Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios: A Perfect 24 Hours


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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios. When most people think of Disney World, the first place they imagine is the Magic Kingdom. Some people aren’t even aware that Disney Hollywood Studios exists. (I would have put myself in this category just a few short years ago.)

But for people who have the time and inclination to venture away from Cinderella’s Castle, they’ll find that there’s tons of fun to be had at Hollywood Studios. The rides are more thrilling than those at the Magic Kingdom, the night time spectacular is one of the best shows at Disney, and the food is as good as Epcot, if you know where to look. Come join me for a day of the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios, and by the end, you’ll have forgotten all about the Magic Kingdom.

Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios

What to Pack?

best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today looking for the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios. It’s very frequently hot in Orlando, though not always, so it’s smart to wear sandals. I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

Also, don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun can get scorching! My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.

Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. You don’t want to sling a heavy bag all around Disney World. It’s tough to squeeze that bag into the rides. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so you’ll never run out of juice!

best things to do at Disney hollywood studios

Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios

Morning: Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land is one of the cutest and most popular areas in all of Hollywood Studios. The lines get pretty long here, so I recommend heading here as soon as you arrive, so you can try to get ahead of the massive crowds. The best thing about Toy Story Land is the snacks…no it’s the rides…no it’s the fact that the cast members all call you “toys” as long as you remain in the area. I simply can’t decide! So I’ll help you figure out the most fun part with…

Three Fun Facts: Toy Story Land

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
1) What’s the Best Ride to Use Your Fast Pass On?

The best choice would be for Slinky Dog Dash, but you probably won’t be able to get a Fast Pass for that, since it’s so popular. I suggest getting one of Toy Story Mania, a 4D shooter game, instead. During this game you get to wear 3D glasses and zoom around Andy’s room while you take on various threats. (They claim it’s a 4D game, but I think that’s just marketing shenanigans because humans can’t exist in the 4th dimension.)

I completely suck at shooter games, and I still enjoyed Toy Story Mania. Even if you have a laughably low score, it’s a blast to get immersed in the world of Toy Story like this. I especially liked the GI Commando who kept insisting he was not my mother. I am aware of that, Mr. Gi Joe! My mother had some problems, but being a green plastic figurine wasn’t one of them.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
2) What’s the Best Ride?

That’s clearly Slinky Dog Dash. Some would say this ride is the best of the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios. It goes super fast for a Disney roller coaster, which tend to be on the tame side.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

Of course, some might prefer Alien Swirling Saucers, which are not as exciting as the Slinky Dog Dash. Still, it’s fun to spin round and round on them, and who doesn’t love the Toy Story aliens? Their faces are truly mesmerizing.

best things to do in disney hollywood studios
3) What Was That About Food?

Woody’s Lunch Box is certainly my preferred place to get grub in Toy Story Land. It’s got such comfort food, like the BBQ melt with a side of crispy tater tots. The tender meat, grilled cheese, and crunchy pickles come together perfectly in this sandwich.

best things to do in disney hollywood studios

And for dessert, you can’t go wrong with a chocolate hazelnut pop tart. If you can’t appreciate the Nutella filling here, it’s possible you really are a plastic toy come to life because your taste buds must be missing. The only tricky part about Woody’s Lunch Box is that there’s not a ton of seating, so you might have to dropkick a child to get a place to rest your weary legs.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios

Afternoon: Grand Avenue and Echo Lake

Disney Hollywood Studios has gotten so full of exciting attractions that it’s impossible to see all of the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios in one day. You’ll really have to spend two days here to see everything. And since we did a lot of waiting on line at Toy Story World, I say it’s time to wander, take in a few shows, and relax instead of wasting all day on line. Follow me and let me show you…

Approximately Top 5: Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
1) Muppet*Vision 3D

Grand Avenue is a section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios modeled after Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, and its main attraction is the Muppets. You can’t go to Grand Avenue without seeing the Muppets, Internet Stranger! That’s just science. And fortunately we have the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational show around at Muppet*Vision 3D. (No, I don’t know what the asterisk is for either.)

Muppet*Vision runs regularly throughout the day. There usually aren’t lines; just find a time that works for you, and I’m sure you’ll be able to make it into the show. Once you’re there, you can enjoy Sam the Eagle trying to put on a “celebration of all nations, but especially America”. As usual, the funniest characters are Grumpy Old Men Stadler and Waldorf, complaining the entire team. At one point, one of them asks, “Why don’t we leave?” To hear the hilarious answer, you have to go check out the show for yourself!

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
2) Star Tours

Muppet*****Vision is pretty much the only thing to do on Grand Avenue, so next you should mosey on down to the Echo Lake section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check out one of the famous Star Wars rides: Star Tours. (“Star Tours! Nothing but Star Tours! If they should bar tours, please let these star tours…stay!”)

Star Tours is a flight simulation with an exciting storyline. You’ll end up in a ship accidentally piloted by C-3PO, and adventure will ensue. The storyline is different each time you ride because they show different scenes of adventure randomly. But I’m pretty sure no matter what else happens, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia will pop on screen and tell you you’re her only hope. Then everyone in your group will cheer because you’re all geeks, or why else would you be on a Star Wars ride?

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
3) Trolley Car Cafe

If you’re jonesing for a snack at this point, one of my faves can be found at the Trolley Car Cafe. You’ll have to leave Echo Lake and go to Hollywood Boulevard, but it is worth it for the decadent carrot cake cookie. I assume this is a healthy snack because it has carrots in it? Like, the carrots just cancel out all the calories in the cookie. As usual, I thank Disney Food Blog for suggesting the carrot cake cookie to me. I get all my best Disney food tips from them.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
4) Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

Did Disney get the rights to Indiana Jones when they got the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas? Does Disney own the rights to all intellectual property in the world except for Harry Potter and DC Comics? Do they own…our souls? I assume the answer to all these questions is yes.

Well, even if your soul is the price of admission, it’s definitely worth checking out the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. It lasts about half an hour, there’s basically never a line, and you get to watch stuff blow up. The show is actually performed by Indiana Jones and Marion’s stunt doubles, so it’s very professional.

Every show, they’ll select some adults from the audience to participate. (Prepare your kids in advance, so they know they won’t be allowed. Much like late night basic cable, this is Adults Only.) I didn’t volunteer because I was traveling solo, and thus had no one to watch my stuff. Maybe next time!

best things to do at disney hollywood studios
5) Frozen Ever-After Celebration

If any of you out there have kids or have been adjacent to kids in recent years, you might be sick to death of the Frozen juggernaut. “Are you suggesting I voluntarily put myself through “Let it Go” again?” you might be thinking. “How can you even speak of such things?”

But the Frozen Ever-After Celebration is actually an adorably funny sing-along/comedy show that both kids and adults can appreciate. There’s even some offbeat humor that will probably only appeal to adults. (At one point, a cast member says he feels sorry for Tarzan because “he had to listen to Phil Collins his entire life”. Reader, I laughed.)

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios

Evening: Dinner and a Show

If you want a yummy meal at Disney Hollywood Studios, head on over to the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. (Well, don’t just head on over there. Make a reservation months in advance because this baby is crazy popular, daddy-o. Then head on over.)

The whole vibe at the Prime Time Cafe is that of a 50s sitcom family dinner. They even show 50s sitcoms on little TVs near your table. (Yup, that’s actual Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke starring in his eponymous sitcom you can see pictured on my TV above.) The waiters and waitresses will also tease you a bit–I heard one waitress tell a kid to put down his Pokemon Go–but it’s all in good fun.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

If you’re old enough to be a sitcom mom or dad, try a cocktail “from Dad’s liquor cabinet”, according to the menu. I got the Maui Wowie which is made with melon and peach spirits, coconut rum, and a whole bunch of juice. It couldn’t be easier to drink. But the best part is the light-up ice cube that makes the drink glow like something out of the Twilight Zone. You even get to take the cube home at the end of the meal. I guess it wouldn’t be very hygienic to reuse it.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

Some of the best dishes include the iceberg lettuce wedge, which is made with ranch and not blue cheese, so it doesn’t have that funky flavor some people find off-putting…

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

And here’s the sampling of Mom’s favorite recipes, so you get fried chicken, pot roast, and meatloaf all in one dish. This meal is so retro, I bet you’ll start to turn black and white just from eating it. I liked all three mains, especially the crispy skin on the chicken, the tender meat on the pot roast, and the sauce for the meatloaf. Just keep in mind the meat on the pot roast is a little fatty, if that’s something that bothers you.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

But my favorite thing on the menu is this Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake. It’s not beautiful to look at, but it actually tastes like a real peanut butter and jelly! How do they manage to make this happen? I suspect sitcom magic of some sort is afoot.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

24 Hour Treasure: Fantasmic!

After dinner, head on over to Fantasmic, the nighttime show. It’s definitely one of the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios. I suggest using a Fast Pass to reserve a seat here because it can fill up fast. This show is all about the power of the imagination.

It’s also about the power of the 1990s because you will never see so many major 90s Disney characters as you will here. You’ve got Pocahontas! Hades! Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame! Truly this show made me feel like I was in middle school again.

24 Hour Tip

You might get splashed with water during the show, so don’t wear your finest leather goods, in case you were planning to do that at Disney World for some reason.

best things to do at disney hollywood studios

That’s the Best Things to Do at Disney Hollywood Studios!

What do you think are the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios? What kind of sorcery can turn a PB and J sandwich into a milkshake? And is GI Joe your mother? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours with the best things to do at Disney Hollywood Studios, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend time in Disney Hollywood Studios. If you want to add itineraries for the Magic Kingdom I’ve got one here, one here and another one for Epcot over here.

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