After a two month break, it’s time to continue ranking the attractions at each U.S. Disney Park. We began with California Adventure and Disneyland and now start on the east coast at Hollywood Studios. Before the rankings, let’s brush up on the rules.
- No Meet & Greets. These are impossible to rank as each experience is unique. Also, I don’t particularly like them.
- No Live Shows. Nighttime shows are almost always better than rides, in my eyes. Also, big stage shows are impressive and don’t fit the profile of a typical ride. I will include 3D movies though. Basically you have to physically ride something or it has to be a show without live acting. The stuff in Toon Town that you can climb around on won’t be included here. It would have ranked pretty poorly, if you’re curious.
- These are all my opinion. Lou Mongello constantly says that “every attraction is someones favorite.” While that is corny and seems a little silly, I think the sentiment is mostly true. I can’t account for other people’s memories in these rankings and will try (probably unsuccessfully) to take some of the nostalgia out of my views of these attractions. You’ll likely disagree with these rankings. Please let me know what you disagree with in the comments.
Moving to Hollywood Studios means that this post will be much shorter than its predecessors. I’ve written plenty about Hollywood Studios being a park in disarray so there’s no need to rehash that here. By 2020 this post will be incredibly different. Unfortunately, for the next few years, the quantity of attractions that are ranked will be disappointing. The quality of the attractions isn’t disappointing, there just simply needs to be about three times as many if not more. Let’s get to the rankings!
8. Star Wars: Path of the Jedi – This should earn a special prize for coming in last place on two parks lists. This 10-minute film recaps Star Wars. That’s it, there’s nothing more to it. People who haven’t seen the franchise should just watch the movies and people who have seen the franchise shouldn’t waste their time here.
7. Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream – This is a quality attraction in the Animation Courtyard that pays tribute to Walt Disney. The walk through leading up to a short film is my favorite part of the attraction. In a way, this is a mini Walt Disney museum that showcases artifacts from the company’s history. The short film is pretty good as well and a bit of tear-jerker. I don’t think the attraction is out of this world but it’s quite good. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stay open very often as they do previews in this theater fairly often.
6. Muppet*Vision 3D – While slightly outdated, this is still a quality attraction. The pre-show is one of the funniest things in all of Walt Disney World. The actual movie is good, as well. The Muppet humor works well and it’s always fun to see Sweetums roaming around the theater. While I do think the film as a whole is in need of a refresh, this is somewhat of a special tribute to Jim Henson because this is the last thing he worked on.
5. The Great Movie Ride – Speaking of attractions in desperate need of an update, The Great Movie Ride is next on this list. I still love the idea of this attraction but frankly there are some scenes that don’t work anymore. Taking guests on a trip through great movies is a novel concept and something that most theme parks are trying to do now in a more involved way. That’s what ultimately makes this a good attraction even if it’s a bit outdated. Bonus points for being inside the Chinese Theater because I think it’s cool to go inside a park icon.
4. Star Tours – The Adventure Continues – The last three were all pretty interchangeable, in my opinion, and I’d say the same for this one and the next two. I never loved Star Tours but once they added different scenes, I enjoy it more. The queue here is also pretty impressive with the AT-AT Walker and the Endor vibes. Overall, I find Star Tours (especially after the updates) to be a really good ride but not a great one.
3. Toy Story Mania – This is a really fun attraction but is it a really good attraction? I’m not sure. The concept of being toy size in the queue works pretty well and then the games are a blast. Sure, this is not much more than a glorified Wii game but you can interact with others in your party more than any other attraction at Disney Parks. For that, I give Toy Story Mania a slight advantage over Star Tours. I could easily change my mind tomorrow though!
2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – When viewed in isolation, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is really weird. A roller coaster featuring Aerosmith, a band that’s past its prime. Apologies to any Aerosmith fans out there… Still, with the theme of Hollywood there, the attractions story works pretty well. Getting to a concert via roller coaster while somewhat joking about LA traffic is funny, campy and a pretty good idea. This is a pretty fun and intense roller coaster but I do think that it’s a little too short and that keep this attraction away from greatness.
1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Even with some good attractions at Hollywood Studios, the Tower of Terror wins by a wide margin. A great story, a beautiful fit thematically, an inventive track system that stands the test of time and a thrill to boot. Tower of Terror is one of the best attractions in all of Walt Disney World and easily wins the honor of Hollywood Studios best attraction.
Outside of Path of the Jedi, Hollywood Studios doesn’t have a bad attraction. Unfortunately, there’s only eight to judge and I expect a few of these to change over time. Still, the park has a good foundation of attractions to build on and, while it’s barely worth visiting as is, those attractions bode well for the future.
What did I get wrong in my rankings? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney!