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My Top 5 Disney’s Hollywood Studios Experiences

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Today is the 35th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to share the things I love about this theme park. Although it has never been a full-day park experience for my family, there are a handful of not-to-be-missed attractions, restaurants, and shops that I love.

Lunch at 50’s Prime Time Cafe

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One of the things we’ve always planned for our Hollywood Studios day is a lunch visit to 50’s Prime Time Cafe. By the time the lunch hour hits, everyone in our group is ready to take a load off and soak in some air conditioning while dining with cousins on delicious comfort food. The mid-century atmosphere is my favorite because it reminds me of several diners my grandparents used to take me to in Brooklyn when I was a kid. Also, my great-grandmother used to have the exact same pink poodle statues in her living room, so those are always fun to see, and I love it when we’re seated at the table in the photo above. The reviews for this restaurant have been hit or miss over the years, but our experiences have always been good ones, and we enjoy the whole schtick where they give you a hard time if you have your cell phone out or your elbows on the table. Whether we’ve chosen the first half of the day or the last half, lunch at this table-service location is a must.

A Walk Through Walt Disney Presents

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The first few times I visited Hollywood Studios, I didn’t step foot into the Walt Disney Presents attraction because I didn’t realize what it was. Usually, my curiosity gets the best of me, and I venture in when I don’t know what’s inside, but our kids were little those first few years, and all things surrounding Playhouse Disney (at the time) were top priorities. One of the things about this attraction that is so cool is the display areas guests can walk through before they arrive at the indoor theater. What’s in the display cases used to change from time to time, and we’ve seen everything from movie costumes to props to miniature models of new lands coming to the theme park. My favorite was getting to see the model of Toy Story Land while it was in the process of being brought to life. Walt Disney Presents also hosts character meet and greets and special sneak previews of upcoming Disney films.

A Ride On Toy Story Mania!

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The original Toy Story-themed attraction at Hollywood Studios has been my all-time favorite for as long as I can remember and I never miss it during my visits to this park. While I do love Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers as well, I’m not as young as I used to be ahem, and those two attractions make me feel woozy, so I’ve had to forfeit them on my must-do list. Walking through Toy Story Land in its entirety is something you should also not miss, and the second part of this favorite. The incredible details throughout this land are pretty fantastic. The setting is Andy’s backyard from the Toy Story films, and as you walk around, all the props and even some buildings like Woody’s Lunch Box are larger-than-life, making you feel as if you’ve shrunken down to the size of a toy. Even Roundup Rodeo BBQ, the land’s table-service restaurant, was built from a train station playset.

So Much Shopping!

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Meandering through the shops on Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard is one of my favorite activities, especially during the hottest times of the day. It is never difficult to find new-to-me pieces of Disney merch that I can’t live without. One of the most important tips someone gave me years and years ago is that if you see something you love, don’t wait until later in your trip to purchase it because when you go back to do so, the item might be gone. Trust me as I speak from experience – I saw a Mickey Through the Years Dooney and Bourke bag so many years ago that said I’d go back later for. I didn’t buy it on the spot, and I’ve never seen it again. Sigh…

The Disney Skyliner

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I am a big fan of the Disney Skyliner, despite some parts of it being a whole lot higher than I care to be. One of my favorite things about visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios is arriving there via the Disney Skyliner. You’re just steps away from the park’s entrance and it feels as though you’ve arrived there by a magical portal of some kind – at least to me, anyway. I was a fan of the Skyliner project from the moment it was announced, and I love being able to soar above some of my favorite spots around Walt Disney World. I’d so much rather be up there than riding a bus.

Since I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan or a thrill ride enthusiast, there isn’t a ton for me at this park. However, it will always remain a park that I visit during my Walt Disney World vacations as it’s different from anything at the Disneyland Resort. You might be surprised that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway didn’t make my list, as the pair together is my absolute favorite. Like many of you, I still miss the Great Movie Ride, and the railway makes me a bit more woozy than I care to be.

What’s your favorite thing to do at Hollywood Studios?

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Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº


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