Our Disney’s Hollywood Studios ride guide contains reviews of top attractions, as well as numerical scores for every show and ride in the park. If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it’s a great place to start when making a rough roadmap for the best things to do. (Updated February 2, 2023.)
If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World in a few years, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have the most things that are “new to you.” The big additions are two lands: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, which replaced portions of the backlot. Additionally, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway replaced Great Movie Ride, and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy debuted.
More recently, Fantasmic returned and was reimagined in such a way to tremendously improve this already-beloved nighttime spectacular. Stage shows and other entertainment have returned, albeit not everything. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been the park hit hardest by the temporary closure three years ago, with atmospheric entertainment and shows likely gone for good as a result. (You can also find temporary closures in our 2023 Walt Disney World Refurbishment Calendar.)
The listing below only reviews rides and shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World. Consult our Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide, Epcot Attraction Guide, and Animal Kingdom Ride Guides to plan for the other three parks.
Additionally, we highly recommend pairing this DHS ride guide with other resources for the sake of strategy. While there are some tips throughout this post, that’s simply not enough for beating the crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is Walt Disney World’s most frustrating park.
Suffice to say, an aggressive approach and savvy strategy are required at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s the toughest park to tour at Walt Disney World. There’s no magical formula to sleeping in, rolling up to the park a couple hours after rope drop, not buying Genie+, enjoying the park in a leisurely way, and accomplishing everything.
Here are our best DHS strategy posts:
You can get away with ‘going with the flow’ to a greater degree at the other parks, but not Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While we recommend leveraging savvy strategy at all of the parks, it’s downright essential at DHS. Reading a couple (or all!) of the above posts will save you a ton of time and headaches. You’ve been warned.
Now let’s turn back to the ride guide for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Numerical scores are on a scale of 1 to 10, and only take into consideration overall quality relative to that specific type of attraction, and considering how much their target audience will enjoy them. In other words, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall and within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Ride Ratings
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (10/10) – The blockbuster of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, this is a revolutionary feat of Imagineering that redefines what a theme park attraction can be. It blurs the boundaries of queue, pre-show, attraction, and puts guests in the middle of an intergalactic adventure. We could go on and on about this mind-blowing experience and its nonstop barrage of wow-moments. For that, you can read our spoiler-free Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Review.
However, the purpose of this post is to offer ratings, reviews, and practical advice for best experiencing the attractions in an efficient manner. Without question, this is the most difficult to do ride at Walt Disney World. Due to its unreliability and downtime, it involves jumping through some hoops–which are all worth it. Reading our Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride Guide & FAQ before your trip is essential.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (8.5/10) — The ‘supporting’ attraction for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. It’s definitely not a perfect attraction, with the interactivity being a mixed bag and a gameplay-centric ride not being everyone’s cup of tea. Moreover, not all of the roles are of equal enjoyment. In terms of “wish fulfillment,” pilot is definitely the best option.
However, there’s a lot to like about Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run beyond the game/ride experience. The queue is beautiful, the pre-show is impressive, and stepping foot into the Millennium Falcon while waiting to board the ride is arguably the highlight of the attraction as a whole. Using a Lightning Lane on Smugglers Run is a good idea, but doing it later in the day or via Single Rider will avoid long wait times just as well.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (8.5/10) – A 3D motion simulator montage ride through various in-universe locations that was recently updated to include scenes from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and tie into Galaxy’s Edge. These changes have tightened the story, improved its cohesiveness, and made the already jarring ride a little less chaotic. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has a 40″ height requirement and isn’t recommended for those who easily get motion sickness. Although this has a Lightning Lane, it also has a very high ride capacity, and an entertaining queue.
Slinky Dog Dash (9/10) – The crown jewel of Toy Story Land, this family-friendly roller coaster offers mild thrills, a nice track layout, decent duration, and interesting queue filled with fun details. The biggest weakness is its relative lack of Imagineering, with no show scenes–albeit a cute ending. There’s unrealized potential here, but the coaster is still better than expected.
We highly recommend getting a Genie+ Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash if you can, but that’s no easy task. If you’re unable to score a Genie+ Lightning Lane, do Slinky Dog Dash first thing in the morning or get in line just before the park closes.
Toy Story Mania (8/10) – A 3D screen-based shooter game with Toy Story characters. Once the most heavily-hyped attraction at Walt Disney World, standby lines have gotten shorter for this in the last year since it opened a third track. It’s a fun game-based attraction, but it does feel a bit like a glorified Wii game, without much in the way of physical sets. It’s a fun and “intense” game that many guests are bound to really enjoy. Toy Story Mania is a medium priority Genie+ pick; it usually has Lightning Lane inventory well into the afternoon.
Alien Swirling Saucers (5/10) – The little green aliens pilot spaceships that spin and whip around guests in an attraction that is very similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure. If you haven’t experienced that, think of the tea cups at Magic Kingdom, except with guests in freely moving trailers attached to the tea cups instead of in the cups themselves. It’s a cute and fun attraction, but it could be a bit more quirky or have more details in the queue to up its score.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (10/10) – A free-fall thrill ride set in the Twilight Zone with an elaborate lead-in and excellent story. This is the best Walt Disney World attraction to open in the last 20 years. It’s technically a thrill ride, but it’s so much more.
Tower of Terror’s mood, the atmosphere, and the environments before the ride are all top-notch. It’s worth going through the experience of the attraction up until that point, even if you don’t do the ride itself. Tower of Terror has a 40″ height requirement and offers Genie+ Lightning Lane line-skipping. It’s a good use of Genie+, especially if Tower of Terror is operating at reduced capacity (which is often the case), but don’t hesitate to wait in line for 30-40 minutes for this–the queue is an experience itself, with plenty of references from Twilight Zone episodes.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (8.5/10) — Intense (by Disney standards) roller coaster with a loop, featuring Aerosmith. The pre-show and queue help make it more of a fully fleshed out experience, but Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is basically an unthemed rollercoaster in the dark. It’s fun, but it’s not 90-minute-wait fun. It’s a thrills for the sake of thrills attraction. This is a great Genie+ selection for your third or fourth Lightning Lane pick of the day. Otherwise, do it first thing in the morning or via Single Rider.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (9/10) – This features a series of loosely-connected vignettes in a variety of environments that the runaway cars bounce between at a fairly frenetic and disorienting pace. Consequently, we’ve enjoyed it more and more on subsequent ride-throughs, once we had our bearings on things and were better able to embrace the chaos.
In a sense, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is very much in keeping with how a cartoon would bounce around, and it also boasts an earworm of an original song. This attraction is a moderate Lightning Lane priority.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Shows & Spectaculars
Fantasmic (10/10) – Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ nighttime spectacular in which you enter Mickey Mouse’s dreams in a show featuring projections, characters on stage, boats, fire, fireworks, and more. Fantasmic is completely unlike the fireworks at Epcot and Magic Kingdom, and is an absolute must-see.
For those who are familiar with Fantasmic but haven’t seen it since its return, a lot has changed. The nighttime spectacular has been reimagined with stunning new effects, upgraded audio & visual technology, and a brand-new heroes montage scene. This brings to life heroic moments from Moana, Mulan, Aladdin, Frozen 2, and Pocahontas. The heroes medley replaces an extended, all-Pocahontas scene, and is a HUGE upgrade.
Consult our Viewing Guide for Fantasmic at Walt Disney World for all of our tips to get the best seats for free. Alternatively, we highly recommend booking the cheapest Fantasmic Dining Package and guaranteeing yourself a great seat that way!
Disney Movie Magic & Wonderful World of Animation (7/10) – Two different projection shows celebrating movies that are very similar in nature. Disney Movie Magic is mostly live action, including Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Book, and TRON.
Wonderful World of Animation features a variety of Disney animated films, including some unheralded ones. Both are essentially a pre-show for the “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show, being shown about 30 minutes before the fireworks start.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (8/10) – A stunt show themed to Indiana Jones. Despite its age, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular still works. It features a variety of different stunt styles, offers humor, and engaging narrative scenes that just work. As far as action-oriented shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is by far the best. Lightning Lane is available, but totally unnecessary.
Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage (7/10) – A Broadway-style stage retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast in condensed form. Normally, we’re not fans of shows or attractions that are simply condensed versions of the normal stories, but Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage does enough with its choreography and performances (specifically by the inanimate objects) and dramatic styling that it feels like it actually brings something different to the table. In a park high on stage shows, this is a highlight. Same story here with the Lightning Lane–it’s not needed.
Lightning McQueen Racing Academy (7.5/10) – A 10-minute show featuring an impressive Lightning McQueen Audio Animatronics vehicle who interacts with other characters on screen and the audience as he uses a state-of-the-art racing simulator. McQueen encounters friends like Mater and Cruz Ramirez, with the salient message being one of teamwork, friendship, and perseverance. He also encounters one of his main foes, Chick Hicks, who interrupts the show to challenge Lightning McQueen. I won’t give away how this all ends, but you can probably guess it. It’s a fun show with some cheeky humor and enough morsels that it won’t bore adults–kids will likely love it.
Walt Disney Presents… (7/10) — A walk-through tribute to Walt Disney, with a film at the end. It helps put the parks in context, lifts the curtain on some things, and in so doing makes the theme parks more impressive. Commit 10 minutes to it to get out of the sun and into the air-conditioning. You’ll likely find yourself spending a lot more time inside as you pore over the many interesting pieces that have made the Disney empire what it is today.
MuppetVision 3D (7.5/10) – 3D show featuring the Muppets. If you have a sense of humor, you’ll love MuppetVision 3D. The pre-show is actually the highlight of MuppetVision, and we think it can fairly be described as sidesplitting. Make sure you arrive early enough to see the full pre-show (wander around this holding area looking for gags as you watch). The main 3D show is good, and uses the typical 3D show gimmicks, plus characters in the theater. The sharp scripts in the pre-show and main show are incredibly quotable, too. Not loving MuppetVision 3D is distinctly unpatriotic. Lightning Lane line-skipping is available via Genie+, but totally unnecessary.
Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (6.5/10) – This sing-along is obviously for kids, but there are a few moments of chuckle-worthy humor for adults. The Royal Historians of Arendelle weave the songs together with a loose retelling of Frozen.
Star Wars Launch Bay (3/10) – This glorified gift shop with a smattering of movie replicas and a couple of meet & greets is a quick one-and-done. Once again–you guessed it–Star Wars deserves better.
Disney Junior Dance Party! (6/10) – A musical celebration featuring Disney Junior characters, including Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon, and Mickey Mouse. If you have kids, it’s probably for you. If you don’t, it’s probably not. We don’t, so we’re probably the wrong people to judge it.
That’s a long list of shows and it leaves out atmospheric entertainment (like the excellent Citizens of Hollywood performers) that are still on hiatus–and probably won’t return at this point. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still a great park that’s worth your time right now, it’s just a shame that right after the park finished all construction and was fully reimagined, the closure happened…and the subsequent reopening has meant virtually no entertainment.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Which Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions are your favorites? Which ones do you normally skip? Do you agree or disagree with our ratings? If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World yet, which Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions are you most excited about? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!
Leave a Reply