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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

7 Reasons Hollywood Studios Ranks Best Among Walt Disney World Parks

by Ray Keating
September 24, 2019

Disney’s Hollywood Studios ranks as the best of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World. In fact, it leaves Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom in the dust.

Right now, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom aficionados are outraged, and ready for a debate. Well, a Disney debate is always fun. So, here are my 7 reasons for making this bold claim.

#1. The Vibe. I’m a movie buff – especially loving classic films. Since it opened in 1989 (as Disney-MGM Studios), Hollywood Studios has served up a great Hollywood vibe. In fact, the two streets – Hollywood and Sunset Blvds – offer a great old-time movies feel. Indeed, as far as streets go in Disney World, these two boulevards only rank behind Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom in terms of being iconic.

#2. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While I’ve been a top fan of Hollywood Studios since it opened, the immersive Galaxy’s Edge is unparalleled as a theme park land, and Smugglers Run rates as one of the best rides around – especially for a Star Wars fan. Check out my take on Galaxy’s Edge – “9 Reasons to Love Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World.”

#3. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Disney imagineers did a very nice job in upgrading the Star Tours attraction, which first opened in 1989. The new Star Tours – The Adventures Continue opened in May 2011, with new sequences added in November 2015 and November 2017. Even given what’s happening in Galaxy’s Edge, this remains a great attraction.

#4. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. A welcome from Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone, an old, scary Hollywood hotel, and a thrill ride with great views and drops – nothing more need be said.

#5. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. It's hard to think of better ways to celebrate Hollywood than coming in from the Florida heat and humidity, sitting down in a replica convertible, watching old sci-fi movies on a huge screen under an evening sky, and enjoying some solid food, including excellent burgers and shakes. I always love going to the Sci-Fi Dine-In, but for some reason I failed to stop in on my latest visit. What the heck was I thinking?

#6. 50’s Prime Time Café. How can you not enjoy taking a trip back to the 1950s, sitting at the formica kitchen table (no elbows on the table, please!), a black-and-white television offering some TV classics, and solid comfort food served up family style. (Make sure you know what color the soap is if you use the restrooms... you might get asked to make sure you washed!)

#7. Indiana Jones. As I wrote in a recent article – Dear Bob: Disney Needs to Step It Up on Indiana Jones – Disney needs more Indiana Jones in the parks, including Indy merchandise. But what Disney does offer, of course, is to be discovered in Hollywood Studios, namely, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost. Hollywood Studios gets an automatic thumbs-up for being the home of Indiana Jones.

So, I could go on, but there are seven solid reasons why Disney’s Hollywood Studios ranks as the best theme park in Disney World.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

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