Traveling With Young Kids
Part IV in our eight-part series on visiting the Disney parks for the first time focuses on traveling to Hollywood Studios with young children (the 6-and-under set).
Now, Hollywood Studios is under some major construction, so it’s become sort of a half-day park. We’ll revise our recommendations on this one once Toy Story Land opens in the summer of 2018 and again when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019.
As we mentioned in Part I, II and III, every family is different. So, if there are any Disney pros out there reading, please add your own comments and suggestions below. We don’t want to miss a thing.
Also, with all the Disney parks, it’s best to arrive when the park opens (rope drop) on a weekday. If you can avoid major school holiday breaks, you will experience less crowds.
When scheduling your FastPasses, you can do so 60 days in advance if you are staying at a Disney Resort. If you are not staying at a Disney Resort, you can pick your FastPasses 30 days in advance. At Hollywood Studios, you will have to make a choice between Toy Story Mania, Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and the Fantasmic fireworks show. This is no brainer—GO WITH TOY STORY MANIA!
How to Spend a First Day at Hollywood Studios with Young Kids
#1 Toy Story Mania
When you arrive, head straight to Pixar Place for Toy Story Mania (FastPass recommended). This is one of the best themed rides in the park. As you make your way through the queue, you will notice that the toys are larger than life. Then you notice you’re in Andy’s room. Finally, it will dawn on you that, “you are a toy!” Next, you’ll step onto your ride vehicle and be whisked away into a midway-style 4-D shooting game. This attraction is for all ages and sizes. The ball-shooter is easy for even the littlest riders to operate.
Once you step off the ride, jump in line to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody at Pixar Place. It’s a great photo op. Also, while strolling down the lane, you may encounter a toy soldier. Don’t be afraid to ask for a selfie! These soldiers love to salute.
#2 Walt Disney Presents
There isn’t much in Disney World dedicated to Walt, but this mini-museum is one spot. For kids, it’s a little boring. Steer them toward the miniatures. It’ll give you enough time to take in a few of the archive photos and fun facts about the guy who made it all happen. There’s a movie at the end, and it’s totally fine not to stay and watch.
#3 Disney Jr.
Travel to Animation Courtyard next. Catch the Disney Junior—Live On Stage show. If your child is a fan of the Mickey Mouse Club, Doc McStuffins, or Jake and the Neverland Pirates, he or she will enjoy this one. The 24-minute show is inside the theater, and you’ll have to sit on the floor to watch. Don’t pick a spot too close to the stage. Your view will be partially blocked.
#4 Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage
If you have a princess fan, then he or she is going to want to see these two shows. The better of the two by far is Beauty and the Beast, but you’ll have time to see both, so why not?
Voyage of the Little Mermaid is about 17 minutes and takes place in an enclosed theater (great on hot days). It is dark in the theater, so have your little one in your lap if you think he or she might get scared.
To see Beauty and the Beast, you’ll have to walk down Sunset Boulevard to the outdoor amphitheater. This experience is a Broadway-style musical, retelling the animated classic in about 30 minutes. This show is spectacular, and even if you aren’t a big fan of the movie, you will still enjoy the talents of these Disney castmembers.
#5 Time to Eat
The most fun you’ll have eating is at the Prime Time Café (reservation recommended). The food is great and the service is one-of-a-kind. You will be seated in a location reminiscent of a 1950s ranch-style home. Your server will be a castmember pretending to be your aunt or your cousin. Be warned, they will treat you like family. Don’t be surprised if you are reprimanded for not eating all your vegetables. Prime Time Café also has killer milkshakes. Save room for one, or start with one and order a smaller meal.
#6 Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Oh my gosh! Hollywood Studios has a lot of shows. Here’s another based on the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie. Castmembers portray Indy and Marion as they reenact a number of movie stunts. The show is about 30 minutes, with lots of action and a little bit of comedy thrown in as well.
#7 Star Tours
For Star Wars fans this attraction is a must do (FastPass recommended). The theming on this ride is great. You enter by passing under the belly of an AT-AT. Inside, you’ll see numerous droids in various states of disrepair. Next, you’ll board a transporter and don some 3-D glasses. This is a motion simulator that takes you through various locations and scenes from the Star Wars franchise. The best effect is when the vehicle jumps to hyperspace. Children must be 40 inches or taller, and know that the ride is somewhat jostling. If your kiddo hates roller coasters, this may not be for him or her. Grownups, take turns riding. The attraction also has a great gift shop where kids can spend time making miniature droids. No purchase necessary.
#8 Muppets Vision 3D
This is a hilarious movie starring Kermit and the gang. If you are a fan of The Muppet Show, you’ll love this. Kiddos do have to wear 3D glasses for this one, too, but they will love the effects. It’s fun to watch audience members trying to grab at what seems to pop out of the screen.
Since this is really a half day park, the best recommendation is to knock this one out in the morning, then spend the rest of your day at your resort or Disney Springs. If you are fireworks fans, then do return in the evening for Fantasmic! This show combines characters, music, pyrotechnics, and fireworks into one grand spectacle.
Congratulations! You just had a magical day.
More stories from our First Time Visitor Series:
Part I Magic Kingdom With Young Children
Part II Epcot With Young Children
Part III Animal Kingdom With Young Children
Part IV Hollywood Studios With Young Children
Part V Magic Kingdom Without Children
Part VI Epcot Without Children
Part VII Animal Kingdom Without Children
Part VIII Hollywood Studios Without Children