I was hesitant to do this post without having visited Galaxy’s Edge (and without both attractions at Galaxy’s Edge being open), but I’ve got almost 6 months until my next trip to WDW, and I’m simply not that patient. I’ll revisit this list after I head over to Batuu (and maybe again after checking out Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway!), but for now, here are my top 5 favorite attractions at Hollywood Studios!! You can also check out my Top 5 Attractions for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom!
5. Slinky Dog Dash
Excluding Smugglers Run, Slinky Dog Dash is one of the newest additions to Hollywood Studios. Don’t stone me, but I’ll admit I wasn’t too excited for Toy Story Land leading up to its opening. I think the Toy Story franchise is very cute, and I cried huge, ugly tears when I first saw Toy Story 3 (still do – every time), but it didn’t seem like an area really geared toward me. It seemed like a great idea for little kids, but I kind of assumed I’d be generally uninterested in the new attractions that didn’t seem all that grand, to me.
The first time I visited Hollywood Studios after Toy Story Land opened was in August of 2018, so the area was less than 2 years old, it was during summer break, and crowds were high. There were evening EMH at HS one day, so we planned to hunker down in the standby line at that time, when crowds thinned and there weren’t any FastPasses to slow things up. I think we waited between an hour and a half to two hours at the end of a very long day with some very sore feet, so I was really hoping it was worth it.
Luckily, we ended up in the last two rows. While Slinky won’t pin you to your seat or flip you upside down, it is an extremely laugh-in-your-belly FUN coaster! The ride is long and versatile and the speed control is well-executed. Sometimes going slowly around a big curve way up high is a great thrill! The me of May 2018 would be pretty shocked to see Slinky Dog Dash on my Top 5 Attractions list for Hollywood Studios, but it’s earned its spot.
Yes, yes – Fantasmic! is a nighttime show and not technically an “attraction,” but these shows have made my top lists before. As author, I’m in charge and I say it counts. You can even get a FastPass for it (and on busier park days, I suggest you do!). Fantasmic! is certainly worthy of its place on my Top 5 Attractions list for Hollywood Studios.
I’m a decently observant person, so I do realize that Fantasmic! will be the longest-running nighttime spectacular at WDW once IllumiNations retires, so I figure its days are numbered. Obviously, I’m sad about this, but change happens, so I won’t hold it against Disney when they replace it (as long as the replacement is worthy). In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this show as much as I can.
This 30-minute show is simply an absolute blast, and you get to sit down for it (assuming you’re not in the standing room section). Mickey is a true hero here, showing courage and teaching us just how strong power from within can be. When you watch this show, you get to see characters from a HUGE number of movies, and even get to experience the most terrifying Disney villain – Chernabog (if you think there’s a scarier one, come at me).
The show has live actors, water projections, fountains, fire, and even a cannon!! I love that Pocahontas is featured (I don’t know why there isn’t more of her around AK) and I find myself randomly singing Fantasmic! songs for days. This show regularly worms its way into my head and into my heart. If there are two showings, I recommend waiting for the second one. You can check out the scheduled performances here!
Some imagination, huh?
3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
I love thrill rides! As the only coaster on WDW property that takes you upside down, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster had to make this Top 5 Attractions list. I’m in my late 20s, so I’m familiar with Aerosmith, and also love the tunes.
I’ve been told that each song used during the attraction has special, slightly-changed lyrics just for Disney. Since I’m usually laughing and screaming the whole time, I haven’t been able to pinpoint them, but knowing what I do about Disney, I’m not at all surprised. I love the special Disney personalization!
I actually don’t have much to say about this ride other than that I love that it gets my heart going, snaps me to my seat, and flings me around like a rag doll. (Ok, I acknowledge those things listed without context seem like a horrible time, but I swear it’s so much fun!!!)
2. Toy Story Mania
Toy Story Mania is another attraction that just leaves me with an ear-to-ear grin…especially if I’ve beaten Ben (which I usually do, but not last trip. A rematch is coming, husband. Consider yourself warned).
I love the versatility of the games throughout this attraction. Yes, we’re doing the same motion for each game, but the themes are so creative and the objectives are different enough that it feels like I’m playing all different games! Unlike with Space Ranger Spin, I don’t have to split my attention between guiding my vehicle and flinging projectiles. I can also see where my shots are going and I can feel like I’m accomplishing something each time I audios send a ball through a dish.
This game is satisfying and just competitive enough to make you want to try hard, even when your arm is 76% numb.
1. Tower of Terror
I only have a few memories of my trips to Disney when I was younger. Mostly, I remember a feeling of pure joy, but specific events are often fuzzy. I very vividly remember Chip FLIPPING OUT on my Dad when he called him “Dale” and I remember riding Dumbo with my Mom, but I also remember Tower of Terror.
I remember going through the whole ride queue with my Mom, Dad, and sister. I remember getting up to the Cast Member who now scans your FastPass for the second time (though I don’t remember anything about FastPasses). At this point, we knew our Mom was going to bounce because she doesn’t like heights, and I vividly remember totally chickening out and going with her.
I was so ashamed of myself! I honestly don’t even remember the first time I rode it. There’s no story here about determination to overcome my fear. I just remember bailing and then remember having knowledge that I’d, at some subsequent point, ridden it.
Nowadays, I HAVE to ride it every time we visit Hollywood Studios! The weightless drop is a feeling unlike any other. Maybe I’m an adrenaline junkie, but I love that rush! Everything leading up to the elevator ride is absolutely stunning in its theming and I love every minute of the experience from picking the ride to stepping out of the gift shop. This is very worthy of the top spot on my Top 5 Hollywood Studios attraction list.
What do you think of my list? Did your favorites make it on? Do you want to tell me all about Smuggler’s Run? Spoilers are WELCOME!! Hit me up in the comments below or on Instagram @castleboundkim.