From our newest contributor, Modern Boca DISNEY Mom!
When I was a young girl, and Disney Hollywood Studios was still MGM, it was my favorite park at Walt Disney World.
I know, weird, right?
It wasn’t the most exciting park, although The Tower of Terror will surely knock your socks off. But, there was something about the glamour and nostalgia of Old Hollywood, the magic of filmmaking, and the homage to a time when my grandparents were still youthful that appealed so much to me. The old black & white movies, 1920’s fashions, and fantasizing about what Sunset Blvd. was like during the Classic Hollywood era are the reasons why I moved to Hollywood after college to work in the Movies. Disney Hollywood Studios made that tangible, even if it was made of the same facade as the New York City Streets on any backlot.
There is something that happens when you work in the movie industry though. After a while, the sparkle goes away. You can’t help but think about the process, the behind the scenes, and the reality of the illusion, rather than get captured up in the bright lights and shimmer that makes the Magic. And, Disney is all about the Magic!
I guess you can say that I came home from California a little bit jaded.
And even years after leaving Hollywood, the dimmer was still on in those first few trips back to now, Hollywood Studios. It went from being my favorite of all the parks to my least favorite at Disney World. I didn’t think that way about the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom. It was only Hollywood Studios that I found boring.
This was probably because we weren’t watching a ton of Disney Junior quite yet, and Sophia The First had just premiered (truth be told, I probably like Sophia as much as my daughter). The Tower of Terror and Rock’n’Roll Rollercoaster were too old for my infant and toddler. American Idol was not a draw for me. The kids didn’t have the attention span for MuppetVision. There just didn’t seem to be a lot of age-appropriate activities or interests for us to explore. And, walking down Sunset Blvd. or being on the backlot wasn’t exciting for me in the least, when the real thing was my reality every day for years.
Now, you might be inclined (or not) to say “Let It Go”, and I am happy to report that I have!
I am singing a different tune (just not the one above)! My kids are a bit older (ages 2 and 3) and it’s been many years since I lived in Los Angeles, and I might even go as far as to say I am nostalgic for the City of Angels from time to time. So, my eyes are opening up to the amount of sites that there are to see, for all ages, at Hollywood Studios.
Disney is making some really smart changes, capitalizing on the popularity of Frozen and Star Wars, ditching the American Idol attraction and Indiana Jones (for the record, I was always a fan of “Indie”). They are obviously making room for some new permanent attractions, and by next year I wouldn’t be surprised if MGM…I mean, Hollywood Studios, competes with being one of my favorites!
Our Current Favorite Attractions at Hollywood Studios:
- New Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Snowground – Get all your Frozen needs at the Trading Post and then build a snow castle at the Snowground. For my Floridian children, playing in the snow is a super treat!
- Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure – Classic! Kids can run around the play area as if they are the size of a bug. Run through giant blades of grass, slide on a film strip (would they even know what that is?), sit on a bumble bee and ant bigger than they are, and go through huge root tunnels. Awesome!
- Beauty and The Beast – I just love the costumes and dancing of the live version from Belle and Beast in the faux Hollywood Bowl.
- Disney Junior – Any little fans of Disney Junior will love seeing Mickey and the Gang up on stage with Jake and The Neverland Pirates, Sophia the First, and Doc McStuffins.
- Hollywood & Vine Character Breakfast and Lunch with Disney Junior – Good food, and you get to dance with Jake, Doc, and Sophia.
- Star Tours – A little too rough for the kids, but the galaxy fighting simulation is great fun for me and my husband.
- Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights – If you are at Disney during the holidays, don’t miss the coordinating Holiday lights on the New York City streets of Hollywood Studios.
Attractions We Look Forward To:
- Toy Story Mania – This 4D shooting game is probably the most popular ride at the park. You need to get to the park at opening and make a beeline for this ride or get a FastPass. I am going to prioritize this one the next time we go.
- Fantasmic! – This firework and light show are supposed to be…well…fantastic! We never stay at the park late enough to attend, but its on our list next trip. I think we will do a FastPass for this one. There is a Dining Package that you can book for priority seating options as well.
Rumor Has It:
- Cars Land – My Kids would flip! They have seen video of Cars Land in Disneyland’s California Adventure and ask to go all the time. Too bad we live not the opposite Coast. There is a lot of inventory with the closing to The Backlot Tour, so it would just make sense to bring a Cars ride, let alone Land to Disney World.
- More Star Wars – You know Star Wars fans would flock to Hollywood Studios with more Star Wars attractions, so why wouldn’t they expand the already popular Star Tours and Jedi Training Academy?
- Frozen – I think it is safe to say that this summer’s Frozen themed ice skating rink and sing-along was a big draw for Hollywood Studios. I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney creates another Frozen attraction with all the changes being made at Hollywood Studios.
Regardless of what Disney has in the blueprints for Hollywood Studios, they are on point with the changes being made, and I am excited to see what they are building. With fresh rides and shows, we look forward to visiting Hollywood Studios a lot more in the future!
Casey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins, she runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.