeing that huge AT-AT and walking under the Ewok village were huge when I was younger (I’m 38 and still enjoy it now too)! I grew up watching the Muppet Show so I love that as well. Indiana Jones is great and I really wish they would put in an Indy ride somewhere too like they have in Disneyland. I’m excited for the chance to try out the new stuff in Toy Story land in just over a week when we make our yearly visit. I am really excited to see and… Read more »

Jim
Guest
Jim

Star Tours

Walter
Guest
Walter

Obviously everyone misses the Great Movie Ride, but I really miss two things from the early days of the park: Superstar Television and the Monster Sound Show.

RebeccaMcK
Guest
RebeccaMcK

1. Rock’n’Roller Coaster
2. Fantasmic (though it needs to be updated, like how Disneyland’s has been updated a few times)
3. Frozen Sing-along show (not for the singing but for the humor on stage)
4. 50s PTC food
5. Star Tours/Slinky Dog Dash (tie)

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I love the Citizens of Hollywood. Face it, even though Disney is the happiest place on earth, “life” goes where we go and some days just aren’t fun, but you just can’t help but laugh when you see these people in action. If they don’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will. We enjoy them tremendously!