Five Things To Do On Your Next Trip Instead of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Share This!

Ed. note (and in this case, I, Laurel, am the editor) – So your friendly TouringPlans bloggers were chatting on Slack, as we do. And despite our use of channels, sometimes our conversations….meander. Joe brought up the reduction in capacity from April 9 to May 7 of Toy Story Mania. Julia mentioned that that makes a park with a lack of things for kids to do even more problematic. Jamie said he hasn’t even been to the Studios in his last two trips (and mentioned that the first article he ever wrote for us was Is Disney’s Hollywood Studios Still Worth Your Time?) (His answer in 2015 was “yes.”) Guys, that was early three years ago and we’re still asking ourselves this question. More anecdotal evidence of a lack of things to do at the Studios. Your humble author was on crutches for more than a week and tried walking there because “if I have to bail, I won’t feel sad that I missed anything.” Wait, where was I? Anyway this stream of consciousness is pretty much how we talk amongst ourselves on Slack. Oh yeah, what to do instead of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Let’s start with the good news. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Toy Story Land is coming this summer. Construction is churning away on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The Studios still has the only roller coaster that goes upside down in all of Walt Disney World. But, wow, right now we’re telling ourselves and our friends that their time and money is better spent in other places. So here’s some ideas of things to do instead of going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My one criteria was that the idea wouldn’t add too much to the cost of your trip, because Walt Disney World is already expensive and it’s just adding insult to injury to have to pay more because there’s not a lot to do at one the four major theme parks there. So I’m not recommending you go to Universal. But if you have the money, this is a great option.

If this were at the Studios, it would be Flight Over Construction.
©Disney

Spend an extra day at Animal Kingdom

Free assuming you’ve already bought your tickets for your trip.

Pandora is a hit and totally worth your time, but just experiencing Flight of Passage is like planning a military maneuver. Why not take some extra time to enjoy all the great things that aren’t Avatar at Animal Kingdom park? Your kids can blow off some steam at the Boneyard. (Did we mention that the awesome Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground was an early casualty of expansion construction at Hollywood Studio?) You can experience the animal trails, where you may see baby tigers. Baby tigers are even better than cat videos. You and your kids can go through the park doing the very highly rated Wilderness Explorers game. You can get your thrill on at Expedition Everest. And if you miss the upscale dining of Hollywood Brown Derby, there’s Tiffin’s.

Go to a Disney water park

It’s $25 to add the water park option to your park hopper ticket or less than $60 for a water park ticket for admission before May 26 this year.

Blizzard Beach is open now and Typhoon Lagoon will reopen from its yearly maintenance period March 19. Disney water parks are delightful. And if you’re not a wimpy Floridian who walks around in a puffer when the temperature drops into the 50s, This is a great time of year to hit a water park. Parking is easy. Both parks are beautifully themed. Your kids will sleep really well after a day there. (You will too.) I can’t say enough good things about Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

Berry Basket: Lamb chop with blackberry gastrique and Twinings Berry Cocktail
You know what’s better than waiting in line at
Toy Story Mania? This.

It’s Flower & Garden time!

Free with Epcot admission, plus optional cost of beer (or other food and drink of choice). Runs February 28 to May 28, 2018.

Let’s face it, Epcot festivals are all about the food booths these days, but there are still some flowers and gardens at Flower & Garden. Explore the exhibits, attend a seminar, enjoy the fabulous topiaries and gardens. Let your kids run around the playground while you sip a cocktail (parenting FTW). Flower & Garden is worth spending extra time at Epcot.

Hang out at your resort (or someone else’s)

Free with your paid reservation

You’re paying a premium to stay on Disney property, even if you’re staying at a value resort. Why not enjoy everything your resort has to offer? Most resorts have free to low-cost activities from movies to crafts to tours of the property. Many of these are available to people not staying at the resorts. Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge are two of my favorites for places where I like to just hang out. Ask yourself, “Self, would I rather get in a line at Toy Story Mania that’s so long Disney has eliminated retail to make room for it? Or would I rather kick back at Geyser Point after a couple of long days in the parks just watching the boats on Bay Lake?”

The force is with Erin…because she’s
not wasting time at Hollywood Studios.
Photo – Erin Foster

Do Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at Disney Springs

$30 per person

Now, for a family of four this is $120, no small amount. But Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is awesome. You want a glimpse of how cool Galaxy’s Edge will be? This is it. Immersive. Fun. I’m not going to spoil it, but everyone we’ve talked to who’s already done it loves this experience.

What about you? If you or your friends are headed to Walt Disney World in the next few months, do you plan to go to the Studios? Would you tell your friends to do something else? What else would you do? Talk about it in the comments.

Do you think I buried the lede about Toy Story Mania and have questions about that? Don’t worry,  we’re on it. We’ve confirmed with folks who have vacations that cover April 9 that FastPass+ is indeed not offered after that date. You can also see all FastPass+ availability on our site.

 

 

 

Laurel Stewart

Laurel has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1971 when she was negative-15 years old and running the Disney races since 2007. Her favorite attraction is Big Thunder Mountain.

16 thoughts on “Five Things To Do On Your Next Trip Instead of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • February 19, 2018 at 11:20 am
    Permalink

    After our trip to DisneyWorld last year, my kids would rather spend an extra day at Hollywood Studios than a day at Animal Kingdom. Or Epcot.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 11:27 am
    Permalink

    Oh right. Like I’m giving up 50s Prime Time Café on even one trip. Of course, I’m also the person who will go to Biergarten every night I’m at Epcot, see you can’t really go by me. 😉 #DisneyDiningObsessive

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 11:37 am
    Permalink

    The husband loves Rockn Rollercoaster. Otherwise I would’ve skipped it this past year.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm
    Permalink

    Modern-day DHS is perfect justification for the park hopper option. It’s definitely not worth a full day of your ticket, but you can spend a great few hours there before or after going somewhere else.

    Reply
    • February 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm
      Permalink

      I was going to say the same thing. We just got back from WDW. We did a morning in HS, did all we wanted, and then hopped to AK where we had a fastpass for Flight of Passage. It was great. I also think it would work quite well to do a morning in HS and then walk to Epcot for lunch and meander around World Showcase, especially if there is a festival.

      Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    Permalink

    Went two 1/2 days on my trip in Jan and even not doing RnR coaster & ToT (neck issues 🙁 – I could have stayed longer. However, you have to want to go to the shows – since I go 4-5 years apart, I want to go see them, I love character meets & I love the star wars things that are there now. Plus Fantasmic, which I hadn’t seen in 8 years. So well worth it for me. I guess it depends on what kind of ‘Disney’ you want.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 2:49 pm
    Permalink

    We have just come back from WDW. We spent a few hours in Hollywood Studios. We love toy story mania and had fast passes for that. We went to watch Beauty and the Beast which we hadn’t seen for quite a few years and just generally wandered around taking everything in. We also found out where the WDW photographers were and had loads of photos taken of us including the magical ones and the ones with the Star Wars backgrounds. We were there for about half a day but because we had the UK 14 day unlimited tickets it wasn’t like we were wasting a ticket. Not sure what we would have done if we’d had the regular tickets – would probably hopped over to another park after finishing at Hollywood Studios.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm
    Permalink

    Hollywood Studios is one of our family’s favorite parks, even in its current state. The kids absolutely loved it and it was nice not having to rush around. We had plenty of time to ride the stuff we liked more than once and enjoyed all the extra character meet and greets and shows. I agree that it is all about what kind of Disney you want. The change of pace was a perfect breather for the whole family and you could really soak it in.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 6:46 pm
    Permalink

    We usually go to Disney for a week or longer so the cost of additional days is only in the $10 range so Epcot, animal kingdom, and Hollywood studios are still parks we do despite not as much for a young kid. Sometimes it good to just meander and stroll around and not have to run around in the craziness of magic kingdom.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 9:07 pm
    Permalink

    I hopped over on my last evening of my most recent trip (last week) and just wandered in and did Star Wars Launch Bay and met Kylo Ren, Chewie, BB-8, hit up Olaf, and then some sing-a-long Frozen time. Great use of three hours, and super low crowds. It was nice to soak up the atmosphere before it starts getting crazy over the next 18 months.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 11:48 pm
    Permalink

    I too am a defender of Hollywood Studios! In 2017 I had 1 day to spend at WDW and what park did I choose? Hollywood Studios! It was the day before Easter Sunday and I rope dropped the park, stayed until 10pm and still did not have time to hit Rock N Roller coaster. It was a great day, the park is beautiful at night and Great Movie Ride was still in operation. I know the park is under heavy construction now but it will return to glory soon. Long live the Studios!

    Reply
  • February 20, 2018 at 11:25 am
    Permalink

    I am with you for people that have limited time at DW. We usually still go to HW but only for an hour or two to ride Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror and look through the shops. We did not waste our FP for that day on HS.

    Reply
  • February 20, 2018 at 3:57 pm
    Permalink

    On our 2015 trip, we could only do three Disney parks (plus universal) and it was an easy choice for our family to skip DHS. The only thing there for our family is Star Tours, untill SW land opens up. Personally we’d rather do any of the 5 things Laurel recommends than go to DHS at this time. But I am happy there are so many people who still love it!

    Reply
  • February 20, 2018 at 4:34 pm
    Permalink

    You could do Star Tours … and then Star Tours … and then Star Tours … and then Star Tours…

    Reply
  • February 20, 2018 at 7:31 pm
    Permalink

    Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is awesome and totally worth the $30/ ticket but be warned the age limit is 10 and older because you have to wear approximately 30 pound backpack

    Reply
  • February 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm
    Permalink

    On our recent trip we started one morning in EPCOT for EMH, walked to Fantasia Gardens for a couple of rounds, then walked to HS where we had Fast Passes for Toy Story, TOT, & Star Tours. Later in the week we did the reverse with EMH at HS and Fastpasses at EPCOT. Well worth it with a park hopper.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *