Some people feel that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a half-day park because it doesn’t have as many thrill rides as the other parks, but there are so many exciting things to do and see at this park. Here are 10 tips and secrets to help you enjoy your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
10. The Writer’s Stop
The Writer’s Stop is part coffee shop and part retail store. It’s tucked into a corner on the Streets of America and has the feel of being a hidden gem in Hollywood Studios. It’s usually on the quiet side, and is the perfect place to stop and refuel with a drink and a decadent carrot cake cookie.
9. Toy Story Midway Mania
Toy Story Mania has a lot of repeat rider appeal and part of that is due to the need to get a better score with each ride. There are secret targets at each game screen that can really boost your score. The trick is to know what to look for and when. For example on the first screen, Hamm & Eggs, if you continue to hit the cat target, the points value will eventually reach 2000! It’s also a good idea to keep hitting the mice outside the barn, and if you are persistent, the barn will become covered with mice also worth 2000 points. On the Buzz Flying Tossers screen, keep an eye out at the top of the screen for the alien worth 5000 points that occasionally pops up!
8. Fantasmic Dining Package
The Fantasmic Dining Package is something worth taking advantage of when visiting Hollywood Studios. It requires a reservation, so a little bit of planning is necessary. You can dine at Hollywood and Vine, The Brown Derby or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. You can have lunch or dinner with the package and that includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert, non-alcoholic beverage and a VIP seating voucher for Fantasmic per person. If you are already on a dining plan with Disney, but you happen to have the regular dining plan which includes one entrée, dessert and a beverage per table service experience, this is a great option because you’ll get an appetizer as part of the Fantasmic Dining Package at no extra cost.
7. Hidden Mickeys and Friends in The Great Movie Ride
While riding the Great Movie Ride take the opportunity when the vehicle stops in the Egyptian scene to look at the hieroglyphs on the wall to your left. There are a couple of hidden Disney images. There is a hidden classic Mickey, but a little more obvious is the hieroglyph of Donald Duck and Mickey. It is towards the corner of the wall, and Mickey is sitting on a throne and Donald is serving him. Just above eye level, there is also a hidden R2-D2 and C-3PO in the hieroglyphs. You may even have time to snap a picture if you’re quick.
6. Tower of Terror
If you are a thrill seeker, this is a must do. The Tower of Terror delivers not only some of the best thrills on Disney property but also some of the best theming. Imagineers watched every episode of The Twilight Zone when creating this attraction and have incorporated aspects of episodes into the hotel. This attraction is worth getting a FastPass+ for as wait times are lengthy more often than not. It’s also worth riding at least twice, since the drop sequences vary, so you never know what to expect. Also, take a close look at the toy the little girl is holding in the pre-ride story, it just happens to be a Mickey Mouse stuffed toy.
5. Citizens of Hollywood
When strolling down Hollywood Boulevard keep an eye out for people who look like they’ve stepped out of a film from the 1940’s. These are the talented Citizens of Hollywood and they perform interactive improvised skits with guests. They are entertaining, funny and totally unique. These performers never break character and offer a very memorable experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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4. Stars Wars Photo Op
Star Wars is coming to Hollywood Studios in a big way, but there’s something that has been there for a long time that is a fun photo op for Star Wars fans. Across the walkway from the Star Wars store, Tatoonie Traders, there is a speeder bike set amongst some trees. Guests are welcome to hop on the speeder bike and snap a photo.
3. Green Army Men
Every so often the green army men from the Toy Story movies make an appearance in Pixar Place. They’re unscheduled, but they come out multiple times throughout the day and they are always happy to have their picture taken with you.
2. 13 Minutes
When it comes to the Tower of Terror, 13 is a lucky number. If you happen to notice that there is a 13 minute wait to ride the Tower of Terror, it actually means there is no wait time for the ride, so you can most likely walk right on. So if you’re a thrill seeker, keep a look out for lucky number 13!
1. Character Palooza
Character Palooza is an unofficial and unscheduled meet and greet of 5-10 random characters that appear in the finale of Fantasmic. They happen throughout the day between the hours of 4pm and 7pm, at different locations throughout the park. The meet and greets last about 20 minutes and only take place on the days when Fantasmic has a show (which is typically each night). Cast members tend not to acknowledge that this meet and greet exists, and the change of the location and characters that appear all add to the sense of magic and surprise of this event. So while it seems elusive, Character Palooza does happen, and hopefully one day we’re all lucky enough to experience it.