Can Disney’s Hollywood Studios become Disney World’s second favorite theme park?


Disney’s Hollywood Studios previously was a half-day theme park, at best. With all the new additions, could it become Disney World’s second favorite theme park?

As the pixie dust settles around Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the crowds gather, the former small theme park is finding its spot in the Walt Disney World area. Often considered just a half-day theme park, all the new expansion at this theme park has greatly expanded its footprint. Can all these additions make it Disney World’s second favorite theme park?

Nestled in the Walt Disney World area are four theme parks and two water parks. While almost everyone will agree that Magic Kingdom is the most popular theme park, the other three Disney theme parks have varying popularity. Which one can become the second favorite theme park?

Although Epcot is the destination for eating and drinking, it doesn’t quite have the pull for younger guests. Besides the Frozen ride, Soaring and Test Track, the thrills are few and far between. Having celebrated over 35 years, some parts of the theme park are a little dated. Of course, it can be quite fun to eat and drink around the world, the Future World area isn’t necessarily so futuristic. While the addition of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride will help, this theme park is more geared toward the food/drink fan.

Animal Kingdom saw crowds soar with the addition of the Pandora area. Although some aspects of this area are unusual, the Banshee ride is stellar. Even a year after its opening, people are willing to wait hours to enjoy the short experience. Anyone who can get a Fast Pass should definitely reserve it and, if you are willing to wait, the ride is definitely a thrilling adventure.

Pandora at Animal Kingdom, photo by Cristine Struble

Of course, the real reason to visit this theme park is the animals. Even if you don’t go on a safari, just walking through the regions is educational and entertaining. Still, this Disney theme park isn’t necessarily a full day experience. The Dinoland area is a little boring and Mount Everest is the only roller coaster. Personally, I like going either first thing in the morning when the animals are more visible during safari or later in the evening to see the evening show. A full day at this park can get a little long.

Hollywood Studios is the Disney theme park with the most renovation. The recent opening of Toy Story Land is just the first of many additions to the theme park. During the opening day celebration, Disney announced two new expansion rides for the theme park. First, Hollywood Studios will get a Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.

The Cars themed attraction will be located in the Sunset Showcase, near the Sunset Boulevard area. The ride is said to be more of an experience, not an actual racing ride. It is unusual that Walt Disney World doesn’t have more Cars related attractions. In California, those theme parks have Cars related areas. The popularity of those Pixar movies are huge. It would make sense that more Cars related attractions should be available in Hollywood Studios.

Also, during the Toy Story Land opening, Disney announced additional details on the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Taking over the area that was formerly the Great Movie Ride, this ride will be a journey with Mickey and Minnie through somehair-raisingg adventures. The ride is said to use 2.5D technology, which is like having 3D like effects without using 3D glasses (similar to the effects seen in Universal’s Fast and Furious Ride).

Guests at DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios can go to infinity and beyond in Toy Story Land. The immersive 11-acre land takes guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard, where they will feel like they are the size of Green Army Men surrounded by other toys. Guests can whoosh along on the family-friendly roller coaster, Slinky Dog Dash, take a spin aboard Alien Swirling Saucers and try for the high score on Toy Story Mania! (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

This ride is a nod to classic Disney fans. It is nice to see a ride that embraces Mickey, Minnie and their friends. While it will use modern technology, it is something that old and young and can appreciate. After all, isn’t Mickey the reason that all these theme parks exist?

The big expansion of Hollywood Studios definitely could definitely push this theme park to the second most popular Disney World theme park. Even before the opening of next year’s Star Wars Land, the theme park has many experiences for the whole family.

Previously, Hollywood Studios was at best a half-day park. Sure, people like Tower of Terror and kids loved Jedi training. After those experiences, the rides and character meet and greets get a little boring. Plus, some people just don’t like watching shows or sing-alongs.

With Toy Story Land, the new Cars experience and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Ride, guests have all types of experiences to enjoy. Add those items into the nighttime shows and this park becomes a full day experience. The only thing that could make this park better would be more dining options.

Although I love eating and drinking my way around Epcot, Hollywood Studios is no longer the forgotten Disney theme park in my book. Even before Star Wars Land makes it the busiest theme park, I am willing to visit more frequently to experience that Hollywood influence magic.

Next: 5 ways to pass the time waiting in a queue at Toy Story Land

Which Disney theme park is your favorite? Do you have a great tip for visiting Disney?