updated October 12, 2020
My boys easily rattled off a list of their favorite rides at Magic Kingdom and their top attractions at Epcot, but they had to think a bit longer when asked about their five best Hollywood Studios rides and attractions.
Do you love shows? Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the place for you with stage shows, nighttime spectaculars, and a Frozen sing-a-long.
Love thrill rides? Hollywood Studios has the only inverted coaster at Disney World, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, as well as my personal favorite, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
My boys don’t fall into either category as they typically do not enjoy shows and won’t ride roller coasters (sorry, Slinky Dog!). However, that doesn’t mean that the remaining attractions are duds. My kids LOVE the Hollywood Studios rides and attractions on this list…
Note: All attractions may not be open during Disney World’s 2020 phased reopening period.
1. Alien Swirling Saucers
While the crowd dashes to Slinky Dog Dash at rope drop, we leisurely steer to the left of the wave of humanity and casually make our way to the far end of Toy Story Land where Alien Swirling Saucers awaits. This ride is pure JOY, whirling around in little spaceships navigated by cute aliens. It’s easily a walk-on first thing in the morning.
And if you arrive early, you can even usually ride twice in a row with a minimal wait before the line begins to grow for the day. This ride does have a minimum height requirement of 32 inches, so all but the littlest of littles can ride on this space journey.
2. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
My boys are huge Indiana Jones fans so the Epic Stunt Spectacular is an exception to their usual aversion to shows. This one has changed little in the past 30 years, but it’s always thrilling. Both Mom and Dad have been selected as volunteer cast members on two separate trips so it’s even more fun for the kids when the parents are involved!
A tip for anyone wanting to participate in the show – immediately jump up with your hand raised when the cast member asks for volunteers and stay animated (but not obnoxious!) until all volunteers have been selected. Most people will remain seated and raise their hands to volunteer, but both my husband and I stood up which we think made a difference – more of us to see in that big crowd of people that the cast member is choosing from!
3. MuppetVision 3D
Here’s another oldie but goodie. Not only do my boys laugh through this entire show every single time, but we think the MuppetVision 3D preshow might even be funnier than the show itself! If you aren’t in a rush and the theater is ready to begin loading when you arrive, strongly consider holding back and waiting until the following show so you can experience the entire pre-show.
We also love sitting in the front row here. MuppetVision is mainly a 3D movie, but enough action happens up front to make a close seat worthwhile. The animatronic penguin orchestra is more nuanced than expected and Sweetums has a part as well, staying right up front.
4. Toy Story Mania
Toy Story Mania is similar to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin over at Magic Kingdom … but 100% better! The kids enjoy Buzz, but never quite get the hang of the shooting aspect because it’s difficult to determine which laser dots are yours (not that Mom has this problem … nope, never, I ALWAYS know exactly where I’m shooting…). The Toy Story Mania blaster is much easier to shoot and see exactly where the projectiles are landing.
This is a fun one to enjoy multiple times since it’s a different experience every time. You can aim for different targets to rack up a higher score with your previous strategy’s successes and failures still fresh in your mind!
And, best of all for families with small children, this is one of just two rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with no height restrictions. Even if your child is too young to participate, a third little one can sit in the middle of the ride vehicle’s bench seat and watch the Toy Story characters.
5. Star Tours
And we end with another old school Hollywood Studios attraction. Well, the scenes may have changed from earlier Endor days, but the ride vehicle is as classic as ever.
I love the randomly selected scenes in Star Tours so that you usually don’t have the same experience twice. For that reason, we will often ride Star Tours multiple times in one day. Like I said, we can’t fill up a day at Hollywood Studios so we love that the additional time allows us to repeat favorites, especially for rides like Star Tours that are different every time.
For what it’s worth, both boys mentioned Woody’s Lunch Box as a favorite “attraction” as well. Those lunch box tarts mighty tasty and if you visit right after that rope drop ride on Alien Swirling Saucers while everyone else is still occupied on the Toy Story Land rides, it’s usually quite easy to get a table during the first hour of day – something you can’t say as lunch time nears!
Honorable Mention: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
I am nearly certain that Hollywood Studios’ newest ride – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Unfortunately, this ride opened just two weeks before Disney World closed for COVID-19 and we haven’t made it back to the parks yet.
Definitely add this one to your family’s list of Hollywood Studios must-do’s. There is no height restriction and this ride looks like good ole fun!
What are your family’s favorite Hollywood Studios rides and attractions?