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WDW: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios was the first theme park we visited in Orlando, and I was expecting it to be mostly like the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. It is and it isn't. The "dressing" is much more elaborate here, and it's all just a bit better put together... I suspect the blue skies and palm trees help!

Whilst there are some overlaps with rides - Rock 'n' Rollercoaster with Aerosmith (that's us enjoying it below, and the people sat in front of us were certainly having fun!) and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (nope, still didn't go on that one) - Disney's Hollywood Studios is ramping up for the introduction of Star Wars Land, which is currently being built.

They are also extending Pixar Place, which only has the fantastic Toy Story Midway Mania! ride at the moment. I'd dismissed it as being similar to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, so didn't book a FastPass+ slot for it, which was an error! Luckily we hopped on the ride when it had a rare ten minute queue (it's usually 60-90 minutes long), and it was miles better than the Buzz Lightyear ride, even though they both have the same premise of shooting targets. I wish we'd had chance to go on it again as it was definitely my favourite ride in this park.

My recommendations for your FastPass+ selections are TSMM, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues and Rock 'n' Rollercoaster. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror always seemed to have a short queue time - maybe a lot of people are like me and don't like drop rides? - but you can always tweak your choices on the day using the app. (I'll be sharing more about this in a tips and tricks post but, basically, FastPass+ means you can skip ride and show queues. Oh, and it's free. Perfect!)

There may be the heavy influence of Star Wars (character meets, shows, Jedi Training, plus the Star Tours ride), but the park does have other shows and rides. One you might overlook is Muppet Vision 3D, which is sort of on its own at the back of the park where Star Wars Land is shaping up. It's not amazing, but it's one you can pretty much walk on and it will get you out of the sun for a quick shade break!

Another show is Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage, which is a highlighted blitz of the film and is as charming as you'd think it would be. And then there's the live Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which isn't charming and has no singing, but it's action-packed and good fun to watch. Try and get picked as a volunteer!

Funnily enough, we skipped the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and the Disney Junior shows, though we obviously did the Voyage of The Little Mermaid show and The Great Movie Ride. Both, again, had really short queues, and they are worth doing. (LOVED VoTLM, though I now always correct Ariel as Arielle in my head. As does Olly. Ha!)

We met the most characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios as the queues were so short. Around twenty minutes to meet Mickey and Minnie, whilst with Goofy we just had to wait a few minutes for him to come back from checking that Max had done his homework. (Goof Troop reference? I never watched that.) Chewbacca was a five-minute wait, whilst Kylo Ren had no queue... he was superbly in character, and was the only character who didn't give us a big hug. Sobs! Nah, that was OK - he was pretty intimidating!

Food-wise, we had dinner at the 50's Prime-Time Cafe, which has a wonderfully retro decor. We both ordered Mom's Favorite Recipes (below left), which is meatloaf, fried chicken and pot roast with mash and veggies. Some great American classics, though I wasn't keen on the meatloaf. The batter on that fried chicken though? I'm drooling at the thought of it now! Oh, and if you want to drink alcohol with your meal, take your passport. They wouldn't accept our driving licenses as ID so we had to make do with a coke float and a root beer float.

If you're after an afternoon snack, ladies and gentleman, I give you funnel cake (above right). It's sweet, delicious, and can be found by the Indiana Jones show at Oasis Canteen. We also had a tasty lunch at Min and Bill's Dockside Diner, though I completely forgot that chips doesn't mean fries and was a little confused when we were handed crisps as a side. Great hot dogs and pulled pork sliders there though!

Disney's Hollywood Studios is a fun park, and with some careful planning (and going at the right time of year), you could easily get everything ticked off in a day. There are also evening firework shows, which we didn't get to see, but I hear Fantasmic is BRILLIANT. Oh, and I'd definitely recommend taking some time for the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream exhibition to find out more about the man behind the mouse. What do you think to the park? x

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