Everyone has a favorite Disney park? What’s yours?
After ten trips, our favorite Walt Disney World park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, has stayed in the top two, often running neck and neck with another close favorite, EPCOT. When we tell people that Studios is our favorite parks, we get questioning looks, and sometimes grunts. A family we were helping plan their first trip were avoiding the park altogether in their park touring schedule and that was fine; I made no comment and focused on the parks they were going to visit. But, then they asked, “What is your favorite park?” and I had to tell them the truth. I didn’t mean for them to rethink their touring plans, which they didn’t change in the end, but it did make them rethink a little bit about skipping Studios, at least for their first trip.
I wonder if some potential Hollywood Studios goers get the park confused with Universal Studios located on the other side of town. After all, they both have “studios” in their name. And, while potential guests know about Tower of Terror and Rock-n-Roller Coaster, they may not know about the other shows and attractions.
So, what makes Hollywood Studios our favorite?
Rides: Toy Story Mania is simply our family’s favorite attraction. We compete, love the theming, and are thrilled each time we ride, which is typically 2-3 times per day at the park using both the stand-by line and Fastpass. The husband and boy love Star Tours and ride it as much as possible during each visit. They predict which story line they are going to get and try to sit in the seat that will be featured on the screen, etc.
Shows: Studios has 5 stadiums/theaters that can hold thousands of people for shows throughout the day. Lights, Motors, Action is a treat every time we see it. Beauty and the Beast has been seen by our family one time, with hopes of another time. American Idol Experience offers guests a chance to vote on performances. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is a must do for us and then there is Fantasmic, Studios’ nighttime spectacular with multiple shows during peak travel season. A guest could spend all day being thoroughly entertained just by the live shows. Add in Muppets 3D, Little Mermaid, the Backlot Tour, Playhouse Disney for the young set, and the Magic of Disney Animation and you really do have a day of being entertained without setting foot on a ride.
Characters: We have found that characters are plentiful at Hollywood Studios with some that cannot be found at other parks. Meeting and greeting characters if part of our fun when visiting a Disney park.
Relaxation: Yes, we often find ourselves relaxing at Studios. Due to the show times, it is easy to plan the day without feeling like we are rushing from one attraction to another and we build in some downtime to leisurely eat and the boy enjoys playing in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure Playground.
Size and Crowds: To quote a Cast Member, a slow day at Magic Kingdom has the same size crowd as a crowded day at Studios. Put simply, there are fewer people who visit Studios, which comes as a surprise when we see thousands of people spill out of the Lights, Motors, Action stadium. Studios handles the crowds well and it doesn’t “feel” crowded when we move from one location to another. The size of the park also makes it easy to move back and forth between attractions. We can spend all day traversing the park without having aching feet.
Guest interaction: Hollywood Studios, we have found, really lives up to the tag line of “find yourself in the action” for our family. Between appearances at the Backlot Tour and Indiana Jones for the husband, and Jedi Training Academy for the boy, our family spends part of each visit being “in the action”; something we haven’t found as much in other parks.
Hollywood Studios does top our list for favorite Walt Disney World theme park. What’s your favorite?