Disney’s Hollywood Studios is their movies themed park, home to zones themed on Star Wars and Pixar. This was our second park and the second I stepped through the gate and say the beautiful Hollywood Boulevard, I was hooked. The boulevard is all themed on the golden age of Hollywood, and retro obsessive that I am, I was immediately in love with the buildings and the decor.
A few minutes after we arrived, we could suddenly hear the Imperial March in the distance. A whole troop of First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma marched up Hollywood Boulevard, stopping to check the crowds for rebel spies. As a cosplayer, I see a lot of Stormtroopers, but this was so impressive. The synchronisation of the troopers was incredible, and the uniforms are stunning.
Later on, we also saw the new A Galaxy Far, Far Away show, which features scenes from across the Star Wars story. It was lovely to see so many of the characters, and you can follow this up by going across to meet BB-8, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren in the Launch Bay.
There’s a lot more focus on shows than rides in Hollywood Studios. I loved the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (get there early for a good seat and a chance to take part as an extra!), which gives you an idea of how Hollywood stunts and special effects work.
I had two favourite rides in this park. Like any good Star Wars geek, I loved Star Tours which was recently updated to include Force Awakens content. The 3D simulator mimics a flight with C3P0 and is a must for any Star Wars fan. The storyline is random, so you can ride multiple times and get a different experience.
I also loved the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The rollercoaster takes off at 60mph, and careens around a track lit by neon road signs, while Aerosmith sings in your ear. Not for the faint hearted, but a brilliant ride and incredible fun.
The two night shows are worth checking out too.
Fantasmic is my favourite of all the night shows. Featuring fireworks, characters, live actors, water effects, pyrotechnics, lasers, music, boats, and projections, the story takes you on a journey into the imagination of Mickey Mouse. Unfortunately, the Disney villains are not too thrilled with this and attempt to hijack the dream. This is, I think, the most visually impressive of the shows, and has a great story to it. I was totally enraptured, especially when the boats carrying the Princesses came out. A truly beautiful moment.
Next is Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. The show features fireworks, projection mapping, fire, lasers, fog effects, and searchlights. Scenes and images from Star Wars are projected onto the Chinese Theatre while a soaring soundtrack plays, accompanied by spectacular fireworks.
You can watch my vlog from Hollywood Studios here:
top tips for hollywood studios
- If you want to see both night shows, be aware that the Star Wars fireworks do start at about the same time as Fantasmic ends. Sit near the back for Fantasmic so you’re not stuck in the crowds leaving and sprint for the Chinese Theatre. You will miss the opening, but only the first few minutes.
- Don’t worry about going to Fantasmic super early. You will see people going to it about an hour before start time, but thanks to the amphitheatre and the 50ft high water screens, you will be able to see even if you are sat at the back.
- Look out for roving cast members! We saw a few strolling actors performing scenes and skits around Hollywood Boulevard. It all adds to the atmosphere.
- When going to see Muppet Vision 3D, work your way down to the front of the waiting area. There’s a lot to see here, with stacked crates and Muppet jokes, and a few surprises…