After Disneyland, California Adventure and Animal Kingdom, we jump ahead in the series to Hollywood Studios. If you missed any of the previous installments click on the corresponding park to catch up!
Attractions are just one part of theme park experience. Live entertainment can help to balance out a day full of rides. Hollywood Studios was built with the idea of being a working studio that guests would come to visit. While today’s version of the park didn’t end up that way, the theme (or lack thereof) still lends itself to large stage shows. Let’s brush up on the rules before the ratings.
- The show has to be live, also no meet & greets – I covered 3D shows (and the like) in the attraction rankings. Meet & greet experiences differ from person-to-person so it’s nearly impossible to rate a typical experience, seeing how there really isn’t a ‘typical experience.’ For the record, I don’t often like meet & greets unless they involve King Louie.
- I’ll try to keep up! – Some of the temporary live offerings will be on here but some I simply won’t be able to keep up with. If I’m behind, feel free to drop me a note in the comments below! Hollywood Studios has a decent amount of entertainment coming and going, especially. I apologize for any inconvenience. In this same vein, there are some shows that I haven’t seen and I will skip reviewing them.
- Shows are rated mostly on production, minimally on subject – I’m not the target audience for Jedi Training but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad show. I’ll try to be as fair as possible, regardless of subject matter.
- Make up your own opinion – I’m always right… Except when I’m not. If I don’t like the show, that doesn’t mean you will feel the same. I don’t think my opinions are too outlandish and I try to rate things on show quality instead of subject but that doesn’t mean you should take my word as gospel.
The shows are rated on a scale of 1-10, 1 being “you’d be better off getting run over by a boulder than seeing this” and 10 being “you should be run over by a boulder if you decide not to see this show. Let’s begin!
Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage – 7/10
This is a truncated version of Beauty and the Beast, hitting on most of the classic songs while quickly telling the story. The show is driven by the live singing sand dance performances. Strangely enough, some of the singing is live while some is pre-recorded with lip-synching. That is my biggest problem with the show along with the shortened version lacking any emotional punch. The performances are good but the writing and directing choices are somewhat odd. I also think the show is a little tired and past its prime. I’d like to see a replacement in the coming years. For now, this is skippable unless you are a big Beauty and the Beast fan. Even then, I wouldn’t make it a top priority.
Citizens of Hollywood – 8.5/10
The Citizens of Hollywood are a very good streetmosphere act on Hollywood Boulevard. These actors portray citizens of the street in the early 1900’s. They sing, tell jokes, and interact with guests. This isn’t the type of act you plan for but I would absolutely recommend stopping for 5 or 10 minutes if you see them performing. They really add life to the park.
Fantasmic! – 8.5/10
This is probably my least favorite of Disney’s nighttime spectaculars. I love Fantasmic! at Disneyland but this show is missing something. With that said, it is still very impressive. Located in a large amphitheater, the show’s production value is high and the story is timeless. The Pocahontas section is too long and takes some of the flow out of the show but there are still some amazing moments. This is a must-see if you have never been to Disneyland. If you have, then this is skippable as that version is far superior.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – 6/10
This wins the award for longest show title in Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately, it won’t win any other awards. This show consists of two narrators telling the Frozen plot very quickly. Occasionally characters will pop out and lead the audience in a sing along. The whole show seems very thrown together and is really lacking. If you have a kid who loves Frozen then this might be for them. If not, then I’d try to avoid this.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – 8/10
This is a pretty fun show that goes behind the stunts that they do in movies. It is all based around Indiana Jones. I’ve always thought that the show has somewhat of a funny pace but overall I think that it’s enjoyable. Another negative is that the theater can be very hot if you go at the wrong time of day. Overall, there aren’t many shows like this in Walt Disney World (or Disneyland for that matter) and that makes it more interesting and enjoyable for me. I’d say go and see this unless you don’t care much for action movies or Indiana Jones.
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple – 10/10
This show is for kids (which I am not) but I think it is great. Kids can sign to take part in Jedi Training and will eventually learn some moves with a light saber before battling Darth Vader or Kylo Ren. Even as an adult, Jedi Training is a blast to watch and will definitely be enjoyable for parents. The times I’ve watched I have been very impressed with the organization, production value and handling of the kids. If you have little ones that are Star Wars fans you should definitely do this. Even as an adult, stopping by and watching the fun for a few minutes is worth your time.
March of the First Order – 6.5/10
Others seem to love this and I feel like I’m missing something. This is a mini-parade, with a few storm troopers and Captain Phasma marching to the stage right outside of the Chinese Theater. I mean, it doesn’t hurt anything and is a fun little addition but I don’t think it’s worth lining up for or waiting in a crowd under the hot sun. But as I said, some people really love this.
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular – 8.5/10
This is the other nighttime spectacular at Hollywood Studios. I gave this the same rating as Fantasmic! but I do like this slightly better. This show is basically the greatest hits from the Star Wars franchise. They use building facades for projections along with some pyro. They have continuously cut back on the pyro in recent months and that certainly limits the show. If not for that I would definitely give this a 9 or higher. Even with the negatives, the show is a blast and a quality nighttime spectacular. Try to get fairly close to the Chinese Theater for the best view.
Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away – 6.5/10
The lacking parade I mentioned earlier? It all leads up to this show that is also lacking. This is like the nighttime spectacular in that it’s more or less a montage of great Star Wars moments. These are shown on big screens with a few character appearances interspersed throughout the show. There is no discernible plot. This is basically like a Star Wars hype video, which isn’t the worst thing really but not needed.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid – 7.5/10
This is a short retelling of Little Mermaid that uses screens and live actors. The show is pretty short (about 20 minutes) and uses a few old-fashioned but fun effects in the theater. I’ve always enjoyed this show overall but will admit that it’s nothing to write home about. Unlike most of the others on this list, Voyage of the Little Mermaid is inside and a nice way to escape the heat. If you’ve finished the big rides and shows at Hollywood Studios then this is a perfectly pleasant way to spend a few minutes.
Hollywood Studios has quite a bit of live entertainment, especially considering how few attractions the park has. I didn’t include the Disney Jr. show, the new projection show, or the Christmas nighttime show as I haven’t seen them. There has also been some temporary entertainment added and I hope this continues over the next few years as the park grows.
As Hollywood Studios stands right now, there are a lot of good shows but nothing great that everyone would love. Jedi Training is worth your time but more for kids than anything. The nighttime spectaculars are good but don’t quite live up to other parks. The stage shows are good but not jaw-dropping. All in all, Hollywood Studios has good entertainment options but nothing out of this world.
What do you think of Hollywood Studio’s live entertainment? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!