Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, is the former Disney – MGM Studios theme park. The name may have changed but the fun and action have improved.

The thing that differs from the other three theme parks in the Disney World complex is getting to watch the taping of television and film productions, being part of the action and discovering what is involved in making movies.

There’s so much do to at Hollywood Studios that you won’t be able to see everything in one day.  Plan ahead and decide which rides and shows you really want to see.

The two main thrill rides at this Orlando theme park are Rockin Roller Coaster and Hollywood Tower of Terror.

Disney Hollywood Studios Rides


Toy Story Mania virtual realty ride is extremely popular. Get a Fast Pass the minute you reach the park (fast passes have been known to sell out before noon!  The premise of this ride/game is that you ride a car through a virtual 3-D world playing games with all the different Pixar characters you encounter along the way.

Each car seats 4 people and each player has their own virtual shooting gun and scoreboard. This ride lasts approximately 5 mins.

Bigger kids, teens and adults Drawing top billing are the two newer roller coasters: Tower of Terror and Rock N Roller Coaster. This is where the younger kids find out vegetables will help them grow so they will be above the height requirement the next time you visit Disney Hollywood Studios, Orlando.

The Tower of Terror – “Fear Every Drop!”

Tower of Terror is a simulated free-fall thrill ride.  This 199ft tower is the tallest attraction at Walt Disney World.

The Tower of Terror - Contrary to popular belief, there is no standing inside an elevator during this ride. You will be securely seated and have a restraint bar in front of you.

You begin by taking the tour of the old spooky Hollywood Tower Hotel and board the elevator to the 13th floor. There you will board your passenger carriage and be securely strapped in.

The ride takes a sudden jolt upwards to the 13th floor, then you will experience a series of drops, twists and falls – at one point the elevator doors swing open to reveal the Disney Hollywood Studios’ parking lot far below!

  • Extra Magic Hours participant? Yes
  • Fatstpass participant? Yes
  • Last minute chicken out exit? Yes, before you board the elevator, after the pre-show.
  • Rider Switch (child swap) available? Yes
  • Height to ride – 40″ (1.02m) – may be too intense and claustrophobic for some visitors. Be advised if you have back problems, this ride will jolt you.

Below is a photo taken when the elevator doors inside the hotel are opened, revealing ghosts of previous guests from the 1930s! As you see them, they then disappear into the murky greyness of the corridor.

tower of terror, hollywood tower of terror, disney hollywood studios

The Rock N Roller Coaster stars Aerosmith music and memorabilia. Climb in the stretch limo for the most thrilling ride of your life, consisting of turns, twists, and speed you will not believe.

Entrance to Rockin Roller Coaster
Photo courtesy of Patrick McGarvey

This is an indoor rollercoaster set to the theme of Rock N Roll and Hollywood. There are 3 inversions (going upside down), 1 vertical loop and a corkscrew. The initial launch is quite intense – you’ll go from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds!

  • Extra Magic Hours participant? Yes
  • Fatstpass participant? Yes
  • Last minute chicken out exit? Yes
  • Rider Switch (child swap) available? Yes – ask a near-by cast member about the procedure.
  • Height to ride – 48″ (1.21m)

Disney Hollywood Studios Shows and Tours

Make a note of the times and areas for the multitudes of shows and parades when you arrive at the park. Pick up a free map and show timetable. Prepare for shows in the street, perhaps a group of Power Rangers or the group from High School Musical.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage! features new and favorite Disney Junior characters. The kids will play, dance, and sing along, plus enjoy the scenery and puppet shows. Jake and the Never Land Pirates might show up to join the group from Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

The Studio Back Lot Tour and Tram Ride teaches about special effects. It is mainly a tram ride, very welcome when you want to see something and sit down at the same time. Riders encounter some great props and find out how certain stunts work. Some visitors get pulled off to be extras in the film.

The Hollywood Movie Experience features movies from different publishers and production houses. It is a great history and cultural lesson.

Lights, Motors, Action! emphasizes high speed car and motorcycle chases, showing how stunts are done, and be sure to see the action packed Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular while visiting Disney Hollywood Studios Orlando.

Keep the camera handy for impromptu pictures with Woody or Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story” and other popular Disney characters.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid show and Beauty and the Beast Show designed themselves for the little ones.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Show, featured in November and December in the Streets of America Area, is impressive and unforgettable. You will never see a light display like this again.

Disney Hollywood Studios Fireworks

Fantasmic is an awesome display of pyrotechnics featuring Mickey and other Disney heroes fighting classic Disney villains. This night time spectacle is more than just a pretty firework show. Fantasmic tells the story of Mickey’s battle with the evil Maleficant dragon.

Fantasmic is held in the huge Hollywood Amphitheater behind the Tower of Terror. There is at least one show per night during busy periods. At non-peak times of the year there are usually 2/3 shows per week. Check the show times brochure upon entering the park for exact days and times.

Disney Hollywood Studios Heights to Ride

There are height or age cautions on many rides and some of the attractions will not appeal to children aged 8 and under.

Great Movie Ride – no height restrictions – may be too intense for young ones.

Tower of Terror – 40″ (1.02m) – may be too intense and claustrophobic for some visitors.

Rock N Roller Coaster – 48″ (1.21m)

Star Tours Intergalactic Simulator – 40″ (1.02m)

Disney Hollywood Studios Facilities

Major things to like about this theme park include wheelchair access, stairs and elevators, clean bathroom facilities and activities for younger and older children. Lockers for storage add enjoyment to the day because it allows families to put purchases, jackets and even baby formula and diapers in a convenient, safe location. There is a lot of stroller parking; there are also many families pushing strollers, so make yours easy to identify.

Parking is easy, with signs visibly hung on lampposts. Make the trip to the entrance quick and easy by catching the tram, which runs every 5 minutes or so. Note the row where you parked the car so you can find it more easily in the dark.


Experience 50s Prime Time Café Enjoy the café with typical 1950s sitcom kitchens. Stainless steel and formica counters and tables will have you looking for Mrs. Cleaver or Alice. Enjoy Americana meals like meatloaf, pot roast, chicken pot pie and fried chicken. Grandpa may have mentioned vanilla cokes from the soda fountain and you can enjoy one here, or splurge on malts and shakes.

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