AttractionsWalt Disney World (FL)

A Ride Chicken’s Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions

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For years, thrill rides have been the name of the theme park game. In fact, before COVID-19, construction was well underway at Walt Disney World for two new coasters – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind for EPCOT and TRON Lightcycle Run for the Magic Kingdom. However, not everyone loves coasters or thrill rides. In fact, there are many Disney guests out there who feel sudden drops, dizzying heights, and high speeds are anything but magical.

So for my fellow Disney ride chickens, I’ve created a ranking system to help you know what to expect and maybe what to avoid when compiling your Hollywood Studios touring plan.

I’m breaking down the different elements of a ride that may be a little scary or extreme, such as drops, height, darkness, and speed. I’m also using a simple 1 to 3 scale with 1 being less intense and a 3 being the most intense.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is an interactive simulator where guests perform functions act as either pilots, gunners, or engineers aboard the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy! Before boarding the six-person cockpit, guests receive their roles which they will perform during the flight much like EPCOT’s Mission: SPACE.

How well a guest performs their role impacts the overall success of the mission. But don’t worry! Hondo Ohnaka who owns the whole operation is there to help guests along and many of the buttons and switches light up when needed.

Motion Sickness: 1 (if that)

So… Smugglers Run is a simulator meaning there are no actual drops, heights, or high speeds. But whenever a simulator is involved, we have to talk about motion sickness. Generally speaking, most guests don’t have motion sickness issues with Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. I think it helps that you have to look away from the screen and focus on actual tasks. Also, the whole ride experience is smoother and a lot less jittery than Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a high-speed indoor roller coaster where guests board a coaster resembling a super-stretch limo to race across town for an Aerosmith concert. The coaster launches guests from 0 to 57 mph in less than three seconds and straight into an inversion which pulls 5 gs! Guests continue rocketing through a dark Los Angeles to the tunes of Aerosmith and are sent through another loop and a corkscrew before arriving at the concert.

Darkness Rating: 2.5

Much like Space Mountain, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster takes place in the dark; but due to its neon lights and illuminated signs scattered through the ride space, it’s not as dark as Space Mountain.

Motion Sickness: 3

Due to multiple inversions and a few dips, this is definitely an attraction those prone to motion sickness should carefully consider.

Speed Rating: 3

Even though Test Track is technically the fastest attraction at Walt Disney World, it only reaches that top speed of 65 mph for a moment. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, however, literally launches you from 0 to 57 mph in less than three seconds so it feels faster and stays fast!

Slinky Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash is a mild outdoor coaster designed to look as if Andy constructed it in his backyard using his new Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Playkit and Slinky Dog as the coaster’s train.

Drop Rating: 2

Yes, there are drops on Slinky Dog Dash, but they’re very smooth and not nearly as stomach-dropping as other attractions around Walt Disney World. Plus, the tone of this ride is very lighthearted and geared more towards families than thrills.

Height Rating: 3

Slinky Dog Dash is rare in that it has an elevated, exposed track offering an aerial view of Toy Story Land. Some sections of track are seriously high off the ground which may alarm some guests. However, I will say that it’s somehow not as scary as it looks. Whether it’s the smoothness of the ride, the ride vehicles themselves, or the attraction’s overall feel, Slinky Dog Dash’s height isn’t as alarming as it might look from the ground.

Speed Rating: 1.5

Slinky Dog Dash reaches a top speed of 40 mph. But keep in mind, the ride slows down considerably at points and even stops completely at others. Therefore, it doesn’t maintain its top speed throughout the experience.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is a 3-D flight simulator attraction where guests embark on an adventure to familiar locales and with familiar characters from the Star Wars Saga. The ride film for this attraction features more than 50 combinations so who you see and where you’ll go is completely randomized and in 3-D!

Motion Sickness Rating: 3

This simulator is definitely on the rough side and may cause motion sickness. Be prepared to lean, slide, and tilt with the screen as your ship flies through space and dodges blaster fire.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Photo by Tom Bricker.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a free-fall drop ride within a story and setting inspired by The Twilight Zone television series.

Darkness Rating: 3

There are moments of total, pitch-black darkness in addition to dimly lit (and scary!) scenes. If you’re uncomfortable in the dark apart from the eerie premise, you want to skip this one.

Drop Rating: 3

This ride is all about the drops! And yes, that’s drops and not drop. While other freefall theme park attractions drop you once, Tower of Terror drops you repetitively and the drops vary in their intensity! For those who hate the feeling of losing their stomach, this is NOT the attraction for you.

Height Rating: 2

If drops are involved, heights are obviously a ride component we need to discuss. Yes, you are up high; but for most of the ride, you’re in an enclosed elevator shaft and can’t see down. The doors of the elevator open at times allowing you a super quick view of the park from up high; but again, these moments are brief.

Are you a ride chicken when it comes to Disney attractions? Which Hollywood Studios ride would you recommend for guests looking to avoid thrills?

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Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

6 thoughts on “A Ride Chicken’s Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions

  • I get motion sick.
    I feel it a bit on Star Tours but NEVER had a problem and have ridden it many many times over 15 years. The 1st time I road Smuggler’s run I almost got sick. I didn’t feel good the 2nd time a year later. I can handle it but it is more prone to motion sickness to me! A much newer ride but they did something wrong when designing it!

    Rise of the Resistance SO worth it!

  • A little about me. I absolutely can’t stand free-fall drops, heights, and I only ride a few roller coasters that are minimal in terms of thrills. I decided to take a chance with Rise of the Resistance because the reviews on it were very positive, and I really like Star Wars. When I went into the ride, I was sure I wouldn’t like it, especially when I realized there was a drop at the end of the ride.
    However, the special effects were very good and I was not disappointed. The ride does have some jerks and turns. In the pre-show where you enter a Resistance ship and are pulled into a Star Destroyer, it simulates you flying in space. It really isn’t bad. It tilts a bit, but it’s not so bad.
    And the drop. As I mentioned earlier, I hate free-fall drops, but I was a fan of this one. The drop itself can’t be more than 1 second, it’s the anticipation leading up to the drop that’s the worst part. It does somewhat make you feel like you’re losing your stomach, but as I said, only for a brief moment. It’s actually a very good ride. People prone to motion sickness might not be a big fan of this ride due to the turns and drops. But I highly recommend it. It’s an incredible experience and Disney put a ton of detail into the ride. Very impressed, and I recommend it!

  • I’m terrible and still somehow sensitive to drops that are faked by videos (like Smuggler’s Run, Star Tours and Rise of the Resistance. But fortunately, I handle jerk movements themselves just fine. My cure is just to look away from the screen, and the G’s (I don’t know what to call the sensation) go away immediately. But! In doing so, I’ve learned that the drop at the end of Rise is physical, and not video (since looking away did nothing), but the rest of that end sequence is. That elevator bit that brings you up real fast also gets me, as it has this slight slow-down and slight speed decrease at the end of the elevation. Something about the change in speed there triggers the drop/G’s feeling for me.
    Why am I the way I am? I love everything else about thrill rides and coasters, but absolutely can’t stand physical or simulated drops. I get the feeling when falling in video games too.

  • I am a ride chicken. At DHS, I would stick to Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad, and Smugglers Run. I will be trying Rise of the Resistance. Star Tours doesn’t bother me too much, even though I have problems with motion sickness and vertigo.

  • Please explain more about the Rise of the Resistance drop at the end. Need to know more before our trip next week. Thanks for the timely article!

  • No Rise of the Resistance, with its drop at the end??

    Also, as one of the truly Ride Cautious, I have heard Smuggler’s Run can get pretty rough on us depending on who’s flying it. This is apparently less of an issue while only one party at a time is allowed to ride, but in pre-Covid times there were stories of the Ride Cautious being thrown about by other parties’ teenagers.

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