Top 10 things you MUST do at Disney Hollywood Studios

 

Let’s keep the ball rolling, I’m going to try to wheel these blog posts out a bit faster. I felt motivated as I wrote the last one on Epcot. So let’s jump to a list that might be a tad bit harder to write currently in early 2016. In case you don’t know a handful of attractions have been closed in the last year or two and just a week or so ago most of the back half of the park was closed down for the upcoming Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land expansions. So this will be an interesting list to come up with.

10) Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Another MGM Studios attraction, Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a stage show that as essentially an abbreviated telling of The Little Mermaid. Featuring live talent and puppetry. I throughly enjoy this attraction, it’s been a staple of the park for years. I place it slightly lower for the fact it’s a bit older and it’s been significantly cut down from its original time length. Other reasons beyond that it can be hit or miss on the actress playing Ariel. There has been a handful of time where she seems off-key when singing Part of Your World. 

PRO TIPS: It is pick your own for seating and If you have young ones bring them towards the middle or back half of the stage. It’s an elevated stage so you sit too close you might have a hard time and also for Pete’s sake MOVE ALL THE WAY DOWN! This is the number two thing people don’t listen to. The number one? Flash photography is a no-no! You don’t know how many times I’ve been in there and during the first scene with Sebastian singing Under the Sea, flashes going off all over the place. If you know how to take pictures in the dark without flash, go for it!

9) The Great Movie Ride

An opening day attraction at MGM studio, it has been a staple ever since. A ride that takes you on a journey through the movies. The ride, with your guide will go through many of the pivotal and important moments in film history. You’ll see classics like Singing in the Rain, Alien, The Wizard of Oz and more!

If anything this is a must because it’s an opening day attraction, however I place it a bit lower because of its age and lack of updates or refurbs in general. Sigourney Weaver from Alien is looking a little haggard lately and there hasn’t been any movies swapped in or out. The great thing is recently Turner Classic Movies has sponsored the attraction and we’ve seen some slight updates with the films they show in the queue and at the end of the ride. One can hope that once the Hollywood Studios expansions are done, maybe we’ll see a Great Movie Ride update.

8) Rock N Rollercoaster Featuring Aerosmith

If I didn’t include this, it might be a travesty. A ride more for the thrill seekers, you go into G Force Records for an Aerosmith meet and greet only to find out they have to run off to their concert. So with a little persuading from Steven Tyler you are on your way to your super stretch limo with backstage passes to the concert. Depending on your super stretch limo, you’ll get one of a few different Aerosmith songs to play as you rocket towards the concert. It’s great fun if you love extreme coasters, old age is catching up to me and can’t handle it as well as I used to but still is a must do. At least it’s stayed like this and has changed over to the once misaligned rumor of a Jonas Brother’s layover. *shudder*

PRO TIP: If you’re not going with anyone or don’t mind being broken up with the rest of your party, there is a single rider line for this attraction. 

7) One Man’s Dream

One Man’s Dream, a tribute to the man himself, Walt Disney. Originally opened for the 100 years of magic celebration in 2001, Walt’s 100 birthday. (Can we imagine what would be different if somehow he made it 100?) One Man’s Dream is a walk through exhibit featuring some items from Walt’s childhood and milestones from creating the dynasty that he left us. It’s a really interesting attraction, as a Disney geek I love it. Going in there and seeing the exhibits and reading about his life. If you are any kind of Disney fan or Walt Disney fan, you owe it to yourself to walk through. The slight unfortunate thing is what once used to be capped by a great film talking about the legend has temporarily turned into a movie preview. Once featuring The Good Dinosaur, then Zootopia and now The Jungle Book. One can hope soon the film will return.

6) The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

If anyone knows me I’m a geek, I love Star Wars and Indiana Jones and I enjoy the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. It’s an opening year attraction with MGM Studios and pretty much hasn’t changed since day one. The show is pretty much a stunt show, showcasing big scenes from the classic Indiana Jones trilogy, mostly looking at Raiders of the Lost Ark, nothing from the other three. You get the idol and boulder scene, the Cairo Market chase and the rescue and getaway of Marion. Surprisingly it’s never been one of those shows to say let’s add Temple of Doom or The Last Crusade or even Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Even though most say the last one doesn’t exist, I defend it and say it’s not that bad but this isn’t about defending movies.

It’s such a great show all the way through, they even get the crowd involved. Yours truly got picked to be a Cairo towns person!

I may look big because I was wearing  a big jacket, it was really cold in February. 

If you are into the Indiana Jones flicks I highly recommend this show, even if you just like stunt shows in general, I recommend it as well.

5) “Did someone say cheap 3D tricks?!”

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Muppet Vision Courtyard, beautiful at night

Muppet Vision 3D, a very classic MGM Studios and now Hollywood Studios attraction. Opened in 1991 it was actually planned to be a part of a whole Muppet themed area at the studios but never came to fruition. I only put it a little low because of its age but I would love for this attraction to stay forever, why? Well, it’s trivia time. Did you know this movie is the last piece of muppet history that Jim Henson worked on before passing away? He passed away just shy of a year before the opening.

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“Dad, what’s a muppet?
“Well it’s not quite a mop and not quite a puppet, so to answer your question I have no idea”

The show itself is that your taking a trip into the muppet’s theater, complete with Statler and Waldorf in the balcony ready to give their two cents. “It’s a very moving moment” “Yeah! I wish they’d move it to Pittsburg!” Love those guys.

So you’re in the theater and get introduced to Muppet Vision 3D and the Muppets show you demonstrations of Muppet Vision 3D. Which include a “huge show stopping number” from Miss Piggy and a glorious “3 hour finale” and is a “Salute to all nations but mostly America” presented by Sam Eagle. As always with the Muppets, nothing goes according to plan. It’s a crazy, fun and completely random 3D show with special 4D effects. This is one of my favorite 3D shows of all time and it’s very, very quotable. I laugh every time.

One last piece of trivia for you, the queue is filled with hidden jokes and nods but did you know there’s a nod to the most famous Mouseketeer of all? If you look up in the pre show area, there’s  A Net Full of Jello. Put it together, it’s Annette Funicello.

4) “…and this elevator delivers you right into The Twilight Zone.”

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, now I know this ride isn’t for everyone be it for height requirements or those of weak stomachs but if you can this attraction is even amazing from the non ride aspect of it. In case you haven’t been on it you get to “participate” in your own Twilight Zone episode. The old Hollywood Tower Hotel was long abandoned after lightening hit the tower and the elevator and turns out to be an unfortunate night in the elevator for a group of guests.

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The attraction sets the mood the entire way through and gives you quite the eerie sense of foreboding. One of the great thing is you even get a “new” twilight zone video and it really makes it seem like it’s a lost episode. The person they got to voice Rod Serling sounds exactly like him. The ride itself, once you get to the freefall section changes every time. So your guaranteed to not get the same ride twice. I’m at this point where I can’t handle the freefall portion as well as I used to but I still ride this all the time because of how amazing everything else is. Not to mention it’s one of the icons of the park that I love taking pictures of, especially during night!

3) “BRAKES! BRAKES! WHERE ARE THE BRAKES?!?!”

Star Tours, easily in my top 10 attractions across Walt Disney World. Star Tours has been around since the early MGM days.  A Star Wars attraction that is a simulator ride to where you board a star speeder to take a trip across the galaxy. There have been two versions of this ride.

The newest version of the ride came online 2011. It saw an updated ride with 3D and fixed up simulators, to make the ride seem more fluid and random scenes as well. This time the story takes place between episodes III and IV. C-3po and R2-D2 are a part of Star Tours (they were a part of the original too) and as 3po is going to fix your star speeder, things malfunction and he becomes your captain! The great thing about this is your ride will never be the same. No matter what you’ll start off with being stopped by some Imperials looking for the rebel spy, which could be you! I’ve been the spy twice! Then you take off and head to one of a few locations, once you head off from whichever planet you arrive on you get a message from Yoda, Leia, or Admiral Ackbar and head off to one last planet before your tour is over During this update you get to travel to planets such as Tatooine to be in a pod race, Kashyyk the wookie planet, Hoth and appear during a snow speeder battle with the imperials, Geonosis and battle the bounty hunter Boba Fett and fly through the not so completed Death Star, Coruscant and fly through the massive city and lastly Naboo and get some help going through the planet core.

Early this year, 2016, Star Tours got another update as a new planet and new message were added in! Jakku from Episode VII made it’s debut complete with cameo from Finn and BB-8 get to talk to 3po and R2. Though it doesn’t make sense with the timeline, it’s a really fun addition to the ride. The great thing with this attraction is they can keep updating it now and give more scene variations. In fact if you travel to Naboo, you might see a certain gungan and you might just hit him. If this attraction is any sign of whats to come with Star Wars Land, I’m excited!

2) Toy Story Midway Mania

An attraction almost 8 years old and it’s popularity has yet to die down, then again there’s not much to do at the studios right now so that helps. Toy Story Midway Mania transports you to toy size as you enter Andy’s room and get to play with all the toys in a midway carnival game play set. The ride is a 3D shooter, picture Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters with screens.

You get to play five different games through out your time with the gang. The current version you get to play Hamm and Eggs, an egg tossing game with Hamm and Buttercup. Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts with Rex and Trixie. The Green Army Men Shoot Camp where you get to break plates with baseballs. Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers, a ring toss game with the little green men. Lastly Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery with suction cups. This is the second version of Toy Story Midway Mania, as before hand Dino Darts was Bo-Peep’s Baaa-loon pop and Toy Story 3 characters were added to the fold. I believe Rex use to appear with Hamm until he got his own game with Trixie and when you get to the final score screen you’ll be greeted a variety of Toy Story characters such as Woody, Jessie, Dolly, Wheezy and even Spanish mode Buzz Lightyear.

Toy Story Midway Mania is a fun romp and it’s something that Michelle and I constantly compete against each other on and we love trying to best each other and the games are just so much fun! You gotta ride this attraction!

1) Fantasmic

Hands down, for years it has been my favorite night-time spectacular at Walt Disney World. Now of course the hardcore fanboys and girls will argue time and time again which version is better, the original in Disneyland or the imported version at Walt Disney World. In which I ask….

why-not-both-girl

Seriously, both versions have their pros and cons but this isn’t about that. This is about why Fantasmic is a must see. Fantasmic is based on the idea of Mickey in a dream using his imagination and what might happen if some of Disney’s iconic villains invade those dreams. It’s a simple fantastic show using fireworks, pyro, water, fire, and projections. It has a fantastic score and not to mention is filled with classic Disney characters and villains. In fact just recently the projectors had been updated at the show and added some newer Disney scenes to one of the projection scenes such as Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and yes Frozen. 

I can’t stress how much I love this show, I see it every time I head down Walt Disney World, unless something happens like it rains most the trip. I’m looking at you, last trip September of 2015! If it’s your first trip you NEED to see this show and prepare to be amazed!

Another entry down. As always feel free to contact me at mark@mickeystravel.com for any inquiries or questions. I’m always happy to help you out with your Disney travel bookings! My services to get you a quote for your dream Disney vacation are absolutely free!

Check out my last two entries, 10 things you must do at Magic Kingdom and Epcotand also my Mickey’s Travel Facebook page at Mark-Mickey’s Travel and if you’re interested in non travel related ramblings which does include Disney and other interests of mine well you can follow me@JediMark82 on Twitter.

 

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