We just got back from Walt Disney World, and I thought I would share how ideal Disney’s Hollywood Studios is for preschoolers and toddlers. I have to be honest– historically, I would have said that of the 4 parks in Walt Disney World, Hollywood Studios is my least favorite. It’s always felt more like the action and adventure side of Disney, and less about the magic and wonder. Between the Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the emphasis on Star Wars, it’s just seemed like Hollywood Studios was a park that is geared towards the tweens and older. However, after this last trip to Walt Disney World with my 4-year-old Peanut and 2-year-old Monkey, I can honestly say that after the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the best park for preschoolers! In case you were planning your own trip, here is how to make most of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for preschoolers (or toddlers!)
Tip 1: Stay All Day. Most families taking a trip to Walt Disney World with preschoolers tend to spend the majority of their time at Magic Kingdom, but I honestly want to encourage parents to consider spending at least one full day with their preschoolers at Hollywood Studios. The best part is, you can skip the two rides that have the longest waits at the park– the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. (You have to be 48″ tall to ride the coaster, and most preschoolers are too afraid for the Tower of Terror.)
Tip 2: Best Way for 2 Rides on Toy Story Mania. Based on my most recent trips to the park, I’d suggest that a family starts in Pixar Place and ride, Toy Story Mania. While its really a solid FastPass+ option, why ride only once? I recommend getting a FastPass for later in the day when the lines are longer. The Monkey loves Toy Story Mania, so an early ride while the standby line is short is a good choice for us. Then you get two turns at an excellent ride with little wait!
Tip 3: Cool Character Spots at Pixar Place. Pixar Place also gives you the chance to see so many of the Toy Story characters. For all of my boys, Toy Story has been the first full-length Disney movie that they have really loved. I believe that is the only place in Walt Disney World where your child can get a picture with Sarg or the faceless soldier.
Plus, the official character spot for Woody and Buzz is has entertaining that your Littles can play in, and it’s an air-conditioned wait.
Tip 4: The Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is Fun for Everyone! This most recent trip was the first time that we were able to go to the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. We aren’t the biggest Frozen fans honestly– I do live in a house filled with boys. However, the Monkey and Peanut were entranced for the entire show.
It’s a good mix of adult humor, princesses, snow and familiar songs. The Big One, who is now 14, said that it was one of the best things he saw during this latest trip to WDW. That is high praise indeed from that jaded teen! I’d recommend that you get a FastPass+ for this show to get a better seat, and get in line early.
Tip 5: Catch another Classic Show (or 2). If you need a rest from walking, Hollywood Studios has so many show, and both the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage are solid choices. As both are 30 minutes, you may want to space them out, or only see one. We caught Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage for the second time this trip, and skipped the Voyage of the Little Mermaid (which we saw last trip). Both are solid shows with the entire plot of the movie condensed into under 30 minutes. I’d suggest that you go to your littles’ favorite, and then see if you have time for the other show. At the end of Beauty and the Beast, my curious 4-year-old was more focused on how the giant Mrs. Potts and Chip moved around the stage.
Tip 6: Disney Junior Rocks for Preschoolers! The high point of the entire day for my two little boys was the Disney Junior -Live on Stage Show. The Mellow Man and I curled up on the floor along with a hundred other parents to watch the gang from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse visit with Doc McStuffins, Jake, and Sophia the First. The show itself it rather silly from an adult point of view. BUT, from that 2 to 6-year-old point of view, it is magic. Both of my little boys were singing, chanting, dancing and clapping through the entire show. Get a FastPass+ and sit in the center section!
Tip 7: Don’t Miss the Disney Junior Character Spots. There are excellent Character Spots right next to the Disney Junior-Life one Stage Show, and I’m not sure where else in Disney World to meet these characters. The little boys got to meet Doc, Jake, Sophia and Pluto. The lines were the shortest I’ve ever seen for Standby during the daytime anywhere at Walt Disney World. Don’t miss them if you have a preschooler who loves these characters!
Tip 8: Send Big Kids to Star Wars or the Tower of Terror instead of Disney Junior. If you are able to split up, the Disney Junior part of the day is a great time to send those older kids to do something else. Big One opted out of the Disney Junior Live on Stage, and headed over to catch Star Tours.
Tip 9: Fantasmic is Awesome, but the Day will be Long! Fantasmic is amazing! BUT, I always believe in focusing on Disney World being high in quality rather than high in quantity. By the time we did all of these shows, met all of these characters, enjoyed the park and had the required lunch and snacks, it was late in the day. And we had 2 tired preschoolers. Fantasmic is an excellent nighttime show, but we try to do that after a good afternoon of resting and napping. I’d suggest breaking the days up, as sometimes trying to fit it all end leads to a reduction in enjoyment. Particularly for your littlest Mousketeers!
Tip 10: Have Fun! Okay this seems obvious, but all too many times, I’ve seen parents with preschoolers trying to fit everything in, and everyone ends up cranky and frustrated. Focus on the magic. It’s everywhere. Schedule the most important things first, and remember that you will not be able to do everything. It’s just not possible.
Tell me what you recommend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Preschoolers! Have a magical day!