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Starting on August 29th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is set to make a major shift, going from what has been the most overlooked park at Walt Disney World to quite possibly the most popular, all thanks to the new land Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
There’s no question that the crowds at Galaxy’s Edge are going to be extreme. However, if you’re going to be visiting Walt Disney World and you’re not a serious Star Wars fan, or just want to avoid the sure-to-be massive crowds, there may actually be no better time to hit Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With the crowds so focused on Galaxy’s Edge it’s possible that lines for everything else could be quite short, making the rest of the park a lot of fun. Hopefully.
Here’s everything you won’t want to miss at Disney’s Hollywood Studios outside of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Toy Story Land
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been undergoing a lot of changes over the last few years as the park continues to try and find its voice. This is why, prior to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the previous major addition to Walt Disney World was also at DHS, Toy Story Land.
The longest wait times in the park can be found at the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster right now, but that’s sure to change once Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run becomes an option. The Alien Swirling Saucers attraction is also a lot of fun and with it's minor (32") height requirement, it's one of the most exciting rides that even small children can take part in. Add in the recently-announced table service restaurant that will be added, and the great Toy Story Mania attraction, and there will be lots to do in Andy's backyard when you visit.
If a roller coaster a little more hardcore than Slinky Dog Dash is more your speed, then you can’t miss out on the Aerosmith Rock N’ Roller Coaster. The only Walt Disney World roller coaster to include inversions, this coaster blasts off at full speed while also blasting some of Aerosmith’s greatest hits in your ears the whole time. The word on the street is the coaster might be getting rethemed soon, so you’ll want to check this out while you still can.
Since the Tower of Terror at Disneyland Resort was converted into Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout, the only place left to experience the original attraction in North America is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The good news is, the Walt Disney World version of the ride is the better version anyway. It’s longer and has more to show you than simply high speed drops. Don’t miss this one.
You’ve got to eat, and there are no shortage of great places at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to do that. One place you’ll want to be sure to check out is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. The tables are designed to resemble classic cars and they’re all placed in front of screen showing old black and white science fiction movies. The food is your standard dinner fair, but the ambiance of the whole thing cannot be beat.
If you’re looking for a bit of a nicer sit down experience, The Hollywood Brown Derby is a recreation of the classic Hollywood location as it would have appeared during the Golden Age of Tinseltown. If you want to sit back, relax and simply enjoy some of the best food at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is the place. Remember that reservations for restaurants can be made at Walt Disney World six months in advance, and if you want to be sure to get key lunch on dinner times, you'll need to book early.
My favorite experiences at the Disney Parks are the nighttime shows. Fantasmic offers classic Disney nighttime entertainment, and while the version of the show at Disneyland is vastly superior to the Walt Disney World version (fight me) you still don’t want to miss the show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It's full of all your favorite Disney characters and a lot of great music.
The Wonderful World of Animation is the newest show to appear at Disney's Hollywood Studios and it combines fireworks and lights with a visual presentation projected on the front of the Chinese Theater, and considering that the spot will very soon be the home to the new attraction Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, it’s fitting the show pays tribute to the history of Disney animation.
Lighning McQueen’s Racing Academy
The newest show at Disney’s Hollywood Studio is Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. The show combines a wraparound screen with one of the most impressive animatronics that Disney Imagineering has created. This version of Lightning McQueen can talk to the audience, and looks like his animated counterpart brought to life. Other favorite Cars characters like Mater and Cruz Ramierez appear onscreen.
Star Wars Outside Of Galaxy's Edge
Maybe the crowds and the lines are enough to keep you away from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but you still really like Star Wars. The good news is that Star Tours: The Adventure Continues isn’t actually located inside Galaxy’s Edge, and all the Star Wars fans will be elsewhere. The ride's randomization means that you won’t get the same ride twice, so this one is worth checking out multiple times to experience all there is to see and feel, if you have the time.
In addition to Star Tours, You can also visit the Star Wars Launch Bay, which will give you the opportunity for Meet and Greets with the likes of Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. Since Galaxy's Edge will be trying to recreate the feeling of being on an alien planet, these sorts of more "theme park" focused attractions won't exist there. For younger guests, they can also get a fun Star Wars experience with Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple which lets small children becomes young Jedi.
Disney Junior Dance Party
If you have little ones with you at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the number of rides they’ll be able to experience is somewhat limited. However, one attraction designed specifically for them is the Disney Junior Dance Party. They’ll be able to jump around with all of their favorite Disney Junior characters and also expend some energy to make things easier for mom and dad.
While Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is sure to be a hit, there's so much more to experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Even if you decide you want to skip the new land, you don't want to skip the park.
Images courtesy WDWNews.com/Disney