Hollywood Studios is home to Walt Disney World’s newest lands and attractions, which makes it a very popular park right now. Knowing this, we tried to get there as close to opening as we could both days we went there. It was definitely the most crowded park of our visit, but still not the most crowded I’ve seen it. Capacity limits are still in place, which helped tremendously. I do know that the park reservation system was full both days, so the park was as crowded as Covid guidelines would allow. This park doesn’t have many rides for the girls, but there are many non-ride attractions that make the park great for the smaller ones!
Up early and ready to catch the Skyliner to Hollywood Studios!
Like going to Epcot, we rode the Skyliner to Hollywood Studios, which helped us make the most of our time. Upon arriving in the park, we attempted to get a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but we were unsuccessful. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the newest “land” at Hollywood Studios, and it currently contains 2 rides- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Rise of the Resistance which I just mentioned. Millennium Falcon has a traditional ride queue, but due to high popularity, RotR has a virtual queue accessed through the My Disney Experience app. The queue typically opens twice a day and fills up within minutes. If this is something you want to know more about, please reach out to your Coasters & Castles Travel advisor, and they’d be glad to give you more information.
The first ride we went on, which was my top priority, was the brand new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This ride took the place of The Great Movie Ride in the Chinese Theater. I was very sad to see it go, as its very nostalgic for me, but I did love the new ride. Because of the newness of the ride and the park’s popularity, this was the longest line we waited in the entire trip. It was a little more intense than I expected (I thought it would be more like the previous ride there), I really enjoyed it. The girls seemed to like it too, it wasn’t too much for them at all.
The girls and me in front of the Chinese Theater, home of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
We explored Toy Story Land and rode Toy Story Midway Mania, which was another of the girls’ favorites, then made our way into Galaxy’s Edge. Though it’s not my cup of tea, my husband is a Star Wars fan and really appreciated the details of this area. He said it’s officially his favorite “land” in all of the Disney parks (including Disneyland in California; we visited there in 2018.)
The girls in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Though they can’t ride many rides (they only rode 2) in Hollywood Studios, non-ride attractions helped us still have a full day! My girls loved the Disney Junior Dance Party, the character cavalcades (including Disney Jr, Pixar favorites, and Mickey & friends), and would have probably enjoyed the Frozen Sing-along had it not been close to nap time when we tried to watch it. We wanted to check out the new Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy but ran out of time.
During one of the cavalcades when very few people were around, Mickey played “peekaboo” with my girls. It was so cute!
Our second day in Hollywood Studios was spent with my in-laws. They are also Star Wars fans, so we spent a good bit of time there again. Because we were able to get to the park even earlier (before opening), we were lucky enough to get a boarding group (virtual queue) for Rise of the Resistance. I wasn’t terribly excited about that one because of my motion sickness issues, but I did ride it and enjoyed it without getting sick. Because the girls were not able to ride this one, we were able to utilize the rider swap program. My husband and I rode while my in-laws stayed with the girls, and then we switched!
That evening, we had a dinner reservation at Hollywood & Vine for Minnie’s Halloween Dine, one of just a few character meals currently operating. I had never been to this restaurant before but had heard great things about how it was operating since reopening, so I wanted to try it. Since we weren’t able to have many character interactions in the parks, this was a great alternative. Typically, the characters walk around the restaurant and visit with you at your table. You’re able to take photos and get autographs and hang out for a few minutes. With physical distancing guidelines, the characters no longer come to your table, but will walk in the areas between tables and pose for photos. Though it wasn’t like it used to be, I thought they did a great job with still making the best of it! Since it was a Halloween theme, we enjoyed seeing the characters in their costumes! Sometimes at character meals, because the focus is on the experience and characters, the food isn’t stellar. I am happy to say that we were all very pleased with our dinner selections!
Though they weren’t super close, I was a little nervous about how the girls would handle the characters. They are in a very shy stage, only wanting Mommy and Daddy most of the time, and those characters can be a bit intimidating. I was pleasantly surprised that the girls adored the characters! Pluto seemed to be the favorite, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering how much they love dogs! I was even impressed with how well the characters did with letting me take photos. With the distance and not being able to get up from the table, I wasn’t sure I’d really be able to get photos with the girls and characters. When the host seated us, they positioned the girls’ highchairs on the outsides of the table, so we could get photos with the characters in the back. My biggest photo struggle was getting the girls to look at me- they just wanted to see the characters!
Overall, the dining experience was fantastic, and I would definitely do it again!
After long days in the parks, it was so nice to be able to exit the park gates and go straight to the Skyliner. Now that I’ve gotten used to that, its going to be hard to stay at a resort without it, especially until normal operations are able to resume!
I’ve got one more post in this series- Animal Kingdom and our rest day. Make sure to follow Walking Down Main Street’s Facebook page so you don’t miss it!
Kara Brown is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel and a mom to twin toddlers. She loves traveling with her family and making priceless memories. Kara specializes in Disney destinations, Universal Parks & Resorts, and Royal Caribbean cruises. You can contact her at KBrown@travelcnc.com.