Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios is what I would call Disney’s answer to Universal Studios. Except for the new Toy Story section this theme park is really targeted to the Gen X, Y and a little z.

It also feels a lot smaller than Disney’s other parks in Orlando – a day should be plenty of time to get around to all the rides if you plan your time well.

Disney’s park transcends you to a nostalgic 1950’s/60’s era of classic hollywood boulevard.

Star Tours – the adventure continues

From the gate, I walked straight up to the center of the park. I took a left into Star Wars. It was an easy decision because I had installed the Disney World app beforehand which shows all the ride wait times. Star Tours only had a 10 minute wait time.

You’ll walk past the Jedi Training where your child can take on Darth Vader. As you enter the first part of the line for this ride you’ll see a big screen explaining the ride. You’ll also see the space ship you’ll be riding with R2D2 onboard getting it prepped.

R2D2 preparing for our space flight

Further up the line you’ll find some comical Robots doing a poor job of checking luggage before it’s packed onto the ship. When you get to the actual ride, you’ll board the Space ship (a simulator theatre) with a group of 20 – 25 others. There are countless combinations of how an individual will experience this ride. It’s slightly different each time. Regardless of the variation you’ll go warping through the universe just slightly avoiding catastrophe a couple of times. It is fun, but a warning if you experience motion sickness – you will feel queazy and dizzy when the ride ends.

Star Wars center stage

To follow up the Star Wars ride, head back to the center of the park and watch the Star Wars show. You’ll see many of the villains and hero’s from Star Wars, including Chewy and Darth Vader. Be ready for the fire works though. There is a particularly loud bang that you can hear anywhere in the park.

Through the day you will also hear the “March of the First Order,” as Star Wars storm troopers march through the park and intimidate guests.

Rock’n’ Rollercoaster

Rock 'n' Rollercoaster featuring Aerosmith

This is the first ride I ever went on at Hollywood Studios, and my first ever rollercoaster. It is all about speed! You’re riding with the band and we’ve gotta get from the studio to the concert venue in no time. The ride is set in a dark room which lights up with strobes from time to time as you roll, pull tight turns and hurtle along. This ride is similar to Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney Presents

If you are looking for somewhere to escape the Florida weather, kill some time or just love hearing the story behind Disney world then this museum like journey is a great choice. You can read through different aspects about Disney. I opted to watch a short film that reflects on Walt Disney’s original plans for Disney Land and Disney World.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

This is a stage show. A spectacular behind the scenes glimpse into the world of action film stunts. You’ll see a massive rolling boulder, explosions and gun fights as well as regular old fist fights. Definitely one of Disney’s top live shows. Add this one to your must do list at Hollywood Studios.

Tower of Terror

If you hate having the ground drop from beneath you this one might not be the best option for you. You’ll enter an elegant but old hotel and learn about the Twilight Zone. This is no ordinary hotel, there have been some very strange occurrences.

Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios

You get into an elevator and start your journey, revealing strange lights and appearances on each floor. Eventually the elevator will shoot up then back down, then back up again. This will go on just enough times for you to wish it had stopped the first time. By the time you reach the ground you’ll want to go again.

Buffet with Mickey, Minnie and Friends

After getting out of the Tower of Terror it was time to rush back down Sunset Blvd to the Hollywood and Vine near the lake in the center of the park for our dinner reservations. We were celebrating my birthday so this was a real treat. The whole cast was there to help us celebrate including Mickey, Minnie, Goofey, Daisy and Donald.

Dinner with Minnie Mouse

The food is a buffet, so there is plenty to choose from, the only danger is eating too much (which is why we went on the Tower of Terror before we ate). Save room for the dessert bar, there are some delicious little cakes and of course, a soft serve machine!

Be sure to let them know if anyone in your crew is celebrating a birthday and they’ll give you a card signed by the cast!

The Little Mermaid Show

After dinner we settled in to watch the Little Mermaid show. The show is a combination of screen, puppetry and real life acting delivered as a musical. Whether you’re a Little Mermaid fan, or just along for the show, you’ll appreciate the incredible singing.

Toy Story Land and Spinning Spaceships

Woody at Toy Story Land

In the evening after the Little Mermaid, we headed to the back of the park to Toy Story Land. It is much more spectacular at night. Unfortunately by the time we got there Slinky’s Rollercoaster had ended for the day. We were able to catch a ride on the Alien Swirling Saucers. What a spinning but relaxing way to wrap up the day!

After experiencing all the effort Disney had put into Pandora at Animal Kingdom, I was actually kind of underwhelmed at Toy Story Land. I’m sure kids still find it great. I just can’t compare it to the wonderment that I felt when I first walked into Pandora. But I’d love to hear your thoughts.

On the way out of the park we paused to catch the projection show, “Disney Movie Magic.” This 10 minute light and sound show will captivate any Disney movie lover.

There was another show on after this which included fireworks, but we were all beat, and wanted to get to the bus for the crowd, so we passed that up this time around.

It was a great day. If you are into Star Wars then this is the place to go. Personally, I’m still more of an Animal Kingdom fan.