Must Do Attractions – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Personally, when I look at the two big properties in the Orlando area, I cannot find a park in more disarray than Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park has lost direction and for the moment seems all but ignored by the WDI. Putting that opinion aside there are still some great attractions in this park, arguably some of the best in all of Disney World. I struggled with choices for the bottom tier but the top two were simple and absolutely my favorites in all the resort. Let’s see what I came up with and hope I don’t anger too many people in the process.
I know several people would put this attraction as a front runner but honestly it just barely makes my list at all. Toy Story Midway Mania comes in at number five for me and honestly, I imagine the only real appeal here is it is an attraction that everyone can enjoy together in a park that lacks such activities. I do enjoy the queue and the competitive side in me enjoys the competition. It is a creative addition to the park and as stated the park does lack activities for the entire family. Most people will tell you this is an E ticket attraction and that more than anything else is what doesn’t sit well with me. FastPass+ or riding it in the morning is the only way to get it done and that does not mean it is an E ticket. This attraction is a solid D ticket in a place that needs more to do. By the end of ride I feel arthritis in my hand and maybe I am just a little bit bitter today, not sure.
Star Tours – The Adventures continue comes in at my number four spot. I love the surrounding area leading up to the attraction and with luck we will get a lot more of that feeling in the future. The queue upgrades it received from its predecessor are fantastic. I could watch the star port silhouette window for quite a while and not realize I haven’t moved in line. The random nature of the scenes make it feel anew every time you partake. The 3D is crisp and the motion in the shuttle is just enough to make it believable. If we could remove Jar Jar Binks it quite possibly could be perfect. This is a fantastic simulator attraction from a great franchise and with the acquisition of Lucas Arts the future only gets brighter.
Often overlooked, but not by this guy. Walt Disney: One Mans Dream comes in at a strong third on my list. It may not feel like an attraction but I find myself in here often just looking over the exhibits. Although I have seen it many times, I still stroll through here satisfied and occupied. I can’t think of a better place to be stranded during a Florida afternoon deluge than right here. As you roam about, eventually the doors to theater open and the story of Walt unfolds in front of us. I’ve watched it a hundred times and will watch it a hundred more. Sometimes you don’t have to change a thing and people will remain entertained and keep coming back. This attraction, for me is just that. Content each and every time I visit.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Starring Aerosmith is a strong number two on my list. I can still remember when this attraction opened in 2002 wondering how long it could be relevant with an older band like Aerosmith. After a strong surge in popularity with Steven Tyler judging two seasons of American Idol the band is just as relevant as this indoor coaster is to this day. This ride is a guilty pleasure of mine and I try to ride it several times each day I visit the Studios. Passing under the upside down limousine begins to build the anticipation and excitement. The Rock ‘n’ Roll envelops you and prepares you for your entry to G-Force record studios. Aerosmith is inside wrapping up a recording session and needing to leave for a show where they invite us along for the ride in a super stretch limo. This indoor dark coaster launches you to 57mph in 2.8 seconds along neon streets and a couple of inversions. Five different Aerosmith tracks propelling you along bring some diversity to the attraction as well. I hope this attraction remains as relevant as the band has managed to do so far; long live Aerosmith.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is obviously my favorite attraction here once the other choices were removed. I have come to love this attraction more and more each time I visit. Had this been a decade ago I probably would have had this somewhere in the middle of my list. Not sure exactly what it is but time only improves my love for it. Leave it to Disney to take a simple concept drop ride that you can find at any six flags and turn it into a complete story. Turning onto Sunset Boulevard reveals a prospective of the hotel that suddenly feels very real. Particularly at night you may begin second guessing yourself as you move closer to the tower. The abandoned lobby is so meticulously perfect in its neglected state. The pre show footage on a black white tv show appears authentic as if television had never advanced a day and ultimately you enter an maintenance elevator that looks anything but maintained. One last corny response from the cast member as the doors close and there is no turning back. Some great visual effects as the elevator doors open at different floors eventually the elevator itself leaves the shaft and brings you to the realization you have no idea what is going to happen. Riding this hundreds of times and yes, we still do not know what will happen first. In recent years a minor refurbishment introduced random drop sequences. This added another level of anxiety to the attraction that also provides enough variety to make you want to return over and over.
In Summary,Top 5 must do attractions at DHS:
5. Toy Story Midway Mania
4. Star Tours – The Adventures continue
3. Walt Disney: One Mans Dream
2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Starring Aerosmith
1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I will finish where I started: Hopefully the next decade will bring this park back from the brink. It has been ignored far to long and does not provide enough for a family with young children. This park has so much potential and it is just sitting idle waiting for the next Star Wars Weekend. Provide a loop from Sunset Boulevard to the Animation Courtyard to alleviate the congestion of people entering and exiting Sunset. Come on imagineers, get imagineering.