Hollywood Studios was the third park built at Walt Disney World, opening as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 (it was renamed Hollywood Studios in 2008). It is an ode to movies, which, in a way, is why some of the park can feel a little mish-mashed. But from the Big Band Disney hits at the entrance (seriously, I’m listening to the soundtrack on YouTube as I type this) to the fantastic shows to some of the newest technology in rides, Hollywood Studios has quickly become a must-do park at Disney World. And here’s our complete Hollywood Studios guide!

Getting to Hollywood Studios

Depending on where you are staying, you can get to Hollywood Studios in a variety of ways. Let’s break them down!

Taking a Bus to Hollywood Studios

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you will be able to take a bus to Hollywood Studios. Check the bus schedule at your resort and/or at your resort’s bus stop. Buses run regularly before park open and after park close (but times can vary, so double check). If you are staying at a resort, you should also be able to check the bus schedule on the My Disney Experience app.

Check out other transportation options though, because there might actually be a faster way to get there depending on your resort.

Taking the Skyliner

If you are staying at certain Disney resorts, you can take the Disney Skyliner.

If you are staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you can take a Skyliner gondola directly to Hollywood Studios.

Guests staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort, Art of Animation Resort, or Pop Century Resort, can also take the Skyliner, but will have to change gondolas at Caribbean Beach.

Taking a Boat to Hollywood Studios

Resorts close to Hollywood Studios offer transportation via Friendship Boat. The Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and the Swan and Dolphin Resort all have accessible Friendship Boat stations. Note that depending on which station you use, you may have stops at other stations before you get to Hollywood Studios.

Walking to Hollywood Studios

If you are staying in a resort close to Hollywood Studios, you can walk to the park. Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, and Swan and Dolphin all have walking paths you can use to get to Hollywood Studios.

Note that these walks can take a bit of time though — about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your resort.

Driving to Hollywood Studios

Driving to Hollywood Studios is of course also an option. If you are staying at a resort, you will not have to pay for parking at the park (though you will be charged for parking at your resort). Annual passholders also do not have to pay for parking.

If you are a day guest with a regular ticket though, you will be charged $25 for a day of parking.

Getting Around Hollywood Studios

Walk, walk and walk some more. Hollywood Studios is actually the only park that has zero transportation within the park (Magic Kingdom has the train and Main Street vehicles, Epcot has the Friendship boats, and even Animal Kingdom has the train that takes you to Conservation Station).

Luckily though, Hollywood Studios is also the smallest park space-wise, so you will probably still find yourself logging less steps than you will in other parks.

Guide to Hollywood Studios Rides & Attractions

Hollywood Studios is a celebration of the magic of movie making. In recent years it has seen several expansions aimed at attracting more crowds to the park (and away from the sometimes overcrowded other parks). As a result, Hollywood Studios now has some of the most popular attractions on property, making it even more crowded and one of the harder parks to get a Park Pass Reservation for.

Let’s break the park down into sections, with a list of the attractions you’ll find in each one.

Hollywood Boulevard

You’ll enter the park on Hollywood Boulevard, a street lined with shops and restaurants that leads to the Chinese Theater. The Chinese Theater is where you’ll find Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the park’s newest attraction — a dark, trackless, family-friendly ride.

Hollywood Boulevard Rides & Attractions

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Sunset Boulevard

Turning right off of the middle of Hollywood Boulevard will lead you down Sunset Boulevard, another stretch lined with shops and restaurants, ending with some of the park’s headliner attractions.

Sunset Boulevard Rides & Attractions

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic! (nighttime show, currently closed)
  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (show)

Echo Lake

The center lake and area around it in Hollywood Studios is known as Echo Lake (and is notable for its giant dinosaur: Gertie).

Echo Lake Rides & Attractions

  • Star Tours — The Adventure Continues
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (live show, currently closed)
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! (stunt show, returning Dec. 19, 2021)
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (show)

Animation Courtyard

Animation Courtyard is located north of the Chinese Theater before you walk back to Toy Story Land. Here is where you’ll find several character meet and greets, notably Disney Junior and Star Wars characters.

Animation Courtyard Attractions

  • Disney Junior Play and Dance!
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid (stage show, currently closed)
  • Walt Disney Presents (museum and meet and greet combo, currently closed)

Commissary Lane

Commissary Lane is a street behind the Echo Lake section of the park. This is a small street that mostly has a couple restaurants, but there is a Minnie and Mickey meet and greet.

Commissary Lane Attractions

  • Mickey and Minnie in Red Carpet Dreams (currently just Minnie is available).

Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue is located between Star Tours and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is is home of The Muppets! It’s a small area of the park, but if you are a Muppets lover, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Grand Avenue Attractions

  • Muppet*Vision 3D (show)

Pixar Place (Municiberg)

Pixar Place is a small area of Hollywood Studios located just before you get to Toy Story Land. Before Toy Story Land opened, the entrance for Toy Story Mania was located here. Now though it is where you can spot The Incredibles and find Jack Jack Num Num Cookies.

There are no rides or attractions in Pixar Place. Also note that sometimes this area of the park is called Municiberg (because of the sole presence of The Incredibles right now), but on the Disney map it still shows up as Pixar Place (so that’s what we’re going with for now).

Toy Story Land

Entrance to Toy Story Land in the dark

Opened in 2018, Toy Story Land puts you in Andy’s back yard and makes you feel like you are the size of a toy. This popular area of the park is often crowded and it has very little shade, so be aware.

Toy Story Land Rides and Attractions

  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Alien Swirling Saucers

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the newest addition to the park, opened in 2019. Here you’ll find yourself on the planet of Batuu, where you might just meet Rey and Chewie, or come across the dark side. Storm Troopers regularly patrol the area and are some of the most immersive character interactions in all the parks.

Also, use your phone as a datapad to decipher the language of Batuu. Use the Play Disney Parks app to decode the messages on various signs throughout the land.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Rides and Attractions

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Cinderella Castle -- Happily Ever After

Plan the most magical trip with our guide: How to Plan a Trip to Disney World!

How to Use Genie+ at Hollywood Studios

What is Genie+?

Genie+ is a new system that has replaced Fastpass+. It essentially gives you Fastpass access (now called Lightning Lane), but it costs $15 per day per ticket. There are also Individual Lightning Lanes that cost a separate fee (usually between $7 at $15) for premium attractions.

Note that aside from rides with Virtual Boarding Groups (right now, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot) you DO NOT have to purchase Genie+. Standby lines are still available as usual.

Also note that you can choose to purchase Individual Lightning Lanes for select rides without purchasing Genie+.

To use Genie+ you will book your first Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. the morning of your visit. After that, you can book your next Lightning Lane either 2 hours after park open (or during the day, 2 hours after you book a previous one) OR when you scan into your first Lightning Lane ride.

If you want to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane, you can do so at park open (or at 7 a.m. if you are a resort guest).

Also, don’t get Genie+ confused with Genie, which is a new free service in the Disney World app that can help you plan your day and book dining.

Using Genie+ in Hollywood Studios

Our first tip for using Genie+ in Hollywood Studios is to get in the app and play with it before you trip. You can go to “My Day” and then the “Tip Board” in the app and see what rides are available at each park, how long the wait times are, and what Lightning Lanes are available to book throughout the day. This will give you a good idea of what to expect.

It’s also helpful to know which rides in the park will have the most demand and which of those have Genie+ Lightning Lane access vs. Individual Lightning Lane Access (available for purchase).

Here are the rides and attractions that have Lightning Lane access in Hollywood Studios (an asterisk indicate a popular line with pretty consistently high wait time):

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty & The Beach Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play and Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster*
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
  • Slinky Dog Dash*
  • Toy Story Mania*
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror*

Here are the premium rides that would require an Individual Lightning Lane Purchase (but remember, standby is still a free option):

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

A few things we’ve noticed about Lightning Lane and Genie+ at Hollywood Studios:

  • Slinky Dog Dash Lightning Lane goes FAST. If this is an important ride to you, book it first!
  • The Individual Lightning Lane Purchase for Rise of the Resistance also goes fast. So book this first thing in the morning as well. (You can purchase these extra rides without it impacting your regular Lightning Lane bookings.)

There is still a lot to learn about Genie+ and Lightning Lane, but if I were planning a day at Hollywood Studios using Genie+, I would book my first Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash. Then I would rope drop (i.e. ride first thing in the morning when the park opens) either a paid Lightning Lane ride or another popular ride that’s important to me.

If both paid attractions are important to you, I would also consider purchasing at least one individual Lightning Lane if you don’t want to wait in line.

Do I Need Genie+ at Hollywood Studios?

Honestly, I would say the verdict is still out here. Hollywood Studios is a smaller park, which means there is not as much to do, but it can also mean that for those few rides there are, the wait times can get high. But out of all four Disney World Park, I’d say this is second behind Magic Kingdom as far as the necessity of Genie+ goes.

Whether or not you purchase Genie+ in Hollywood Studios is going to depend on what rides you want to do, how crowded the park is when you are there, and how long you plan to spend in the park. If you are someone who goes to Disney World frequently, and doesn’t mind missing out on some of the rides now and then, I wouldn’t stress about getting Genie+. But if you are taking a big once-in-a-lifetime trip, I would definitely consider it.

If you plan to visit Hollywood Studios without Genie+, be sure to arrive early in the morning and try to hit a couple of the most popular attractions within the first hour of the park being open. I’d try to hit Slinky Dog, Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway, or Rise of the Resistance depending on what your “must-dos” are.

Also remember that Hollywood Studios has a couple rides with single rider lines (Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run), so if your party is okay with being split up, take advantage of these for shorter wait times.

Where to Meet Characters at Hollywood Studios

COVID-19 Note: Character meet and greets have been suspended for awhile now, but in Fall 2021, some began returning. Right now you can meet Minnie Mouse at her location in Commissary Lane and some of the Disney Junior characters in Animation Courtyard.

There are tons of characters you can meet in Hollywood Studios, and many of them are characters you can ONLY meet in Hollywood Studios, like Star Wars characters and Disney Junior characters.

Let’s break down each area of the park with the characters you can generally meet there. Note that this can be subject to change. Below you’ll find information on character cavalcades, but we’ve also included the regular meet and greets because we do hope to see more of them return in the future.

Character Cavalcades

Character cavalcades are small parades that take place throughout the day with a handful of characters. This is a great way to see popular characters, especially as we wait for more traditional meet and greets to return. There are two main character motorcades in Hollywood Studios:

  • Mickey and Friends including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Chip and Dale.
  • Pixar Pals including Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, Green Army Men, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, and Edna Mode.

All three character cavalcades take place at the front of the park and travel down Hollywood Boulevard.

Hollywood Studios Character Meals

Currently, Hollywood & Vine is offering character dining. For breakfast you can meet Disney Junior characters at the Disney Junior Play n’ Dine. You can see Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vamparina, and Goofy.

Lunch and Dinner are Minnie’s Seasonal Dining, where you can see Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy in seasonal outfits.

Currently character meals are modified, meaning you have to stay in your seat when interacting with the characters from a distance, and characters are not signing autographs.

Hollywood Studios Character Meet and Greets

Currently, Minnie Mouse in Red Carpet Dreams and the Disney Junior Characters in Animation Courtyard are the only available meet and greets. Note that meet and greets are also currently modified. Autographs are not being offered and photographers are not available. So have those selfie cameras ready!

But you never know what other characters might pop up throughout the park, so keep your eyes open!

Hollywood Boulevard Characters

Sometimes near the entrance of the park you can meet classic Disney characters. Usually these are Daisy and Donald or Chip n’ Dale.

Sunset Boulevard Characters

At the end of Sunset Boulevard, you can see characters from Cars outside Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. These characters include Cruz Ramirez and DJ.

Echo Lake Characters

In Echo Lake, across from Backlot Express, you’ll find Celebrity Spotlight. This is where you can meet Olaf from Frozen. This is the only place you can meet Olaf in Disney World! (This meet and greet is currently unavailable.)

Animation Courtyard Characters

Animation Courtyard is the biggest place to meet characters in Hollywood Studios, and has characters you won’t find in any other Disney World parks.

Here you’ll find Disney Junior characters like Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and Fancy Nancy in outdoor meet and greets (plus see Disney Junior Characters at Disney Junior Dance and Play!). You’ll also often find Pluto near the Disney Junior characters.

Animation Courtyard is also home to the Star Wars Launch Bay, where you can meet BB-8, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and sometimes Kylo Ren. (Currently unavailable, but check out Galaxy’s Edge for Star Wars characters.)

You’ll also find Walt Disney Presents here, which is where you can meet Mike Wazowski and Sully from Monsters, Inc. (Currently unavailable.)

Commissary Lane Characters

Commissary Lane is where you can meet Mickey and Minnie. Their meet and greet is called Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams and you’ll see Minnie in her Hollywood dress and Mickey in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice outfit. (Currently, only Minnie is available to meet.)

Pixar Place (Municiberg) Characters

Pixar Place is where you can meet characters from The Incredibles. Usually this will include Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Edna Mode, and Frozone; but be sure to check your My Disney Experience app for more details. (Currently you can catch some of these characters in the Pixar cavalcade instead.)

Toy Story Land Characters

Toy Story Land is of course where you can meet the characters from Toy Story! These will include Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep, and Jessie. Plus you can catch the Green Army Men marching! (These meet and greets are currently unavailable.)

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Characters

There aren’t actually character meet and greets in Galaxy’s Edge, but there are still plenty of characters to see! Chewie and Rey are often out trying to outwit the First Order, Storm Troopers are constantly patrolling, and Kylo Ren makes regular appearances.

Storm Troopers Question Disney Guests

Hollywood Studios Outdoor Entertainment

Note: Currently Wonderful World of Animation is the only nighttime show running.

Hollywood Studios has some great nighttime entertainment events, most notably the popular Fantasmic! — one of the most popular shows on property.

Disney Movie Magic takes place on Hollywood Boulevard and features projected movie moments on the Chinese Theater.

Wonderful World of Animation takes place on Hollywood Boulevard and highlights Disney animation through projections on the Chinese Theater.

Fantasmic! is the classic nighttime show at Hollywood Studios. It has been running since 1992! You can see it in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, which is located behind Tower of Terror. Take the path between Beauty and Beast and Tower of Terror and it will lead you to Fantasmic! Make sure you get there early — this is a popular show and it will be returning in 2022!

Hollywood Studios Dining Guide

Hollywood Studios hasn’t always had the strongest dining options, but some recent additions and menu overhauls have really improved thing. In this Hollywood Studios guide, let’s break things down land by land and discuss Table Service, Quick Service, and Snack Quick Service locations in each area.

Also keep your eye peeled for other snack booths throughout the park. In addition to the main locations listed below, you’ll find other kiosks offering ice cream, popcorn, pretzels, and more.

COVID-19 Note: Not all dining locations are currently open. Check for closures before you go.

Hollywood Boulevard Dining

  • The Trolley Car Cafe — Quick Service — the Starbucks location in Hollywood Studios, also offering cupcakes and pastries.

Sunset Boulevard Dining

  • Fairfax Fare — Quick Service location offering tex-mex cuisine.
  • Anaheim Produce — Quick Service Snack location with fresh fruit and veggies, plus Mickey pretzels.

Echo Lake Dining

  • Hollywood & Vine — Table Service restaurant offering American cuisine. This is also the only location for character dining in Hollywood Studios, with Disney Junior breakfasts and Minnie and friends lunches and dinners.
  • Tune-In Lounge is connected to 50’s Prime Time Cafe and offers drinks plus the same menu as 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
  • Backlot Express — Quick Service location offering burgers and sandwiches.
  • Dockside Diner — Quick Service located at the ship on Echo Lake, mainly offering hot dogs.
  • Epic Eats — Quick Service Snack location with funnel cakes and ice cream.

Commissary Lane Dining

  • ABC Commissary — Quick Service restaurant with American and global cuisine.

Grand Avenue Dining

  • PizzeRizzo — Quick Service location offering Rizzo the Rat’s pizza. It is usually only opened seasonally or when crowds are high.

Pixar Place Dining

  • Market — Quick Service Snack booth offering Mickey pretzels and churros. (Currently offering Jack Jack Num Num Cookies while Neighborhood Bakery is closed)
  • Neighborhood Bakery — Quick Service Snack location. This is where you can find the Jack Jack Num Num Cookie.
Jack Jack Num Num Cookie

Toy Story Land Dining

  • Woody’s Lunch Box — Quick Service location with sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Plus they are open for breakfast, with some of the favorite breakfast food on property.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Dining

  • Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo — Quick Service restaurant open for lunch and dinner. They offer cuisine from Batuu (really American food with a bit of a twist and a creative name.)
  • Ronto Roasters — Quick Service location known for Ronto Wraps (made with pork sausage). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Oga’s Cantina — Bar/Lounge with Star Wars themed cocktails and mocktails. You will definitely want a reservation for this popular place!
  • Milk Stand — Quick Service Snack location where you can get the famous blue and green milk.

Special Events at Hollywood Studios

Currently no special events are being offered at Hollywood Studios, and once we are through COVID-19 it will be interesting to see what, if any, special events return. Here’s a list of what has previously been offered, which might give us some idea of what could be offered in the future.

Early Morning Magic in Toy Story Land — a special ticketed event offered on certain days before park opening. You could ride Toy Story Land rides with low waits and then have a provided breakfast.

Disney After Hours — a special ticketed event that allows guest to stay in the park after closing with certain attraction open with low wait times.

Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebrations at Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has joined in the celebration of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary with some special features:

  • The Hollywood Tower Hotel has special lights to match the “EARidescent” theme of the celebration.
  • Fab 50 Character Statues — The four parks, including Hollywood Studios, have golden character statues scattered throughout the park.

Hollywood Studios Current Closures and Upcoming Attractions

There are currently no refurbishment closures at Hollywood Studios. Although COVID-19 has caused some shows and character meet and greets to be temporarily suspended.

Coming Soon: Roundup Rodeo BBQ — This Table Service restaurant will be opening in Toy Story Land. No official date has been given, as it was delayed from 2020.

Hollywood Studios Tips and Tricks

  • When Tower of Terror shows a 13 minute wait, that actually means it is a 0 minute wait!
  • Take advantage of single rider lines! There are two rides with single rider lines (Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Smugglers Run) in Hollywood Studios, which can save you a lot of queuing time if your party is willing to be split up.
  • Don’t forget about rider switch! Hollywood Studios has a pretty big proportion of rides meant to appeal to older kids and adults, so don’t hesitate to use rider switch if you need it! (With rider swap one adult can wait with the child while the rest of the party waits in line; then the adult who was with the child can ride the ride through the Lightning Lane.)

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