Hollywood Studios seemed less crowded than some of the other theme parks at Disney World. Or maybe it just felt that way because we got there right at opening time before the crowd had time to build up. Initially we wondered why our hotel had a 7:30am shuttle when none of the parks opened before 9:00. It didn’t take long to figure it out though. The first day we took the 9am shuttle straight to Epcot. By the time it made the rounds to other hotels and we got through the ticket, security, and gate lines it was after 10 by the time we got into the park. The shuttle made the rounds of several hotels so it was after 8 before it even got to the park. The drop off for the early one was called Magic Kingdom, but was really an in-between place with monorails to Epcot or Magic Kingdom and a ferry to Magic Kingdom. The first time we went there everyone just went straight through and on to the monorails or ferries, but the second day they had a barricade and the people guarding it said they were only letting guests staying in Disney resorts or who had a breakfast booked through. They would actually let people going to Epcot through as well, but we had to tell them that is where we were going and ask to be let through so a lot of people needlessly waited. From Epcot there are busses to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom so it’s a roundabout way to get there by shuttle from out-of-park hotels. After all that we got to Hollywood Studios right about the time it opened. A lot of rides had 5 or 10 minute wait times then, but most got longer within a couple hours so it pays off to arrive early.
This park had a lot of characters randomly in outside areas where visitors could get photos without waiting in a line to see them in a building. That didn’t stop lines from building up outside, though they were much shorter than the lines at the official character spots. Hollywood Studios had some character spots as well which had lines considerably shorter than what we saw at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. They also had some random outside shows like a cowboy with some ropes and some scheduled shows outside too.
The kids got to see Chip and Dale while wandering the park, Olaf in a building with no line, and Princess Sofia (from a Disney Junior show called Sofia the First) in an official spot on the outskirts of a building. They also met Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who had their own character spots.
We also saw a real live squirrel, which the kids enjoyed more than the chipmunk characters. One of them gave it a bit of peanut butter sandwich. It posed for awhile nibbling on its prize and then carried the sandwich up a tree and hung upside down eating it hovering just above where anyone could reach. The sandwich-eating squirrel drew quite a crowd, entertaining way more people than just our own grandkids.
There was quite a bit of Star Wars themed stuff. We started the day on a great Star Wars simulator ride called Star Tours where C-3PO piloted the shuttle. It’s a motion ride with most of the action on a video screen, but there was an actual C3PO pilot in the simulated shuttle. We also saw youngsters participating in some sort of Jedi training, and we happened by both live action and movie Star Wars shows out on the grounds. On another day when we passed some construction near the highway and wondered what it was all about the uber driver said Disney was building Star Wars Land near their Hollywood park. I looked it up online and it is scheduled to open in 2019 as part of Hollywood Studios which may get renamed at that time. Once that opens it will probably get a lot more crowded there. Toy Story Land is also coming to Hollywood Studios.
Hollywood Studios didn’t leave out the younger set. Rides or shows there included muppets, Toy Story, Frozen, and Disney Junior.
Considering that the park is called Hollywood Studios, all the rides and attractions have something to do with movies, TV shows, or characters from movies or TV shows. Of course Mickey Mouse has a presence there since he has been part of Disney from the beginning and is still a major character. We went to a Frozen show where it snowed inside, and then the Disney Junior show snowed inside too, which was quite a thrill for Australian kids who rarely ever see snow.
One thing that really surprised us all through Disney World was the amount of people pushing giant kids around in strollers. Not that they were the children of giants, just kids that seemed awfully big for strollers. My grandkids are 5 and 7 and we saw quite a few kids bigger than them riding through the parks in strollers. Those kids would get no exercise sitting either in strollers or on rides or at shows all day and then when they get back to their hotel at night they are probably bouncing off the walls. Meanwhile the parents must be exhausted from pushing double strollers full of big heavy kids around the park all day. Not that it’s any of my business, but it just seems like kids that big would be better off with some exercise. The stroller parking lots wouldn’t be so full either if people just used strollers for babies and toddlers.