DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS - Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids (2015)

Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids (2015)

Have you ever wanted to see how Disney movie magic is made? Well, here’s your chance! Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a tribute to film, from the golden age of the silver screen to the age of modern digital, Pixar-style animation.

Visiting Hollywood Studios is like walking right onto a Hollywood soundstage. Hollywood Boulevard leads to a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which houses The Great Movie Ride, a journey that will take you into some of the most famous movies of all time. Streets of America is a conglomeration of mock-ups of some of America’s most famous cities, so you can stroll from New York to San Francisco within the course of a minute.

This park is all about peeking behind the scenes and getting a glimpse of how films are made. The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show illustrates how special effects are created, and The Magic of Disney Animation not only lets you glimpse animators at work, but offers a class in how to draw a character. There are thrill rides in the form of the Tower of Terror and the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, both among Disney’s best. And Hollywood Studios will soon expand to feature one of the Disney company’s newest additions, the Star Wars franchise. And there’s no better way to wrap up a day recalling the glitz and glamour of Hollywood than to dine at the world-famous Brown Derby restaurant.

Hollywood Studios Touring Tips

Getting Here

Compared with the Magic Kingdom, getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a snap. Shuttle buses run approximately every 15 to 20 minutes from all on-site hotels. Guests staying at the Swan, Dolphin, and BoardWalk resorts or the Yacht or Beach club are a 15-minute water-taxi ride from the Hollywood gate.

If you’re driving to the parks, note that the Hollywood parking lot is small. If you get there at opening time and park close to the entrance, you can forgo the parking-lot tram and walk to the front gate.

Getting Around

Hollywood is a relatively small park with no trains, boats, or buses. In other words, you’ll walk.

Morning Tips

Tips for Your First Hour at Hollywood

If you’re at Hollywood on an Extra Magic Hour morning, the tip board at the end of Hollywood Boulevard will let you know which attractions are operative; the whole park doesn’t open early, but several major rides do.

Pick up a map and entertainment schedule as you enter. If you need a stroller, rent one at Oscar’s Super Service Station.

If you haven’t yet made your FastPass+ selections, make them now.

Toy Story Mania appeals to all age groups, so visit it as early as you can. Use FastPass+ if possible.

After riding Toy Story Mania, ask yourself: Are your kids old and bold enough for a couple of big-deal rides? If so, turn onto Sunset Boulevard and head straight toward the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Waits are usually minimal in the morning, but if it’s a busy day, plan on using FastPass+ here. Star Tours, which is popular with all ages, is another good choice for morning.


Disney wouldn’t be Disney without the constant rumor of changes, and the biggest is that Hollywood Studios is on the verge of a major revamp, which will eventually engulf the entire back-lot area, either closing or making major changes to a large number of attractions.

The Backlot Tour, which encompasses a lot of real estate, is definitely going to be phased out, and there are rumors that other attractions, such as the venerable Indiana Jones Stunt Show and Muppet*Vision 3D, are on the chopping block as well. All of these attractions were still open as we went to press and are still included in this chapter, but be aware that some of them are likely to be phased out to make way for a whole new section based on…(rumbling theme music)…Star Wars!!! We will provide details on the projected Star Wars attractions as we can verify them.

Other changes might also be in the works. There is buzz that a Radiator Springs ride (themed around the movie Cars and based on the popular Disneyland attraction) will open beside Lights, Motors, Action! And for years people have been talking about a Monsters, Inc. ride built around those wonderful “opening door” scenes from the film. Hey, it could happen!

Less exciting but equally plausible are the rumors that the Sorcerer’s Hat will disappear from the end of Hollywood Boulevard and that a trolley system will be added as part of a full makeover for the opening plaza. A new restaurant and a change in facade over The Great Movie Ride are also possibilities.

Evening Tips

Your Last Hour

Fantasmic! always draws big crowds, and that is a blessing if you aren’t seeing the show, but can be a pain if you are.

To guarantee yourself a seat for Fantasmic!, you’ll need to enter the stadium at least an hour in advance, 90 minutes during the on-season. That’s quite a wait, so you may want to eat dinner while you hold your seat. The stadium sells hot dogs and the like, but if you want a more elaborate meal, you can buy fast food from anywhere in the park and carry it in.

If you’re not watching Fantasmic!, the last hour before closing is a great time to hit any attraction you missed early in the day or to revisit favorites. Just be sure to be out of the park before the show wraps up. The big fireworks salvo at the end is your cue to get moving toward the exits.

Exit Strategies

Although it’s a terrific show that more than justifies any inconvenience, Fantasmic! draws virtually everyone in the park to one spot at closing. Ergo, exiting afterward is a nightmare.

Try to sit near the back of the Mickey section so you’ll not only have the best view but also the best shot at getting out fast and beating the crowds to the buses, trams, or water taxis. Be forewarned—this is prime real estate and fills up early.

If you end up near the water or in one of the sections to the extreme right or extreme left of the stadium, you’ve got no choice but to deal with the crowd. One option is to sit tight and wait for the stadium to empty at least partially, then eat or shop your way through the park, allowing most of the people to exit ahead of you.

Character Meet and Greets

You’ll find some Disney celebs in Hollywood that you can’t meet anywhere else. Consult your map or the tip board, which is midway down Hollywood Boulevard, for the times and places they’ll appear. You can also reserve some meet and greets through FastPass+.

A variety of characters greet you at park opening and return to the entrances around 3 pm.

Toy Story characters appear across from Toy Story Mania. Other Pixar characters can be found inside the Animation Studio.

The stars of Cars can be found in their own little garage to the right of the entrance into Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.

The newest Disney-Pixar stars are inside the Animation Studio, along with Mickey in his sorcerer’s outfit.

Disney Junior stars are in the Animation Courtyard.

Disney Channel stars such as Phineas and Ferb are often found in the Backlot area. Check your entertainment schedule or stop by Guest Relations (a.k.a Guest Services) to see who is scheduled to appear.

Food Choices at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has some of the better sit-down options in any of the Walt Disney World parks.

Character Meals

The stars of Disney Junior appear for breakfast and lunch at the Hollywood & Vine buffeteria. Reservations are definitely a good idea for this one.

Full-Service Dining

The Hollywood Brown Derby is one of the best restaurants inside a Disney theme park—or any theme park, for that matter. Although it has gourmet cuisine and a beautifully urbane setting, it’s still casual and friendly enough to take the kids. The menu changes seasonally and is frequently updated, but one thing that’s always available is the signature Cobb salad.

Other Hollywood restaurants offer big doses of fun for kids. The ’50s Prime Time Café plunks you down in the middle of a television sitcom and serves comfort food like meat loaf, milk shakes, and mac and cheese. TVs play nonstop, you’re seated in replicas of baby-boomer kitchens, and the waitress pretends to be your mom. Before the meal is over, everyone gets into the act, and “Mom” is likely to inspect your hands for cleanliness before she’ll feed you, or she may force the kids to finish their green beans using the dreaded airplane technique.

Equally campy is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, where you eat sandwiches, salads, and pasta in cars as if you were at a drive-in movie. Your waiters are carhops, the film clips are cheesy, and the waiters add to the fun by presenting your bill as a speeding ticket. Drinks even come with glow-in-the-dark ice cubes. The one drawback to the Sci-Fi is that the monster clips shown on the drive-in screen are so graphic and so huge that they alarm some children, and the creepiness is accentuated by the fact that the restaurant is extremely dark.

Due to its out-of-the-way location near Muppet*Vision 3D, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is definitely the least crowded and the fastest of the sit-down places. The veal saltimbocca and penne alla vodka are excellent.

Fast Food

If you just want a quick nosh, the Backlot Express lives up to its name and serves burgers and salads fast. Pizza Planet gets consistently high marks from our readers for both its Toy Story ambience and kid-friendly plain cheese pizza. If your party can’t agree on what to eat, head for the open-air food court called the Sunset Ranch Market on Sunset Boulevard. You can each go in different directions for pizza, hot dogs, turkey legs, ice cream, and fruit, then all meet back at your table.


Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage!

Disney Junior-Live on Stage (if your kids are under six)

The Great Movie Ride

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Muppet*Vision 3D

Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster (if your kids are eight and up)

Star Tours

Toy Story Mania

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (if your kids are eight and up)

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Other Hollywood Touring Tips

Do Big Rides First Thing. Tour continuous-loading attractions such as the Tower of Terror, The Great Movie Ride, Toy Story Mania, the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, and Star Tours early in the day.

Sit in the Afternoon. In general, you should save theater-style presentations—Disney Junior; Beauty and the Beast; Voyage of the Little Mermaid; Muppet*Vision 3D; Indiana Jones; and Lights, Motors, Action!—for the afternoon, when other rides are getting busy.

Toy Story Mania. When setting up FastPass+, all families will need a Toy Story Mania FastPass+.

Sunset Boulevard

Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage!

The Theater of the Stars is modeled on the Hollywood Bowl, and it’s the perfect setting for this appealing 30-minute show. The costuming, choreography, and production are first-rate. The plot is drastically compressed, but because about 99.9% of the audience has seen the movie, it’s not a problem. Beauty and the Beast is a good choice for the afternoon. The theater is covered and large enough to seat 1,500, so if you show up 20 minutes before showtime you should easily get a seat. Scare Factor It’s not scary.


Fantasmic! may be the best closing show in any Disney park. It has everything—lasers, fireworks, lighting effects, music, fountains, a 6,900-seat amphitheater, 1.9 million gallons of water, 45 cast members, and a 50-foot fire-breathing dragon. The show plays at closing every night during the on-season and twice nightly on extremely busy days. During the off-season, it may play as rarely as twice a week, so make sure to arrange your touring plan so that you’ll be in Hollywood Studios on a night when Fantasmic! is scheduled.

Mickey performs in his role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, fighting off a horde of evil Disney characters with a variety of special effects, including the projection of film images onto a screen of water. For a while it looks like the bad guys are winning, and these dark scenes are upsetting for some children. In due time, however, Mickey’s imagination conjures up images of happiness, love, and friendship, and the good-guy characters show up in force. Children of all ages rate the show highly, and it’s surprisingly moving, even for adults.

Fantasmic! is always packed, but one surefire way to guarantee you get in is to purchase a Fantasmic! dinner package. It includes a meal at one of three Hollywood restaurants (the Hollywood Brown Derby, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, or Hollywood & Vine) plus access to a priority-seating area of the Fantasmic! theater. Prices depend on the restaurant you choose, and the dinner package is included in the Disney Dining Plan.

As you pay for your meal, you’re given a voucher that lets you into the priority-seating area. Don’t arrive at the last minute—you aren’t guaranteed a specific seat, just a seat within that area. Make reservations by calling 407/939-3463 (407/WDW-DINE).

Be sure to sit at least 15 rows back from the front to avoid being sprayed with water. Scare Factor In Fantasmic! every Disney villain you can think of shows up for the cartoon Armageddon, and the middle scenes of the show are emotionally wrenching for preschoolers. Mickey saves the day, of course, and most kids adore the show. The noise is enough to frighten some babies and toddlers.


As you walk through the rotunda area before boarding the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, check out the floors; two Hidden Mickeys are in the tiles.

Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster

The Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster is one of the best rides in Disney World. The sound track, featuring Aerosmith, is perfectly synchronized to the movements of the coaster, and the volume is cranked to the max.

The premise is simple. You play the part of fans that have shown up at an Aerosmith taping, but unfortunately the group is in the process of leaving for a concert. They insist you come along to the show, so you’re boarded into 24-passenger stretch limos, which their manager promises are “real fast,” and you’re off on a rock-and-roll trip through the highways of L.A.

Takeoff is amazing—0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds—and then you’re quickly thrown into your first total flip. The mazelike track makes a total of three inversions, and at one point you rip through an “O” in the “Hollywood” sign. The coaster is smooth and fast and offers uneasy riders one comfort: Since the whole ride takes place inside a building, you never go very high, so there’s no plunging sensation. Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster is more about speed than big drops. Scare Factor Loud, fast, and wild, especially at takeoff, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster is for older kids and teens. With a 48-inch height requirement, it will be much too much for kids under eight.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror combines the spooky ambience of a decaying, cobweb-covered 1930s-style Hollywood hotel with sheer thrills. For the clever preshow, Imagineers spliced together clips from the old Twilight Zone TV series, bringing back the long-deceased Rod Serling as narrator.

The story begins on a dark and stormy night in 1939 when five people—a movie star and starlet, a child actress and her nanny, and a bellboy—board a hotel elevator. The hotel is struck by lightning, the elevator drops, and the five passengers are transported into the Twilight Zone. One of the cast members who works at the attraction reports that the most common questions people ask her are “Is this a real hotel?” and “Am I going to die?” (The answer to both is “No.”)


During the Tower of Terror preshow, take note of the child actress boarding the elevator. She’s holding a Mickey Mouse toy.

Your car moves out of its elevator shaft and through a hallway with holographic images before eventually settling into a second elevator shaft. (This is all drawn out with agonizing slowness.) When the car reaches a height of 150 feet, you begin your series of free falls.

That’s right. Free falls is plural. When the ride first opened, you dropped only once, but Imagineers have since introduced a random drop pattern, which means that computers controlling the ride select from several possible drop sequences. You may be hauled up and dropped as many as seven times, and the trip up is as exhilarating as the one down. Scare Factor The Tower of Terror has a 40-inch height requirement, which means that many preschoolers are tall enough to ride. Nonetheless, our suggestion is eight and up, because of both the spooky setup and the drop. The expanded drop sequence means you’re bouncing around in the shaft for a good 20 to 30 seconds, which can feel like forever to a terrified child.

Hollywood Boulevard

Afternoon Parade

A theme parade runs every afternoon, and the exact time and route are outlined on your map. Stake out curb space 30 minutes in advance during the on-season. Because the parade route is so short, the crowds can be 8 to 10 people deep, and no vantage point is significantly less crowded than another. It’s worth it though; the energy and athleticism of the performers will amaze you. Scare Factor It’s not scary.

FastPass+ Attractions

Like Epcot, Hollywood Studios groups its rides and attractions into two tiers for FastPass+, and you can only get one FastPass+ from the Tier One group. During the on-season, the park could add more attractions to this list.


Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage!


Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster

Toy Story Mania


The American Idol Experience

The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special

Disney Junior—Live on Stage

The Great Movie Ride

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Muppet*Vision 3D

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

The Great Movie Ride

Beginning in the Chinese Theater at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, The Great Movie Ride is a bona fide classic. Disney’s largest ride-through attraction, it loads steadily and fairly swiftly and is best toured either mid-morning or in the last hour before the park closes.

Your tour guide provides an amusing spiel as you glide past soundstage sets from Casablanca, Alien, The Wizard of Oz, and other great films. The Audio-Animatronics figures of Gene Kelly, Julie Andrews, and Clint Eastwood are among Disney’s best. But things suddenly turn ugly as your car stalls and the movie scenes come to life. Depending on which car you’ve boarded, you’re about to be overrun by either a Mafia-style gangster or a Western desperado. Your tram will be taken hostage, but don’t fret too much. In a later scene, drawn from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, justice prevails. Was there ever any doubt there would be a happy ending? Scare Factor On The Great Movie Ride you’ll encounter the Alien from Alien, the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz, and any number of bad guys on your trip. Some of the scenes are startling for preschoolers—the pretend gunfire as well as the confrontations, however campy, can be jarring to some—but the fact that your tram driver disappears and reappears does underscore the fact that it’s all “just pretend.”


A problem that arises with Disney’s theater-style attractions is especially acute in huge venues like the Theater of the Stars, where Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage! plays, and the Fantasmic! theater. Let’s say you arrive before the stated showtime and find yourself a terrific seat. As others file into the theater, cast members encourage you to move over and make room so, ironically, those who came earliest often end up politely sliding their way into the far corners of the theaters, while stragglers end up with the best seats. And if you try to avoid this by swooping in at the last minute, you may not get a seat at all. Solution? Instead of staking out aisle seats in side sections (where you’ll find yourself being pushed to the walls), arrive early and sit along one of the aisles in the center section. You’ll still be asked to keep sliding, but at least you’ll end up near the middle of the theater.

Echo Lake

The American Idol Experience

A sign as you enter the park directs would-be superstars on where to audition, and the most promising performers are given a quick vocal lesson, a mini-makeover, and a slot to perform during one of the day’s scheduled shows. Theme-park guests—with the help of critiques by professional judges—choose a winner from each show, and these singers move on to the last show of the day. Whoever wins this finale show gets front-of-the-line access to audition for the real Idol judges.

Even if you’re too tone-deaf to audition, watching the shows and voting is fun, and the studio is an amazing mock-up of the Idol set. Showtimes are listed in your entertainment guide. For the sake of the understandably nervous amateur singers, kids need to be old enough to enjoy watching the “filming” of a mock TV show and sit in reasonable silence during a 35-minute presentation. Scare Factor It’s not scary.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

This stunt show is loud, lively, and full of laughs. Audience volunteers are a key part of the action, and your odds of being tapped improve if you show up early and are near the front of the line. Professional stunt people re-create daring scenes from the Indiana Jones movies in this 30-minute show that is a great chance to see how some of those difficult and dangerous stunts wind up on film.

It’s a huge theater, so even people who show up right at showtime are still usually seated. Scare Factor The gunfire and explosions in the Indiana Jones show startle some kids, but the fact that the theater is outdoors dilutes the intensity.

Jedi Training Academy

Younglings will jump at the chance to participate in the Jedi Training Academy, held several times a day on a stage outside of Star Tours. A Jedi knight selects audience volunteers (ages 4-12) and is leading them through some basic light-saber moves when suddenly (who could have seen this coming?) Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers show up looking for trouble. Each young Jedi-in-training gets a chance to show off his or her fighting skills in defense of the Force. “My 6-year-old son loved this attraction,” reported one father from Michigan. “We ended up coming back for another show.”


If the Jedi Training Academy washes out due to a sudden rainstorm, this can be a good time to ride Star Tours. Not only is the attraction inside and thus safe and dry, but sometimes Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers find themselves dressed up with nowhere to go and are on hand to greet guests.

The Academy, which started out as a simple sidewalk show, has become so popular that Padawan hopefuls need to sign up first thing in the morning. The present sign-up site is right in front of Star Tours, but may be changing; check with Guest Relations as you enter to confirm. It’s a little extra effort, but as a mom from Florida explained, it’s all worth it. “My daughter loves Star Tours. A lady in Guest Relations told us we’d have to rush over to get her signed up, and we barely got her on for the last show of the day. A bonus is that the PhotoPass photographer was there. He got some great up-close shots of her fighting Darth Vader. She still talks about the experience, and the photos are among her most prized possessions.”

The Jedi Training Academy can be great fun to watch even if you don’t have a child in training. The young Padawans are adorable, and it’s pretty exciting when Vader shows up. The best place to watch is from the elevated and shady patio of the nearby fast-food spot, the Backlot Express. Scare Factor It’s not scary.

Star Tours

Motion-simulation technology and a jostling cabin combine to produce the real feel of flight in Star Tours. The ride is the best of both worlds—the 3-D effects are so convincing that you’ll clutch your arm rails, but the actual rumbles are so mild that only the youngest children are eliminated as passengers.

The ride has 54 possible story lines. You read that right: 54. There are three possible opening sequences, three possible closing sequences, and between them you might travel to any variety of destinations from the movies. Ergo, the experience is a little different every time, so ardent fans opt to take multiple trips. Scare Factor Most kids love Star Tours, and the new 3-D technology has actually cut down on the problem of motion sickness, which was formerly a complaint from some riders. The height requirement is 40 inches.

Animation Courtyard

Disney Junior—Live on Stage!

Younger kids love this stage show where they sing, dance, and play along with puppets and costumed cast members from Disney Channel shows. (Characters are updated periodically to make sure they’re from currently popular programs.) The performance space holds large crowds, with the children (largely preschoolers) grouped on the floor where they can participate in the show: They can stand, jump, sing, and shriek within the confines of your claimed spot on the carpeted floor.

Although the show is simple, it’s a big hit with toddlers and preschoolers, and substantial lines begin forming about 30 minutes before showtime. Visit whenever your kids are at their happiest and most rested.

Your first instinct will be to sit as close to the stage as possible—but don’t. Due to the height of the stage the puppets can be difficult to see from the front of the theater, so try sitting along the back or along the aisle for your toddler’s best view.

There’s more excitement as you exit. Characters are often on hand for meet and greets in the Animation Courtyard, and this is the only place you’ll see Disney Junior stars. Scare Factor It’s not scary.

The Magic of Disney Animation

The Magic of Disney Animation opens with a fast and funny show starring Mushu, the pint-size dragon from Mulan, with the voice of Eddie Murphy, and a live Disney animator. The animator describes how a character evolves in the animation process, and Mushu learns, to his horror, that he originally wasn’t destined to be a dragon at all.

After the show, it’s on to the interactive exhibits. These are fun for all ages, and you can stay as long as you like. “You’re a Character,” a quiz that tells you which Disney character is most like you, will save you years of money otherwise spent on therapy. (Don’t like your character? Try the test again!) Or you can insert your own voice into clips of animated classics, digitally color a cartoon, or—most exciting for youngsters—meet the stars of Pixar’s latest film. Although stars from the Disney flicks circulate through all the parks, Hollywood is your best bet to meet the newest stars.

The best part of the attraction for older kids is the Animation Academy, where you can learn to draw a Disney character. Your drawing becomes a great free souvenir that you can take home. Many kids like to have the character they drew autograph the picture the next time they see him or her in the park. You can also buy a frame for your masterpiece as you exit the attraction. “Learning to draw Pooh was an unexpected highlight for our family,” wrote one mom. “I think we may have discovered an unknown talent in our 8-year-old son!” Scare Factor It’s not scary.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Using puppets, animation, and live actors to retell the story of Ariel and Prince Eric, Voyage of the Little Mermaid remains one of the most popular shows at Hollywood.

The special effects in this 20-minute show are among the best Disney has to offer. You’ll feel as if you’re really underwater, and the interplay among the animation, puppetry, and live actors is ingenious. Scare FactorVoyage of the Little Mermaid does have some frightening elements. The storm scene is dark and loud, and Ursula the Sea Witch is one big ugly puppet. That said, most kids have seen the movie and know enough to expect a happy ending, so they usually make it through the dark scenes without becoming too upset. Parents with toddlers will want to sit along the aisles if possible, in case they need to make a quick exit.

Pixar Avenue

Backlot Tour

The Backlot Tour begins with a stop at the special-effects water tank, where audience volunteers help film a naval battle scene. Then you stroll through the props department before boarding a tram that stops in Catastrophe Canyon, where you’re caught in an earthquake and flash flood. (If you’re sitting on the left side, prepare to get wet.) After the rumbles subside, you ride behind the canyon to see how the disasters were created. Note that the Backlot Tour is frequently closed in the off-season, and will shortly be closing for good. Scare Factor The earthquake and flood make noise and can be a bit scary.

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be thrilled with this new show, which allows guests to battle Davy Jones as part of Captain Jack’s crew. By far the highlight of this attraction is the holographic image of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack, leading the entire audience in song and battle. Keep in mind that this eight-minute show is standing-room only, so little ones will want to be held up to see the ships. Scare FactorAlthough this attraction is dark and loud, its cast members say that there haven’t been any children seriously upset by it. The fact that the battle takes place in a large space dulls the intensity.

Toy Story Mania

Ever fancied being one of the toys in Toy Story? Well, going on this ride may be the closest you ever get. Toy Story Mania combines a ride through a cartoon toy box with the challenge of playing carnival midway games. You put on 3-D glasses, and suddenly you’ve been shrunk into a toy spinning around with Woody, Hamm, Rex, and other familiar characters. Using spring-action shooters, you’ll launch rings at aliens, shoot darts at balloons, and hurl eggs at barnyard targets. Best of all, the ride gauges your skill level during the practice round and then adjusts the difficulty for each rider to create a level playing field. So a 5-year-old can compete head-to-head with her 12-year-old brother.

Toy Story Mania is similar in concept to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom, but the technology is considerably more advanced. As you play, you see the “virtual objects” you’ve launched from your shooters either hit or miss targets. At times it even seems as if objects are whirling past you as they pop out of the 3-D scenes. Like any attraction with scoring, Toy Story Mania is addictive, with riders coming back time after time to try and beat their own scores. “The best ride in Hollywood,” enthused one mother of three, “and maybe in all of Disney World. The kids loved it and it took me and my husband back to our childhoods.” Scare Factor It’s not scary.

Time-Saving Tip “Mania” is right. No matter what time of day or season, Toy Story Mania is the one Hollywood attraction where FastPass+ is most helpful.

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

This is more of an exhibit than an attraction, but it does remind you that almost everything in Disney World sprang from the extraordinary vision of a single man. There are plenty of artifacts and memorabilia, as well as a film about Walt Disney’s life. Scare Factor It’s not scary.

Streets of America

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure

In this playground, based on the film, “miniaturized” guests scramble through a world of 9-foot Cheerios and spiderwebs three stories high. It’s the perfect place for kids to blow off steam and very popular with the under-10 set. Scare Factor It’s not scary.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Based on the popular Moteurs … Action! Stunt Show Spectacular at Disneyland Paris, this show features special cars, motorcycles, and watercraft built to blow up, split in half, and perform other high-octane stunts. When the show starts you’ve been transported to a movie set, where the director is filming chase scenes and other daring feats with a cast and crew of 50.

“The Lights, Motors, Action! stunt show was incredible,” wrote one mother of two from Massachusetts. “We saw it twice. It’s an especially good show for boys, since some of the other shows at Hollywood are a little girly.”

Showtimes for Lights, Motors, Action! will be listed on your entertainment schedule and on the tip board on Hollywood Boulevard. The performances are in a large arena, so generally everyone who comes within five minutes of showtime can be seated. Come 10 minutes early on crowded days. Scare Factor The engines and pyrotechnics in Lights, Motors, Action! may startle babies and toddlers.

Muppet*Vision 3D

The Muppets combine slapstick and high wit, so everyone from preschoolers to adults will find something to make them laugh. Kids love the 3-D glasses and the eye-popping special effects. And the preshow is nearly as clever as the 20-minute main show. This is a good choice for early afternoon, when you’ve ridden several rides and would like to sit and laugh for a while. The 3-D effects are more convincing if you sit near the center toward the back of the theater. Scare Factor Although Muppet*Vision 3D tested highly among kids ages two to five, some parents reported that children under two were unnerved by the sheer volume of the finale.