So it’s time to review some of the theme parks at Disney World / Orlando (We put the “duh” in Floriduh). This will be the next four posts, in roughly the order I think they are currently worth visiting. Expect to see, in order, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and then Animal Kingdom.
Hooray for .... Star Wars? Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios Theme Park) has always been the forgotten theme park in Orlando. And, to be honest, I’ve got some good news, and some bad news, about visiting it.
The bad news? Right now, it’s terrible. It’s tiny since parts of the park that did exist have been closed due to construction. Some of the iconic rides are closed (such as the movie ride that was in the Chinese Theater). And it provides a terrible schizophrenic and jarring experience, since it is trying to evoke “old timey Hollywood” while at the same time you have regular marches of Stormtroopers through the streets (Star Wars, not Nazi ... I feel like I have to say that, given certain issues and/or rumors regarding Walt Disney and the prevailing political climate).
The good news? It will all change, shortly. Hollywood Studios is undergoing a major renovation, and this summer, a Pixar land will open. Next summer will be the real change, when a gigantic Star Wars park (called Galaxy’s Edge) will open within Hollywood Studios. So if you want to catch a little of the “old” Hollywood Studios before it gets completely overrun by Star Wars fanboys and young children going to Pixar land, now is the time. But ... eh, if you have to cut out one park on your visit, this is the one. By Summer 2019, however, this might be THE Disney Theme Park in Orlando, especially if you’re into Star Wars.
Rock and Roll Roller Coaster. Everyone has different opinion on what makes a good roller coaster, and I will be the first to tell you that you don’t go to Disney for the roller coasters. That said, this is probably the best roller coaster in all of Orlando. It is Aerosmith-themed, so if you’re a fan of classic rock, there’s that, too. Three hours in line listening to the vocal stylings of Steve Perry may cure you of that.
Tower of Terror. The version in Anaheim has been re-themed to Guardians of the Galaxy; this is the original, Twilight Zone-themed ride. Short and fun.
(Both of these rides require fast passes unless you are expecting to wait in line for more than 60 minutes, and perhaps several hours).
Other Rides & Stuff-
That was it for “must rides” in this park. I would recommend Star Tours if you’re into Star Wars, and Mupper 3d movie is fun, and .... well, yeah, there’s a Toy Story ride that is a shoot ‘em up like the Buzz Light Year ride in Magic Kingdom if you’ve got young kids that can’t do the roller coaster. There’s some exhibits, cool stuff to look at, and so on. There is a LOT of Star Wars themed-stuff. The fireworks display is also Star Wars themed, and definitely worth it if you’re into Star Wars. The Indiana Jones stunt spectacular is pretty cool, too.
While it isn’t the food desert that is the Magic Kingdom, the food choices here are just ...eh. For restaurants, the Sci-Fi Dine In is a fun place to eat (watching clips of old, bad sci-fi movies in a “car”) but the food is burgers & shakes. PizzeRizzo has great, um, rat theming ... for a Pizza place, and mediocre (at best) overpriced pizza. Brown Derby is far too pricey for the mediocre food options. And so on. Other than the Sci-Fi Dine In, which may be worth it for the experience, I would recommend sticking to some of the healthy options you can find at quick and counter service around the park, and eat a real meal elsewhere.
If you’re at the Disney theme parks for a long time, and you’ve hit the rest, might as well go here. Or, if you have a “park hopper” pass, hit the coaster and Tower of Terror, then go someplace else. This will all change in 2019.