The Definitive Hollywood Studios Rides Guide

It’s showbiz, baby! Disney’s Hollywood Studios is where you’ll find “the Hollywood that never was – and always will be.” The park has seen some changes over the years, most recently with the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. And while Hollywood Studios has steered away a bit from the Tinseltown and filmmaking side of things, the park’s love affair with movies still remains. 

Hollywood Studios is an ode to some of Disney’s most beloved movies – with a few notable exceptions, of course. Whether you’re in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or Toy Story Land, many Hollywood Studios rides plunge you into the world of some of Disney’s most beloved film franchises. Others – like Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – offer up what is arguably the most thrills of any rides at Disney World.  Plus, don’t forget about all the incredible shows like Fantasmic! or Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – this is “show” business, after all. 

Woody Leaning on Toy Story Land Sign

In general, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is chock full of must-do rides and can’t-miss shows that are just as family-friendly (for the most part) as the Disney movies that inspired them. Which Hollywood Studios rides, shows, and other attractions should you plan for your next trip to Disney World? Read on as we go over all the different attractions available, including the very best Hollywood Studios rides. 

Visiting Hollywood Studios During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite all the special effects and Hollywood magic Disney has up its sleeve, the COVID-19 pandemic has done quite the number on Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Other than Epcot, which saw much of its slated expansion postponed indefinitely or canceled altogether, Hollywood Studios is one of the Disney parks hit hardest by the pandemic. 

Rusted Brick Arch with Star Wars Themed Decor Inside Galaxy's Edge

For a park with so many different stage shows, nighttime spectaculars, and character meet-and-greets, almost half of the attractions at Hollywood Studios have been forced to close due to health and safety guidelines. They are:

  • Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage
  • Character meet-and-greets
  • Disney Movie Magic
  • Fantasmic!
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
  • Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Wonderful World of Animation

Despite that, Hollywood Studios is still one of the most popular Disney parks. And with good reason – even with a good chunk of the park on hiatus, most of the best rides at Hollywood Studios remain open. Plus, on the bright side, it’s a whole lot easier to fit in all of the best Hollywood Studios rides if you don’t need to make time for meet-and-greets, shows, or waiting in line for Fantasmic. 

As we previously mentioned, Disney character experiences are a big part of Hollywood Studios. And, while character meet-and-greets are currently canceled due to COVID-19, you can still get your Disney character fix thanks to miniature character parades, or “motorcades”, at Hollywood Studios. Overall, we love these character encounters because they’re the perfect taste of character fun without having to deal with the stress of waiting in line or trying to grab a seat for the parade.

Atmosphere performers, like the wonderful Citizens of Hollywood, are also out until further notice. All that being said, we are confident that these, as well as the rest of the out-of-service attractions and entertainment, will return as the world keeps moving in the direction of normal. As the situation continues to change quite quickly, we highly recommend you refer to the Disney World app, website, and cast members for the most up-to-date information on what’s open. 

Aside from some closures, there are a few other changes you can expect while visiting Walt Disney World in general. Face masks and temperature checks are required for entry throughout Disney World. Additionally, face masks must be worn at all times and can only be removed if you are eating or drinking and standing in one place while socially distanced.

This is true for all guests regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not. However, you no longer need to keep your mask on when having your photo taken, which, I think we can agree, is a win for social media feeds everywhere.   

Social distancing is also a must. You’ll find markers fixed to the ground at locations across the park to assist with this, namely in ride queues and lines at Hollywood Studios restaurants and merchandise locations. 

Outside view of Cafe building

Finally, FastPass+ is also on hiatus for the foreseeable future. So, expect to be spending a fair amount of time in lines unless you plan to get to the parks right when they open. Fortunately, the wait shouldn’t be as long as it looks, as the lack of FastPass+ mixed with social distancing in the queues and on ride vehicles has caused ride queues to tend to look longer than they actually are. 

The Absolute Best Disney Hollywood Studios Rides

Wondering which are the best rides at Hollywood Studios? When it comes to thrills and family fun, Disney’s Hollywood Studios really hits the sweet spot. With an entire land and several shows catered specifically towards children, two scream-inducing thrill rides, and the geektastic Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there truly is something for everyone.  

Here’s our list of the Hollywood Studios rides and other attractions that you absolutely shouldn’t miss on your next trip to Disney World:

Fantasmic! | Sunset Boulevard

Mickey Mouse shooting sparks

In a park that is filled with more shows than any other Disney World park, it’s no surprise that we’re kicking off our best rides at Hollywood Studios list with an attraction that isn’t even a ride at all: Fantasmic! Equal parts nightly fireworks extravaganza and thrilling stage show, Fantasmic! isn’t just the best show in Hollywood Studios, but perhaps the best show in all of Walt Disney World. 

The storyline of Fantasmic! has you entering Mickey’s dreamworld. What starts as peaceful dreaming quickly turns into a nightmare, until Mickey conjures up his best sorcerer skills to battle it out with some of Disney’s most iconic villains. With fireworks, fountains, projections, Disney characters, and music, this is one show you won’t want to miss.

Even though Fantasmic! has its own amphitheater, this show gets packed night after night. So, be prepared to wait in line for a while before you grab a seat or else risk seats that are either far back, way off to the side, or spread out from each other. 

Height Requirement: None

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway | Hollywood Boulevard

Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway Entrance

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the newest ride at Hollywood Studios, and the first ride in all of Walt Disney World to feature the mouse that started it all. Set inside the Chinese Theatre, which was once home to The Great Movie Ride, the ride is inspired by the world of Mickey and Minnie as it appears in the new Mickey Mouse cartoons on Disney Plus. Mickey’s Runaway Railway brings the cartoons to life with its unique ride system that plops you in the middle of the action, joining everyone’s favorite duo on a romantic picnic before hopping on a train driven by engineer Goofy. 

As the park’s newest ride, lines can get long here, especially during the day. For the shortest wait time, plan to ride either right away in the morning or later in the evening. 

Height Requirement: None

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run | Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Millennium Falcon ship from back

Ever wished you could sit in the cockpit of the legendary Millennium Falcon? Well, dreams can become reality on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Think of this interactive adventure like Epcot’s Mission: Space on steroids, and without all the vomit-inducing g-force. Join the Millennium Falcon crew as the pilot, engineer, or gunner as you try to maneuver the iconic ship across hyperspace to deliver your precious cargo. While Star Wars fans of all kinds will enjoy this ride, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is really geared towards video gamers, as your mission’s success actually relies on your ability to carry out your assigned role. 

Not all Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run roles are created equally, so you might want to keep that in mind when getting your assignments. Pilots have the most active jobs and steering takes some getting used to, so if you’d rather sit back and enjoy the ride, or if all that pressure stresses you out, try to go for the engineer or gunner instead.

Although these roles are still important, it’s much easier, and more relaxing, to push some buttons as they flash. If you don’t like the role you receive, try asking some of the other guests in your assigned group or the cast member. 

Height Requirement: 38” (97cm) or taller

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith | Sunset Boulevard

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster red and white guitar

Although Hollywood Studios isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind for thrill rides in Orlando, thrill-seekers will be more than happy with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Disney World’s most intense roller coaster. With a zero-to-60 launch in 2.8 seconds and three inversions (a corkscrew and two rollover loops) through a darkened building and a 48” height limit, this Disney roller coaster will have older kids, pre-teens, teenagers, and adults alike on the edge of their seats.

Aside from the queue, when you get invited by none other than Steven Tyler himself to join Aerosmith backstage at their concert after a ride in their super-stretch limo, the theming through the ride itself is pretty minimal – mostly glow-in-the-dark freeway signs. However, the expertly timed and edited soundtrack (unlike on Universal Studios Florida’s Rip Ride Rockit) helps make up for it. 

This is another ride where the lines get really long. If you don’t mind splitting up from the rest of your group or you’re traveling alone, there is a single rider line. Otherwise, we recommend getting in line right away in the morning or saving it until the evening. 

Height Requirement: 48” (122cm) or taller

Slinky Dog Dash | Toy Story Land

Slinky Attraction Ride with Jessie and Rex

Slinky Dog Dash is the other roller coaster at Hollywood Studios. However, unlike Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Slinky Dog Dash was made with little ones in mind. That being said, this family coaster is a ton of fun. Like the Aerosmith roller coaster, Slinky Dog Dash starts with a launch – and then it tacks on another bonus launch halfway through. 

The whole ride was designed to feel like riding on an actual toy. Think, those little cars you need to wind up by pulling them back which jet off once you let them go. Except, this time you’ve shrunken down to the size of a toy and are riding on Slinky Dog as he loops his way around on a roller coaster built by Andy in his backyard. Aside from the family-friendly thrills, we love going on Slinky Dog Dash for its fun theming and views of the rest of Toy Story Land.  

Height Requirement: 38” (97cm) or taller

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance | Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Storm troopers inside a cargo bay

Ever dreamed you could join the battle between the Dark Side and the Force? On Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, declare your allegiance to the Resistance, then join them in an epic battle against the First Order through the bowels of a Star Destroyer. The ride drops you into the heart of the action, bringing you face-to-face with a platoon of stormtroopers and the newest Star Wars villain, Kylo Ren. 

This thrilling, immersive experience is like none other at Disney World, combining a dark ride, motion simulator, and Tower of Terror-like drop ride. Add in an incredibly detailed queue that’s like an attraction in and of itself and you’ve got one of the most impressive rides at Disney World.

Riding Rise of the Resistance takes some pre-planning as, currently, the only way to ride Rise of the Resistance is by getting a boarding group through the virtual queue on the My Disney Experience app. Learn how to secure your spot here.   

Height Requirement: 40” (102cm) or taller

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror | Toy Story Land

Hotel signage at night

Aside from The Twilight Zone, like many of the rides at Hollywood Studios, Tower of Terror is also inspired by a Disney movie, although it might not be one you’ve heard of before. Based on the Disney Channel Original Movie Tower of Terror (which, surprisingly, still isn’t available on Disney Plus), the attraction has you riding on an ill-fated elevator ride to The Tip Top Club of the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s 13th floor, only to come crashing down – safely, of course. 

With a shorter height requirement and more kid-friendly scares, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney World’s other major thrill ride, is fun for adrenaline junkies and families alike. The ride is split into two distinct parts: riding the elevator through the Hollywood Tower Hotel and the drop.

With a virtually unending combination of drops, Tower of Terror is unique each and every time you go on. Aside from the ride, the lobby part of the queue here is especially delightful, although clean freaks might wish they had brought their dust rags and brooms with them. 

Height Requirement: 40” (102cm) or taller

Toy Story Mania! | Toy Story Land

Toy Story Midway Mania Main Entrance

If the success of Magic Kingdom’s Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is any indication, Disney World guests love shooting game-style rides. Toy Story Mania! takes the concept and, as Walt used to say, pluses it, moving riders past a series of 4D scenes packed with moving targets. Here, guests are shrunken to the size of toys as they play through carnival midway games in Andy’s bedroom. 

Although the theming is definitely geared towards children, kids of all ages are sure to enjoy Toy Story Mania!, especially those with a competitive streak. Best of all, the queue is almost as entertaining to walk through as the ride itself, with larger-than-life details packed into every nook and cranny. It truly does feel like you’re an ant making your way through a kid’s messy room. 

Height Requirement: None

Other Hollywood Studios Rides & Attractions

Mickey and Minnie on a ballon

Although ride fiends might disagree with us, we think that Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers guests the perfect blend of attractions: thrill rides like Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, incredibly immersive and technologically impressive adventures like Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, kid-friendly experiences like Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania, and enough shows to get off your feet and bask in some air conditioning throughout the day. 

Is there as much to do here as Magic Kingdom or Epcot? Nope, but we don’t think that’s a bad thing. At one point in time, it was laughable to think that a full day was even necessary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now, there’s more than enough to keep you busy all day long – without the stress of FOMO that you get at Magic Kingdom. 

As family-friendly as Hollywood Studios is, keep in mind that there are a fair number of rides with minimum height requirements. However, the height restrictions tend to be in reach for many children, and there are also plenty of other rides and shows available that don’t have a height limit.

Mickey Mouse in a red sports car

Plus, even if there is a height requirement that one of their little ones can’t quite reach just yet, parents can simply use Disney’s Parent Swap (or Rider Switch) program where each parent is allowed to ride separately while the other waits back with the too-small child. Just tell the cast member you’d like to do a rider switch at the entrance to any ride with a height restriction. 

Aside from the various rides and shows at Hollywood Studios which feature Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars characters, you can also find some at meet-and-greets regularly all across the park. Mickey and Minnie make an appearance near Commissary Lane, while Disney Junior characters hang out near Disney Junior Play and Dance in the Animation Courtyard.

Star Wars characters – including BB-8, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader – hold meet-and-greets at Star Wars Launch Bay, while newer characters like Rey have been known to pop up around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Pixar characters also say hello to guests, with the Incredibles at Pixar Place and Sully at Walt Disney Presents. You might even catch a few other characters popping up throughout the day at other spots in the park. 

Alien Swirling Saucers | Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land Alien Swirling Saucers Green and Orange Entrance Sign

Alien Swirling Saucers is another ride over in Toy Story Land, this time inspired by the little green alien toys that worship The Claw machine from Pizza Planet. As you join your fellow “aliens” in trying to escape (be rescued by?) The Claw, you and your group will embark on a spinning ride similar to Magic Kingdom’s Mad Tea Party or the classic Scrambler carnival ride.  

Although it’s fun and the theming is cute, for us, this ride isn’t worth a long wait. So, keep that in mind while planning out your day and checking wait times on the app. Plus, those prone to motion sickness may want to give this a pass altogether. 

Height Restriction: 32” (81cm) or taller

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage | Sunset Boulevard

Painting of character in frame

Sit down, enjoy the shade, and rest your feet as you enjoy a tale as old as time in Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. Similar to Finding Nemo The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this Broadway-style musical brings the classic Disney movie to life with larger-than-life versions of beloved characters from the film and all your favorite Beauty and the Beast songs. Beauty and the Beast on Broadway this is not, however it is a lot of fun for kids and fans of the movie, as well as a lovely escape from the Florida sun. 

Height Restriction: None

Disney Movie Magic | Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Studios is home to not, not two, but three different projection shows. Talk about a wealth of nighttime entertainment choices! Disney Movie Magic lights up the Chinese Theatre with some of your favorite Disney film moments. Originally debuting in 2017, Disney Movie Magic was set to make its return to Hollywood Studios for a limited run on March 13, 2020, only to see the parks close. So, it remains to be seen how long it sticks around once nighttime spectaculars can return. 

Height Restriction: None

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration | Echo Lake

Elsa singing on stage with smoke

Let all your cares go as you sing along to the songs from everyone’s favorite film about sisterly love in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. As you could probably guess from the name of this attraction, this entire show is all about the music and story of Frozen, with two Arendelle “historians” as your guides.

For a movie that is as popular as Frozen is, the lines here can get long, although parents with young children who like to watch the movie or listen to the soundtrack on repeat will find it worthwhile. Others, probably not so much, unless you’re looking for some air conditioning and a comfy chair to rest for a bit. 

Height Restriction: None

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular | Echo Lake

Stunt show entrance sith signage

Feel the pressure that goes into stunt acting for action movies like the Indiana Jones franchise (or maybe that’s just the heat from all the pyrotechnics) in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. This long-running stage show gives an entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at making action films – with a humorous, self-deprecating twist.

The show was set to go dark between 2020 and 2021 to make room for improvements in time for the 50th Anniversary, so it remains to be seen whether that is still the timeline (and what the show will look like once it returns). Seriously though, those pyrotechnics are ridiculously hot, so sit further back if you get overheated easily. 

Height Restriction: None

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple | Echo Lake

Is there a little one in your family who is a massive Star Wars fan? Or, do you want them to live your galactic-fueled dreams? Then Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple is for them/you. This interactive show meets Star Wars character experience teaches younglings the ways of the Force, then puts their newfound knowledge to the test in a hands-on battle against the Dark Side. 

Participation in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple is first-come, first-served, with registration starting at park open at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost in between the 50’s Prime Time Café and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. In other words, if you know your kiddo will want to participate, a beeline there right away. And you can’t just send an adult to go there instead to register, as every child who wants to participate must be present to register.  

Height Restriction: None, but guests must be between 4 and 12 years old

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy | Sunset Boulevard

Lightning McQueen Racing Academy Logo

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is a new show featuring the cast of Cars and starring a super-cool audio-animatronic version of the racecar himself. He serves as your host and guide during this highly choreographed show that’s more like a supercharged version of Epcot’s Circle-Vision films than the park’s Turtle Talk With Crush. That being said, the graphics and technology being used here are truly impressive, making this an enjoyable stop for both kids and adults. 

Height Restriction: None

Muppet*Vision 3D| Grand Avenue

Muppet Vision Camera Equipment

Muppet*Vision 3D is another classic Hollywood Studios attraction. In fact, despite the seemingly kid-focused theming, this is one Hollywood Studios show that adults may actually appreciate more than the kids. Muppet*Vision 3D is more 4D than the name lets on, with bubbles, piped-in scents, audio-animatronics, and even an appearance by Sweetums the Muppet. Sure, the attraction could use some updating, but the line here is typically short (or non-existent), the jokes and gags are funny no matter what age you are, the seats are cushy, and there’s air conditioning. Really, what more could you ask for?

Height Restriction: None

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue | Echo Lake

AT AT Walker in trees

The first of the Star Wars rides at Hollywood Studios, Star Tours is a 3D trip through the universe on a motion flight simulator. What begins as a leisurely guided tour through the galaxy turns into chaos when hapless droid C-3PO accidentally gets stuck behind the wheel, only to find himself and everyone else on Star Tours being recruited into the Resistance.

With a randomized sequence of scenes, Star Tours can be ridden over and over again for a unique experience almost every time. Plus, with a mix of worlds and characters from across the Star Wars film franchise, this fun-filled ride will have old and new Star Wars fans alike on the edge of their seats, literally. 

Height Restriction: 40” (102cm) or taller

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular | Hollywood Boulevard

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is another of Hollywood Studios’s nighttime spectaculars. Like the park’s other projection shows over the Chinese Theatre, this musical extravaganza features fireworks, lasers, pyrotechnics, and colorful projections – all set to an exciting soundtrack by John Williams. Also like the other projection shows, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is only held on certain nights of the week, so plan accordingly if this is a must for you. 

Height Restriction: None

Star Wars Launch Bay | Animation Courtyard

Guests in line outside of Rise of the Resistance

Get up-close-and-personal one-of-a-kind Star Wars memorabilia at Star Wars Launch Bay. Here, guests can peruse an impressive collection of costumes, scale models, concept artwork, and authentic movie props and watch a short documentary about the making of Star Wars. This is also where the park’s Star Wars character meet-and-greets are held including Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and BB-8.

Height Restriction: None

Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Animation Courtyard

Ariel and Little Mermaid characters on building

Take a trip under the sea during Voyage of the Little Mermaid, another one of several Hollywood Studios shows. Aside from Ariel and Prince Eric, the rest of the characters in this live show are played by puppets. Unlike Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid is completely inside, or, in other words, blissfully air-conditioned. Plus, with all the songs from the beloved animated musical, we dare you to not hum along. Quietly, of course. 

Height Restriction: None

Walt Disney Presents | Animation Courtyard

Formerly called One Man’s Dream, Walt Disney Presents is like a miniature Disney museum packed with some incredible artifacts from Walt’s journey to becoming the visionary we recognize him as today. Once you’ve finished perusing the gallery, sit down for a short documentary on the original Disney legend himself, with clips of historical footage, home videos rarely seen by the public, and more. While kids might find Walt Disney Presents a bit dry and boring, adults will be fascinated and Disney fanatics will be in heaven. 

Height Restriction: None

Wonderful World of Animation | Hollywood Boulevard

Mickey projection on building

Wonderful World of Animation is the final projection show at Hollywood Studios, and we kinda mean that in more ways than one. The show was meant to be replaced by Disney Movie Magic when it made its re-debut on March 13, 2020 – except, you know, a pandemic happened. Since it’s still showing up on the Disney website and My Disney Experience app, we’re not too sure if that will still be the case whenever nighttime spectaculars resume.

If it does stick around for a while longer, you can look forward to the Chinese Theatre lit up by over 90 years of animated moments from rare, classic, and new Disney and Pixar films. Like many of Disney World’s nightly shows, each of the show’s movements has a theme, such as family or friendship, illustrated by clips from Coco, Sleeping Beauty, The Incredibles, and that’s just to name a few. 

Height Restriction: None

Well, that wraps up our guide to all the Hollywood Studios rides, shows, and other attractions. Not sure how to cram everything into a day? Hack your trip to Hollywood Studios with our 1-Day Hollywood Studios Plan. And for those of you wondering how to save some cash on your upcoming Disney vacation, you won’t want to miss our discount Disney tickets.

What are your top rides at Hollywood Studios? Do you prefer the thrills of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, the immersive design of Rise of the Resistance, or the kid-friendly twists and turns of the Slinky Dog Dash? What new rides would you like to see Disney build at Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments!

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