Disney World Hollywood Studios Tips
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Disney's Hollywood Studios - This is specifically in response to Abigail Hartlein's article (AllEars® Issue #735, October 22, 2013) about riding the Tower of Terror. For those afraid of drops, here's a little hint: Right before, and as you're dropping, look at the floor around your feet. I don't know if it's an optical illusion or what, but I find that you won't feel the dropping sensation! If you don't like that feeling in your stomach, this might allow you to experience the sensational theming of Tower of Terror without feeling sick! - Kylie Lacey
Disney's Hollywood Studios - Concerning people wary of riding Tower of Terror -- When riding Tower of Terror try to avoid holding onto the hand grips by your seat. Either just keep your hands at your sides or if you're the hand-raising type then raise them high. Why? During the drops and when the raises get to the top, you actually will feel yourself floating off of the seat. This is much less jarring to the body than if you hold on to the grips for dear life and more fun too. Try it. I find it makes all the difference. - Jeff P.
The Walt Disney World Lost and Found department is amazing! My designer sunglasses flew off during Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and I thought they were gone for good. I called the Lost and Found department and described what day and location I lost them, gave a description of the glasses, and to my surprise, in true Disney Magic they were found! (Allow 24-48 hours for cast members to process your lost items.) - Michelle
EDITOR'S NOTE: You can report missing items at Guest Relations in the theme parks, but if you don't discover the item has been lost until you get home, try calling Theme Parks Lost & Found: (407) 824-4245. They're open seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST. Give them a description of the item and where you lost it, and if it's been turned in, they'll let you know.
We will be going to WDW for our 19th trip in two weeks -- can't wait! One of the best tips we can offer is to definitely go to the parks at night -- they all look so different as the sun goes down. The sun setting and the darkness coming -- it really brings out the beautiful lighting and colors of the parks. Animal Kingdom will be open in the evenings when the Rivers of Light show debuts in 2016. I just wish Walt Disney could come back for one day and see the beauty and magic that he created! - Trudy
You need not carry medications in an ice pack through the parks all day. The First Aid station has a fridge for guest meds, and they are happy to store them for you. The nurse on staff was polite and professional. She allowed my 7-year-old daughter to practice being a self-advocate, and listened patiently to her medical needs. It was a stress-free experience and we could enjoy Magic Kingdom without worrying about heat or spilling. - Tracy Boylan
Disney's Hollywood Studios - If you are going to Disney Junior Live on Stage, get there to line up early (10-20 minutes before show) to get in. Also, don't sit in the very front because you will not see the whole show. Our little ones couldn't see anything but the tops of the heads of the characters most of the time. Very disappointing. - Steffi Finnerty
ALL PARKS - It's been said before, but the early bird gets the worm. Each morning we rose with the sun and were at the gates of our chosen park at opening. We literally cruised through on every ride, numerous times. (Expedition Everest five times in 20 minutes!) We were out of the parks by 10:30 each day. Our kids left vacation feeling like we had seen and done everything and we never noticed the crowds. We heard so many complaining about how horrible it was and we shared a private chuckle about our planning. - Michelle K
Disney's Hollywood Studios - We love to draw the characters at the Animation Academy in Disney's Hollywood Studios, and have struggled with carrying the pictures around the park all day. The inside tube from aluminum foil or plastic wrap works really well to keep the pictures from creasing or wrinkling. The drawings are great souvenirs to frame when you return home. - Teresa Palauskas
ALL PARKS - A great way to save time if possible is to go to the park without a bag. We could not accomplish this on every park visit, but when we would go to Magic Kingdom for a short visit in the morning or evening, we packed small necessary items (camera, lip balm, antibacterial gel) in my husband and son's cargo pockets, wore our Photopass and tickets around our necks and breezed into the parks. - Tanya
Disney's Hollywood Studios - Since its introduction as a regular feature several years ago, the Jedi Training Academy has become an extremely popular interactive experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. As a result, participating in the activity, which is held several times throughout the day, can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you snag an spot for your child to become a Padawan and feel The Force:
- Arrive Early: Sign-ups for the Jedi Training Academy start as soon as the park's turnstiles are opened (this includes Extra Magic Hour mornings); if the park is scheduled to open at 9 a.m., they tend to open about 15 minutes prior. This should be your first stop once you enter the park -- the earlier you sign up, the earlier the show you will get into. Spots fill up very quickly and it is not uncommon for all spots to be filled by 10 or 10:30 a.m., depending on park attendance.
- Have Your Children With You: As part of the sign-up process the cast members need to ask your children a couple of questions to make sure they will follow instructions and be safe on stage. Cast members will also ask the children how old they are to verify they are between the ages of 4 and 12. For this reason, you need to have your children with you. Spots cannot be saved for children who are not present.
- Plan on Committing an Hour for the Show: When you sign up for a particular show you will be asked to return to the sign-up location 30 minutes prior to the show time. This is to ensure that all the children participants are present before heading to the stage. With the show lasting 20 to 25 minutes, this means that the whole Jedi Training experience will take almost an hour out of your day. You should take this into account when signing up. If you have a dining reservation let the cast members know. They are generally very accommodating with getting you into a show that will work for you.
- Show Viewing Areas: The viewing area at the stage is first come/first serve and does fill up. If possible, have one parent go with the child to the check-in area and the other adult go to the stage area to secure a viewing spot.
- Know the Alternate Process: Once all guaranteed spots have been filled for the day, cast members will begin to sign up alternates. THIS DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT YOUR CHILD WILL GET INTO A SHOW, but it does give them the possibility of getting in if a child with a guaranteed spot does not show up. Alternates are numbered in the order in which they sign up and will be asked to return 20 minutes prior to any of the shows. An alternate must be present in order to be placed into the show and if multiple alternates show up, the lowest numbered alternate will get the available spot. For example, if alternates 3, 7, and 9 were present, number 3 will be placed into the show if a child with a guaranteed spot does not show up. Note that alternates can return for as many (or as few) shows as they want until they are placed into an available spot.
ALL PARKS - Just a reminder to check when counter service restaurants close. We were at Disney's Hollywood Studios three weeks ago, counting on eating our meal at one of the counter service restaurants. All were closed by 8:15, except for the one closest to Fantasmic, so we had to eat at Mama Melrose's and pay $150. It was a lovely meal, but we were on the dining plan and had carefully planned when to use our dining credits. - Ellen
ALL PARKS - You know how everyone always asks for the front on Space Mountain and Expedition Everest? Ride in the back for a fun time! On Space Mountain, you feel every little drop, it jerks you around a little more and the ride feels longer. As for Everest, the backward part feels more dramatic, and the drop whips the back end of the train up and feels way longer. First-timers, ride in the front. But once you're familiar with these mountains, ask for the back -- you're in for a wild ride! - Chloe Ferreira
Disney's Hollywood Studios - We thought we had great seats in the front to see Disney Junior Live on Stage. But it's a puppet show, and the stage is about three feet high. Since we were in the front (you sit on the floor), most of the puppets were hidden by the edge of the stage. I think you'd be able to see more halfway back in the room. - Sue Arthur
Disney's Hollywood Studios - We have enjoyed the Animation Academy at Disney's Hollywood Studios many times. My daughter came up with the idea of photographing our pictures so that they can easily be placed in our albums. (They are hard to get home unwrinkled.) Another fun idea is to take a photo of someone in your party with their picture and the animator teaching the class with theirs. - Emily Lang
ALL PARKS - We have gone down to Walt Disney World 24 times and are looking forward to going again in November. My tip is that when you go, always take a break where there is a water feature. If you are over-warm, they will help cool you off and if you are not then the sound helps relax and focus your mind so you can enjoy the rest of your day. At Magic Kingdom, the best one is right next to the Splash Mountain ride. If you don't want to get wet, step back. In Epcot, they are all over. They are in every park and various places, so ENJOY. - Dana Lind
EDITOR'S NOTE: The water features Dana refers to include the various fountains, water play areas, and misters found around the parks, such as the squirting Tiki Gods in Magic Kingdom's Adventureland or the Cool Wash mister near Test Track in Epcot.